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August 4, 2014

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Canadians have really upped their game in the last couple of years, especially a lot of us cheering on our hometown favorite, Milos Raonic.  Your thoughts on this bright young star.
ROGER FEDERER:  No, like you said, I think he's really made a name for himself in the last few years now.  I don't remember when I saw him the first time, but I have played him for a few years now and seen him around, so he's really made sort of his move now in the rankings in the last year or so, getting into the top 10, making the semis of a slam, you know, winning tournaments, playing more solid week by week.
I think that's what you've got to do if you want to compete with the best and give yourself opportunities.
I think with his game, he's always going to be dangerous for the top guys.  I think that's going to be a good thing to have if I was him, and now it's just important to be consistent, be healthy, but also obviously try to win tournaments.  I think that's really what it's about for him now.

Q.  You mentioned consistency.  Many commentators, pundits, critics, and even other players have labeled you as one of the greatest players of all time.  Does that label add more pressure to your game to maintain your consistency as one of the greats?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I see it more laid back today than I ever have just because I ‑‑well, I don't have to defend like 12 tournaments a year.  I only won one last year, so from that standpoint I feel like you make points every week.  I feel like I don't really have to prove anything to anybody even though people are always going to disagree with that.
For me it's about how do I feel in practice, how is my motivation, how am I actually really playing, how do I feel it rather than how is everybody else thinking they see and know it?  I can analyze it much more clearer today than I ever have.  From that standpoint, I'm not in a hectic place.
You know, when I was younger I felt much more pressure.  I felt like I had to do what people said and I would listen to everything.
Today I kind of go my pace and I really enjoy it in the process, and I love coming back to a place like Toronto and I see the positive sides of things today.

Q.  Novak Djokovic said the other day that from maybe six, seven, eight years ago to now there are more players who can win tournaments, more players who can go far in tournaments.  How do you feel kind of about how tennis has changed over the past maybe decade or so in terms of more players being in the running to win these kind of tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it's a very broad quote.  Yeah, I mean, in some ways I agree with him and in some ways I don't agree with him, because I came about when there were a lot of different world No. 1s, a lot of different Grand Slam champions.  Back at the end of the 90s, beginning of the 2000s, it was changes every other week.  And we haven't seen that many different world No. 1s in the last eight years, so that's where I don't quite agree with him.  It's pretty much the same guys always winning the slams and the Masters 1000s and at the top of the rankings.
I agree that there are more guys coming from the back now again.  Del Potro has had wrist surgery, Murray has had back surgery, I have had some issues.  So clearly that opened things up a bit.  And then with Wawrinka winning the Australian Open really gave belief to other guys.  But belief is not enough.  You have to pull through.  That's what I mentioned with the other guys now.  It's nice talking about it, but at the end they've got to do it.
Still kind of waiting for that a little bit, even though I think it's a very interesting time in the game right now, and I think the second half of the season is going to be super interesting.

Q.  Regarding Milos, facing him at Wimbledon, what did you see in his game changing maybe from the first couple of times you had seen him play and playing against him?
ROGER FEDERER:  I just think more, how can I say, not going to get really overwhelmed with the situation.  Not that he would do that beforehand, because I think with that kind of a game you have a base.  It's very simple to focus on what you really need to do with his big serve.
But overall, I felt like that's where he feels he needs to be and wants to be, and I think that aura, you know, having that, is a big factor if you're going to get yourself back into these situations or not.  And I felt like he was really happy being there but not happy that he lost.
That's the kind of attitude you want to see.  That's the winner mentality, my opinion.  Yeah, interesting times ahead for him, no doubt.

Q.  You talked earlier about competitive balance and how that's been fairly consistent.  What has changed the most in the men's tennis game over the course of your career?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think a lot has changed with string technology probably, racquet technology, as well, to a degree, I think, even though the change was probably bigger from the '90s to 2000s with racquets, but then strings was the big game changer at the beginning of 2000.
Then the game has slowed down a little bit in terms of court speed, because I think some tournament directors were probably sick and tired of just the big serving matches where there was just no rallies whatsoever, and they have gotten very physical and athletic from the back of the court and in the process we lost a lot of volley players.
I think also coaches overall everywhere around the world have, you know, made sure that their players are very good just forehand and backhand players and good servers but neglected probably a little bit the volley play, even though I do believe there is a place for it, but it became harder and harder and everybody who had success was a baseline player.
Clearly then you inspired the next generation by doing that, and I think now we're at a crossroads a little bit where things are speeding up.  Toronto is much faster than it used to be four years ago, in my opinion, and that's nice to see that there is some change in it where the attacking style is going to pay off more, especially, you know, taking chances, moving forward.
And then what do we have?  We had social media come in in a big way the last six years.  I don't know if it's had an impact on players' playing style, but I think it had a big impact on everybody's life in some ways.

Q.  With so many family commitments now, I'm sure you will be forgiven for doing less of this PR type of stuff.  Do you ever regret how accessible you've been to fans and the media over the years and wish you could cut back a bit now?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not at all.  I feel like I'm happy I did everything that I did, you know, with promoting the game and doing press conferences in three different languages and the same thing for radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, you name it.
I think it was only the right thing to do.  Do I think it's sometimes a bit excessive?  Yes, no doubt.  I don't understand the reason to do maybe a press conference after a 6‑2, 6‑2 win, but that's the rules of the game and I will be part of that.  That's fine, you know.
And today I'm in a place where I feel like less is more, because people already know a lot about me.  I think the stage is also for other players to make a name for themselves and either do more media, do more promo, but of course if I can be helpful in ticket sales and make sure that, you know, Toronto gets even bigger on the map than it already is, I'm very happy to do that, clearly.
So I must say I'm still doing lots but it just might not look that way.

Q.  Genie Bouchard tells a story about meeting you after she won Junior Wimbledon.  I know you meet a lot of young players, but I wonder if you remember that and what you think of her rise recently.
ROGER FEDERER:  I guess it must have been at the Champions Dinner, right?  Yeah, I kind of do remember meeting her, but like you said, there are so many people there.  I always cared about who won the juniors, especially at Wimbledon, because I did that in '98.  For me it would have been great for me to take a picture with Sampras or take a picture with whomever it was, a legend in the room.
I was very happy to meet her, and I think she's done really well.  She seems like she works really hard, enjoys what she's doing.  She has a great attitude on the court, in my opinion.  She doesn't fist‑pump every point, which I can't stand.  She's normal, you know.
I'm happy she's been successful and I hope she can keep that up and win the big ones now, you know.

Q.  Congratulations on your twin boys.  Four children now.  Does that change anything in your life?
ROGER FEDERER:  Ah, yeah (laughter).  Yeah, it totally does.  It's been a great last three, four, five months now, you know, just waiting and hoping that everything is going to go well, and then clearly once the boys were here just seeing the reaction of the girls, and then also just how was it going to be as a family, you know, the new dynamics of it and everything.
It's been incredibly nice.  That's why I clearly prefer the beautiful last four weeks or so after Wimbledon when we could really spend quality time away from all the tennis tournaments and all that stuff.
It's been great.  I love it.

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