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May 29, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/D. Dzumhur
6-4, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Your opponent said before the match that you were an idol of his. Can you remember when you played an idol of yours first and whether you were able to keep your game together during it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess I never got a chance to play Becker and Edberg, but Pete clearly was huge, plus it was on Centre court at Wimbledon, so that was clearly big. It was just already very exciting itself playing against the guys you knew from TV. Doesn't matter almost who it is. You just wonder: Does your game actually match up with those kind of guys? Because it's so surreal that you don't think it does, and then you realize it's so easy to win games against the guys. So I thought it was the most exciting time almost in my playing career, going -- from that phase from juniors to pros and then rubbing shoulders with those guys, you know, seeing them prepare, joke around, being one of you, basically, and all of a sudden you become friends with them. I think it's very cool.

Q. You are an attacking player, so your natural instinct would be to approach the net and finish off the point rather than waiting there for the perfect winning shot. So on grass and hard court, that comes as second nature for you, but on clay court you have to change, I mean, your mindset. How difficult is that and still you manage to reach to the finals here for five times? How did you do that, like changing the mindset?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think the year I won here I didn't net rush like crazy, you know. And my game has not been like this for over 13 years, I haven't served and volleyed and chip and charged like I used to back in 2001 and 2002. Once the string change came into our game and more power players came on, I had to adjust entirely the way I play. And I had to accept the fact that I had to beat Agassi from the baseline, because I realized coming to the net on the slow court anymore is not going to work out. It was a huge adjustment I had to make somewhat early in my career. Then I think it's important to attack the right way against certain players. Against some it's easier to serve and volley and some others it's, you know, maybe after three or four shots. But you cannot shy away from entering the long, grueling points and moving your opponent side to side and him doing the same with you. If you are scared of that, you won't go very far, especially at this particular tournament. But of course, there is some adjustment to be made because of the sliding and because of the bad bounces at the back of the court, which you just have on clay courts. So it's harder to play on top of the line because of the half volleys.

Q. How do you generally assess your game today? A few words about Damir's game? Did he surprise you with the dropshots?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, my own game was good. It took me a little bit of time to get into it, to understand how is he serving, plus he was serving a few of the lines in the beginning. So I didn't know if that was normal for him or if that was something that was going to go away and maybe he's going to give me more second serves. I was kind of waiting to see how it was going to be. Thankfully I played a good, one good return game in that first set, almost the second one, as well. And I had a couple of tough first service games in the first set, so it was important to get out of those, and get the understanding of how he's playing, how I'm playing. And then the wind was playing quite a big factor I thought today early on, which made me mishit a few shots. Then once I got the rhythm it got better and better and I was able to play more freely and mix up the game. I thought Damir played well. I expected him to play from far back, but with the moments he was going to be aggressive it was always going to happen that he was going to hit a lot of down-the-line shots and maybe some dropshots, because the dropshot is a good play on this court now; the ball doesn't bounce so high. It takes a lot of the spin. I think he did that very well. Moves well. So I thought it was an entertaining match as well. Of course, I wish him all the best for the year and for the future.

Q. Have you heard about Vilas' claim on the No. 1 ranking, he thought he should have had it at the time? What do you think about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I heard rumors, so I don't know if you want me to comment on rumors. Then you have to explain it to me, but I don't know how much time we have. (Laughter.)

Q. He made the claim that he should have been No. 1 and ATP said, We don't want to enter this, because we have to maybe change everything and people will come and ask for recounting everything. So I was just wondering what would be your opinion on that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I probably have to agree with the ATP. You can't go back in time and make it if it was like today. If it was like today maybe he would have been No. 1. So that's already good enough. I think we look at him as anyway one of the greatest of all time, you know, as well, especially on clay when he had his winning streak and all that. So I don't think necessarily you need that No. 1 ranking to be fulfilled. I think he should be happy with his extraordinary career. Back then rules were different. It was what it was, you know, and world No. 1 or 2 or 3, it didn't matter. He was one of the greats, to me, anyway.

Q. I couldn't help but notice today your daughters, one of them was engrossed in the comic book and the other was glued to her mobile phone. I have two girls myself. I know how hard it is to get them to be interested in the things we are interested in. How interested are they in what you do as a career?
ROGER FEDERER: They are happy when I'm back from the matches (laughter). They are happy when I come back from practice because they like spending time with me rather than me being gone. But I think that's normal or that's a good thing. I'm happy it's that way and not the other way that they can't wait for me to go play tennis. They love the traveling, I'll tell you that. Yeah, we ask them to stay, you know, in their seat. I don't know if they stayed the whole match or not. Did they? Most of it? But clearly they like looking at their books and all that stuff. I don't blame them. Probably look at some of the book rather than the match. It's sweet that they are out, you know, with their friends, together as a family. And, yeah, today they were old enough to not make any more noise and stuff, so it's nice to see them out there.

Q. You have played on the four major showcourts of the slams probably more than anyone. How do you experience the feeling, dimensions of Chatrier? Does it alter how you approach certain opponents tactically?
ROGER FEDERER: Because dimensions? Not really. It's all about the surface. This one clearly is the most open probably. Most winds can get into this stadium. US Open too, to some extent, but you feel likes it's higher up, so you feel you are more protected. New York is just windier overall over Paris. Yeah, I think I said that many times I had to get used to the dimensions of this court. It just felt like there is so much space behind and on the sides that naturally you have a tendency to go backwards, you know. It's weird to explain. But I don't think Dzumhur could play like this on court 27 the way he played today. But because the court is so big, it might actually help him. So there is opportunities to play different defense, I'd say, and different, you know, location of where you can play from, particularly on the return. It helps some guys. But because I'm usually on top of the baseline, for me, it actually doesn't matter so much. I have just got to remind myself I'm playing forward and not backwards. That's why I came here often early to practice a lot on center court to get used to that feeling, I guess ever since 2006, I'd say, I've gotten used to it. Which is -- yeah, it took me a while, and obviously the more matches I have played on it, the more comfortable I got.

Q. Most of the people consider you and Rafa the greatest players of all times. I was wondering, where would you put Novak on that imaginary list at this moment?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, very high already. He's still got some way to go. You know, maybe he doesn't have as many Grand Slams yet, you know, as others, but he's got a ton of Masters 1000s, which not many people talk about, which I find extraordinary. Of course the rules have changed over time and all that. But it just shows how his head to head is as well with top 10 players overall, and that he's stayed injury free now for some time, and clearly that puts him very high on the list now. I think the last three, four years now have definitely, you know, changed the game for him.

Q. (Off microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER: There is a lot of guys out there. I don't know. I don't want to say anything because I don't want to disrespect any others.

Q. Your next opponent is either Monfils or Cuevas. You have played both this season on clay. How do you approach this match for either one of them? Do you feel you're playing better than when you faced Monfils in Monte-Carlo?
ROGER FEDERER: I think, No. 1, it's an interesting matchup, Cuevas and Gaƫl. I think both look really good on clay, feel comfortable on clay. I felt Cuevas was really strong in Istanbul and also in Rome. Gaƫl, I played him in some tougher conditions, I guess, for me potentially. Davis Cup was rough, you know. Monaco was so early in the clay court season it was always going to be tough, even though I wasn't hitting ball so bad, but still not quite understanding how passive or aggressive I needed to play. I thought he played a good, solid match, and me, too. It came down to a few points. It was a pity for me not to get through that one. He's played me tough, you know, throughout my career, I thought. Especially the last four, five years now. He's been tougher for me to play against. We have played against each other here on a few occasions as well. Semis, quarters, some of my big years here. So clearly I'd love to play against him, as well. Pablo is also a great guy. I will watch that clearly with a lot of interest.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. I would like to ask you a question. You're going to Wimbledon and Queen's? Is that your intention?

Q. Martina Hingis is coming back to Roland Garros playing doubles. What do you think about her coming back?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm very happy for her. I think it's beautiful. She's coming back because she loves to play tennis. That's it. Plus she is successful. I like to see her play. She's a phenomenal player. She used to be a phenomenal player, and she's still very much today. I wish her best of luck. If I didn't see her here, I would not see her again unless maybe I could, you know, bump into her in the Swiss mountains. But the Swiss mountains are pretty big, aren't they (smiling)?

Q. Not really tennis-related question. I know you're a soccer fan. I know that FIFA is going through a major crisis, or a small one, I don't know how you want to call it. I'd like to get your opinion. I know you're a real soccer fan. Do you think the time has come to move on?
ROGER FEDERER: I am a football fan, a soccer fan, but I'm not a fan of the people. I love to watch soccer. You know, when you're a fan, what you want is for things to be done properly in the right way, and it doesn't seem to be the case. But, you know, I think it's quite disappointing to see what's happening today. I think it's bad in terms of image. I want to simply be a soccer fan. Nothing else.

Q. We are very much looking forward to a match between you and Gaƫl. You played him twice on clay, and you lost twice. How meaningful is that for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I look at the four final matches. I don't want to look too much at Davis Cup, at the Davis Cup match, because I played, you know, with fear. I only had an hour of preparation. So Davis Cup is a little separate. He played very well during Davis Cup. Now, Cincinnati, US Open, Monaco, these were interesting matches. All three were very tight, very close. I'm always happy to play Gaƫl. He's in Paris, he's at home. He's very strong. He loves these kind of matches. So I know the danger. I know his performance. He could have done so much better before. I don't really understand why he did not work his way up into the top 10 faster. I know how much capability he has. I really would like to see him accomplish more. If we get to play again here, well, I hope it will be a good match. I hope I'll win (smiling). I'm not here to lose when I play him, right?

Q. Ion Tiriac in L'Equipe Magazine said it would be nice for tennis if you could win Roland Garros. Do you think that winning a Grand Slam could make your career last even longer?
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I may stop the following day or I may go for another five years. I don't know. What I can tell you is that if I win Wimbledon or a Grand Slam, I'll be very happy, extremely happy. So it won't make a difference -- you know, it's true for me, but it's true for anyone else, so I can't say if he's right or wrong. I don't know the answer myself.

Q. What do you think about Dzumhur's match today? What do you think about his performance playing you?
ROGER FEDERER: I was eager to see him. I was very much looking forward to it, because he had defeated big players, Youzhny and Baghdatis, players I have played many times. He was able to beat them quite easily. I wondered, how did he do it? I looked at a few of his matches. I tried to get some information, but not too much information, but some information to be well-prepared. You know, you have to be well-prepared when you start a match like this. Again, I'm quite satisfied. But I can see now why he was such a challenger. He was able to send some great returns from the back of the court. He's not a very tall guy, and he's very successful. He moves very swiftly. He misses very few balls. Mentally he's very much there during the match. He's in the match. Even when he loses three, four points, it's okay. He just keeps going. That's the kind of attitude that could take you very far in tennis. Physically, also, he is very powerful. I think that is why he's really, you know, boosted his career, and he's now in the top 100. It's a big leap forward for a player like him, and I would like to congratulate him. It's not easy, and it's wonderful to see guys like Dzumhur really making much out of their play. I think it'll be very interesting for him to play the best players in the world every week. I'm sure he fought hard to get here, and he's rewarded.
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