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September 21, 2017
Prague, Czech Republic
EUROPE vs. THE WORLD
Prague, Czech Republic
An interview with:
CAPTAIN BJÃƒâ€“RN BORG
THE MODERATOR: Question for Team Europe.
Q. Roger, would you comment on the season that Rafael has had so far before the Laver Cup?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, pretty good. We're happy with his level. Obviously was a dream season for him winning his 10th French Open. I think we don't have to say much about that.
I think he left us all very impressed how he could do that in Paris again for the 10th time. And then of course I think the start to the season was good for him in Australia, and basically he just kept rolling.
Winning the US Open, he has all the confidence which is hopefully going to serve us well at the Laver Cup.
Q. You know him so well. Were you surprised to see him coming back to No. 1 so quickly?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, No. 1 also, you always need a lot of good play, but also, it needs to line up in the right way at the right time. And he was right there.
Am I surprised that he's world No. 1 right now? Maybe a little bit, just because last year we were at the academy, you know, both injured, not knowing where our careers were going to go. I'm not surprised he came back and won the French Open and he wins Grand Slams again and that he was in contention for world No. 1.
But then being world No. 1 is a whole different story. For that you also have to see how Murray was going to play, and Djokovic was going to have a word to say, obviously. We didn't know they were going to get hurt and not have their best season.
So super impressive. I'm very happy for him.
Q. Where, for you, did the idea start? Can you just talk about your involvement in putting it together?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I always had the feeling it would be great to honor the past, you know, because I feel like we struggled to have a decent platform for the legends of the game, because either you're a coach or a commentator. There is no in-between, really.
Not every legend wants to come to a tournament and having to talk about the present game, because they maybe don't want to be in the press and everybody to know what they think of a certain player or certain rivalry.
That was my initial thought, was that maybe we could have a celebration of tennis on the weekend, and that was it, you know.
And then really other people took it to the next level and came up with ideas of, you know, having a sort of Ryder Cup system. I don't know that much about it, to be honest. I have seen it a couple of times, but it's not like I dream about it every night; whereas others have.
But it's super emotional. It's intense. That's what we like about it. Then here we are right now and it's really, really exciting to see BjÃƒÂ¶rn and John back in the game and honoring the great man in Rod Laver who we all look up to, really.
Q. You have never captained a team before. How has that progressed so far and what will it be like for you?
CAPTAIN BORG: Well, so far, so good. I hope we're going to be the winner on Sunday, too.
When they asked me to be the captain for Team Europe, it was an honor and I was very happy to be part of Laver Cup. You know, to be a captain and to be with these guys here next to me, it's an honor. I have been watching these guys for years, still involved with tennis.
And come to Prague and to have this event, I mean, it's very rarely that when these players are playing in the same team except when they play Davis Cup. But this is a very special occasion, and I believe it's going to be a great weekend with a lot of good tennis, two great teams.
In the future, I think this is going to progress and be a really huge event in the future.
Q. One of the things about the Ryder Cup is that it's an extremely competitive event. Players are extremely passionate about it. Crowds are extremely passionate about it. They care about the result big time. How important is it for you, this event going forward, to try and sort of recreate that so that the fans and the players have this kind of real visceral passion to want to win?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's going to be vital. That's why I'm very excited to see that the guys all arrived a day early. You know, they were supposed to arrive on Wednesday. They all came in on Tuesday. Everybody seems really eager to play, to win.
We have been strategizing last night, so from our side, I think we will be ready and we are giving everything we have in the honor of BjÃƒÂ¶rn and Team Europe, and then we hope that the fans follow suit. But of course we have to give it the passion and the energy. Without that, the fans are just going to sit there and maybe enjoy some tennis but they're not going to get into it.
I hope that while we are playing on home soil, the fans are going to understand how much we need their support and how lovely it would be if everybody got really excited and make this event something very unique and special for years to come. But it's clearly crucial.
Q. Off the court, away from the court, have the two teams been quite separate?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we are in different hotels.
Q. It's not like a load of you are all mixing together?
ROGER FEDERER: No, only just here on-site and, you know, walking up and down the corridor.
Yeah, no, we are very much in our own team. You know, we are friendly, because that's how we are, but that's for now (smiling). On the weekend I think it's going to be different.
Q. Rafa, is this an exhibition or something else? If so, why?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is not an exhibition at all. No, no, I don't think, no, guys? (Laughter.)
No, we are here to try our best, no? I wake up today since 4:00 in the morning to practice. An exhibition match, I don't practice before an exhibition match normally, no.
We are here to try our best. We are here to try to win. Not at all like a friendly match, no? We are here to really play with passion and to play for our continent, no?
We have a great team behind us. We want to do it well for all of them. Let's see if we are able to do it.
Q. Tomas, you played Davis Cup finals in this arena. They haven't started yet, but compare at all the sense of the anticipation around the city with those other events.
TOMAS BERDYCH: I don't think we have to comparing those events, because everyone has its on place. I think what's very important is that I think the Czech crowd is a very good tennis crowd.
I think, as has been said here at the beginning, it's the most important thing when also the crowd's going to get passionate about it. Once they gonna see the energy from the players and from our team, I think they gonna support us a lot. That's what they have done in the past with, you know, our Davis Cup team, but now it's a completely different story, so I think it's going to be a great weekend.
You know, I'm very proud and also happy that the first-ever Laver Cup is happening here in Prague.
Q. Rafa, obviously you are here to focus and to play tennis, but if you can answer about your country, what's your thought about efforts in Catalonia to hold independence referendum and what do you think about the government to prevent it from happening?
RAFAEL NADAL: I tell you one thing, is difficult for me to explain something like this that is very serious and sad at the same time in the language that is not my language.
If I say one thing in English that is not 100% right, gonna be difficult for me to explain the right way. I explained, I talked about that a couple of times in a row the last couple of days in my language, and I talked enough about this, no?
The only thing that I can say is I love Catalonia. I really feel from Spain, so I can't imagine Spain without Catalonia and Catalonia without Spain.
I don't want to see it, but that's something that is happening, and the only thing that I would love if we can make talking, we can make good resolution on the problem. That's the only thing that I would love and probably that most of the people of my country wants. We don't want fights and we don't want problems, no?
I believe we are much better together and stronger.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports