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October 5, 2014

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Roger, could you please tell us how does it feel to be Roger Federer, to be an icon?  How do you feel personally?  Second thing, it's about dreams.  We all have dreams as kids, grown‑ups.  Would you be so kind as to share with us what did you dream about when you were a kid and what do you dream about now?
ROGER FEDERER:  I must say I live somewhat of a really normal life, considering when I come to tournaments where there's a lot of focus on all the players.  Other than that, you know, there's a lot I do which is part of the sacrifice that I can save energy, live a life to be able to travel with my family and all that.
It's very much all tied up with tennis.  But I feel like I have a good life.  I enjoy myself.
My dreams, I think they were particularly vivid and big when I was little.  Clearly I always dreamt of becoming either a tennis or a soccer player, mostly a tennis player winning Wimbledon, or becoming No.1 in the world.  Those were my big dreams.  Maybe playing like Edberg or Becker, my heroes, that kind of thing, play the tournaments that they played, playing on the professional tour.
Once I achieved most things, the hunger remains to achieve big things.  You have different dreams.  But I think they are important.  They keep you really eager to work hard, to try to achieve something.  If you don't, you fail, at least you learned your lesson and you can either reset, readjust, or change a few things around, or just keep on believing really.  I think as an athlete, you need that dream, like you said.

Q.  Roger, you actually mentioned after the Davis Cup semifinal you're going to adjust the schedule for the rest of this year.  You made the last‑minute decision to come to Shanghai.  When you were making that decision, what was going through your mind?  Was it the fans or that you're hoping to go back to No.1 sooner than later?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I had to take the decision at some point.  After Davis Cup I was on vacation, relaxing.  Obviously it's always easy on vacation, I'm happy on vacation, I can extend my vacation, I can extend my practice, all that.  It would be very easy to skip this here because the family didn't travel with me here.  So I miss them clearly.
It's a one‑off tournament for me to travel around the world and back.  There's easier things to do than that.  But I felt like I'd like to play this tournament for the reasons you mentioned, for the fans.  I'm emotionally attached to this event.  I did open the stadium here in 2004.  I was here when the Masters Cup was here in 2002.  So I go way back with this city, this event, with the people who work for it.  I'm always going to try to do best effort to come.
I said, Let me play Shanghai and see how I feel once I come back after Shanghai.  There still might be some adjustments made to my schedule moving forward.  For that, I definitely need to play well here for that to happen.  If I don't play well, I guess I can also play everything.
It's a bit up in the air, the next month or so.  I'll go sort of day by day, I guess.

Q.  You've already qualified for London.  You have Davis Cup after that.  In the context of your career, is the Davis Cup now the big thing for you?  Would winning that be the icing on the cake of what has been a very good year for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I don't know.  Not necessarily really.  Davis Cup is like at the very back end of it.  I'll only really probably start thinking about it once the World Tour Finals is over.  The World Tour Finals is huge for me, a big goal.  It's what I wanted to qualify for.  It's where I've played so well in previous years.  I don't know how many times I've qualified in a row now, but it's always been a very special event for me throughout my career, ever since I qualified here in 2002 for the first time, I guess.
Davis Cup, yeah, I mean, it's there, I'm aware of it.  But my focus now has switched back to the ATP Tour really.

Q.  Roger, how do you balance the two roles as a father and family life, and King Roger on the tennis court?  What message do you prefer dealing with kids?  How do you create a better world for the next generation?  It is important for me because I'm going to be a father in the near future, so...
ROGER FEDERER:  It's the best thing in the world, so you should look forward to it.  I obviously had kids so I could spend time with them, create a family with my wife who I've been with for so long.  It was something we always hoped for and dreamt about.
Now that I have four kids, it changes a little bit to the two, but not necessarily as much.  This time around we know how it works, how to handle it, whereas the first time around, when the girls were born, everything was very new.  It was very different.  It definitely changed your routines around a little bit.
In some ways kids dictate the plan, but at the same time you also have your own life which you can do besides it.
I must say, we were able to balance those two things actually very well.  It wasn't easy, no doubt about it.  It's still a challenge every single day.  But I really feel very lucky that my kids and my wife can travel with me, we can make it work.
I think it's a great education, as well, to be on the road for the kids, as long as it is healthy.  It cannot be that they don't like it, that we will be staying one place too short.  But I feel like we have enough time to settle.  They enjoy the traveling part, going to new places.
I must say it's very enjoyable.  It's something you should definitely look forward to.

Q.  When you look at this year, the four different major winners, clearly Nishikori winning today in Japan, your thoughts on the strength of the men's game now.  In all the years that you've been playing, has it felt the most even than ever before?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I think it's good quality right now, no doubt.  But that's been for some time now.  I think depth is always going to increase as we move along.  I think No.50 is always going to get stronger every single year.  Same thing I think with the top 10.
I think overall there's always going to be better and better movers, I don't know if better players necessarily.  It's hard to judge just because I guess we're not so all‑around, all of the players, just because of the conditions of play.
Back in the day, you had to be able to do everything.  Now you don't necessarily have to be able to volley or hit a certain shot because you don't have to.  From that standpoint it's a different time now.
But clearly let's not forget there's also a lot of players from my generation, like Roddick, others, Safin, who retired at some point in the last five years.  So they're not around anymore.  They were very good in quality as well.
Now you have the younger guys coming through, making a name for themselves.  I always knew it was going to be a big year for some of the players, like Raonic and Nishikori and Dimitrov.  I think it's going to be interesting to see who is going to qualify now, and also next year, if they can take the next step and get into the top five, top two maybe at one point, because that's clearly a different animal than just getting into the top 10.
But it's a great effort.  I think it's wonderful, especially Kei winning in Japan, it's exactly what tennis needs.

Q.  (Question in Chinese.)
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I feel good being here clearly or I wouldn't have chosen to come.  I feel injury‑free this year so much more than last year.  Last year was a struggle throughout, especially starting in March last year all the way to, I'd say, about here, a bit after that.  End of the season started to get better.
But my game just wasn't so good anymore because I was missing practice sessions, buildups in my fitness and my tennis just because I couldn't do them enough because I kept having setbacks.  I couldn't practice as hard as I wanted to because I was scared.
All of that has gone away.  Now I really can focus on just playing.  I've been able to create a big base again of fitness, and also now confidence has come back.  Now I can just go out and play.  I've played a lot of matches this year.  I've played consistent from the first tournament on till today.  That's across all surfaces, every part of the season.  I won enough matches.
I think confidence is a big thing in tennis, and I have it now.  Clearly there's a bit of a reset now, because after Davis Cup I played so much, the US Open, that I needed a rest.  I took a vacation.  I practiced hard to get back in shape.  I have a good chance to do well here in Shanghai now because it's a one‑off event.
I've just arrived.  The focus is to make sure I start off the tournament well, get through my first round, get a sense for the conditions to see how I'm feeling, then after that hopefully I can move along in the draw.
But, of course, the wish is to win the tournament here.  I've never been able to win it other than the Masters Cup here, but never when it was a Masters 1000.  That is the goal, no doubt about it.  I feel my game is good enough now, but the field is very strong.  Tough draws for all the top guys.  A lot of guys are fighting to get into the race for the World Tour Finals in London, so there's a lot of pressure on many of the guys.
For the rankings, clearly I'm happy I worked my way all the way back to No.3.  I did fall back down at one point.  When you're injured, not feeling very well, that can happen.  Now that I'm feeling better again, I'm happy it's rising rather than going down.  It also helps me with getting better seeding at tournaments.
World No.1, we'll see.  I mean Novak's the guy.  Rafa is second.  Then it's me.  They've played better over the last year or so.  But you never know what's going to happen.  I'll just keep playing well, hopefully.

Q.  You talked about some of these young guys coming through.  What does it take to get from top five to top three?  What's the difference between you and these guys on your heels a bit?
ROGER FEDERER:  I guess consistency at a certain point because once you create a game that allows you to beat the best, or be dangerous for the best, beat the best at the biggest tournaments, plus protect yourself against the lower‑ranked players, that's when you need consistency, mental strength, that you don't get injured, setbacks, you can play week in, week out, play five matches in a row, travel, play again.  That's the stuff you have to do, especially when you're young, because it's not easy to do.  You have to get the hang of it.  Sometimes your mind wanders.  Sometimes you have a lot of things that people want from you, like press, promotions, all that.  That can take its toll in the beginning because you're not quite sure how to handle it all.
It's a quite exciting time, in my opinion.  You learn a lot.  You've gone through that, you come out the other side, I don't want to say a different person, but you're much stronger, more experienced already.  But you're still young, playing with that fresh mind.
I think young players usually tend to get very confident very quickly.  That's what you have to utilize when you have it.  It all seems so easy, but it's quite complicated to put it all together.  Plus let's not forget there are other players who are playing very well who are equally eager, who are more experienced maybe, who any given day can beat you.  You have to manage all those things.
Again then, you know, you have guys ahead of the young guys, the bunch with Novak, Andy, Rafa, everybody.  Hard to beat those guys all in a row in one week.  It doesn't always have to be like that every week, but now that Rafa's back, Novak's healthy, I'm good again, Andy is not getting any weaker, it's not going to get any easier from here on even though they are showing great signs of moving forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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