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March 25, 2017

Roger Federer

Miami, Florida

R. FEDERER/F. Tiafoe

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did he do anything that surprised you today?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I've hit with Frances maybe twice before: Once at the French and once at the US Open. There he surprised me. I'm not going to get the surprise really a second time around because I saw the power he had, the explosivity he had. You know, how he easily can generate pace.

So I think he's going to be really good, like most of the NextGen campaign, if you like, are going to be good players. Plus they're pushing each other up right now. They have a good dynamic. They are quite friendly also with one another yet they have good rivalry.

I think the question was always how was he going to come out. It's the question also for any player. Also for me. How can you start a match? Seemed like to be fearless, no problem, good serving, taking the ball early, making the plays.

And that I like to see, is when a younger player comes out, that he really feels he has nothing to lose and he's only got stuff to gain. I hope he's going to learn a lot from a match like this just because playing on a center court with a lot of people, under pressure, saving break points, making break points, playing breakers. That's what it's about, and it should feed a player like him with a lot of energy moving forward hopefully.

Q. Can you walk us through how the conditions have changed over the years when you first came on tour, surfaces slowed down, balls get heavy, and now do you sense another change around the corner with quicker conditions in Australia?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, look, depends on when exactly we're talking about. There was definitely a time where things were definitely slowing down. After the millennium really I thought you could see and feel a proper change, how things were leaning towards the slower side. More and more matches were played in the night sessions, particularly at the Australian Open.

In 2004 I played the finals there it was in the daytime. That's always going to play fast, regardless of what kind of balls you're going t play with. If you're playing in 40 degree heat, the ball is always going to fly.

So then the way they set it up, basically you're going to play quarters, semis, and finals in the night. If you add a slow ball and you slow down the courts too much, you're going to be in some epic rallies. There is just no way around them. Especially the way the guys started to move back when Lleyton came around and all those guys.

Wimbledon, definitely also there was something that happened there. I don't know if it's the balls or the grass, but that's definitely slowed down.

I feel like the US Open and French probably played pretty much the same throughout, in my opinion.

Then you had, the indoor season. By making a court more even throughout, because we used to change from Teraflex to sort of the Greenset. You had like sort of the wooden boards that were painted. We made it more unified so it was the same surface, wooden boards throughout. Then what happened is they wanted have the same surface for the entire swing, and that became slow as well. The word Tour Finals were played on the slower side.

So next thing you know, basically everything played somewhat similar, which think is a bit of a pity. I like it when there is extremes. Then you have to play different ways. It was nice to see Ivan Lendl serve and volley at Wimbledon, even though he didn't want to do it.

It was nice to see Edberg or Becker play from the baseline on clay courts. It was nice to see them out of their element. Then you all of a sudden become a different kind of player and you improve throughout your career, like this.

You can just be happy hitting hard from the baseline on any surface. Just play the same way. Just adjust your movement a little bit. But to me, that's not so exciting. I think it's important we have change. Really slow and really fast.

Q. You haven't played Dell Po since 2013, and you were supposed to play him last year until you had to pull out. Will you watch his match tonight maybe hoping that that one happens?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I would love to play against him. I'm happy for him with his comeback, winning at Davis Cup. Like you said, I should have played him here last year but I was sick. That was a pity.

It's better to play him maybe this time around when we're both better. He was also just on the comeback last year.

But, yeah, we've had some epic matches against each other: Semis at the French, Olympic semis, finals at the US Open. You name it, we've had some really good ones.

I'm sure the crowd would love to see it. Robin Haase is going to have a say about that, as we know.

Q. Does this tournament have a future on Key Biscayne, do you think, with the state of the facility?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it depends on the importance of the growth of the site. I know they can't grow, so traffic is rough. It's not getting easier. I don't think they can improve much in terms of capacity.

So the question is, is everybody happy this way or not? If you want to go bigger, clearly you have to move.

But is the grass always greener on the other side? I'm not sure. It's a hard one. I know this tournament from a long time ago here. I even played the juniors back here on this very court back in '98.

So look, in a way you wish it goes on here. I think at this point everybody also understands if it were to move.

Q. Your relationship with Stan. I guess in the past it could have been best described as big brother/little brother. It's not like that anymore. Describe that, and when did it start to change?
ROGER FEDERER: I think when Stan cracked the top let's say 50 maybe. I felt like he didn't need as much guidance or as much advice really. You know, when he doesn't call you or text you before certain matches anymore, big matches, and he goes on and causes the upset or he goes on and does really well by himself with his team and his coach, that's when you sense that he's moved on.

That's what you want. What I liked about Stan, he used it always take two steps forward, one step back; two steps forward, one step back. He keeps doing that. I admire him with his work ethic and his power that he's brought to the game now.

He's shown through how much hard work, physical and hard work and mental improvements, how far you can get. He's got a legendary career. Basically Hall of Fame career really.

So it's amazing to see for me who has witnessed so much firsthand. I'm really happy for him.

Q. What will be different for him here as a No. 1 seed?
ROGER FEDERER: Not much. I just think he's going to play his tournament. I don't think he'll feel affected by being seeded No. 1 or No. 3.

Because he knows it might speak more about Rafa or me being back here after all these years, so he can do his thing. If he produces the game that he wants to produce like today, he'll be going deep in this tournament. I think the conditions suit him quite really actually.

I think he's going to be tough to beat, and then they'll talk about him in the right times. He wants people to talk about him about shot making, being there. He's already had a really good start to the season with the finals in Indian Wells and the semis in Australia.

I think he's going to have an excellent season if he's still healthy, like most of the guys. So that would be another epic season for him after the last three where he won slams and the Davis Cup.

Q. You've had a lot of first matches in many, many tournaments over the years. Is it still the first time on a court in a tournament, and especially today against a guy that was young American with all these big dreams, how did you approach that match? Is it good to get it over with? Do you still get any butterflies at all, or not really?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, I think I do, even though I was pretty relaxed before the match. But then sometimes thinking of the match during the day or yesterday I get these flashes of, Ohh, it's going to be exciting.

Then you walk out on court and there is usually always a big roar here in Miami. They get excited for their tennis here, which is great to see.

Then like you mentioned, playing somebody who has really absolutely nothing to lose, who's only there to gain, makes it at the end very -- it's nice to get it over and done with on the winning side. You feel quite relieved to some extent because you know it can be dangerous. I don't know his patterns well, or at all.

I was actually playing very well. He stayed with me for very long time. That can make you nervous if maybe I wouldn't have been so confident. So I thought it was enjoyable match. I thought we both played very well and both can maybe walk away from this match quite happy, which is not often in tennis that that's maybe the case.

Q. You get deep into the first set and he's playing so well, you just kind of waiting for the opening knowing he's a young guy who hasn't played a top-10 player before and you think the chance is going to come at some point?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you try to tell yourself that. Sometimes I'd realize I was playing the opponent too much rather than the ball. That can be tricky then to change that around then.

I was trying all sorts of thing on the return. Nothing was really working. So going in the breaker I wasn't quite sure, so I went back to my initial plan to just stay aggressive and make him come up with good shots and try to move forward if you can.

But Frances was doing a nice job towards the end of the set also serving big when he had to. He sort of had me going there for a while.

So I think I started well with the mini break. If you can start with your first mini break against a player like him, maybe that can be enough, if you keep serving well.

I think I was really focused, I must say. Point for point mentality was really good in that first set. I hardly lost any points on my serve. I think that maybe put pressure on him.

I was very pleased actually how I played. It was swirly winds against a player who has really good power and didn't know the patterns against. I think I can be very happy with my first round.

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