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March 27, 2017
R. FEDERER/J. Del Potro
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. I know every match you play is in front of a full stadium, but that seemed like a particularly vibrant atmosphere, particularly for a third round.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just shortly before I walked out to the court you could sense the atmosphere. That's when I told myself, Just be prepared for something different, you know. It was different.
I think if the match would've gone three sets or tiebreakers or something even closer, would've been really epic.
But like this it was just really a great, nice atmosphere. A lot of pleasure playing him. Nice weather. Great opponent. Great crowd.
Yeah, what else do you need? Just another good press conference with you guys and then it's perfect. (Laughter.)
Q. It's a Monday afternoon. You go out there, you're playing Juan Martin, who people talk about him as such a great player; Grand Slam champion. Then guys like Nadal, Kyrgios, you're playing these guys on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Is this a new normal for you, or do you think this is just kind of a strange set of circumstances you have to navigate now, and how do you deal with this mentally?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure the angle of the question. I'm sorry.
Q. Is this something you expect is going to be like this ongoing for the foreseeable future, playing me guys at early stages, having to think about getting a 14-time Grand Slam champion on a Tuesday afternoon or...
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, I get it. Well, I mean, I think because my ranking was lower I had to battle my way back up the rankings, so then of course it depends on the other guys' ranking, too.
If we're all ranked outside of the top eight it's going to happen more frequently naturally. Otherwise it's going to happen. That's why Indian Wells maybe I'm myself to blame because I had a chance in Dubai to get into the top eight and I didn't make it by losing in the second round.
Then of course I got lucky or earned my way forward in Australia. If I would've lost early there I would've been outside of the top 30 and would have taken a while to get back into the top eight.
For me it's going to change somewhat. At the same time, rankings are less important for Rafa, myself, and, you know, maybe other guys as well in the future.
So it's inevitable towards the end of your career you will get tougher draws I would think because you're not the world No. 1 or 2 anymore.
Q. You've had many epic matches with Juan Martin before. Everyone anticipated more drama and all that. Seemed anyway from the outside like it was sort of another day at the office, kind of easy for you. Was it as easy as it looked or you just made it look this easy?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know how you look at it. It depends a little bit on your angle. For me, I mean, I felt like I was in control and I was able to generate more chances than he did.
I mean, a little bit out of nowhere I felt like he got his chances, but maybe because I dropped my level ever so slightly and gave him few easy points, and that's how he sort of got more chances on my serve.
So I feel like I earned it more. I was more the aggressor. It was more on my racquet, and I like it that way.
But, again, if he would've broken back in the first and would he have broken back in the second, we might still be playing and things would be very, very different right now.
I thought it was a good match.
Q. Seemed like a pretty impressive performance. Is there something you're looking to improve in the next couple weeks in your game maybe? Also, can you talk about your next opponent, Bautista Agut?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think I respect Bautista Agut a lot. Was watching his match against Querrey and I really thought Querrey was playing great in the first set.
I thought that at some point he was going steamroll, but that's what Bautista Agut does so well. He competes so well point for point, day in day out, and he plays ton of tournaments, and he's really just match tough.
He may be hurt. He was taping his feet. I don't know what he was doing, but I am sure he was in pain, and he found a way it get it done in the end.
Maybe then Querrey ran out of steam in the end and Bautista Agut just got it done. I have a really good record against Roberto. I hope I can use my variation to really make him feel uncomfortable.
Looking forward to backing it up tomorrow now. It's not something I'm actually used to, playing back-to-back days. So I hope my body is going to be fine tomorrow.
That's why definitely it was key also today not to waste too much energy.
Q. You've had a few weeks now of playing Masters events. You're going to play back-to-back days now. Just wondered, now that you're 35, how different is the training and the rest days compared to what it was like five years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I'm not playing that much less, you know, overall. I think I just have to be a bit more clever in terms of scheduling overall, you know.
Unfortunately, I can't do it all, you know. I can't chase the Davis Cup and the slams and play all the Masters 1000s. At some point something has to give, unfortunately. I wish I could do it all like when I was 24 years old.
So I think that's where I have to take some important decisions that work well for -- well, me as a tennis player, but then also for my family and just for my whole team, that we get the work done, I get the rest that I need, but then also I play enough matches.
If you don't play enough normally you kind of lose touch of how to play break points, save break points, the shoulder gets rusty. Who knows what it is?
You need the right balance. I think that's more key than ever right now. I mean, it hurts for me, you know, sometimes in the future probably not playing some tournaments that in the past I would always play. Now all of a sudden I just have to skip them for the sake of my health.
But because it is for a good reason, I'll get over it.
Q. I want to ask if for you it was the key moment of the match, that four break points you save in the first set?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably, you know. Looking back, that was probably the key. I knew it when he had the break point at 15-40, if I could dig my way out of that game, and instead of being broken hold and win the set, it's a good escape.
So I think I did well there. Juan Martin didn't play his best because he did have his chances there on second serves and he could've done better, maybe played more aggressive, who knows what. But I hit some good shots to stay in in there.
At the same time, I had my chance early on in the first set as well to get a break and then get rolling, but I couldn't do it.
But if you had to pinpoint one moment, I think that is the moment that was most important for Juan Martin.
Q. Following on from what Peter was asking you earlier, you mentioned rankings. Having been No. 1 for a record amount of time, is it important to you to get back to No. 1, or is it a case of been there, done that, and it's not so much of an issue for you? As much as it's nice to be at No. 1.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, with what you said at the end, I agree. It's not the priority. Health needs to be the priority. That's why if I were to get there again I have to really win a lot of big tournaments, and I know how hard that is. I tried to do it for the last five years.
So as long as I'm healthy, I feel like I can play good tennis, enjoy myself, I can beat - hopefully - some of the best players in the world, or most of them, and win tournaments as well.
So for me the priority is actually win tournaments at this point in my career. The rankings is very secondary. That's why my schedule is going to be based on what makes sense for my goals of the season, staying healthy, and then also so I can enjoy myself and have a good sort of schedule with the right waves going through the season.
Q. Piggybacking off that question, do you think your resurgent start this year is due to the fact that you're physically healthy, but are you also mentally refreshed?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, both. I mean, you need both to succeed at the top. If you take Wimbledon last year, for an example -- was it last year I played Wimbledon I; ost in the semis? I don't remember. I think I did.
ROGER FEDERER: Exactly, last year. Feels like two years ago now. That I was not 100%. At some point you just feel like in those kind of circumstances, Masters 1000s towards the end when you have to back it up day after day or play four-, five-setters every second day against the best, it's not going to be enough at the very end. The margins are too small for anybody up there.
That's what becomes very disappointing, is when you realize that you're ready to do it mentally, you're ready to go, but something physically is hindering you from really actually going all out.
That's how I felt. That's why after playing like this for virtually four months, you're doing so much rehab and it feels like you're having a cloud in your head all the time because you're doing so much treatment. You hope you're going to be better the next day.
Rather than focusing on the nice weather, the nice crowd, and the good opponent you're going to face, you're actually hoping your knee is going to hold up, you're going to feel better.
It's okay to do that for a couple of weeks or for a few tournaments during the season. If you do it every single day for a month, that's when you have to, in my opinion, take a break and rest and come back properly.
That's what I did, and I cannot believe the way it paid off actually.
Q. Lately you always seem to really enjoy yourself on the court. Lately I've been watching you put on Facebook and you're singing and doing all these different things. Obviously you seem much more relaxed; you're at another stage obviously of your career, your family and all that. But in the near future, talking about your schedule and all that, are you thinking about playing other tournaments? Here a year ago I asked Nole if he would go down to Acapulco, and he did.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't understand, what?
Q. I know right now you have to pick really well, but maybe in the future would you be able to go down to Mexico? You have a lot of fans over there.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I been to Mexico last time probably back in '96, so I don't know how many fans I have down there. (Laughter.) I played a juniors down there and lost second round.
I mean, look, social media started for me five years ago. I was doing a lot of silly things back in the day but I couldn't share them with anyone, because through the website was always complicated, and we didn't always have phones with cameras and photos on it that you could do everything so simple. So that's the nice thing about social media, that you can actually share many more things with your fans.
Probably with Acapulco is it faces Dubai where I have been home for many, many years as well and I like to go there. So I don't know at this point, but never say never. I love Dubai. Of course I would love to go visit Mexico again after all these years.
I was actually once also speaking about making an XO there, but then after I did this South American swing I just didn't have the energy to go back to South America and do another swing.
So I think that probably at some stage I will have to go back to South America, hopefully Mexico, too, and make a trip. If it's Acapulco, exhibition, I'm not sure yet. Definitely on a wish list for me also to go there and play.
Q. There has been a lot of the talk this weekend about the future of this tournament here in South Florida. What are your thoughts if this tournament moved from Key Biscayne to a different location in South Florida or left South Florida completely, how that would affect the tour and South Florida tennis in general.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not from here. I don't know. Look, I mean, it would be tough because this tournament has here for how long? Yeah, long time. It's embedded here, society. A lot of the locals come out and watch it. You feel like it's got a good vibe.
So we know the issues about the grounds here. Just running out of space, and everything seems temporary except this building basically and the fountain outside. From that standpoint it just, yeah, needs to be well thought through. Needs to make sense to move it.
That's basically it. Of course seems to work here, but infrastructure costs a lot of money. Just to get the tournament up and running if you're doing everything temporary all the time every year you're blowing out a lot of money, and the tournament knows that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports