[Stachi]: Roger, you can see I dressed in green, because the grass-season starts. Coincidentally, we have your new racket here and I was wonderig about the colors of it. We already know each other a couple years and I thought black and white is a bit unusual for you. I can see that you are the co-designer, why did you choose this colors? [Roger]: It’s true! I had a lot of red, yellow, black, gray, sometimes a bit of white in it, but never kind of that style. It’s something new. I thougth it would be a cool idea to put to the black, tuxedo look, which I had a few years right now, a bit of white, like the shirt of the tuxedo. I got inspired by the white racket of Steffi Graf. When she hit the ball it looked much smoother with it. You could see a white line like from a airplane. With white it get’s your attention pretty good and I thought the contrast between black and white would look very cool! I believe we succeded, I really like this racket and I hope the fans and all the people who play tennis, also do! [Stachi]: A racket is a sensitive device It took a long time until you went to a bigger head-size. It was a big process for you because you won a lot at that point of time. What was it? What convinced you? What went through your mind at that time? [Roger]: I think the biggest problem for us is the time. Because we don’t have time! The season is from january until november, I wasn’t injured for long time periode and cause to that I had a lot of tournaments, vacations, practice so I didn’t want to test rackets as well. I did, but you really have to want it! In your mind as well as a player, Not just like, I will see how it goes, you really need to want that transfer to a new racket. I switched the racket 2002. From the 85 to the 90. [Stachi]: Which was a big step, right? [Roger]: It was but I think it was necessary! I was convinced about that, it needed to happen! With the 85 I hit to much balls with the frame while trying to play topspin. Over and over again! [Stachi]: With wind it was difficult, right? [Roger]: Yes, that’s true! I knew I needed a transfer but I didn’t want to switch to a 100 or 95 right away I thought I’m going to do it step by step, so I played from 2002 until 2014 with the 90. With some changes in the frame and the new technology. [Stachi]: So you are really in interaction with Wilson. They are visiting you, are coming to Switzerland. [Roger]: They are telling, they have something new. Same with the string, they always have something new. I also changed 2002 to the luxilon and natural gut string. To the mix of both. It showed up as a good decision. It feld like, it helped me a lot with the topspin, a bit more safeness, the ball stays more in the field. Many are playing with a hybrid-string or fully pollyester strings. The natural gut string is almost fully gone. So, I did the transfer and it took a little bit of time. [Stachi]: I remeber in Hamburg you had to switch a little bit, right? [Roger]: Yeah, that was were I had problems with the back and the transfer to the new racket. [Stachi]: And it didn’t worked out like you want it.. [Roger]: Yes, because first I wanted to solve the problems with my back and I knew the new racket was maybe taking a little bit more time. So, I didn’t want to accuse the racket of this when i knew i still had problems with my back. But I played Hamburg and Gstaad with the new racket. I also trained before Cincinnati. But I got cold feet and so I said ‘stop’ and went back to the old racket to play the rest of the season. I did the whole testing in december. We then changed some small details on the racket and I got an even better racket. Then I started to play really good with it and more aggressively. [Stachi]: You already talked about the strings. Lengthwise you have Natural Gut. But what’s interesting, that you have small plastic bits between them. Why so high? Because the sweetspot is not in the middle, it is a little bit higher. I have never seen this at another player. I know you play like this for many years. Why do you do this? Is this for the spin? In the past, we did this to reduce the wear on the string and save money. Why are you still doing it? [Roger]: Well, at first it was also reduce the wear on the strings. Because if you did not use them with the natural gut string, you could only play around 15 to 25 mins with the strings. Also they were really expensive. But somehow I stuck with them. And we also thought at the beginning we get more spin because it’s square. [Stachi]: Interestingly you only have this every two strings. [Roger]: Yeah, because if you have it on every string, the feeling is mushy. That is why we did it this way. Here I also got the cork, also used by Sampras and Philippoussis. It was also used to safe the gut string, if you string it very hard. It is a little bit nostalgic. I find it a little bit funny that I still use it. Also with the dampener, I had one in the past. Somehow I lost it and well now… [Stachi]: You play without one? [Roger]: I started playing without one. It’s just easier… [Stachi]: But it is a completely different sound. [Roger]: Also a different feeling. I would have never thought that. It always gives you a strange echo. It bugged me at the beginning, but I got used to it. It happened a lot over the years, but some things stayed the same. [Stachi]: How many rackets do you use, when you have a match? [Roger]: I always travel with 12 Rackets. So from one city to the next. And for a match, let’s say in Stuttgart. I have 6 or 7 rackets ready to play and in Wimbledon I would say… Between 8 and, for the final, 11 Rackets. [Stachi]: Why? Best of 5, this can take some time. [Roger]: Yeah, also not every Racket has the same strining weight. Just to have some variations. If I don’t like a certain strining weight, I can still switch the racket. [Stachi]: So for example, if it is hotter than you thought and think “a little bit more stringing weight would be good”. [Roger]: Or I don’t feel so good and want to hit harde, then I go to the racket with the higher strining weight. So that is why I simply need more rackets. Sometimes I have rackets with a stringing weight of 26kg, 26.5kg and 27kg. And got 3, 3 and 4 rackets with me, but it depends. Most of the time I try to stay on the same stringing weight for a tournament. But it keeps changing from place to place. [Stachi]: Do you pre-stretch you strings? This means the stringer pre-stretches the string, so it does not lose weight while stringing. So, are you doing it? [Roger]: We are doing it too, yes. The string does not lose so much weight. Well, I am not playing very long with a racket. Maybe 20 or 30 Minutes and then I change the rackets. It probably not so important then, but it is also something I got used to. And it works for me. [Stachi]: How many rackets do you use per Year? Didn’t you told me around 70 or 80? [Roger]: Yeah, maybe 60 or 70. Gras season, Clay season in the past. Maybe again next Year. And different rackets on hard court, so around 5 times 12. [Stachi]: In the past more rackets got broken, right? [Roger]: Yeah, today they don’t get broken. Now I change the rackets because I have to. Why? Because the frame does get wasted. The longer you play with a racket, the weaker it gets. The frame gets too flexible. And if you switch to a new racket, it feels completely different. So it is important to buy a new racket every once in a while. Many people have bought their last racket 8 years or so ago. But I think it is important to get a new one. Because the inside of the frame is not broken. We pro players don’t leave anything up to chance. Every match can make a difference to a whole season. Maybe write history or something. So you try to get everything right. With a good partner like Wilson, who support me, I have had great luck. [Stachi]: Pete Sampras, who was also supported by this company, never wanted to change the paintwork. Because the stiffness and everything else feels different. How sensible are you and how do you test this? For every other person this is unthinkable. Its just a paintjob. [Roger]: Yeah, that’s right. I am not as sensible as Pete. [Stachi]: He was a little bit extreme. [Roger]: He always had the same shoes, grip, rackets and sometimes even the food. [Stachi]: Do you know what he did in his hotel rooms? In the US, they got the flokati-carpet and he covered it with towels and he even covered the standby light of the TV. Because he couldn’t handle it if one little lamp was on. So it fits to what you are saying. [Roger]: Well, I am not that extreme. But, to get back on topic. On this racket we used elastic paint. And this feels slightly different when you play with it. But because I had enough time to try it out, I got used to it as well. At the time I also had the feeling that the shiny paint plays a little bit different than the matte black paint. I always played with matte black paint and Wilson wanted a more shiny one. Now I combine them and maybe its only in my head, but I think you feel a small difference in the paint. After a couple of tournaments and many hours of training you get used to everything.