A few days ago Roger Federer had spoken about one his main on-court qualities: being always available to the press and giving long and interesting answers. The Swiss wasn't an exception when he was asked, after his straight sets win over Jan-Lennard Struff on Thursday, whether it would be right to see Grand Slams increasing their prize money.
'They could definitely pay more, no doubt about it,' said Federer, who has earned $675 million in terms of prize money and endorsements throughout his career. 'But we don't need to talk about that right now in the third round or second round of a tournament. They know that. We're not partners. We're just players. It's always hard to rally. We had a good agreement, in my opinion, that made the Grand Slams happy, the players pretty happy. Seems like that has run its course. The moment that happens, there's not the same increases any more, so players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort. The Grand Slams know that. They will only react when we do so. We're ready to do it. It's going to be the same process over and over again. It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day. We know that. We just hope they realize and they do appreciate us maybe more all the time and not just in waves, you know what I mean? But it's all good. We have good contacts with the slams. It's all good. But it's going to be a never-ending story.'
Going back to the Australian Open, the heat was a cause for concern on Thursday. What does Federer make of it? 'Yes. I mean, Rod Laver [Arena] is usually perfect, especially at night time. We know it can be very hot here in Australia. I remember the days when we had four days of 40 degrees in a row a few years back. Now we got two. Most of the guys now have to play in 30-plus degrees conditions. It's definitely a challenge. It's hard to prepare for that in some ways. But you know when you come down here that can happen. Sure, I'm happy I played at night time. But like I said on court, I would back myself playing during the daytime also. Used to go to Dubai when it was 45. 38 seems almost okay.'
Asked if the organizers are doing enough to look after the welfare of the players, Federer replied: 'I think so, yes. But of course, on a day like today, what do you do? You stop all matches? The lucky guys on the big courts, they get to play under the roof. The other guys get postponed till the next day? Is that great? That's not great either. Is everybody going to finish at 3 in the morning, like a rainy day in New York. I've had that, too. Is that better? I'm not sure, honestly. At the same time you do know when you do come to Australia with the heat, it's going to be sometimes problematic. Everybody has to face the similar issues. I mean, I can't complain. ATP is doing a nice job. There's a lot of physios. There's a lot of communication going on from the officials towards us. Same with the slam level. I feel like we're all trying to coexist. It seems great. That's why I think you see a lot of players still being on tour, because it is a nice tour. It's fun. I enjoy seeing all the tournament directors, all the tournaments.'
Federer also commented on how the game has changed over these many years. 'If you look at the last two matches that I've played, I felt like both of my opponents pretty much kind of went for broke. That's from the baseline. Usually we don't have that so much back in the day. If you had a dangerous player, he was a serve-volley player, a chip-and-charge player. Today everybody, when they see a mini chance to get on the offensive, they just go for it. I think the racquet and string technology has allowed that to happen, especially on faster courts. As you don't want to be in defense too much, the moment you see an opening, you go for it. It keeps the points short now, too. It's just become extremely athletic in the process. I feel like that's been the biggest difference for me in recent years now.'