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January 16, 2018

Roger Federer

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

R. FEDERER/A. Bedene

6-3, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The courts, do you think it's slower than last year, faster or about the same speed?
ROGER FEDERER: The same. I'd say it's the same. But last year is a long time ago. I feel it's pretty much the same. It felt fast tonight. Normally at the nighttime it feels slower.

But I think Bedene and myself, we were really trying to take the ball early, go through our shots. It felt pretty fast out there tonight. That's how it also felt last year.

When you do serve well and connect well on shots, you get rewarded for it.

Q. Monfils is playing against Djokovic in the next round Thursday. He says top players, when they come back, even after six months, they're as good as they were before just because they come back and they're ready. Is it that easy?
ROGER FEDERER: Is it that easy? I don't know. For me it wasn't simple either. It always looks that way when we do return. It just seems logical.

I do maybe think if you put Rafa, myself and Novak together, I think because we have margin maybe against a lot of the players normally, when we do come back, we can find that level maybe. Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way and eventually play good again, whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more difficult.

Yeah, I think then because of our results, we just back ourselves. Mentally and physically we're going to be there. The question is, is our game good enough.

I think that's why it's very interesting to follow the comebacks of the great players that have been injured: Stan, Novak of course this week.

This is a big test to play Gael in the second round. I think it's going to be very interesting. I didn't see much of Novak today, but the result shows he was breezing. But this one's clearly a big test against Gael. Follow that one closely.

Q. You've watched a lot of Belinda Bencic over the past two Januarys. She won yesterday. What specifically did you like about her game when you saw her?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not the coach, but I can talk about women's tennis a little bit. It is true, I've spent some time with her. I saw her play by my side in the doubles. I'm very happy for her. She was able to keep her streak going from end of last year through the Hopman Cup, now here as well. Even on Rod Laver Arena against Venus, she's able to bring it. That shows the pressure situations are not really a problem for her. She's still so young, she has a great career ahead of herself.

I try to help her where I can. Like, I feel like that's what you do when you spend time together. I've gone through so many things in my career that I know have worked and not worked. You can tell her about these experiences.

She works so hard with Melanie, Martina's mom, and also her dad over all the years. Now she has a new team that seems to work really well.

I'm just happy she's in a good place and results are showing. I hope she's going to have a great year this year, not like last year where things were really complicated with her wrist and stuff.

She changes direction very well, great returns, always on the offense. Still so much to improve. It's a great base to have really.

Q. What was it like out there with Will Ferrell? Are you a fan of his?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, a surprise. I didn't know that was going to happen. That was fun. I haven't met him a lot, to be honest. Actually I saw him when I started the match, then I totally forgot he sat there. At the end, I realized he is still actually there. That's when he walked out onto center court.

It was nice to have Hollywood present here in Melbourne in combination with tennis. People seemed to enjoy themselves. Great to see Johnny Mack, too. Love the guy. It was a fun interview, I thought. I don't know about you guys, but I enjoyed it.

Q. Who is the better interview, Will Ferrell or John McEnroe?
ROGER FEDERER: Totally different. Will Ferrell is a bit more intense, I thought. I was a bit scared. Stood there, didn't look at me, just was like focusing on the questions. I was a bit worried it was going to come my way. I'm happy I dodged some questions there (laughter).

Q. Since you turned pro, you've done something like three thousand on-court interviews after matches.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure about that.

Q. How do you keep up your interest, your enthusiasm for it?
ROGER FEDERER: For any interview, you mean?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I don't know how I do it.

Well, number one, I think talking in different languages is always an interesting thing. So that's challenging for me, trying to get the sentences right, to be quite honest. Swiss German it's simple. It's where I feel most comfortable, clearly.

But I kind of grew up with it a little bit, so I know how to handle it now and also take joy out of it. I think it is important. I try to see the press as sort of a bridge. Hopefully it's a good story for the people who read it or are watching it on TV, that they think, I don't know, tennis is a great sport, it's actually interesting. I'm giving them maybe more than just like, My forehand worked well, the second serve I have to improve. You walk away. That was boring. I always try to give it a little bit something extra.

I've maybe said a few too many things sometimes, but I try to be honest. For the most part, you know, it's served me well. I've always tried to remain myself as well. It's always been a challenge not to change over time but adapt to the new situation of being higher ranked, being asked interesting questions over the years.

I know you guys have a job to do. I also have to do it. I felt like sometimes we overdo it. Too many press conferences after every single game. If there's a better story than me winning a match 6-2, 6-2 in the first round at some tournament, I think that deserves the credit, not maybe my match. I get it. They have to put me in front of the press. I just go with it.

Sometimes also I wish I was elsewhere. Tonight I'm happy to be here, so it's all good (smiling).

Q. You said you get it. Do you think some of the other players don't get it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, others struggle with it. I feel they're fearful of you guys just because they feel they have been misinterpreted in the past. I felt that in the very beginning of my career. Very quickly as a player, if you get a certain personality, you get put in a certain drawer. He's the funny guy, he's the serious guy, he's the boring guy, whatever. You fight with that for quite a long period of time. Sometimes, of course, you are right. It's not a confidence builder then sometimes.

That power of the microphone is a funny thing. Some players I think struggle with it. I would like to see more players just being really themselves in front of the press, being more relaxed about it, not worrying so much about making mistakes.

You guys know not every word should be twisted. You know maybe how he meant it, don't make him pay so badly for a mistake. You'd rather see that than robots left, right and center. I feel like sometimes some players have gotten a little bit too robot like. I wish they would let loose and be themselves. I try to always do that. It's not always easy, but I try hard.

Q. Apparently 92 million people saw your video with the pasta, with Barilla. I think there were 60 million on YouTube, 30 on Facebook, I don't know.
ROGER FEDERER: Keep going, keep going. Get to the point (smiling).

Q. How long did it take you to do that, where you put the leaf that has to go on the pasta?
ROGER FEDERER: For the whole thing, 10 hours, in Milano.

Q. Were you able to do the tomato changes with the balls?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, that was not a problem. The fire, flipping.

Q. Which was more difficult?
ROGER FEDERER: They wanted me to be careful when I chopped fast. Then I pretended not to look sometimes even. That was a bit weird.

No, it was good fun. The thing with the leaf at the end, with the basil...

Q. It's not basil. They're saying it's mint.
ROGER FEDERER: Anyway, maybe 45 minutes for that sequence. A lot of focusing.

Q. It's meant to be a hot one on Thursday. Will you be putting a request for another night match?
ROGER FEDERER: If I can choose, I always prefer to be in the same. Either I play all day, all night. I know it's not always possible. I'll ask for a night match just because I played night tonight. It's just easier, to be honest, rather than going from night to day to night to day to night to day. It's also good for the rhythm, the feel on the court.

At the end, the tournament makes the call. They have a lot of matches. Sure, you can put in requests. At this level of the tournament, so many guys, you don't know what's going to happen.

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