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ROLAND GARROS


May 24, 2015


Roger Federer


PARIS, FRANCE

R. FEDERER/A. Falla
6-3, 6-3, 6-4
An interview with:
ROGER FEDERER

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. That incident in the end with the fan, this is not really the first time that fans or protesters or different individuals have managed to get on the court. Does that kind of thing worry you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too. It's just a kid, but then three more kids came. And today on center court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens. Happened during the finals in '09 as well for me. So I definitely think this is something that something needs to happen quickly. Basically yesterday already. Not now, you know. But obviously want this to happen immediately. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that's where you do your job, that's where you want to feel safe. And so clearly I'm not happy about it. But nothing happened, so I'm relieved. But clearly it wasn't a nice situation to be in.

Q. Have you or will you speak to tournament organizers?
ROGER FEDERER: Gilbert Ysern already came and apologized to me, and we had a quick conversation. I just told him what I think needs to happen. I told him about yesterday, as well, which he didn't know about. Yeah, I'm sure they will take the necessary steps now, but this doesn't only mean for this tournament for this year; it means for all the tournaments we play all the years coming up. We need to make sure that it's safe out there and people don't just wander on the court like a free pass, you know. That's how it's supposed to be.

Q. It was the first time --
ROGER FEDERER: Yesterday, I said. And 2009 in the finals.

Q. Is it the first time this year that happened?
ROGER FEDERER: The second time this year.

Q. What did he say --
ROGER FEDERER: He wanted to take a picture.

Q. That's what he said?
ROGER FEDERER: He didn't say anything. Just all of a sudden he was next to me. I didn't know who he was, and tried to take a picture. And I don't know who he is, nobody is reacting, until I realized he's just like a guy out of the crowd. Yeah.

Q. I want to ask you about Nadal's game. I don't know if you see something different this year in his forehand and his backhand.
ROGER FEDERER: About Nadal?

Q. Yeah, Nadal's game.
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly I haven't seen him play as much I would have liked to, No. 1. Obviously he's been injured for some time last year, so I didn't get the opportunity to see him play, and obviously I saw a few things of him. Yeah, I mean, at the moment I go by his results, and that's about it, really. I wish I could tell you more, but I haven't seen him play enough, to be quite honest.

Q. There's a large group of men 30 and older in this year's tournament. Nearly a third of the field. What, for you, is the biggest difference for you now at this age compared to when you were first starting out on tour and things that may have become tougher or maybe easier for you at this age?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, experience helps in the sense that you're more relaxed, I'd say. Entering a tournament like this, you know how to prepare. You go into a first-round match like today in a calm manner without any panic, whereas maybe 10 years ago or more, you know, you're so worried about everything, you hope that you did the right things, you hope that you're gonna play okay, you hope your opponent is not going to play the best. And today it's enough for me to focus on my game. I know so that my preparation is good. It's not like I hope, you know. So that is all gone. It's different clearly because sometimes I play against players I haven't seen much before, whereas before I used to play against guys I knew from TV. So it was like a different dynamic entirely. And it's nice to see I'm not the only guy over 30 still playing, you know, because I know so many guys from the junior times or for over 10, 15 years now on tour. It's a lot of fun actually seeing all those guys around. Actually have a lot of friends on tour, if you like, so it's actually quite enjoyable.

Q. My question is about court speed this year. Some people say it's a bit heavier and slower. How did you feel today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think the players definitely need to adjust their game compared to previous weeks. Balls are different and I think that's been the biggest change. And then obviously the French Open clay plays slightly different. We also had to make adjustments when we went to Rome or Madrid, plays faster there. But then again, that's what we focused on our entire career. I definitely think conditions here compared to the last six weeks are quite different. I'm still trying to understand exactly what the best way of playing is. Winning a match like this is a good thing. I hit a lot of balls today. Clearly hope that I will start to play better and better as the match, as the tournament goes on.

Q. You got one hop on I think it was a break point where you had a pretty unexpected bounce. Is that one of the things that happens on clay?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah, I mean, totally. Especially -- I don't know what the -- yeah, it just happens. Sometimes you have to use the mountains in the back of the court just because maybe that's one place where you stop the slide and the sand builds up there. You get unlucky and lucky sometimes. Obviously you hope it doesn't happen then. That's why it's always quite clever to play deep and long sometimes because you can hope for a bad bounce if the other guy likes to play on top of the baseline and likes hit half valleys. I was in that situation, so it was a good play by him.

Q. We are in the capital of fashion and we saw you wearing very bright colors today. Is there a reason, or it's a new thing? And did you notice that the ball girls are wearing socks like Mattek-Sands? I mean, it's real strange.
ROGER FEDERER: Is it strange? Well, you're Italian, so that's again a different situation.

Q. To make you smile. You came here so, like if you had lost...
ROGER FEDERER: Funny first question. I'm happy to talk about more fun things like this. Clearly I would love that. Yeah, I like the outfit, No. 1. I think I went through a bright spell the first few months of the season. Obviously it's going to change when Wimbledon comes around because rules have become ridiculously strict over there, and I love Wimbledon, but they have gone too far now.

Q. Talking about your shoes and the color of the shoes in Wimbledon.
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, just like going forward, no color anymore basically. So it's rough there. That's why let's enjoy the color while we can. And then, you know, we will see what comes after that. Clearly you always want to make a statement in a nice city like here. I think people enjoy it. I think it's powerful. We will see how many times I can wear it, you know. I hope seven matches, so we will see about that. And then the socks, about the ball girls and everything, why not? You know, change it up a little bit. You're talking about it, so that's a good thing. Yeah, it's good to try to be fashionable in a fashionable city like here in Paris.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Sorry about the incident, but I'd like to perhaps come back to this. Could you tell us in French what you did when this boy came to you on the court?
ROGER FEDERER: He was not five, he was not a five-year-old boy. So the situation is that this should never happen on the Philippe Chatrier court in Roland Garros and it even happened yesterday to me. There was one who arrived and then followed by five kids. Nobody reacted in terms of safety, you know, security. As I said in English earlier on, I said, you know, that's something I'd like to say expressing my viewpoint, but I think it's true for all players that you have to feel safe when we play, feel safe on the courts. It shouldn't happen too often. It's happened twice in two days and also in 2009 during the finals. I think people should react more quickly. First, it should never happen and that's the first thing, we should have done beforehand. I'm not just speaking about Roland Garros, but now that we are playing Roland Garros, there are so many players, so many fans, so much focus by the media on Roland Garros that people should react much more quickly. That's true as well for the other tournaments. I think it's essential. I think that's in terms of safety, you know, they should be well-educated. They should know what they do. You know, it's not just being there, standing there on the courts wearing a nice tie and suit. It's not that funny, you know. And I hope that there is going to be a reaction from the tournament. They apologized, and I must say that I appreciated this, but I'd like to see what's going to happen next.

Q. Well, now that you've acquired more experience with years and the fact that you have played more and more, would you say that you've enjoyed this first round more than ever? Are you more aware of these things than ever?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure. I'm not sure that the first round is any different. I think that as we go through the tournament, then, yes, we probably feel that we are more and more satisfied. But the first round is a bit like I want to win the first round, to be in the tournament and not to go back home immediately, you know, to be one of the first ten players to go back home. So that's the whole idea about it, that is, you want to play a good match and then focus on the future. That's when I will start enjoying this moment.

Q. You said that safety is not just about Roland Garros. Are you not surprised? Because this is a very professional sport. Look at what happened in the past with Monica Seles. Now we have people who can walk on the central court and they can get as close as they did to you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I know Monica very well. I met her again in New York. It's not that funny, that's true, not at all, I'd say. I know that on these courts people are really close to the courts. It's easy to jump above and be on the courts. I don't know what we should do, what we should do to avoid these things. But it's the reaction. You know, if these things happen and they should never happen, if people can get close to us, to me, you know, it shouldn't happen. And then how they are going to change this? I don't know. They will tell us. Of course, I couldn't react, the kid was coming from behind me.

Q. You're one of the biggest sports persons on earth on this planet. You're a star. You have fans throughout the world. You have won so many matches. Each time you travel somewhere, people follow you. They are almost hysterical. They are full of joy. What about your girls? I suppose they can understand all of this these days. How did you tell them this story, these things are about you and around you? How do you describe your job and what you do?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm not sure they are that much aware of that. I hope they don't really know, because for them, you know, it's probably normal. Each dad is a famous dad and that people would react to their dads the way they react to me. And for the time being, they know I play tennis quite a lot, and that's all, I think, all that they know. They know that their mum is very caring and they have two brothers and we travel a lot. Well, a bit, I mean. (Laughter.) So it's very simple. It's that simple. I'm not trying to tell them how famous I am. That's so silly. At present they don't really care. They wouldn't really understand, you know, what the word "star" would mean. Later on we will see. Later on I will tell them my way, what is good to know, what is not good to know. But today, no, you don't need to know.

Q. I'm a sports journalist. In the Middle East, we would call you maestro, we would say. I have a question to ask about your success today. You're going to go through to the second round, perhaps third round. Baghdatis won today, defeated Karlovic, so if you continue to the third round, maybe you will be playing him, but what would you say about the third round then?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure I understood your question, but, you know, I focus on the next round. I don't know who has won then. Do we know who has won?

Q. (Off microphone.) I think we have reached the third set and there is a tiebreak.
ROGER FEDERER: So we don't know. We don't know. We don't know who I'm going to play there for the next round. That's all I know. In any case, the other player will know how to play. If it's Marcel Granollers, in the past at US Open, it was not that easy for me against him. He plays well. I think he defeated Gaƫl in Madrid. Is that correct? A very long match, I think. Drawn-out match. So he's good. He's skilled. Then the other one, that's the next thing that counts for me, to focus on the next round. Of course I know who is on the main draw. That's all.
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