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November 12, 2017

Roger Federer

London, England, United Kingdom


6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you feel this was an ideal start for you in this tournament or do you think there's still many places higher for you to go?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of the level?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think we're all going to start playing better every round that goes by, you know. It's just still early days in the tournament. Can't expect to play your best against the best players in the world in that first match.

I think, like I explained on the court in the interview, it was more about managing the match rather than actually having a certain way how you play and what you were really thinking about.

Sure, I had a tactical plan with my team. But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard because at the end you're just happy to be serving well. Focus on that first, and then on the return game sort of try your best, try to keep the ball in play, and go from there.

I think that's the difficulty in a first round usually at any tournament. Here it's amplified because it's against a fellow top-10 player. It just makes things really, really difficult sometimes.

Q. After the final in Basel, you said you felt your body was asking you for a break. Are you happy with the way you recovered these two weeks? How do you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, took me long time to recover really, to be honest. I had a very slow week the Paris week. But also, other than the charity match, the Andy Murray Live match in Scotland, I also didn't do that much. The last sort of Thursday, Friday - especially Friday, Saturday, sorry - were my more intense days. Other than that, I didn't do much.

I'm happy that I was able to come out today and had actually good energy. This is the best I've felt since the del Potro finals. I'm very happy to see that I didn't have to pay the price for taking it easy, you know, resting, recovering. But then turning it up the last few days got me in shape for today.

Now I think I'm in the tournament. Now there's no more turning back. Just full steam ahead every match that comes.

Q. How many times has an opponent turned around to present his backside to you as you're running to the net? And how much of a distraction was that?
ROGER FEDERER: It was a big distraction, I'll tell you that, because it was very big (laughter). That's what I should have aimed for. That target was bigger than the down-the-line court that I had.

It's happened sometimes in the past, but not on a big stage like this.

Q. Usual question whenever we start this tournament. What do you think about the playing conditions? And what happened to that kilt?
ROGER FEDERER: So playing conditions. From what I was told, they changed the speed last year a little bit. I do feel it's a bit faster than in previous years.

Don't think it's a bad thing, because we did see some very one-sided matches in the past. Don't know what the reason was, if it was just a fluke that it happened to be that way or actually just that the better baseliner just really outplayed the other.

I think by having a faster court like we saw today, maybe I also was the better player on the day today, but I missed some opportunities in some crucial moments on the breakpoints. Ended up paying the price for it. Going into a breaker, you don't know what's going to happen.

I think it's going to keep the results closer to one another. It's going to be tougher to break. I do believe if you protect your serve well here, you're in good shape. You can free swing better maybe on the return.

The kilt? We're not in Scotland any more, so the kilt gets put in the closet really for the time being (smiling).

Q. Speaking of the kilt wearing, just wondering what your considered impression, being at the opposite end of the court from Andy, how you thought he was, the power and the pace, his movement?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, first, it was a great feeling to be on a court again with him. I've missed him. Like I said at the press conference there, it was a great experience in Glasgow to do something good for other people, other charities with a legend of the game. I love teaming up. I think we could do more of it. It's just always tough to have those exhibitions organized, and where you place them in the calendar year because there's tournaments from January to November. It's just always packed. That was a nice thing to do.

In terms of Andy, I thought, considering that he has been totally out of the spotlight, I think in some ways it was a brave move for him to just put himself out there, give it a go. Nobody really knew how he was doing. It would have been easy for him to just say, You know what, I'll have somebody else play. Tickets are sold out. Roger is coming. I can make somebody else play Roger maybe. It will be still maybe a successful story.

I think the fans were excited to see Andy play. He got great support, which I was happy to see in my rival's home country. To see him getting this much support was beautiful.

I was actually happy how he was playing. Definitely he can move better, he can serve better. We know all these things. For a start, I think it was actually quite encouraging and actually okay.

He still has a lot of time before Australia comes around, but only he knows at what level he wants to return to competition. But I thought he was actually pretty good. I didn't expect him to be this good yet.

Q. When you decided not to play Paris, you took yourself out of contention for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Rafa got that trophy today. Is there a small part of you that wished it was still on the line here? How did you get to the decision to not use that as a factor?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I was supposed to do the Sky interview afterwards, and they wanted to talk to me about the tactical element of the match. The Rafa trophy presentation was going on.

They said, Is it okay to wait?

I said, Well, yeah, I better wait because this is a big deal. This is a huge thing.

All the players were playing for maybe world No. 1. He was better throughout the year. He played more tournaments. He was incredibly successful throughout. So, no, I don't have any regrets because I feel like in my stage of my competition, my age, either it comes to me or it doesn't.

He had more, you know, gas left in the tank than I did. I couldn't play as much as I've wanted, or I overplayed anyway. My only regret was I would have loved to be in contention through the Montreal finals, Cincinnati, US Open. But things evaporated very quickly after he won the US Open. That's when he made his final push, was in Asia. That was it for me really.

In some ways I'm happy he clinched it because he deserves it. And like this, I can focus on playing the tournament, and not having to talk about that at the same time.

But, sure, I would have loved to be it, but you can't be it with that many tournaments, so it's no problem for me.

Q. Rafa said here the other day one of the reasons he thinks why he's never won this title is because it's never been played on clay. Do you think it would be fair if maybe just one year this tournament was played on clay?
ROGER FEDERER: 'Fair'? I'm not sure if it's the right word. But I think it's right and fair that it's indoors, as well. There is no Masters 1000s on grass. There is one Masters 1000 indoors: Paris. So I feel like indoors also deserves its place, you know.

Could it be switched up to clay once in a while? Yeah, maybe. Could we have more 1000s on grass? Yeah, we could have that, too. Could we have less on clay, more or hard courts? Could we have more or hard courts, less on clay? Yes, it's all debatable.

I think it's not the time of the year for clay, so there you have it (smiling). You can do indoor clay, I guess, but that's a bit silly. But I get his point, and it's a fair point.

Q. Several of the guys that are playing with you here this week were also involved in the Laver Cup. You had a great atmosphere. Have you felt that mood has carried over here like in the players lounge? Have you picked up any special insights from the Laver Cup week that carried into this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the player restaurant, I was the only guy with Jack today because the other guys were practicing at other times. But I see what you're saying.

Yeah, no, I do feel like the Laver Cup has made us get to know each other a bit better. I mean, we have each other's telephone numbers now, all of us. That wasn't the case beforehand. We anyway knew we'd see each other all the time, so it's nice to kind of be able to connect if you wanted to with the guys.

I felt like at the ATP ceremony and the official presentation, I did feel a sort of camaraderie, cool rivalry, but yet friendship going on, which I think is nice to see. We are all together on the boat. We're all hanging out, all talking to each other. I'm not sure if that was always the case in previous years.

It's not that we didn't get along, but we didn't know each other that well, to be quite frank. I see good things being carried over by the Laver Cup without forgetting at the end of the day we are rivals, as well, you know.

Q. Can you say a few words about Severin, what makes this relationship so special. Does he get the tribute that he deserves publicly because he's never won an award like Coach of the Year or something?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's only been for two years that we have that award. But, yeah, I do believe he doesn't get the credit he deserves because he doesn't speak to you guys or the press very often. He didn't want to do it for years. He doesn't want to polish up his reputation. He's there trying to help me as much as possible.

He's a great friend, especially a great coach for me, otherwise he wouldn't be on the team. If he was just a friend, I think he would do work. As a coach, he's really valuable to me. He knows my game very well. He knows my practice sessions very well. He knows what I need to work on. He knows what makes me happy and sad. He knows my team members very well. So he's crucial to the team.

But I do believe that he doesn't get the credit he deserves, yes.

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