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November 21, 2014

Roger Federer

Severin Luthi


G. MONFILS/R. Federer
6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  We'll start with questions in English, please.

Q.  Roger, you're not a player that looks for excuses, but how frustrating is it on court when you cannot move the way you want to?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, it is what it is.  So you accept the fact that you're playing the way you feel.  But it wasn't all negative, you know.  I started to feel better as the match went on.  That's very encouraging, I must say.
Clearly I did feel, not having hit and played and moved at all for five days, and Gael did play well.  It's not like, you know, I couldn't play at all.  For those who saw the match saw that it was a proper match, and he was the better player at the end.

Q.  How do you feel about the possibility of playing doubles?  Do you think you could possibly play both tomorrow and Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, yeah, we'll talk about it.  Right now I feel somewhat all right, you know.  That's the encouraging part I was talking about.  Whether it's the right move, that's just something I can give my information to Severin and Stan and the team, and then they together will take hopefully the right decision.
So, I mean, right now I don't know.  But I'll definitely make myself available if I feel that I can play proper tennis, which at the end I was able to do.

Q.  Severin, can you tell us if you feel that you have more chances to win doubles with Roger Federer or a singles with him, having seen him play?
CAPTAIN LUTHI:  You don't know before the match.  It's tough to say.
I think, like you said, it's very positive that he felt better and better the longer the match was going.  Yeah, we will see what the right decision is.  But I can't tell you right now.

Q.  I don't think you answered my question.
CAPTAIN LUTHI:  That's possible.  (Smiling).

Q.  Maybe you didn't understand.
ROGER FEDERER:  Or maybe he didn't want to answer you.  Put that one in the equation, as well (laughter).

Q.  Maybe you can answer, Roger.  You're more spontaneous.
(Roger explaining the question to Severin in Swiss German.)
CAPTAIN LUTHI:  I understood the question (laughter).

Q.  In the first three or four games, did you feel you were ready or was it a bit scary?  How did you feel in the beginning?
ROGER FEDERER:  I felt, I would like to say, on even terms in terms of the score as long as possible and created possibilities.  It would have been nice to get the break back in the first set.  I don't want to say 'who knows,' but maybe then he'll feel more pressure.
I think he played really well at the beginning.  He didn't miss much.  He served well.  He did all the right things very well.  That's not so easy to do after having practiced for a long time and that's the match you've been waiting for.  Credit to him for really coming out and bringing it.
From my side, I mean, as the match went on, I just started to loosen up.  I guess I needed to hit 30 big serves, I needed to slide, I needed to be in defense, I needed to play offensive tennis, get information quickly.
He did well to get the lead, then he was able to stretch the lead early in the second.  I think that's when I finally, because I wasn't playing for the score so much, I was playing to get back into the match, I had the info I was looking for, and I started to relax a little bit and started to feel better as the match went on.
Yeah, the problem became that I didn't play on clay much.  That's a good problem for me to have, to be quite honest.  It put the back issues on the back burner, which is better this way.  I like it.

Q.  Is it mentally more difficult if you play realizing in the back of your mind, I hope my back will hold?
ROGER FEDERER:  You have to let it go.  You can't play the match like that.  That's why I'm happy it eventually left my mind.

Q.  Roger, when the back was affecting you, was it more on your backhand side, your serve, or your whole game?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, it wasn't necessarily bothering me on a particular shot.  It was just overall fear that you play with after coming back from injury, and particularly the back.  It's hard to explain.  You guys don't play at our level.  If you have a back issue, it's just one of those feelings you feel uncomfortable.  You don't have to be in unbelievably excruciating pain, but it takes a while for it to leave your mind.  It's like a ghost, it's there, Whoa, be careful.  But that's why it was good for me to play three sets today.  Definitely gives us a lot of information.
I would think that I'm going to get better as the weekend goes on, which I really hope is the case.  I hope I'll be fine tonight and tomorrow morning to give maximum possibilities for Severin and back up Stan and the rest of the team.
Yeah, for me, Stan's performance stands out more than what happened in the second match.  That was a great one.  I was very, very happy for him.

Q.  It was the biggest crowd recorded at an official tennis match.  Can you tell us about the atmosphere and the support, the setting.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, amazing.  Really incredible atmosphere.  I mean, it's also a nice stadium.  It looks good, feels good, as well when you're playing down there.  There's a good vibe down there.  People already seem into it on a Friday, which isn't always the case, because it's a working day and so forth.
Clearly I'd like to also thank the Swiss fans for traveling far and really supporting us.  I really felt great seeing them and feeling them, you know, behind me, in my back so to speak (smiling).  It was very nice.  Also the French people, I think it was a great atmosphere overall.  I hope they enjoyed themselves.  It was definitely a privilege.

Q.  Can you talk about how you felt the clay was, the surface.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, it's a good court, you know.  Definitely quite dry, on the dryer side, I think because of the heatings, because of that and obviously quite slippery.  Much more of a bounce to London.  You can't compare that.
So, yeah, conditions are different.  But it's a proper, solid, good clay court.  They did a really good job.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  If you were to choose between winning Wimbledon or Davis Cup, what would you choose?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't think people want to hear that answer here right now.  We are playing a Davis Cup tie this weekend.  We are going to try everything we can to win it.
I don't have that type of problem.  We are playing for that.  We are happy to be 1‑1.  We are happy to be in the final.  We'll try everything we can.
The question is not my personal career here.  It's a team event, and I'm very happy for Stan, that he was able to bring such an important point to our team.  So we are still in it for the weekend.  This is what I'm interested in right now.

Q.  Roger, you know Gael particularly well.  Were you impressed by his level of game today?
ROGER FEDERER:  I know him.  He's not going to surprise me now.  I know he can be very impressive, very strong, very solid.  The US Open, it was the same score.  I was in good shape.  I had won Toronto.  I played well in Cincinnati.  I was in even better shape in the US Open.  Over there he showed me what he was able to do.
I know that even if I was 100%, it was going to be difficult.  He played the match the way he had to play it because the circumstances were not easy for him either.  So if I were him, I would be very happy.

Q.  The three days you played on clay after the Asian tour were useful to you or not?  The problem was the clay rather than the back?
ROGER FEDERER:  At a certain stage was the clay.  But these three days were not useful in the end.  But maybe they will be useful for after tomorrow.
Today, I don't know how to say, there were too many 'question marks'.  So I tried my best, but Gael was the better player today.

Q.  Roger, you say time is in your favor.
ROGER FEDERER:  I hope so.

Q.  But maybe if it's too long it can play against you.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it will depend on the results.  One positive thing today is that Stan won his match.  It was extremely important for us and for him, too, and for our spirits.  I just love having that.
So now I'm coming out of the match without any pain, which is good, too.  It was not a five‑setter with me totally exhausted.  So if I have to find something positive about it, I'll say that.
But it is clear that I want to play better.  If I play the doubles and the singles, it needs to be a lot better than today.  Now I have the information and I know exactly what I have to do.

Q.  Severin, why did you call upon the coach of the Bryan brothers to help you for the doubles?  What can he bring?
CAPTAIN LUTHI:  Well, I think it's always useful to have an outside opinion from someone who has been doing only that for a great number of years.  It can only be helpful.  That's why I asked him.
We had good discussions.  He convinced me in London.  This is why I asked him to come.

Q.  Roger, even if you have no pain, and you feel better, would it be reasonable to play three days in a row?
ROGER FEDERER:  I would be ready to do that if ever it's the best choice.  I'm ready to do that.
Now, I know there are less risks than a few days ago, or less than this morning.  So I'm making myself available for the team as much as I can, 100%, not only as a player, but whatever role I can play.  I'm there to support them and support the team.  This is what I always do.
As I said before, I'm waiting for better things this weekend.  I'm not going to play like today.  I need to be positive when I'm on the court.  It was positive that I was on the court today because I wasn't feeling well before.

Q.  Captain, who is going to choose if Roger plays the doubles, himself or you?
CAPTAIN LUTHI:  I think it's a good thing that we talk together.  It would be stupid for me to make a decision of that kind without asking the players.  If you have players on your team, it's important to know how they feel and how they see things.  They already played many times in Davis Cup, in major tournaments, and they did extremely well.  So it's important to listen to them.
But, of course, at the end someone has to make a decision.  I will do that in the end.  But it's important for me to get all the information I can.

Q.  Roger, if you don't win the Davis Cup this year, do you think you're going to play Davis Cup next year, or are you not thinking about it right now?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it will be something I will think about if I don't win here.  Tomorrow I won't know either because the decision will not be made.
So we'll see Sunday evening.

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