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March 15, 2018
Indian Wells, California
R. FEDERER/H. Chung
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Of course you play this sport for the titles, but do you also look forward to these kind of challenges when you have a new player on his way up, new test for you? Of course they are all coming for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm not sure about me, but, yeah, it is a challenge, for sure.
You know, I was asked what did I expect from the match today from Chung, and I wasn't quite sure, you know. I had a plan in place, but then you adjust to it constantly. Maybe it's the wind, maybe it's the opponent, because you just don't know his patterns yet. I like that. I like it when it's the unknown, even though it can be a bit scary, but it's all good.
It was a great atmosphere. It was breezy. Yeah, and he's a great player. I'm happy I found a way. You know, started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set. I think that was the key to the match, those 10, 15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second.
So, no, I'm very happy. It was a good match. I played well.
Q. You brought up it being breezy. You're here in tennis paradise. Had to play through rain and now wind. How do you play through it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, in some ways we're used to having changes of these situations with the weather. I don't know. I'm ready for it, you know. I guess I have played in some sandstorms here and some really breezy conditions here. Now, when we go to Miami next week, it's going to be extremely humid, most likely. That's a big change then again.
And that's what people always ask me, What's your favorite tournament? What do you like in certain places? I think it's that challenge of every place just feels different. You know, if you go to indoors, it's totally different to when you play here or when you go to Miami or when you go to Wimbledon. There is always a different feel because of the weather alone.
Yeah, this week has been different, you know. Day, night, rain, wind, we have had it all. I'm ready. Let's put it that way.
Q. You know a thing or two about longevity. How do you put Tommy's career into perspective after what happened out there tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was very happy to be there for Tommy, for that big moment in Tommy's career.
In the beginning, I guess we had a rivalry, but we knew each other a little bit because we both German-speaking. So, you know, we always got along well.
Especially in the last sort of ten years, ever since he started dating Sara and they had kids eventually, you know, we got to know each other better and better over time. He was always one of my closer friends or closest friends on the tour.
And, yeah, I was always very closely in touch with his decision-making as well, maybe is he going to retire or not. We were always talking a little bit.
I'm just very happy for him that he was able to take this big decision. You know, it's not an easy one, but it should be one of happiness and one of pride, and I think that's what he felt. At the same time, it's emotional. That's what it's supposed to be, right?
So I was happy to be there and to share the moment with him, because it was his moment and it was great to be there.
Q. This is your best start to a calendar year in 12 years since '06. What are some of the things that are different about you now to then?
ROGER FEDERER: 12 years ago, a long time ago. I don't know. What was I doing back then? I don't even remember what tournament I played first up and won.
But, look, honestly I can't remember (smiling). I just -- I guess I had a similar good start to the year. But I guess back then, because I was on this massive streak of winning 30, 40-plus matches, I guess it had already started the year before that, which this time it didn't. I had to get it going again in Australia.
Yeah, no, it's a great start. Hopefully I can do one more and beat my best streak on Saturday. Doesn't matter.
Q. Two-part question. Pete, afterwards, said that, yes, he'd like to play some sets with you. Are you up for that? And, secondly, that historic match against Pete at Wimbledon, what was the key to beating him?
ROGER FEDERER: You're going way back. You guys are challenging my memory.
I think there it was just trying to manage the nerves and trying to stay with Pete as long as possible. And the longer you can stay with a top guy, you know, the more the chances grow, really, that you can all of a sudden sneak in a win, you know.
I remember saving break point, serve and volleying on the second serve in the fifth set, half volley and volleying and then making the volley after that. Those were different days back then. You were living and dying by the sword back then.
And then after that, I had a great return game eventually when I was able to win 7-5 in that fifth set. Picked the right side with the forehand, you know. Felt it was coming to my forehand. I picked it. He didn't serve the perfect serve, and I was right there and hit it for a return winner.
It kind of stung as much as it was joyful. It stung because I had to shake the hand of somebody I admired so much, and I knew how much it would hurt him and it would mean to me. It was a very odd moment.
But I'm happy I had the opportunity to be on court with him. Yes, I always would like to play with Pete. Because even nowadays, if I go hit balls with him, I see what made him so great. And I would still feel, like, even just hitting balls with him, I would learn with him.
Because those were different days and they had such different qualities than we have today, but he was the modern version of the older generation. So he was the bridge, really, if you like.
Q. Just when you thought that there couldn't be any more different stats about your record, something else crops up.
ROGER FEDERER: What is that?
Q. Now it's like this is the sixth event where you have won 60 or more matches.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay.
Q. Do you get blasÃ© about these things?
ROGER FEDERER: (Shrugging.) I don't know. Sounds like a lot, but at the same time, I don't know how many people have done that or -- I mean, when you're in the game for long enough and successfully enough, these things just tend to happen, I believe.
It's not something you can ever chase or -- yeah, it just shows me that I have played Indian Wells a lot, I have liked it a lot, and I kind of like the conditions here.
I guess what I like about these six different tournaments you talked about, they are all very different from one another, so that makes me very happy that I can play in different conditions, different situations with weather, surfaces, if you like.
But to get to that number, you have to play the event a lot. Otherwise, you'll never get there.
So I have been also fortunate enough to maybe not be injured in this time of year too often, which has helped as well.
Q. You just said you liked this tournament a lot. I wanted to get your take on what you think about the project that began three years ago with the murals of the champions they are doing here at Indian Wells. What do you think about the project and about the mural you unveiled last week?
ROGER FEDERER: I liked it. It was well done. I met the artist, as well. I thought he did a good job. It's very different. I've never seen something like that.
I've seen the other murals before that, actually, in sort of the champions' lounge there when you wait there going to center court of Novak and other legends of the game. Billie Jean there was one, too. They all looked very artsy, very nice.
So to have one of myself now that maybe people would like to take pictures with -- I'm not sure -- it's nice.
I enjoyed a lot spending time with the children because they had an art project about it, which I guess is nice to get them excited about tennis and maybe about me, as well, to me bringing them in. We had a great time. They were super happy. We met them all here and I took them over. We had a good time.
So that's what I remember the most, really, to be honest.
Q. There has been so much talk about the NextGen of players. You and Venus are facing young players in the semis. Here, you and Venus are here again in the semis of a major tournament. What's that say about the benefit of experience in today's game or what does that say specifically about your game?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that experience is a good thing, too. It's not just about the young legs. You have to put the ball in the right place and run more, and eventually maybe they do get tired. I'm not sure.
Yeah, look, there is always going to be up-and-coming players. Some are better than others. Same with the older players. Some are better than others.
I'm just happy that I'm able to keep up a good level. Same for Venus. Really happy for her that she's really consistently easily making all these semis and finals and winning tournaments. It's great.
And the young guys are still calibrating their game, understanding what they need to do. They are still working on a lot of things. There's a lot of new things to them, like the pressroom and the promotional stuff and sponsors and fans and all that stuff.
So there is a lot on the plate for them, but they will learn and they'll get better and eventually push us out and that was the end from us.
So pretty simple (smiling). Makes sense, right? That's just how life is.
Q. When will we have the pleasure of having you play at the Open at Acapulco?
ROGER FEDERER: If there is a chance I play Acapulco?
Q. When we will have the pleasure of...
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, when? I don't know. Thing is, it's during the same time as Dubai, which I have an apartment in Dubai, and I have always played there. This year, for the first time, I didn't play Dubai either.
But I haven't made plans yet for next Feb, but rather doubtful I will go to play Acapulco, to be quite honest. Depend on the schedule of family, whether we stay in Dubai or stay in Switzerland.
I have heard great things. Players like the tournament, they said it's well-run and good crowds, which would always be very attractive to find out how that atmosphere would play.
Last time I played in Mexico was 1996 in the juniors, Mexico City. So it's a long time ago. I should be going back at one point.
Q. What impressed you about Chung tonight? What about his game?
ROGER FEDERER: Good intensity. Solid in his mind. I like his speed of shots, you know, forehand and backhand. There's always -- yeah, it's a heavy ball, and he's very consistent. In today's game, that's a lot. And then he's good on the defense, and he also likes to come to the net.
So I see a lot of good things moving forward for him.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports