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January 16, 2017

Roger Federer

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

R. FEDERER/J. Melzer

7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you rate that? 19 aces and everything, but some of it seemed a little bit unstable.
ROGER FEDERER: I think the conditions played pretty fast. You're not going to see, like, some brutal rallies where you can out-maneuver the guys a million times in a row. I think it's really like first-strike tennis to some extent. It can take you a while to get into that, you know.

I thought my serve was on and off in the beginning, which surprised me a little bit, because in practice, Hopman Cup, it's been going pretty well. I think there were definitely some nerves there. I was feeling nervous once the match actually started. I was actually fine all day, warming up, in the warmup five minutes with Jurgen. I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I.

Think I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm and everything. Then you remind yourself how many times has it not been easy in the first round. Almost every time, except you get off a flyer and you keep rolling. But that's not the whole time.

So you got to work. I'm happy I was made to work today. Actually at the end I'm quite happy how I ended, which is most important.

Q. You've never been on a comeback from this period of time before. What kind of feeling does that have for you?
ROGER FEDERER: A special moment walking out on the court. A special moment, you know, after match point. Match point, when you get to match point, when you win the match point. I think those three components make it special when you're coming back. Obviously last year it also felt special in a way in Monaco when I came back after my first surgery ever.

So, yeah, I definitely see things a bit different when you've been gone for a long time or when you've come back from injury like I have in the last year or so. I experienced it twice now. So, yeah, it was great to be out there. I really enjoyed myself, even though it wasn't so simple.

Q. You we're saying in the leadup to today that you really have to concentrate on every point given the absence you've had from the game. Did you find you were able to do that tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was trying to do that in the first two sets until I realized it was just consuming me. It was just like it's too much already. I got to focus. It goes in waves. Say, Okay, I'm going to focus right here, then later I'm going to try to play a bit more relaxed. Just calm down a bit, try to play more freely. I think that then worked much better.

I almost felt like I had to pace myself. I didn't want to overthink every play. That was not the idea to come here and go mental about every point. It's already great to just be here, trying to play with the guys.

I'm happy with the more relaxed attitude. Also success came easier.

Q. If you had to play during the day with the sun, would it have been much worse?
ROGER FEDERER: Because? Why would it have been worse?

Q. It would have been much worse playing a long match in the sun.
ROGER FEDERER: No. No problem for me. I'm ready. I'm fit. I believe in my physical strength. That wouldn't have been an issue at all.

Q. There are those who thought maybe at 35, He's not going to come back, why does he bother. Does that amuse you?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, like in a way it doesn't surprise me because I've been talking about retirement for seven years. Naturally that's the perfect opening for people to ask that question yet again, think to themselves, Why more?

I get it. It's fine. I'll keep answering it.

Q. The last game you played was against a 19-year-old. Today someone of your own age. Is there a difference in the way you prepare based on your opponent's age?
ROGER FEDERER: You say my next-round opponent is 19?

Q. The latest round you played in the Hopman Cup, Zverev. Today was with a 35-year-old.
ROGER FEDERER: I played Gasquet after, too. But it doesn't matter.

I was expecting to play a young guy in the first round because there were a lot of young guys qualifying. Then Melzer. Oh, my God, I play my kind of guy. Then I was like, I'm not sure it's a good draw either because I know Jurgen can play defense, offense. I have no idea how he's playing when I saw the draw. He's been a former top-10 player, so he's got that going for him. He has beaten me before in a real big match in Monaco I think it might have been a bit tougher for me this way.

Yeah, we'll see now with my next-round opponent how I'm going to do that. I think, again, it depends on conditions. This match tonight was more based on me, how I'm going to cope with my comeback and my match.

But I'm happy with how it went. I think from here on it's only going to get easier in my opinion.

Q. What do you know of Noah Rubin, if anything?
ROGER FEDERER: Not much. Almost nothing. Did he play here last year?

Q. He won one round.
ROGER FEDERER: Did he qualify?

Q. He got a wild card.
ROGER FEDERER: Today I saw a little bit while I was waiting for my match on the mini screen. How much do you see? You see a little bit, but you don't see the ball.

I know he's a baseliner. He makes a lot of shots. I guess it's not a bad thing for me. I know it's probably more on my racquet rather than playing a big server.

Regardless, you know, got to manage any kind of player in this draw to move forward.

Q. What was the biggest feeling you got after the match? Satisfaction? Relief?
ROGER FEDERER: I was happy. I was really, really happy just to win, to be out there. To play Jurgen was cool. We know each other since we were 16. We used to play doubles together at the Orange Bowl back at Flamingo Park in Miami. We go way back.

Yeah, it's nice speaking to the crowd at the end. Now being here, feeling like I'm part of this tournament. I wasn't just in the draw. I'm actually making strides. It's a good feeling (smiling).

Q. Heather Watson said the other day, she was talking about musicals with you. She said your favorite musical was Singing in the Rain. Are you a big fan or something you had time for in the last few months?
ROGER FEDERER: We don't have that many musicals in Switzerland. I went to see Singing in the Rain in Perth. I met the cast afterwards. I really enjoyed that. I saw Hamilton and Finding Neverland in New York. I liked both of those. They were completely different. Finding Neverland was super emotional. We were all crying, all seven people that were there. My daughters, my wife, my mom, everybody. It was a lot of fun. Hamilton was just completely different. Sort of the rap about American history. I enjoyed it.

I think it's a great way to see something else. I saw Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper in London. I just admired that kind of performance. It's life. Audience, as well. I can relate to that. The amount of memorizing they have to do, I find that mind-blowing. I'm not very good at remembering stuff like that.

I'm always one of the first guys to give standing ovations because I think it's really important because these guys do amazing.

Q. How are the kids dealing with dad being away again for extended periods of time after having you for six months at home?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I saw them from 9 in the morning till 5 p.m. today. I don't know if that's being away from your kids. I'm always with them. Regardless if I play or not, they're always with me.

It's a great life. Not complaining. So don't worry about not being around. I'm always around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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