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June 25, 2016

Roger Federer

London, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You and Serena are both obviously here at Wimbledon and the same age. What does it mean to you to have her as a colleague? What do you think of your chances and her chances to win another Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: About her chances?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously she's got great chances. I don't know. I think she's a great player, unbelievable career. A few years back I didn't think she would still be playing right now because she looked like she was maybe on the way out. I don't want to say not so interested anymore, but she was only playing, well, not as many tournaments as other players would be playing.
Maybe that was good for her in some ways to pace herself, still be hungry later on. And she is. I think maybe now she wants it more than ever, after Australia and New York last year.
She's the defending champion here, I think, right? So clearly she likes playing here. I think she's going to be the player to beat again.

Q. Can you give us a sense of where you feel the last couple of months has positioned you coming into this tournament, how you feel it will set you up to have a run at the title?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we have to talk about which month. The last month's been good. Before that, things have not been so good. Clearly I was somewhat disappointed not playing Paris. Now at least I've played.
I think really for me was to get some confidence and some knowledge of where I was going to be in those seven matches in 10 days in Stuttgart and Halle. I think that was crucial for me going into Wimbledon knowing, okay, I passed that test, the body can take that amount of tennis, four matches back‑to‑back‑to‑back.
It's really, really important for your mind to know, then you also feel you can manage the five‑setters. If you get a day off and all that stuff, it's not a problem.
All of a sudden you're coming into Wimbledon with more confidence, more understanding where you're at. Now we'll see.
Clearly I'm not thinking of the title right away. It's too far ahead. It's too far. Regardless if even Novak or Andy would be in the draw, and they are in the draw, they are the big favorites in my opinion. They've had such a great last six months, last few years. To me they are the ones to beat.
I need to focus on myself, getting myself into those positions, meaning second week, growing momentum, you know, the whole thing starts rolling then hopefully. Clearly important is getting there, getting the job done in the first week.

Q. What exactly was the surgery that you had and what was your reaction to it?
ROGER FEDERER: I was very, very sad, just because I thought I was going to be lucky not having to do surgery in my career. I was doing so well all of last year. I was great at the Australian Open. Felt good throughout. All I had was a little hiccup in Brisbane when I was sick. Played the tournament sick somewhat.
Came into Australia, was actually okay again I thought. Then Novak just played this great semifinal. I hung in there, maybe could have pushed a fifth set, but didn't. After that, everything changed.
The next day, one stupid move, the season's been completely different than what I expected it to be. So when I heard that I had to do surgery, I took it, accepted it. But then going into surgery was difficult. That's when it hit me.
I just got really disappointed and sad about it because that's when I really understood what the road was going to look like.
I've always tried to avoid surgeries as much as possible just 'cause I always felt like it was definitely not the thing you want to do as a professional athlete.
So I really don't want to go into details what it was, but it was a meniscus tear in the knee. It was a simple operation. My recovery actually was very quick and very good.
I felt like I got unlucky throughout the process with hurting my back again before Madrid, getting sick in Miami, so forth. I think I got into a tough spell there. I just felt I had to stop everything by not playing Paris, reset basically, essentially. I don't want to say 'start from zero', but just reset from there and make another push for Wimbledon, which was great. I had five, six really good weeks from then.

Q. You had the back problem a couple years ago. When it came back in Madrid this year, was it frustrating?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, this back has won me 88 titles, so I'm okay with that back. It's okay if it messes around with me sometimes.
It's frustrating because it shakes the whole mechanics of the body, what you can work on. Yeah, maybe if it hits you in bad times, it's not funny. I think particularly difficult has just been looking ahead of what was to come: Paris, Wimbledon, Olympics, US Open.
It's different than if it happens at the end of the season, let's just say Davis Cup, 2014, where you know, okay, I have another week or two to play, then you go on vacation, then you have plenty of time. This was different.
That's why the decision not playing Paris, for instance, was very easy to be taken because it was for Wimbledon, it was for the rest of the season, it was for my life, it was for the rest of my career. That's more important than one or two or three tournaments really.

Q. Did you have any thoughts about the Olympics? You're probably aware that quite a few golfers have pulled out, the Zika thing. What is your position on it?
ROGER FEDERER: Completely personal decision, in my opinion, of the athletes that don't want to play in the Olympics, don't want to compete. It's completely their decision.
I have never reconsidered my decision. I know I will play. I will try everything I possibly can to be there. For me, it's always been a big deal, the Olympics. Regardless of points or not, regardless of where it was in the world, it was always going to be a priority for me in the calendar.
So, yeah, I mean, I'll put mosquito spray on my body, I'll do that. I'll take the precautions I have to. That's it really.

Q. Have you read up on the Zika virus or any of the articles that are out there? There's more reports that it's actually dangerous for a man, as well.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm hearing about it. But Swiss Olympic is giving me all the necessary information that I need to know going in. They'll tell me what I need to do once I get there. They'll give me the products I need to use.
So, yeah, I trust them, that they guide me in the right direction.
No, I have not been reading every article because otherwise I'd go crazy. I read some of it because it's important to be informed.

Q. Did you feel you wouldn't make this Wimbledon? Obviously by your T‑shirt, we know what it means to you. Does this make you feel it's an even bigger opportunity that you must seize, that level of invincibility that you don't always have?
ROGER FEDERER: I honestly never thought I was going to miss Wimbledon, especially after surgery. I knew I had so much time to make it here, I knew I was going to be fine somehow.
Did I quickly worry after pulling out of Paris? A little bit potentially, just because, you know, how many more weeks you have. Obviously if you enter, you want to feel like you have chances to go deep and potentially win.
That's why I'm here as well now. I think this is a huge boost for me after pulling out of Paris, that I'm back here at my favorite tournament. With all the success I've had here, this is the motivation I need right now to get back on the big courts, play good matches, enjoy Wimbledon.
I love this tournament more than anything. It's a huge opportunity for me to maybe turn around the season. Who knows. Yeah, then just play some nice tennis, enjoy myself here.

Q. As someone who has been embraced by the British public. What did you make of the Brexit vote? As life in Switzerland, what might life be like for us after this vote?
ROGER FEDERER: We're a little bit smaller, different than you guys.
I don't know. Of course, I followed it. It's an historic day. I don't even want to think about the negotiations that go into it now. For you guys, it's going to be years of negotiations.
It's definitely interesting times ahead. It's nice to have democracy here, that you have an opportunity to vote. It's a beautiful thing. Many people went out and did that. They took a decision. Now you have to make necessary steps.
For Switzerland, I don't know how much impact that's going to have. I would assume Brussels has a lot of work to do right now. Us Swiss guys, we going to follow it. We also have had our ups and downs, being in the EU or not, you know. Time will tell (smiling).

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