Roger Federer has played doubles, although maybe not as often as he plays singles. Federer has won the gold along with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in doubles at the Olympics. However, he agrees that singles is much more popular and it is hard on the doubles players that they do not get the respect that they deserve.
“It’s very tricky and can be very frustrating for the doubles guys”, says Federer. “I have a lot of compassion for them throughout their season, you know, when they train super hard and go out and have a one-hour match and get blasted off the court because it happens the guy served an ace when you were hoping he’d serve a double fault and that was the decisive thing.”
“At the juniors level, sure, singles is more popular, and singles will always be more stronger”, continued Federer. “But doubles is a beautiful thing, you know. I played a lot of it growing up, as well. Recreationally, everybody plays doubles and mixed. Not singles so much, to be quite honest.”
Federer also continued, “They play differently. Our warm-up for doubles was different, you know. It’s more it can come down to a shot where you think you’re out of the rally but actually you react to it, and sometimes you think it’s actually lucky but it’s not. They train this stuff over and over again. It’s like using a different part of your brain, like speaking a different language. Even though it’s very similar, it’s just not quite the same.”
Federer also adds, “The hard part nowadays is, especially like in a match today where there is so little rhythm, all of a sudden you go through four, five games where there is just no rhythm. And then you’re supposed to serve your spot, you know, or you’re supposed to hit forehands close to the line even though you have just hardly hit any shots like that.”