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January 14, 2018

Roger Federer

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Yesterday we saw you play alongside the Marvel superheroes. If you could have a super power, what would it be and what would you use it for?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, flying. The hammer, Thor's hammer.

No, I like the superheroes. It was great fun. I mean, my kids are there, as well. I think here also for Tennis Australia, the Australian Open, to do that every year, I think it's great. This year having the superheroes was great fun. I really enjoyed myself.

Q. Sitting in that chair now compared to one year ago, how do you feel within yourself about your expectations compared to a year ago?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, totally different. You know, this year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win. It was more of a 'let's see what happens' kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan or others are going through this year. It's like, let's just see what happens.

I'm not at 100%, but you never know in a week's time what's going to be happening. If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That's what happened for me last year. All ended up way better than I thought it would, as you know.

Yeah, it was the tournament of the year for me, no doubt about it. All the five-setters, as well. Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations, like now this year again.

With age, I feel like, you know, I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament, it should not be the case. That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career.

Q. Realistically you are probably the favorite, so what do you make of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, maybe that's some people's opinion maybe. You know, I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favorites, too.

At the end of the day, it's all just talk beforehand. The draws are always tough, you know, I must admit. Never look at a draw and think, That was lucky, that was a bad draw. It's always tough because everybody can play.

My focus, yeah, needs to be early because I have my own problems, you know, to get through my section of the draw, my game. That's my focus, not the other players really further down the line.

It's nice that one year later I am 2 in the world and seeded highly. Okay, I have even more points to defend this year rather than last year. Last year I was looking at slipping outside the top 30. This year that's not going to happen.

It's just great to be back. I'm so, so happy the Australian Open, it's time again. I can't believe it's been a year, but it's okay. I'll make the most of it.

Q. Are you happy with the last week of practice? Everything went as you wanted?
ROGER FEDERER: Uh-huh. Busy. A lot going on with media, sponsors, practice. It was intense. I was able to practice as much as I've wanted to, which is good, which I didn't do at the US Open. There it was all about managing the energy and the body, hoping to be able to play. Whereas here, it's been constantly playing, practice how hopefully I can play during the Australian Open.

The Hopman Cup went very well. It was a great preparation last year. I think it's going to be helpful again for me this year because the court plays exactly the same in Perth and here in Melbourne.

Yeah, practice is perfect. Nothing to complain about.

Q. You practiced with David Goffin. What do you think of his chances here? You could face him in the quarters. Last time you played at ATP World Tour Finals, he beat you.
ROGER FEDERER: I think he's going to have a good year. I'm sure the year end he had with the amount of tournaments that he was able to play and also win, then beat the higher-ranked players, I think that's going to give him some confidence, some information also about how to approach bigger matches, how to play against the best players.

Beating the likes of myself and Rafa in the same tournaments is something that maybe is never going to happen again, to beat that kind of amount of players in a short period of time. Also the Davis Cup, I think last year, you know, helped him to grow, again, as a player.

So I think he's going to be tough to beat. He's in his prime right now. So I expect him to be tough, no doubt.

Q. Rafa said yesterday he thought tennis should maybe look at the number of injuries that the top players have suffered recently. Do you think there's any need for that, or do you think it's a bit of coincidence what's been happening the last year or two?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, for me it was a coincidence, you know. Then again, I guess it's a little bit normal, too, not to be always 100% fit and healthy. The moment when top guys are hurt, you guys know about it. So it's not like we can cover it up so easily, you know. There's maybe many other players that are injured right now, but we don't talk about it because they're playing on Court 25. I think that also makes a bit of a difference.

But, I mean, the ATP is looking into it. From what I heard, there was actually less injuries throughout. Okay, then what is an injury? How bad is an injury? It's all interpretation, I guess.

You know, I always said it like the moment I guess you reach 30, it's normal to maybe have some signs of usage of the body, whatever you want to call it, you know.

But the players and their trainers and the tour and everybody should try their very best, you know, to try to make sure they can avoid injuries. Is that by playing less? Is that by training different? Is that by playing a different schedule?

Whose responsibility is it at the end of the day? I think it's the players. Sometimes you do get unlucky. Like a soccer team, sometimes you have seasons where more guys are hurt than others.

I think we're professional, we know how to warm up, we know what to do. Later on things become a bit more tricky. But I think that goes with the business.

Q. When people talk about injuries like Andy Murray had, Novak Djokovic had, they say they're baseline grinders, bound to injure themselves more, whereas Roger, he has a less physically demanding game. How much does that ignore the sheer hard work which has to be put in to get a 36-year-old body ready for the court? And is there a particular training thing you have to do that you don't look forward to?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, the off-season is tougher than playing tournaments - for me anyway. I work hard in the off-season to create a base that serves me well throughout the season, and then I rework the base time and time again throughout the season. I think that's very important.

Now, I think attacking tennis also has a lot of wear and tear on the body because being highly explosive is something that's a big challenge. Playing more of a reactive game is maybe more physical in the sense that you play longer rallies, you spend more time on the court, but it's always pretty much the same. It's a similar rhythm. There's not that much sprints going on in this regard.

Then again, we talk about Murray and Djokovic being grinders. I mean, I think they actually play quite aggressive. To be honest, everybody. Even Rafa is standing closer to the baseline normally than he ever has in the past as well.

Look, I just think injuries can occur in one single moment when you come down from a serve. You're like, How did that happen? Sometimes you just don't know. Sometimes it's unexplainable how certain injuries happen.

I've played thousands of matches in my life, and I'm sure I've gotten lucky throughout my career. But sometimes you have to take a minute and talk to the team about it, like how we're going to approach these next three months, next year, next day. Everything needs to be perfectly planned, I think, to avoid as many injuries as possible.

Q. When you look back on your last season, you said you picked up Nishikori's match here. Why did you pick up that match? Was that a turning point for your career last season?
ROGER FEDERER: Not my career, but it was a big match because I played a great match against Berdych I think the round before, then I played against Kei in the next match. I was down 5-Love in the first set thinking, Okay, that might be the end of my Australian Open run.

I fought back in that set, came back to the breaker, almost won the set, could have won the set. I ended up losing it. I thought, Okay, at least I fought, probably going to lose this whole match now, but at least I gave it a go.

Probably paid off because I was the fitter player in the fifth set, which was great. At an older age, after everything I went through in the off-season, it actually did pay off. I think it gave me a lot of, lot of information and confidence moving forward.

Also the way I felt the day after, and two days after, when I played Zverev. I felt fresh, ready to go. It was a great sensation. It was a great feeling, really, to be honest.

I think the Kei match was definitely very important for my run for the entire season last year. Yes, I was very happy.

Q. Given your current form, the events that you've been involved in like Laver Cup, Hopman Cup, would you say you're enjoying your tennis more than ever at the moment?
ROGER FEDERER: I've always enjoyed it, you know. Do I enjoy it more now? It's unfair if I say yes, because I felt like I loved the time when I was coming up and playing my heroes from TV. I mean, that was extremely cool, you know. It's like a little boy in the candy store back in the day.

When I was No. 1 in the world, winning all these tournaments, that was a lot of fun, too. That was okay (smiling).

Now it's different. Now I have a big family. I have a lot of friends that travel the world with me. I get to see familiar faces again at all these events because I've made so many friends over the course of my career. I'm so happy to come back to Melbourne, see all my friends that live here in Melbourne, so forth.

It just seems that it's nice that it's never actually gone away, the fun aspect of actually enjoying the travel, coming back to Australia. Yeah, it's great times in my life and in my career that we can make it all work, that I can still play tennis. My wife is incredibly supportive. It's definitely great times. Is it the best ever? I'm not sure. It's definitely a lot of fun right now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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