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TENNIS AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCEMENT: ROD LAVER CUP
August 24, 2016
BILL MACATEE: We have a new event come along that has a chance to be something both historic and extraordinary, but that's what we think we have here today with the announcement of the Laver Cup.
For those who follow the game of tennis, the name Rod Laver has come to symbolize an excellence of character and accomplishment, really the best that the sport has to offer. That's why we're so pleased to be here this morning to announce an event that will bring together the game's top players in a unique, innovative format in a major international competition, appropriately playing for a trophy named for the man that many consider to be the greatest player of all time.
The calendar year Grand Slam has been achieved in men's tennis three times. Rod Laver did it twice. First as an amateur in 1962 and then ushering in the open era of the game by winning it again as a professional in 1969.
There is no question that tennis owes Rod and his peers a huge debt of gratitude, because they paved the way for the game as we know it today. So, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the great Rod Laver.
ROD LAVER: Thanks, Bill.
BILL MACATEE: What an honor.
ROD LAVER: Hi, everybody.
BILL MACATEE: What an honor it is to be with you today. I know we are all excited about the Laver Cup and you have to be excited and thrilled, as well.
ROD LAVER: Oh, it's amazing and I'm honored and excited about the format, being able to have my name associated with this tournament. You know, hopefully it's going to be a world competition that's going to last and be a real competition for the world of tennis.
BILL MACATEE: You have accomplished so much in the game, and you have all these great players trying to follow in your footsteps. Now they are playing for a trophy that is named for you. How does that make you feel?
ROD LAVER: It's amazing. You know, it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Rafa and Roger, and to know that they're going to be in the very first one and from there, you know, all of the best players in the world will have that opportunity to be able to compete.
So I'm honored. I really am.
BILL MACATEE: It's a team format not dissimilar to the Ryder Cup played over three days, and it will be a European team and a world team. What are the things that make this unique?
ROD LAVER: Well, you know, I think it's not unlike the Ryder Cup in golf. The competition, you know, yes, you have Davis Cup and that's within your own country, but this way you're going to have Europe all playing as a team against the rest of the world.
I think that, to me, has to be a new feeling for all the top players around the world. So, you know, in that vein, I really feel that the Laver Cup is something that, you know, or I'm hoping that people would want to be on and play it.
BILL MACATEE: The interesting thing about the format is you're going to have players who don't typically play doubles or we don't usually see playing doubles, playing together in doubles, and that's got to be a lot of fun, as well. And I know that there are some specific players that you would love to see taking part in the Laver Cup.
ROD LAVER: No, I know. Any of the top players, if they're available, you know, I personally want them to be there. I think that's the exciting part about this format is that, yes, there's tournaments; there is the big four. Of course that's the goal, maybe Wimbledon is the goal that an individual says, That's my goal. But others may say the US Open is their goal.
But this way it's a format that you're not in a country as a group. You're playing for each other as individuals. And then you're rooting for your competitor in many ways, but this time you're in a team.
BILL MACATEE: I was lucky enough to do every Ryder Cup from 1991 to 2006, and the pressure in this kind of format is unique, because it's very different than the individual pressure you would feel, right?
ROD LAVER: Well, it's a different type of pressure. It's not a nervousness pressure, but it's want of being able to win. Yes, the tournament, the concept is you get one point for a win the first day, but the second day you get two points for each, and then the next day would be three points. That format never lets a team be out of it.
I think that, to me, is a great concept.
BILL MACATEE: You mentioned you're a great fan of these guys I'm about to bring up. Let me introduce them. Their achievements, obviously, are absolutely remarkable. Between them they won 31 majors, and despite the fact that they are still playing, they have all really earned the status of legends.
They are the first players, as Rod said, to commit to playing in next year's inaugural Laver Cup for Europe. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
ROD LAVER: All right.
BILL MACATEE: So great to have you guys here today. Roger, I know that your desire to pay tribute to some of the legends of the game and certainly your admiration for Rod had a lot to do with this concept.
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. I think, you know, respecting the history of the game and remembering who paved the way, I think, is a huge part of our game. I think it's nice to be able to honor those people.
I think with the Laver Cup that's exactly what's happening. I'm very happy and proud for Rod and also for myself to be taking part in this great event starting next year.
BILL MACATEE: Rafa, I did not realize that growing up in Mallorca you knew all about Rod Laver and all of his accomplishments. Tell us how that happened.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it happened because I have an uncle, at the same time is my coach, he loves the sport, in general, and especially the tennis. He has big passion for Rod, no?
So when I was a kid, he always was talking to me about all Rod did for the game and all the years that he was taking part on a professional part so he couldn't play the Grand Slams and he won the four and then again after coming back to the open.
I know a little bit about all the history, so for me is a real honor to be part of this event that have his name, and it's obvious that the sports are bigger when the legends they taking part. So Rod always involved in our sport makes the sport much bigger and more interesting.
BILL MACATEE: Obviously you both, all three of you, but you specifically are great champions. As you think about this event and playing as teammates, what will that experience be like potentially?
RAFAEL NADAL: Me? Well, I always loved the team spirit, no? And gonna be very special be on the same team with Roger. You know, we have been like rivals for all our career, so be in the same team and even play some doubles together will be something very, very special. I'm very excited about.
In the same time, I think we're going to have Bjorn like a captain, so that makes even the experience more and more interesting, no, have somebody that has always been a winner. The same happens with Rod, no? I didn't seen Bjorn just on the videos now, but my uncle told me that when Bjorn was coming on court, everybody thinks that he cannot lose, no? So will be very, very interesting to have him as like captain.
BILL MACATEE: Roger, for you, there is nowhere to hide in tennis. It's such an individual sport. But now you have teammates. How do you expect that experience to be?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's going to be absolutely unbelievable. To be on the same side of the net as Rafa finally (laughter) is a great feeling and not facing the big forehand. I can actually support it and say, Hit one more, and take joy out of it. I can't wait to play doubles with Rafa at the Laver Cup and just sitting sideline and really wanting Rafa to hit one good shot after another. It's going to be a good thing.
Like you said, I think, with the captain, I think it's going to be a very special and unique experience, one that we are very happy for.
I can't wait for it to start. We still have to be little patient, but it's going to be very, very exciting, sharing the court with Rafa.
BILL MACATEE: So while we've got you here, starting with Roger, what made Rafa such a difficult opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he brought something to the game that we have not seen that much before or not at all. The amount of spin he was able to bring to the game, the physicality and the movement on clay, especially, I think are unmatched really. And he's just a champion. From the beginning, I played him when he was coming up in Miami, and it was easy to tell that he was probably going to win at least a French Open if not more. And he didn't disappoint. He did much more than that and became a legend of the game.
So it's been a real privilege and a pleasure to play against him. We have had so many wonderful matches, especially at the highest of levels: in my home town, at the Grand Slam level, at his favorite tournaments, as well, in Spain or wherever it was. We go way back. Forever we will look back and having enjoyed some of the moments that we had.
BILL MACATEE: Rafa, the unique challenges in facing Roger?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every one. (Laughter.) Well, I never saw nobody with all the ingredients that Roger have, no? Big serve, big forehand, unbelievable movements, the slice, backhand. It's just ‑‑yeah, it's true, no? And at the same time with unbelievable elegance, no?
So I think what Roger did for the game during all these years, and he gonna keep doing for the next couple of years, is something very important for our sport. He helps a lot to the game to step the game to another level of everything in terms of fans, in terms of interest around the world. So just I feel very happy to be part of the same era.
BILL MACATEE: Rod, we don't want to leave you out of this, so when you think about where the game has gone from the time you played in your prime, reflected in these two, share with us your thoughts.
ROD LAVER: Yeah, no, because I came along with little old wooden racquets. So we have come a long way. But Roger and Rafa, what they have done for the game here in the past, well, probably 10 years has been unbelievable. It's put tennis on a firm footing with all the play.
When you look at Wimbledon or you look at the US Open and those two playing in the finals, you know, it's just a scene to be unbelievable. The amount of quality tennis that you see for two and three hours, that's what exploded the game.
I think that's the thing that I respect and, you know, love about being a huge fan of the both of these men is that it's just exciting that tennis has these two. Of course, where everybody is looking for is what's the next crop that comes through? So they've made the level pretty high.
BILL MACATEE: Well, it's an incredible privilege to have the three of you on the stage. Thank you so much for being here.
One of the unique aspects of the Laver Cup is that it will pit Europe's best players against a team from the rest of the world, and what better way to reflect the spirit of the Laver Cup than to renew one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history. Like Roger and Rafa, they met in some of the most memorable matches ever played. They met each other 22 times. They split those meetings, each winning 11.
Next year Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will again face each other across the net but this time as captains of the teams from Europe and the world. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our team captains, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.
ROD LAVER: Well done.
BILL MACATEE: Amazing to think we have 60 Grand Slam singles titles represented on this stage.
John, you're such a student of the game, and I know you love being around the guy. How does it feel to be in this elite group?
JOHN McENROE: Well, this is amazing. I'm a NewYorker, so just to be here in the city getting ready for the Open is awesome. But these guys, I have been watching, admiring Rafa and Roger. Bjorn and I are great friends. He's the only guy I still get along with that I played against, which is a good thing. (Laughter.)
BILL MACATEE: Implying that you got along with him when you were playing?
JOHN McENROE: There's one. But ultimately Rod Laver was my idol growing up, and I tried to emulate him and play like him. So I'm very happy to be part of this and proud that I'm going to captain and hopefully pull off a great upset against Europe next year.
BILL MACATEE: Let's briefly go over the format for the Laver Cup. Each team will have six players. Four will earn their way on the team through ATP points standings. The other two will be captain's picks, and those picks will be made a little bit later in the process after the US Open.
Starting September 22, 2017, the Laver Cup will be played annually except for Olympic years over the course of three days, Friday through Sunday, and the first edition will be at the O2 Arena in Prague on an indoor hard court.
There will be four matches each day; three in singles, one in doubles. It will be best of three sets with traditional ad scoring. The third set will be a 10‑point match tiebreak format, and each player will be required to play at least one match in singles.
So those are the basics. And for all of you‑‑ Roger, let's start with you. What do you like about this format?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's going to stay exciting throughout the weekend. I think the pressure will build. It's something we are very used to at an event. At any tennis tournament, you know, you're nervous at the beginning to get a good start and then you're nervous to finish strong.
I think that's going to be very exciting. I think the idea of Europe against the rest of the world, it's not something we have seen ever before in tennis. Then just from being rivals to not being rivals and friends now on the court is going to be very exciting.
I think with John and Bjorn as captains, I think we can look at the next three to four years now they are going to be very, very special. I have always admired John and Bjorn in a big way, even though they came before, the guys I used to see on TV, but if I talk about my favorite players, John and Bjorn definitely were, and of course Rod is the icon in the room.
I can't wait for it. And I think the format is going to be very unique and very special.
BILL MACATEE: Bjorn, your thoughts on the format, what you like about it?
BJORN BORG: I like the format. First of all, I just want to say I don't do too many press conferences, but I'm really happy to be here today. It's an honor, and I'm very proud to be part of the first Laver Cup.
But to talk about Rod Laver, he was my idol when I was a kid, when I was seven, eight years old. I always respected him as a player, as a person. I had the privilege to play him many times over the years. That was a great thing.
So to sit here with the start with Laver and he has this new championship event, Laver Cup, I think it's kind of a dream come true. I think we all, or I believe we all look forward to this event. I think it's going to be a huge thing for tennis.
Another thing is that being a captain on the European team, we have so many great players in Europe, and I think this is the first time that everybody can get together on the European team and all the players playing singles, doubles, and support each other. I think that's a huge thing.
Another thing is that to play the world with John as a coach, he has a lot of passion, motivated, so I think he's going to do a lot for his team. The team of the world, they have so much good talent, young players. It's going to be interesting to see them.
I'm sure maybe in the next couple of years they will probably win the Grand Slams tournament. Then you have Rafa and you have Roger. Who doesn't want to be a captain of these two great champions? (Laughter.)
I mean, I'm sure they asked a lot of players to be the captain, but now I am the captain. No one is going to take that away. But I'm very proud to be with these guys and to spend time with them and to be the captain.
I look forward to the whole event, and I'm sure we're going to do well. We're going to give 100%, anyway, and try our best.
BILL MACATEE: You also have the potential to have Novak and Andy Murray on your squad. So as you look down the list of people who are going to qualify and then you'll have a couple of captain's picks, you've got to be very pleased with that lineup.
BJORN BORG: I'm very pleased. (Laughter.) We are in August. A lot of things can happen. We will see next year. But the thing is that I have two picks I can do, and I'm very happy for that.
ROD LAVER: You have to leave somebody out on your schedule.
BILL MACATEE: John, you're coaching Milos Raonic these days. Juan Martin Del Potro had a great run at the Olympics. So you think about your team, and it may be stronger than people may think at first blush.
JOHN McENROE: I think Bjorn put it extremely well. We are all excited. This is sort of our idea, dare I say, like a Ryder Cup, and I think it could be a great thing for tennis.
Also, he's correct that a lot of things can change in one year. You don't know what's going to happen a year from now. I think these guys, like Milos, is an example, he sees these all‑time greats and trying to bridge that gap, trying to figure out a way that he can get closer to the guys you mentioned.
Juan Martin, I was just so happy to see him back on the court. He's had such a rough time. But he'd be an incredible positive with the way he's played at the Olympics. And, you know, there is some young guys, there's going to be a couple of guys going to make a breakthrough in the next year or two, no question about it. That's why I think this is going to be a lot more competitive than it may appear at the moment.
BILL MACATEE: You obviously had some remarkable and historic matches. When you go through something like that as a player, how does that translate to being a coach or a captain? How do you take what you learned in that experience and translate it to the players playing for you?
JOHN McENROE: Well, first of all, what's happened recently, because of Roger and a few other guys, is that they have been willing to try different combinations to try to bring out the best in themselves. Obviously, you know, you could say to a Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, as a coach, you know, pat them on the back, and go, Hey, play well. And you would look, Hey, God, you're a really good coach. (Laughter.)
But what I really liked recently is a lot of the former players, great players, have come and been part‑ or full‑time coaches. Boris being one of them, obviously; Stefan with Roger; and etcetera. And that's allowed us to see these players again, which I think is awesome.
It's nice that the players recognize, and I think the sport‑‑ I mean, I don't think it's a big surprise to see that they can add something, the passion and the understanding of what it takes at that moment.
So it's nice to be part of, in a little way, seeing someone make some progress. This is what I would try to bring when I'm coaching next year. It's going to be fun to try to make that little bit of difference and try to figure out a way to get in Bjorn's head. (Laughter.)
BILL MACATEE: They say that coaching in many ways is harder than playing because you can't actually impact directly the result. Through your experiences and the matches that you played, what were the things that you learned about competition that you can maybe impart to your team?
BJORN BORG: I think the most important thing is that when we played in our time in a way compared to this time, when you're on the court, it doesn't change that much. Tennis is such a mental thing. Of course you can change few things, but, you know, to be a captain of maybe the two greatest players in the history of tennis here, I think they know what to do or not to do.
It's difficult. Maybe you come in the match that maybe something is not working. Maybe I can help or say something. But don't forget that these guys, they have been doing so much for tennis. They have been No. 1 for so many years. They know what to do on the court.
But of course if they have questions, I will answer the questions on the court. But I think it's more like support, a mental thing, and then we have to see what's gonna happen.
But for me, as a captain, it's going to be very interesting to follow these guys when they play on the court.
BILL MACATEE: Rafa, congratulations on your gold medal in Rio. You had kind of an emotional reaction to winning the gold. So tell me sort of what that experience and that accomplishment means to you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, thank you very much. Yeah, the Olympics are only one time every four years. I have been out of London for my knee, so for me was a very important event, no?
And especially after what happened with my wrist during Roland Garros and I didn't have the chance to practice almost nothing before the Olympics start, so right there and finally had the chance to win a gold in doubles, especially with one of my best friends like Marc has been very special feeling. Unforgettable moments. The emotions have been very high for me and for him.
And I tried hard in singles, no? I was close to get another medal, but I was very happy the way I competed with Rio. In all aspects it was difficult after two months and a half without competing and especially without practicing much.
So I was very happy the way that I played. And, you know, when you go to Olympics and finally you win a medal is just the most important thing that you can do, no? So just very happy for that and won medal for my country.
BILL MACATEE: I know you're excited about the US Open coming up. Briefly give us the state of your game and your thoughts heading into...
RAFAEL NADAL: If you are not excited for the US Open, you are not a tennis player, no? (Laughter.)
For sure. I don't know. It's true I didn't play much for the last three months, but at the same time it's true that when I stopped in Roland Garros I was playing great, no?
So I hope the good feelings when I had to stop helps to keep playing well here in an event that I know very well, I like a lot, I played some great matches here.
So I am, you know, very excited to start the competition. I need few more days of practice here that I really hope are going to help me, and we'll see.
BILL MACATEE: Speaking of practice sessions, you're the only one of the five that's actually playing in the US Open starting next week. So you have a practice session and you have to leave us. But before you go, why don't we take this opportunity, because this is an amazing gathering of legends, to do a photograph with the five of you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Fantastic.
BILL MACATEE: So if you stand right up there. They will guide you.
BILL MACATEE: That is a selfie for the ages.
Rafa, thank you very much for coming.
BILL MACATEE: So, Roger, you have already announced that obviously you're not playing at the US Open but looking forward to coming back. So give us your take on your health right now and when you're planning on returning.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it was a tough decision, to say the least, pulling out of Rio, US Open, Shanghai, Basel, World Tour Finals. You know, to just get rid of all of that in one shot was hard, but in some ways it ended up being a simple decision because health is my No. 1 thing I hold close to my heart and is dear to me when it comes to tennis.
So once that was the most important, actually, the decision was easy. I don't see it as the end of something. I see it as a beginning to something I'm working for when I come back to the Hopman Cup and then to the Australian Open and the Australian summer in January. That's what I'm working for now. I have plenty of time now. It almost doesn't matter how I feel right now. But I have been doing well and I have been training as much as I possibly could to restrengthen my quad and just my body to keep it in shape, so when I head back into the gym for full‑on fitness in the next couple of months that I'm ready for it.
It's been an interesting year, to say the least. My God, I never thought I was going to have a year the way I had it after playing as well as I did in Australia, but it's unfortunate how it goes sometimes. I think I will learn a lot from this year and I remain very upbeat and positive about what's to come.
So just happy to be in NewYork. In a way, it's painful just because I love this place. It was hard watching the Olympics. I would have loved to compete there, as well, because everyone knows I love competing for Switzerland and would have loved to win a medal. But you can't have it all. I just hope to be super strong when I come back in January.
BILL MACATEE: Looking forward to having you back.
We're going to open it up for some questions now from all of you. Anything that you would like to know?
Q. Hi, Roger. Just coming off of that a little bit more of you having the difficult year you have had with your injuries, can you elaborate? And actually answer me in Swiss‑German. This is for all of our European and German‑speaking viewers who are going to be watching this. Talk about the pain that it has been not being able to represent your country, and then as well with the US Open and your injuries, just talk about that mental pain and emotional pain you've gone through.
ROGER FEDERER: In Swiss‑German? So you have something to learn, guys. (Laughter.)
(Answering in Swiss‑German.)
BILL MACATEE: Could we get you to translate that? I got "danke."
ROGER FEDERER: I said the same thing in Swiss‑German than what I said before.
Q. Gentlemen, just a hypothetical, and if Rafa was here I'd ask him too. Five of you versus the world, how would it go as a team?
JOHN McENROE: What year would that be? (Laughter.)
Q. You could get into the hot tub time machine, John, and be anywhere you wanted in your career.
JOHN McENROE: Well, with these guys, I would like my chances. I'm like four of the five or six or four of the five greatest players that ever lived. I'm sitting right next to them, and Rafa when he was here. So this is, for me, this is amazing and I think we would do a damn good job.
Q. Who would play No. 1 singles?
JOHN McENROE: Roger, you go ahead and answer that. No, Rod. I know who would play No. 5. (Laughter.) That would be me.
ROGER FEDERER: You'd be the pick.
JOHN McENROE: I'd be the captain's pick.
ROGER FEDERER: Right now I'm the guy because of my knee.
Q. Roger, I'm interested in your impartial view, as you sadly won't be playing, but regarding Andy and Novak, Novak has hardly played now since the French Open. Andy has obviously been on a heck of a roll. Who in your impartial view would be the favorite for the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, Novak did win Toronto. I know you don't see that as a very big deal anymore, but still, you know, he has played. And, yes, there were some surprise losses: Olympics, Wimbledon.
My opinion still remains the same that Novak is the favorite. He's got a great record against Andy, has an unbelievable record at the US Open, as well. When it comes to the hard courts, usually he's very tough to beat. I think with the dome now being over Arthur Ashe, I think that's going to help Novak, as well. Not that he's not a good wind player, but I think the conditions are going to be perfect, like at the Australian Open, for him.
I must say I have been very, very impressed by Andy. What he's done this summer was phenomenal. I was in touch with him after he won the gold. And now again with his run in Cincy, I have been very happy for him. I hope he can keep up a great race with Novak till the end of the year for the No. 1 spot. I think it's very exciting, which is great.
Rafa, seeing him back as well in the mix is great. It's the best for tennis when the best players can play, so I think it's going to be an exciting US Open regardless if I'm in the draw or not.
Q. As an Aussie and with the US Open coming up, how far do you think Nick Kyrgios can actually make it in the competition?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it depends a little bit on the draw. Of course, if he's near Novak, then of course Novak would be the favorite or something like that. If he's not around in the draw, then of course he could maybe have a deeper run and you could predict that more.
I think, you know, the Grand Slams are a true test for Nick. Just the best of five, you know, keeping it all together for two to three weeks, it's a long time for any player if you don't have enough experience yet and it takes a lot of energy out of you to stay focused all the way through.
I'm a big fan of his, of his game. I think he's going to be one of the future players that John is also going to rely on for the Laver Cup next year. I think he's always a guy that can cause an upset. But the Grand Slam is not about an upset. The Grand Slam is about winning seven matches, best of five, and that's going to be interesting to see how he's going to cope. I predict he's going to play something at least like a fourth round.
Q. For the group, why do you think there is this continuity and mutual respect among the generations in tennis? We see in other sports‑ baseball, basketball, football ‑ that sometimes the older generations say, Well, it's not like it was in my day. But yet there is great respect among the generations in tennis. Why do you think that is?
ROD LAVER: Well, tennis is a different kettle of fish. You're one on one. Really, you're on your own out there. You know, yes, today you have captains and you have managers and that type of thing. I think that's certainly, you know, one portion of it. But when you're out on the court, your whole life is just what you can accomplish in that hour and a half or two hours.
So I think you rely on, you know, the players that ‑‑ you are in a dressing room, working with various players, and you get to know them a little bit closer. I think that probably is one feeling that the camaraderie with the various age groups‑‑ you know, I had the opportunity to see John play a lot of matches. You know, we never played against each other, but the feeling is, you know, I think I feel like we're good friends. I haven't really been close to him to really have him even think of myself as being a friend.
So it's a unique situation that we've got, whereas generally if it's baseball or football or any of these other sports, you're a team and you don't stay on your own. Maybe the quarterback, you see that they potentially probably enjoy each other as quarterbacks, but individually, that seems to get lost.
BILL MACATEE: Roger, I would think that the Laver Cup allows this connectivity within this generation certainly but a connectivity to the past, as well, that I know you'll enjoy.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, very much so. I'm a big fan of its history. I was lucky enough to have been coached by a few Australian players who love their history, and of course that was not only just Rod Laver but there was also other amazing players that have paved the way, as well, over those years.
I have always looked back, and the more I was able to get to certain records, the more, you know, I got intrigued, as well, in what everybody has done. What did John do in his best years? How long did Bjorn do it? How young were they? How old were they?
There are so many reasons why to follow tennis. And it's very intriguing. And like Rod said, we actually practice with one another and we get along. We spend a lot of time in the locker rooms. People think we're in all these individual locker rooms, but there is only ever one locker room, and you hang out together. Maybe now the teams are bigger than they used to be, but the respect always is there. For us to sit here all together is a wonderful feeling. It's like your extended family, to some extent, I would think. Of course, you have your own parents and brothers and sisters and family, but I always considered my extended family as the tennis tour, because that's who I spent so much time with. I have spent half of my life as a professional tennis player. So of course I feel comfortable in a tennis environment, especially with people who inspire and motivate you as a player.
Q. Where do you rank your Olympic medals in terms of significance? What are the chances you think that we see you play in Tokyo 2020 in singles or doubles? Watching the Rio Olympics, what did you enjoy the most?
ROGER FEDERER: The Olympics, for some reason, I love volleyball. I think it's super powerful, so I was watching a lot of volleyball. I guess it depends when you tune in, what event was on, so I was watching a lot of that.
Yeah, medals, for me, have a significant part in my life, really, because it's really representing your country. I enjoy that in a big way. Winning the gold in Beijing in the doubles was a huge surprise to me, I think equally to what it was for Rafa this year. I went on to win the US Open, so I wish Rafa all the best that he can do the same.
Silver I got in Wimbledon, which was just unbelievable to do that in that summer when I got back to world No. 1 after winning Wimbledon a month prior to playing the Olympics. To have that combination of Olympics and held at Wimbledon, it was just so crazy. And I won that great match against Del Potro. Unfortunately I couldn't get over the finish line against Murray, but he deserved it. He had a great reaction after his loss in the Wimbledon final. For me, that was like a gold, as well.
I carried the flag twice for Switzerland and met my beautiful wife in Sydney in 2000. Just a lot of memories that come out of the Olympics, so I have always enjoyed it.
Q. Roger, obviously there has been a lot of talk about how hectic the tennis calendar is. Do you foresee any difficulties persuading players to want to play in the Laver Cup at all?
ROGER FEDERER: I really hope it's not going to be an issue, because I think with the captains and Rod Laver, you know, as the Laver Cup looking over everything and knowing how much respect Rod has in the game, I would foresee this as a no‑brainer in the future for all the players wanting to be part of it. Why not spend an interesting, cool weekend with all of the best players in the world with those kind of captains?
I mean, I would always say yes to that. We'll see. The future will tell. But I'm going to be there. Rafa's going to be there. I'm sure that many other players are wanting to be part of it. At the end it's going to be a race. I hope everybody wants to be in the picks. They don't want to be in the picks, basically. You want to be in the ranking so you don't have to be picked, because otherwise you might not be part of that cool weekend.
I think it's going to be very interesting and very intriguing. And just like spending that match on court with Bjorn giving me advice whenever I need something I think is going to be very, very special for me, personally.
BILL MACATEE: So much to look forward to. Thank you, guys, very much. We're going to let you go now. Rod, Roger, Björn, John. Appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.
BILL MACATEE: Our thanks to all of you. We look forward to seeing you at the first Laver Cup, the O2 Arena in Prague in the Czech Republic, September 22nd through the 24th, 2017.
Have a good day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports