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August 18, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/R. Bautista Agut
6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It felt like there was a bit of experimentation going on out there at different times. Can you talk about that. (Indiscernible.)
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like you said, it's the first round of the hard court season for the next six‑plus months or so, I have, you know, things in mind that I hope we're going to work again on the hard court season.
No. 1, you have to be fit and tough, because you can stop on a dime and move the other direction, which on other surfaces is not so easy to do.
Here in Cincy it plays pretty quick, so why not move forward a bit. You have to just pick the right times and keep your opponent off balance, I think is a good play for me.
Yeah, I grew up as an attacking player. I mean, somewhat, I guess. It wasn't crazy, but everybody who had a decent serve and one‑handed backhand used to serve and volley back in the day at Wimbledon to some extent and then also other places, especially against the better baseliners. I just felt it was almost the only way out, because from the baseline I couldn't hang with the guys until I realized, Well, if I am not going to start improving my baseline game, I will never actually beat those guys on a regular basis and on the slower surfaces.
Thankfully that was a good thinking, because the surface has slowed down a lot as the years went by. I had no choice but to adapt, I guess, as well. Clearly worked a lot on my baseline game, on my one‑handed backhand, and got stronger and stronger. Mostly also because all the guys used serve there and play it there, so it was good practice in matches, to be honest.
I think once I got fit enough I was able to use that really to my advantage, you know, my coordination, anticipation, just the whole idea of how to play. You can move defense into offense. I think I was doing that better than anybody for a certain period of time. Today I can still do it, but I guess I pick my moments to do it.

Q. The US Open wildcards came out today. Obviously you haven't needed a wildcard in quite a while. Just wondering how you think those should be allotted, the general rule, the criteria?
ROGER FEDERER: Whew, tough. I mean, it's great to have them. You know, you give them to youngsters who deserve them. It's great. Nobody complains about those.
But then every week, every tournament, you listen to process that go into it. Somebody has a say. Somebody is disappointed. Somebody is even upset. Some guys are so happy.
There is a lot of pressure being put on either tournament organizers, you name it. It's tough, I must say. Sometimes you think you're better off just going by the ranking and maybe having one, let's just say juniors coming up, or then guys going down. But then it becomes so complicated. It's crazy.
So I really don't know how you allocate. I'm not a tournament director. I'm happy about that. That's a tough spot to be in sometimes.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, probably. But then again, where do you cut it? Like at the wedding, where do you make the cut? (Laughter.) It's like there shouldn't be one, but unfortunately there has to be one. I feel like it's similar. It's just annoying, you know.

Q. What do you like most? Is it going from Roland Garros to Halle or clay to grass, or is it easier for you to go from Wimbledon, grass, to here, hard?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, clearly I have more time here, so if you do it like right away, I think that's always a really interesting play because you just don't know quite what to expect yet. You have a free mind and you just go for it.
Then the second and third week becomes more complicated usually just because that's when you realize, Aha, that's what's complicated on that surface now. That's what I still need to improve.
But I feel like on the hard courts it's pretty straightforward. I feel like everybody can play on hard courts now, because you can play defensive, you can play offensive. You can use the kick serve usually pretty well on the hard courts, and everybody has a good one these days.
So it's not that much adapting to be done on the hard courts. My favorite one is probably going from clay to grass just because it's the most‑‑ the quickest, the most extreme, and also the most fun to some extent because everything changes.

Q. You talked in your other press conference about having a lot of practice obviously since you didn't play in Canada. What was it like to be out there tonight, to get another match under your belt and start your tournament defense?
ROGER FEDERER: Very nice. For most of the day I was not even aware ‑‑I mean, I knew I had a match tonight, but I was just wandering around doing stuff with my wife and my kids. I looked at the watch and I was like, Oh, I play in a three or four hours. I better get over there and get warmed up. It's been a while since I've had a match.
So that's what gets you in a different mood, different thinking. You know, I can switch it on very quickly. I only need literally like 10 minutes to really get ready for the match. Another guy needs to sit there for two hours and think about the match.
I'm happy I got through this first one. Now I know what it's about. I have a day off tomorrow where I can think about how things went today, where I need to improve. There is always a few things. And then looking forward to see who I play on Thursday.

Q. Did you watch the match in Montreal last week? If so, what were your impressions?
ROGER FEDERER: Montreal? I didn't see anything. Honestly I don't watch any TV, or like any tennis when I'm away from the tennis. When I'm at the tennis I watch everything, so you can ask me about this week rather than in a week or so, rather than last week.
I literally saw the highlights of Murray, maybe. The finals. Yeah. That's it. (Smiling.)

Q. You have been stuck on 33 with Rafa...
ROGER FEDERER: Stuck at 33?

Q. 33 matches that you have had.

Q. (Question regarding 2014 Australian Open and Rafa.)
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think we've both got our work cut out still until we're there. We were one point away I think in Indian Wells this year, winning a match point against Raonic, because I think I had maybe already qualified already. I'm not sure.
Yeah, but sometimes they come in bunches and sometimes it doesn't happen for a while. You don't know why. Clearly Rafa has also not played much last year. He was injured, he had the appendix, and then next thing you know I didn't have a good '13 so I wasn't getting very deep into tournaments then when he was playing great. We kind of missed each other because we were still highly ranked; we were far away in the draw.
But of course it would be nice to play again. There is no doubt.

Q. Last year I compared you to LeBron James hitting over the net. You got the opportunity at the Open to meet Michael Jordan. How was that meeting for you?
ROGER FEDERER: It was very cool. You know, I was very excited, to say the least.
I had always looked up to him growing up. He was my favorite athlete overall besides my tennis heros and idols that I had. So to finally meet him after all these years in collaboration with Nike, as well, on the shoe, was very, very nice.
He was just smooth and, you know, he's met a lot of important people over the years, I'm sure, because he was very relaxed and very ‑‑just, you know, very cool to hang out with.
Yeah, just very comfortable to talk to. Very inspiring, I would say. It was a big pleasure of mine. A moment I definitely won't forget as an athlete and a person.

Q. Mardy Fish had a good win here. He's same year as you, '81, closing his career. What are your memories of him, and what do you think his legacy is?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, Mardy, we know each other for quite some time now, even though I don't remember him from the juniors for some reason. I don't know what happened there. Same thing as Andy. I also missed him in the juniors.
We always got along well. Never had any issues. He crushed me once in Indian Wells. I remember that match. Yesterday I was talking about it, how he came out and just blew me off the court in the semis. It was a big match, I think.
Yeah, that's kind of ‑‑I mean, he had like ‑‑he had an interesting career, because at the beginning people were saying he was a bit heavy. He lost a lot of weight and got his act together, so talented, phenomenal player, great timing, one of the best serves in the game there for a while, as well.
Then he all of a sudden had that anxiety issue right around the time when we were supposed to play at the Open. I saw him the next day at the courts, and he explained to me what happened and all that. It was‑‑ I mean, it was so early he couldn't quite explain, maybe didn't understand the magnitude of it, as well.
It was quite intense, actually. I remember looking at him going, I don't understand, but I wish you all the best. Who knew that it was going to take him that long to come back and all that.
It's nice to see him back now playing and winning again, and I hope he can close it out, you know, the way he hopes it is going to go. Not again in something negative, but it seems like he's approaching it with a positive mindset now. When you see him walking around, he's happy.
That's what you want to see. I think he's been a great player and been good for American tennis, and obviously had a big burden always having to live up to the Sampras, Agassi, Connors, McEnroe times, you name it. That was always going to be difficult regardless of any player.

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