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September 2, 2017

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA


6-3, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much better did that feel than your last two matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it was clearly nice to go up two sets to love for a change. Feels different from there (smiling).

No, but overall I have felt better, too. I was happy I had good energy because I think that was my biggest worry, that somehow after the two five-setters that I had, I was going to feel a little slow, hard to throw the engine on, you know, that I would have to force myself so much, I would get tired from that.

It didn't happen. I think I really got off to a good start. The first set was fast. Then the second set was close. Maybe I was struggling with my serve for a little bit to keep the level up, you know, that I was hoping to stay up. So I had to struggle a bit there. It was also good to get through those tougher moments.

A little bit of a wobble in the third maybe. But, you know, it's all good. I'm really pleased with the performance. It's exactly I guess maybe what I needed going into the next round.

Q. With all the upsets that have happened and everyone talking about you and Rafa perhaps playing a semi, do you feel you guys are under any special pressure to carry the tournament, to make that happen?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. But when you see a lot of seeds going out, I don't know, you naturally put the focus on you for it not to happen to you. You become more not worried, but you're, like, more aware of it, that it seems a tournament of the upsets, so it's going to get you, too. You're going into the match this way.

I think for many years Rafa and me, we've tried to play against each other here, and it just didn't work out. I think I was a match point away once against Novak years ago. I can't come closer to that because I think he had already won his match, I believe. We were one point away from it happening.

Now this week, I don't feel necessarily the pressure's there. We'll see. A new Grand Slam finalist I think in the bottom section that we've never seen before, which is exciting in itself, I think.

At the top we actually really have good players left. A lot of them can play at a very high level. They're all facing off now. I think it's an exciting tournament. I'm happy I'm still around.

Rafa fought well through again today. I'm happy for him, too. We'll see if it gets done or not. I'm curious to see myself.

Q. You had spoken after the second round about not having had the right preparation, and maybe your timing being a little off because of that. Is there a particular moment or particular stroke or something that tonight lets you know, Okay, my timing is back?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I just needed -- like you need in practice sometimes before a tournament, you just need the hours, you know, to put the hours on the new court, the new conditions, whatever it may be.

So I guess I maybe needed just a few hours here on this court. I needed to get over the fear of the back issue, especially in that first match, the first set. Then I think the wobble I had in the second round was due to my preparation. I think now I'm just trusting my movement better. My serve is there. My mind is there. I can finally focus on playing tennis and not so much, you know, about the past. So it's nice to be in the present in my mind, looking ahead, thinking tactics.

So, I don't know, I'm happy where I am right now. I think we did the right thing by taking a slow approach in the preparation week. I think forcing it too early would have been -- I would have maybe had a setback and I couldn't have played at all. Who knows what would have happened.

I think this way we rolled the dice a little bit. Now we are in the fourth round and things are looking much better. I'm really excited how I feel after two five-setters. They weren't even that tough, to be quite honest because there was a lot of 6-1, 6-2 sets. I play pretty fast. I'm confident, you know, in my physical shape. I've done well in five-setters lately. I'm happy that today was straight. But I'm feeling better also. I dug out some great shots today which ended up being crucial, too.

Q. You've played 77 matches on this court, which is a record for a male player. You've won 69, which is a record. You have 90% winning percentage. Can you talk about leaving your mark on Ashe, what it represents in your career.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I never -- I guess I don't think about these numbers while I'm still playing. It's nice to be reminded because it gives me a bit of confidence. But at the same time it's hard to keep it. It's that 90% thing, I know that (smiling).

I'm just happy that I did get the opportunity so often to play on Ashe. I grew up with this court. I think it was celebrating 20 years. I've been coming here since '98. So basically whenever I came here, the court was here. So for me to have left this kind of a mark on this court is an amazing feeling.

I remember when I was growing up, you know, I was seeing Martina Hingis, the Williams sisters, all these great players growing up, watching them play under the lights. I was hoping to maybe be there maybe too particularly one day. But I didn't think I was going to have that many opportunities and such a great run.

So I feel very privileged to walk out every night and get the chance to play on center court. There's a day and night session. There's more opportunities they don't kick you over to Louis Armstrong. I also enjoyed my matches there back in the day.

Ashe has been a good court for me. One of my favorites, no doubt about it.

Q. Last time you were here before this, 2017, two years ago I asked you about the possibility of rebirth of attacking tennis. You said, I hope so. Two years have lapsed. I don't want to ask you about yourself, because today's performance was outstanding. What about other players? Do you think they follow the attacking tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the top guys are playing close to the baseline. Is that attacking tennis? I'm not sure for me. Attacking tennis is still coming to the net and finishing with a volley.

There is a lot of players coming to the net, but it's mostly for an easy forehand volley or a smash, just a putaway. The moment you would hit a shot, then you would have to hit the volley at net height or below the net, a lot of players don't trust themselves that they can win it. I think that won't change for some time.

It's a pity because in some ways I know we return way better than we ever have, but at the same time we also serve bigger than we ever have. If you look how guys are serving first and second serves, how they're able to get 125 miles an hour almost no problem any more these days for anybody.

I think if you would string it together nicely, I think it's still possible. But I think it's not going to happen any time soon. I just think the coaches from the junior level, the development is not quite there. If you have an hour practice, I don't think they probably spend 20 to 30 minutes at net. If that's not the case, you won't perfect that. If you don't perfect it, you're not going to be good at it. It's better to stay at the baseline and slug it out.

You feel good, you know, but you lose sometimes. It's not great.

Q. Have you watched any of the matches of Philipp Kohlschreiber yet? What do you think of him as your next opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I haven't seen much of him. I saw four points maybe of his match against Millman, and otherwise not at all, nothing at all. I don't know why. I guess I missed it. Maybe I was focused too much on my problems, you know, I don't know. Maybe there was other matches going on. Then one day there was no matches at all except on center, so he didn't play then.

Look, I know Philipp very well. Practiced with him a ton. Had some good matches against him in the past. Played him here a few years back, first round or second round. Two years ago I played him actually with the structure, I remember.

Yeah, and he's a good player. Got great rotation on the ball. Plays with a lot of topspin. Has a nice one-handed backhand, which I love to see, of course. He seems in good shape. He's in good physical condition always. Prides himself on working hard.

It's different playing him in a first round than in a fourth round. I'm sure he has also gained confidence. He won his matches in a nice way. So we'll see what happens.

Q. In three weeks you'll be playing Laver Cup. You'll be playing with Rafa on the same team.
ROGER FEDERER: Good for a change, yes. After all these years (smiling).

Q. What do you think about the way you're going to have to build a strategy together?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, the one thing is going to be supporting him. I think the other is just spending time with him, and Bjorn Borg, to be quite honest. For me to spend time with Bjorn, it's quite rare. He doesn't spend so much time on the tour. When he shows up, it's short. I feel every minute you get with him is a privilege.

Here we are, he's going to be stuck with us. So it's going, I think, to be very special for all of us, particularly me. I mean, I have incredible respect for him. I feel like if I could play one player ever going back, I feel like it would be Bjorn. I feel he's that incredibly good, for what he did for the game. If I look how he played, what he brought to it, it's crazy.

So okay, enough of Bjorn.

But Rafa, he's been such a wonderful champion and a good friend of mine on the tour, one of my big rivals for life, that it's just nice to be able to spend some time with him and support him. If I can help him, great. If he can help me, even better. At the same time we have all the younger guys on the team who we're going to hopefully support, as well, come up with hopefully a winning game plan.

I'm happy that all the tickets sold out. I played in that arena years ago in the Davis Cup. It's a wonderful arena. I'm sure it's going to be really successful. I can't wait for it to come around soon enough.

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