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September 4, 2017

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA

R. FEDERER/P. Kohlschreiber

6-4, 6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: This is not going to be an expansive press conference tonight (smiling).

ROGER FEDERER: You heard him. Two questions each, per language. I'll answer 10 minutes per question (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Short and direct. We'll start in English. Ubaldo.

Q. Can I ask you, the only moment of suspense was when you had the medical timeout. What happened?
ROGER FEDERER: I just felt something, sort of my muscle being tight at the back. Sort of my quad, I guess. I don't know what you call it (smiling).

I just wanted to get it done really quickly after the set break. I said, Look, you know what, I need to go anyway off court for it. Normally you have to ask. They would have said anyway yes. I just ran straight to the physio. I was done in three minutes and back again.

I just didn't want Philipp to wait. It was more precaution. It's all good. No problems there. I'm not worried about it. I'm sorry I had to do it.

Q. While you were playing, del Potro was staging a tremendous comeback.
ROGER FEDERER: I heard that.

Q. What are your thoughts on the career journey for him?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't quite know what he went through, to be honest. I wasn't with him. He was gone for so long that it's just really nice to see him back playing these kind of matches. That's what he came back for, to get crowd support the way he got it.

We could even hear it on center court. That's the first time I experienced that. Clearly Grandstand wasn't where it used to be. But, I mean, they had epic crowds.

He's a good guy. I know him well. But when he was hurt, clearly I didn't see him for a long time. I was sorry for him because I think he had a legitimate good chance to become world No. 1 at that time. Him and Davydenko, actually both of them got hurt at the wrong times in their careers. Both had a chance to go for world No. 1 at that time. '09, I think it was.

So I'm really happy for him. It's a good match to look forward to. Reminds me clearly of the 2009 finals that we had, which was an epic, too. I hope we can produce another good one.

Q. You won't be playing Dominic Thiem. Can you say something about him, a rising star in the game.
ROGER FEDERER: Sweet guy. Really honest. Lovely to be around with. Hard working. Super hard working. He goes into the Rafa demographic where between matches, they just go really hard. I'm not like that, so I admire those guys that put their head down and work this hard.

Yeah, I love his backhand. Played him a few times. Got great power both wings. He's a power player that we have in the game. Yeah, he's going to be around for a long time. He's going to install himself in the top 10 easily, in my opinion, for the next 10 years. I'm sure he's going to create a lot of chances to win the biggest tournaments in the game.

Q. Juan Martin will be your fourth straight veteran opponent, a guy you're really familiar with. What does that mean for you at this stage in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: I went from Tiafoe then to the oldies, so that was good (laughter). Yeah, back to the '80s.

It's great, you know. I always said it: our generation was strong. Now a lot of them are starting to stop or have stopped now. But we have a lot of 30 plus players years old on the tour, which is great.

But little by little we're getting pushed out, which is normal. Just choose not to do it any more because the traveling and everything just becomes a bit too much after all those years.

Yeah, Juan Martin belongs a little bit to that generation. Because he's been injured so much, I feel he's younger just because I feel that stuff you can add on at the back end of your career. I don't consider him one of the oldies quite yet.

Q. Before the match today you had a chance to meet a very special young man on the practice courts. I'd love to hear your take on that experience, meeting him, the look on his face.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, met Mark, a little boy. He's had a rough life so far, you know. But I think making a dream come true for other people is something that I'm in a privileged position to be in.

I'm his big hero, apparently. He looked to me in the difficult times. It's very nice to finally get to meet these people, or this little boy.

I'm happy I was helpful without knowing it, you know. Then for me also it's a nice moment, you know, to meet someone like him. Even played some balls with him, which is even better. I wanted to make sure he got the full treatment, the best experience possible.

I hope he enjoyed himself.

Q. What are your strongest memories of that 2009 final?
ROGER FEDERER: What happened there (smiling)?

I remember we had a good breakpoint early that put me ahead, I think, in the first set. I'm not sure. I felt like that I left that match with a lot of regrets.

Probably feels like one of those matches I would like to play over again. Feel like I would probably win it somehow because I should have been up maybe two sets to love or should have been up two sets to one. I don't remember if I was.

I just had all these chances in multiple moments. The only time when he was really better, in my opinion, was the fifth set. Obviously that was good enough to beat me that day. It was a good match. A lot of back and forth. Crowd was really into it. Started in the day, finished in the night.

I mean, look, I was not too disappointed I don't think because I had a great run, you know, winning I think French, Wimbledon, birth of my girls. Making the finals here was actually a good run. But it ended my five-year reign here in New York.

I guess I was a bit disappointed, you know. But Juan Martin did play extremely well. He beat Rafa and me back-to-back, so I felt like he deserved it at the end.

Q. You played that game in 2009 in your mind, but now you have the chance to rematch it in reality. In terms of play, what would you expect to be different from that time?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think we're different players today. We both play different. Because of his surgery, I think his backhand has changed. He uses his slice much more. Just alone because of that, the game would be different.

I'm playing more aggressive, as well, on the return. I play shorter points. I don't use my slice as much, whereas he does now. It's a bit of a change, you know.

We did play each other in Miami, so I did get a sense of how it is to play him now. But the forehand and the serve is still identical, in my opinion. He maybe even created more power by now just because years went by, better technology has come around.

I think we're both more laid back today. It won't be a final, it will be a quarterfinal. Obviously not as much riding on this match like it was in 2009.

Q. In 2009 you described DelPo's forehand as the best in the game along with Blake's. Do you think that still holds? What makes his forehand so incredible?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think Rafa's for me is maybe number one. It depends on what surface we're talking about. But just throughout the career, I think Rafa's is extremely high, if not my favorite one.

But DelPo's is flat. When it's flat, clearly margins are smaller. You also have to be in really good position, court position, to be able to do it, when he can do it from further back, as well. He's got a great forehand down the line, inside-out forehand, which in my opinion are maybe more difficult shots to hit.

What I like about it, he doesn't really hold back. He doesn't care if he misfires a few times. He keeps doing it until he finds his range and his rhythm.

No, it seems like a huge takeback, so you always feel like he's going to be late on it. At the end of the day he's in position when he needs to be. He drives through the ball perfectly. I think a lot of juniors actually should look at that forehand as a great forehand.

Q. Philipp said he felt rushed for the whole match.
ROGER FEDERER: Who was that?

Q. Philipp. Do you feel like making people feel rushed has more importance in your mind, to make people feel uneasy, is that more important?
ROGER FEDERER: I think I've always been trying to do that a little bit throughout my career. Maybe it's not rushed, per se, against every player. Mixing it up, not making the opponent feel comfortable. I think that's always been a goal for me.

That treatment, I get the same from a lot of players. They always play what you don't want to see. That's why actually you improve a lot in the beginning stages of your career. If you have a weakness, they'll go there day and night. They make you improve it fast because they remind you how bad you are on your backhand side or your footwork, whatever it may be.

But it's true, you know, I think today more than before, I'm able to rush opponents and make them feel maybe more uncomfortable than maybe in the past.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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