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August 9, 2017

Roger Federer

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

R. FEDERER/P. Polansky

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Roger.

Q. You're off to the best start to a season since 2006. Not sure if you knew that. Could you have imagined that, going back to knee surgery in the end of 2016? What could you pinpoint as the reason for this start to the season?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, when I went into surgery, I was rather sad last year. I was rather worried about how I was going to come out of it. When I did come out of it, I was happy I woke up again. I was sad that I had an operated knee. It was actually quite emotional for me. I was scared, as well, at the same time just to be in pain, of the unknown, I guess. I was not thinking of having a start to this kind of a season like back in 2006.

Hmm... So, you know, I guess for me the key is that I'm actually healthy. I knew that when I was healthy, I was going to be able to have chances to win slams again, to play against the best, beat the best.

That's also reasons why I'm still playing today. If I felt like I couldn't do all these things, it would not be enjoyable or I wouldn't be doing it any more. I would accept it, say, Look, I had a great career, but thanks very much, I'll do something else.

I think the belief was always there. The body always needed to be there, too. I think the break just gave me some -- it just rejuvenated me, like just gave me a little bit of distance to it at all. I came in refreshed. It was a different mindset.

I could speak differently to the press. Rather than saying, I'm here, hopefully first goal is a quarters, maybe a semis, and if I'm there, maybe I can win the tournament.

It was quite nice to come into Australia and say, Look, even if I win first round, I leave injury-free, it's better than playing semis, being injured, having to have surgery.

I think that was quite refreshing for me in many ways and it made me play better in the bigger moments. I still feel it's carrying over right now.

Q. Are you having lingering pain?

Q. Are there things you have to do to take care of it?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I have to do normal things like, I mean, unfortunately warm up longer than I ever had to do when I was younger. That's a bit annoying. It has nothing to do with my surgery, to be honest.

I have better days and worse days, like I think all the tennis players. But, no, overall I'm very happy. I have very little problems at the moment, which is great, yeah.

Q. You haven't been here in a while. What did you think of the support today? What do you enjoy about Montreal?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, crowd support was great. It wasn't the closest match today. But they were there for Peter when he needed the crowd and he hit good shots, when they realized he was struggling. I thought that was really nice.

And for me, they were there every step of the way. So I felt that, as well, which is actually good to see. Last night at the Cold Play concert, just to see how is the Montreal crowd again. They were unbelievably loud, that's also something I took away from the concert, besides how good Chris Martin and the band was, is how unreal the stadium is, The Bell Centre.

Also just the crowd: they were so supportive, they were there from the beginning till the end. I feel like it's the same here at the tournament. Maybe that's also why I always put this as one of my favorite tournaments, favorite center courts out there, because they show up in big numbers, they show up with excitement and passion. For us to play, it's very inspiring.

Q. I don't know if you noticed Peter at the end of the match collected up the balls from the match, put them in his bag. I want to talk to you about your peers, how you get a lot of respect from a lot of your peers. When you hear about something like that, what does that mean to you, the respect you garner from your peers?
ROGER FEDERER: It's nice, you know. I try to lead by example, too, have respect for everybody, not just the players, but whoever buys a ticket, lines-people, umpires, ballboys, the girls and the kids, everybody, everybody who makes the tournament possible for all of us.

There's a lot that goes into it. There's so much behind the scenes that's going on.

Ultimately, having that respect between one another of the players, it's amazing. I did sign those three tennis balls that he did get. He asked me for his friends. They asked if they could not bring back a souvenir.

It's cool. I like Peter a lot. I know him since a while. I've always got along very well with him. It was nice to see him doing as well as he did now with recent months. Got a career-high ranking, which I'm very happy for him. I hope he can finish the season strong really.

Q. A couple of weeks ago, usually the emotionless Andy Roddick had a press conference at the induction ceremony in Newport. He said he was humbled and touched when he said the first text message that morning he got was from you. He said you were a great human being. Would you take a moment to look at, during your career, when was the turning point or process when you had to feel that you are not only a Grand Slam champion and the world No. 1, but the sport is on your shoulder, taking responsibility for other players?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it happened very quickly. I think the moment you become world No. 1 in some ways you are carrying the sport to some extent. I realized that when I came into a press conference, I must have been world No. 1, Wimbledon champion, world champion. They asked me questions about I don't know what.

I said, What do you want me to answer that silly question or that question? I'm a tennis player, and not more than that.

All of a sudden you realize, Well. And the journalists tell you, You're world No. 1. I would like to know your opinion about such and such.

I'm like, Ooh, okay.

That's kind of when I got the feeling that people do care what I have to say or what my opinions are. I try not to preach too much what my views are on certain issues. But it's been nice, you know, carrying the sport. Others have done a great job, as in Novak and Rafa, Murray as well. I'm happy we've had wonderful world No. 1's over the years.

Andy has been one, too. When he got inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was so excited for him. I knew it was going to be emotional for him and his team and his family and everybody. Yeah, getting into the Hall of Fame, being a Hall of Famer, is a big, big deal. So I wanted to be there and make him know that I was there with him, and I cared for him, and I wished him only the best.

I watched the entire speech that he had when he got inducted. I just thought, I have to. So many memories with Andy. I like the guy so much. Can't wait to see him again and talk to him about it.

Like today, seeing Juan Carlos Ferrero after a long time is so cool. Even though he's going to coach against me, I don't care, it's just nice seeing the guys again.

Q. I think you worked really hard on improving your backhand before the Australian Open. That's led to a lot of your success this season. Are you working on anything in particular in your game right now moving forward or is it just smooth sailing because of all the success you've had?
ROGER FEDERER: I think this tournament I'm trying to play, you know, with confidence that I gained through the grass court season. Yet, you know, I have to adjust my game a little bit just because the bounce of the ball is so much higher here than at Wimbledon. There's wind, which in Wimbledon we didn't have much of.

I think it's just really see how it goes this week, and then learn from this week, how I need to then play in Cincinnati and the US Open.

I didn't practice very much between Wimbledon and here. It was 10 days off, five or six days of fitness, it was a bit of tennis. That's when I decided to come here. I practiced here for another couple of days, and here I am.

I'm not that well-prepared as such, but I am fresh and I'm ready to go and I'm eager to do well. That can always lead to good things.

As in a game plan right now, it's pretty straightforward, you know, trying to play on my terms. Conditions are fast. We'll see how it goes.

Q. Do you prefer grass or hard?
ROGER FEDERER: I probably prefer the grass. But most of my success has come on the hard courts if you look back at all the titles that I've won. Either way is fine, but I like the grass.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Can we say it was a quick one?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I started the first set well. In the second set, I was able to put pressure on him, and he helped me with some double-faults, of course.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the match. The conditions were tough here in Montreal. There was a lot of wind today, and it was fast. Sometimes it's difficult to find the rhythm.

But I was happy that I was very focused on my service games. I was aggressive. This is how I want to play for the whole week. Anyway, it's a good start.

Q. On Sunday you said you didn't feel the ball well during practice. Was it better today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, because I had some practice. I had some practice without the wind. When you practice with the wind, it's the worst thing that can happen. When you're practicing, you need to try new things, and you can't do it with the wind. On top of that, you don't have enough intensity, which was my case because of jetlag. Then what happens is you're frustrated. This is something you don't want.

The only thing I could do was accept it, knowing it would improve. Today I had more intensity. It was center court today with the crowd. This helps always to play better.

Q. I would like to talk about something else than tennis and today's match. We have many young players that are very promising in Canada. When you look at young players today, what advice could you give them to manage all the expectations from the crowd, from the journalists? In Canada, the young players have difficulties in managing this environment. What could you tell them?
ROGER FEDERER: First, you should like to be the center of attention. You should believe it's not a bad thing that people talk about you. You should take it as something positive. Then you have to be eager to play on center court, to play against the best players, and to prove yourself. You should not be afraid of those moments.

Of course, it's normal to be nervous, and to feel a bit uneasy, because you know the players from TV, and suddenly you're in the locker room with them, you do the press like they do. But it should be a dream. It should give you energy and motivation for practicing even harder.

Also the people around you are very important. You trust your parents, your friends, your coach. You know you can talk to them when you need to. Also it's important to feel good when you practice.

Maybe here you can also have players like Raonic, Nestor, Fred Niemeyer, who went through all this in the past and can give advice. If they play here or in Toronto, it can only be helpful for a young player to have their advice.

Q. How do you celebrate your birthday here in Montreal? Did you do anything special?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I got five cakes (smiling). I didn't make any of them myself. The thing is that they are big cakes, and you have to eat them during the week. It's good I'm doing some sport this week (smiling).

Anyway, it was quite a calm day yesterday. I spent my day with my team. I just practiced here for a while. I saw the fans, but I was tired yesterday. Yesterday evening we had a meal all together, and we went to see Cold Play. It was very nice, a very nice day.

Of course, I miss my family. But I will celebrate when I'll see them in Cincinnati.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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