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June 21, 2014

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Must bring back so many special memories for you coming here to Wimbledon where you've had so many success in the past.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, no, absolutely.  It brings back all the memories from when I was a kid watching my heroes and idols, to coming here as a junior back in '98, beating Sampras in 2001, some losses along the way which were tough, but still they're part of, you know, what made me as a player, too.
Then my first win here in 2003.  The last few years have been amazing anyway.
I always enjoy coming back here.  Yeah, it's a pleasure being healthy and really fit and eager to give it a go again.

Q.  How does your desire to win this tournament and to win majors in general today compare with a few years ago when you were winning a lot of them?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know if it changes a whole lot, because in terms of preparation it's all pretty much the same.  I'm not playing the week before like I used to, so things are just, you know, fine tuning the game before Wimbledon.
The first one was obviously entirely different preparation than everything that followed from 2004 on.  But ever since I feel pretty much the same.  I feel like I'm a contender for the tournament.
Sometimes I was the big favorite, sometimes the favor, sometimes one of the favorite.  In terms of that it doesn't really change a lot in terms of if you actually believe you can win the tournament, then you're focused on yourself and not actually the field.

Q.  And the desire in you today, has that changed in any way?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think as you get older you appreciate everything even more.  You enjoy it more because you know you might not have another 15 Wimbledons left, you know.
So I think you're maybe even more slightly happy to be part of this great experience every time.

Q.  Have you brought your whole family as you did to Paris?  Have you had a bit of time to spend with them over the last week?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, look, it's been busy with Halle last week.  I've been, you know, playing quite a lot.  I had a couple days off after Halle, which were nice, spending with the family.
It's not like I'm practicing so much this week as well.  I'm just doing, you know, two hours maximum a day.  Okay, I got some rehab and exercise and warmup, all that stuff, so it does maybe take half a day out of your day.
But the rest I have time, you know, for spending quality time with all of them, which is nice.  You know, it's like this at every other tournament, as well.  It doesn't change now that we have the boys, but it's super exciting times we're going through right now.

Q.  Because of your success here on this surface over the past decade, in relation to the other slams, do you come here feeling you have the best chance to win of all the slams?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not necessarily.  I mean, I feel like, yeah, if things click here, yeah, I should be able to win the tournament here; whereas at the French I feel like I'm slightly more dependent on Rafa.  He's the only guy really.
But that doesn't mean I don't believe I can win the French either.  It's just that I know he's been so dominant over there that it goes through him regardless; whereas on the grass or hard courts you don't feel it as much.
I feel like if I play my game it's more on my racquet.  As soon as that's the case, you're more confident in your chances.
It's the same for here at Wimbledon.  I feel I have a very good chance again this year.  I hope to utilize my fitness, the amount of matches I've played this year.  So I'm really coming in with a much better feeling than maybe in the last year, for instance.

Q.  Not that you've got to prove anything to anybody with your record ‑ certainly here ‑ but is there any sense of wanting to make up for what happened last year over here?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I don't know if my game was good enough to win the entire thing last year, but I knew it was good enough to go deep, semis at least, something like that.  Then maybe if the draw falls its way, maybe I could have won it.
I had too many hiccups leading into Wimbledon and probably somehow I felt those.  Plus, Stakhovsky did play well you know, so you've got to give him credit, as well.
This year I come in not more wary or like I underestimated Stakhovsky in any way last year.  My game, there's certain things I wanted to do, but I couldn't figure out or couldn't do it.
This year I feel all the options are there.  Return, serve, serve and volley, come in, my backhand, everything is working to my liking.  For that reason, I feel I'm a bit more relaxed mentally because I know it is there.
Yeah, I clearly want to do better than last year, there's no doubt about it.
Halle I think helped me in the sense that I know that things are good on grass, you know.  I'm not coming in from a bad Halle, a bad Wimbledon last year, and then I would have more question marks.
I think Halle was able to settle things a bit down for me.

Q.  Have you had chances to think back about that match against Stakhovsky?  Do you have any more clarity on it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, that was done a week after Wimbledon.  After that, I didn't need to think about it a whole lot anymore.  It was just one of the big goals I set for myself.  I failed.  Back to work.  Get yourself in shape.
I had another setback there in Stuttgart and Hamburg.  From there, I really took a decision to change things around in terms of my exercises, my practice, my scheduling, and all that.
I'm happy sort of nine months later here I am in a much better place than I was here last year.  Not that I was in a bad place.  I also did come from winning Halle.  I think it maybe masked the problems I was playing with, the way I was playing.
I mean, I see him and we always joke about the match and all that stuff, that we can only face each other in the finals this year, so it's all good for both of us‑‑ for me at least.  So that was during the council meeting yesterday.
I'm totally at peace.  I can accept these defeats, even though they were not fun in any way.  But they're part of a tennis player's life, you know.

Q.  You mentioned you feel relaxed.  How would you feel if you were in Mr. Murray's shoes?
ROGER FEDERER:  I would probably feel better than four or five months ago, or six months ago when he was waking up from surgery.  Let's be honest.  I think he's fought back nicely, bravely.  I think he is where he wants to be before Wimbledon, in my opinion.
Clearly in a perfect world you don't want to have surgery, looking back one year ago.  I still think he's good enough now to defend again; whereas maybe three to four to five months ago, honestly I wasn't sure about that.
But now I think the way he's playing, the way he's got himself back into shape again, I think he can really believe again.  That's what's most important now.
Defending champion is never an easy thing.  But then again, he played so well on grass the last few years.  He was winning the Olympics, winning Wimbledon, winning Queen's last year.  So he knows how it's done, and I would feel comfortable if I was Andy at this point.

Q.  At this relatively late stage of your career, I am wondering whether when you arrive at Wimbledon, a special place, if you say to yourself, I must take this in, relish this while I have it, or if you find yourself maybe fighting against that inclination?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, from that standpoint it's never really changed for me.  Every time I walk the grounds, have the opportunity to practice at Wimbledon, be here during the tournament or not‑ but usually I'm only here during the tournament‑ it's always a very special place to be.  You can savor it regardless of how many years you have left.
I don't feel like it's, Oh, my God, this might be one of my last few or anything like that.  I feel very much at peace.  I feel super happy being here.  Just excited more than anything.
So it's very, very normal.  I guess focused as well, though.  Wanting to play well and wanting to win.  That's how I feel when I walk around here.

Q.  You're giving up your role on the players council.  Is there anything in your time there that you take great pride in?  What do you think one of the biggest challenges ahead might be?
ROGER FEDERER:  Look, number one, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I told this to the council and the board yesterday.  The last six years have been a lot of fun.  It's been tough at times, you know, just the debates, the talks, the meetings, everything that surrounds it.
Overall I think we've done quite well, you know.  I think I'm proud that I was able to lead by example.  I mean, I have a very busy life, probably one of the busiest lives of a tennis player, with the family, media, sponsors, you name it, and I still found time to do it.
So that should show any other tennis player if I can do it, they should also be able to find the time for this.
You know, if they're not interested, I respect that, too.  But if you are interested, take an active role.  That's why I'm happy.  I don't know when the new council's being announced today, but some also of the better‑ranked guys do get involved.
The group of guys was very interesting.  You know, we had good debates.  Clearly we made big strides in prize money over the last sort of six years.  I think we were able to calm things down a little bit, because things were quite hectic, you know, when I came onto the council.  The board had to go.
Ever since then, I think we've had the same board for six straight years.  The stability has been very important for the tournaments, for the players, for the council, for the board.  It's just been nicer to work this way.
I feel my time is a good time to go now.  Because I feel if I can't put in 100% effort every single time when I go to the meetings, if I start missing meetings, that's not the way I'll do it.
So I think it's a good time for someone else to lead, for someone else who is super excited to step in and do it now.  I actually saw there were a lot of people that wanted to do it, which is great.
Anyway, I'll be around.  If they need my opinions or help in any way, I'm still there.  But I think it's a good time to move on for me for now, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any idea of what kind of Rafa we'll see at this year's Wimbledon?  The last couple years he's won barely a match here.
ROGER FEDERER:  What I think we'll see, is that the question?

Q.  Yes.  Do you have a feeling there will be more like the old Rafa than the more recent Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I didn't expect him to lose last year first round.  Let's be honest.  So these losses, you know, they happen.
I think he might be slightly more vulnerable in the early rounds, but like most of the guys.  This new, fresh, lush grass, we're not quite used to it.  As you go deeper in the tournament, it becomes more clay courty, hard courty, with a bit of grass on it.  It's easier to move; the ball bounces a bit higher; it becomes more what we're used to.
I think the early rounds are key for most of the top guys.  I think we're talking about the first two rounds in particular.  I didn't check his draw, but if he gets through that, I would think we'll see more of what we've seen in the past, is my opinion.

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