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APIA INTERNATIONAL SYDNEY


January 13, 2015


Roger Federer

Lleyton Hewitt


SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I don't know what future you see for it, but do you see a future for it on the professional tour in any kind of fashion?  (Regarding fast four scoring.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, number one, this was about getting more kids to play the game.  Now, I definitely think this is an easy exhibition format, no doubt, because it keeps the score close.  The score keeps on moving.  From that standpoint I think it's a very nice format.
For me personally, I didn't have to adjust much mentally to the format.  Feels like I've played it before in the past, even though I've never even come close to playing something like this.  I enjoyed it, you know.
Now, is there a future for it?  We've tried the let thing in challengers for three months as a test.  Didn't go down that well with the guys because the nets are too different all around.  I don't know how to explain.
No ad, we have it in the doubles.  And then the tiebreaker, to me, we haven't spoken about it on court, but I thought that was actually the most intense.
We played two tonight, and tiebreak is over in a hurry when you get the first mini break.  So I think that's the biggest change for me almost.
Then I like the best‑of‑five format to four.¬† I like the idea of that because every point is more important and it's hard to get back from a break.¬† So you feel like you go more often into four or five sets most likely, and keeps it close.
I liked it over all.  I think it's a good thing.  But the idea is to have more kids play the game.  They already do it near Australia.  We hope for this to maybe really kick it off now.

Q.  Can you think of any way you would like to tweak it?  Any thoughts on possible modifications?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I think within XOs you can try all sorts of things and see if it sticks.  The beauty of our game is not know if you're going to be on court for 45 minutes or for three hours.
I know sometimes that's hard for TV because in soccer or other sports you know exactly how long you're going to be playing.  You beat the clock and you're fine.
In tennis you got to run over the finish line.  You got to get there by hitting a winner or pushing your opponent not hang with you anymore.
So I have no ideas.  I'm out of ideas.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  I don't have any.  Obviously there were a lot of changes for us tonight in terms of in a singles match.  Backing up exactly what Roger said, though, it's about getting more people playing the game.
That's why it's obviously fantastic that Roger has been here tonight to do it in Australia as well, to launch this.  And especially in Sydney, in one of the biggest cities in Australia obviously.  We need more players playing in Sydney.
So it's not just the juniors.  Social tennis as well and people talking about tennis, which is a big thing.  At local clubs we can get this because they can play two sets of this faster format as well and it doesn't take so much time out of their day.
So I think that's the biggest positive with it.

Q.  As an Australian you've seen what 20/20 has done for cricket.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah.

Q.  Could you see a future for this in tennis? (Indiscernible.)
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah, we just played in the IPTL as well which is a format that obviously had a lot of different rule changes and was based on the 20/20 or cricket.
To try and pump up tennis in Australia I think this is important, and obviously doing it with Roger and myself here leading into the Australian Open, and then Rafa doing it as well down in Melbourne in a couple of days, I think it's great for our game.
As I said, just to build momentum in Australia about our sport.

Q.¬† Roger, do you think maybe perhaps this style of scoring may be more advantageous for the big‑serving guys?
ROGER FEDERER:  Maybe.  I mean, possibly.  I don't know what the stats are, if the bigger sever wins breakers more often.  I think that's probably is the stat that would be more important rather than just being able to hold serve.
The big guys also have struggled with breaking serves, but it's really the breakers that are over in a hurry.
LLEYTON HEWITT:¬† Yeah.¬† Tonight as well‑ we didn't come down to it ‑ but it's obviously interesting.¬† If you're playing a big sever like Karlovic or Isner and it comes down to that last point and they're serving in the tiebreak where it's 4‑All...
ROGER FEDERER:  It's a slight advantage then.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Even though we get to choose the side, sometimes that doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to the receiver against those big severs.

Q.  Maybe one serve might be the next thing, cutting two down to one.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  You could possibly.  Obviously there has been talk about that for a long time, you know, one serve and whole lot different stuff.  We have a whole lot of great things about our game though that you want to keep the tradition.
Obviously in this kind of format you can tinker with little things like that.

Q.  (Question regarding shorter matches equating to player longevity.)
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I think we see it in the doubles a little bit with the no‑ad scoring and the superbreaker in the third.¬† It seems like the doubles guys are hanging around for longer.
In singles, it's hard.¬† You know, I think it's also the motivation for the guys to do it time and time again.¬† Because there is so much more running going on, it's so much more physical, that ‑‑ clearly it's an idea to cut it down a bit like you do a fast four format, you know, because then if you go into the match you kind of know that the maximum length of the match is going to be an hour, 45 it seems like, and that mentally is just a good thing to know.
You don't have to pack seven shirts.  Might only have to pack four shirts.  Only have to string a certain amount of racquets.  It's a more controlled environment it seems like.  Especially if it's brutal heat or very humid.  That could possibly keep guys in the game for a little bit longer.
I still believe in the future we'll see plenty of best‑of‑five set matches.¬† That's, at the end of the day in those kind of matches or in tough best‑of‑three sets, you know, five days in a row, you just got to be able to back those up time and time again if you want to play at the top.
So I don't know if a change in format is going to keep the guys in the game for longer.

Q.  The schedule from here, Roger?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Rest.¬† I need to relax a little bit here, so I am going to take a couple days off probably and then‑ not probably, for sure ‑ and then I'll get back on the practice courts probably on Thursday.
Then I might take another day off before the tournament gets underway.

Q.  Are going to stay up here or are you going straightaway to Melbourne?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I'm going back to Melbourne to meet the family there.

Q.¬† How do you feel physically?¬† You seemed to have quite a pretty busy off‑season, and a pretty demanding week, ten days of the year.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, the off‑season didn't feel like an off‑season, to be quite honest.¬† I'm not saying that to joke around in anyway.¬† I only had eight days off.¬† Went back to practice, I went to India ‑‑ I mean, it was like one and a half, two days.¬† Went back to practice; practiced with Thanasi in Dubai.
Went to Switzerland; played a charity match there with Stan for my foundation on the 21st; had Christmas at home, which was so nice.
Then came back to Dubai; practiced there with Goffin and then came here.
So it was a bit of everything.  A bit of XO, a bit of practice, a bit of relaxation, and then right away Brisbane.
So basically my year end comes after the Australian Open, which I can't wait to come around.  I can wait for another three weeks, so we'll see how it goes.

Q.  That's the way you feel right now?
ROGER FEDERER:  It feels exactly like that, yep.  The year end seems to me after the US Open.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER:  How well do I remember?

Q.  The first one.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I do actually remember it quite vividly.  I qualified in Toulouse in '98 and played Guillaume Raoux first round.  He came from Davis Cup in Israel I remember and he was totally tired.
I came out and I played already great in qualifying.¬† I beat him 6‑2, 6‑2, and he looked so tired.¬† I totally took advantage of it.¬†
Then ended up winning my second match against Richard Fromberg I remember in the second round.
Almost had chances against Siemerink in the quarters.  That was a breakthrough tournament for me after having played Gstaad earlier in the year.  Then little later I played Agassi in Basel, in my hometown.
So it was a very interesting period of my career because I was bouncing around between juniors and professionals.  I think I played the US Open finals in the juniors and lost to Nalbandian as well there in that spell.
So I remember it very clearly.  It was a great match.  Yeah, wouldn't have guessed it would have been my first of 1000, but it's great.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, like I got to the hotel and I posted even the picture of the 1000.  It's this crazy number.  It's just so long and it looks so good, looks so great, so grand and everything.
Now we're onto 2000, right?  (Laughter.)  No thank you.
Anyway, I must say it feels very special, but probably it's just a great time as well right now between Brisbane and the Australian Open to get it over and done with.  Really I think it gives me great motivation going into the Australian Open, I must say.

Q.  How did your body pull up today from yesterday?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's all right.  Today clearly you feel like you want to enjoy it as much as you can.  The whole format, the crowd, it was amazing.  Doing it with Lleyton, who I have such great rivalry over the years and is a friend now, I must say.
We've seen each other for so long that doing something away from all the matches as such is great, something to promote tennis in this country that has seen so many great players come from you can't even keep count anymore.
We don't have something like this in Switzerland.  I can't even really relate to the whole thing even though I am very much aware of its history here in Australia, and Lleyton is part of that.
So for me to be a player in this format and in this evening has been very nice, but clearly I'm hurting from the last four matches and the last week.  Usually after a final and a 1000 matches you're like, Oh, that feels good.
And then next day, bang, you got to come on court and play Lleyton.  It's not so easy.  That's why I'm really looking forward to rest now.  It's most important for me to recover now rather than actually practicing and trying to feel better.
The game is there and I'm feeling really good right now.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER:  A little bit.  Not much, to be honest.  It was never a goal of mine to reach a 1000.  Feels very special now.
The last thing I'm going to do is trying to think of those guys, what they did and I have to beat those guys, I have to match it, I have to pass them.
That's totally beside of point.  They did great things.  They were unbelievable players.  Incredible longevity.  Those are inspiring numbers, no doubt about it, but it's not a goal of mine.

Q.  (Question comparing how he feels going into Melbourne last year versus years past.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Last year?  Compared to?

Q.  Compared to the past.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, every year has been different, clearly, but usually I played great at the Australian Open.  I think I've been doing ten semis now in a row at the Australian Open.
I don't recall every single feeling I had the eve of the tournament.  But usually I felt pretty good and confident going in because I had always good finishes to the season very often.
Last year was different just because I came off a tough '13.  Had a new racquet.  Stefan Edberg joined the team.  I had the back and everything.
At the end actually I played much better than I thought I could and would.  So I feel much better going into the tournament this year, but that doesn't mean a thing.  It all starts from scratch for all of the guys.

Q.  Quick one about the new format.  Do you think it's value for the money to the general public?  I went out to get a beer and two sets were over.  What are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Shouldn't have gone for a beer.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER:  Should have stayed.  I didn't think it was that fast, to be honest.  How long did we play?  Almost one and a half hours?  I think the average tennis match is probably going to take you an hour, fifteen, maybe an hour ten defending how quick you play in between.

Q.¬† I do like the five‑hour matches, though.
ROGER FEDERER:  You like them?  Every single time?  I like them too until I wake up the next day.

Q.¬† Can I ask a very quick one of Lleyton:¬† Are you happy with your preparation?¬† Relatively quick match here; first‑round loss up in Brisbane.¬† Where to from here?
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah, no, I've spent a few days down in Melbourne hitting on Rod Laver Arena.
Obviously disappointing with Brisbane, but I'm actually happy with my ball striking, to tell you the truth.  Brisbane was just awkward.  Only one word to describe it.  And so for me, I thought I played really well in the doubles as well with Gooch.
Would've liked to have got some more matches, but it was a good hit‑out tonight.¬† I am really happy to be playing to Tomas Berdych down in Adelaide, obviously my hometown and where it all started for me on Wednesday night.¬† I'm excited about that.
Then get to Melbourne on Thursday.  That's where it all starts as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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