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July 9, 2018

Roger Federer

Wimbledon, London, England

R. FEDERER/A. Mannarino

6-0, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You haven't lost a set in this tournament since 2016. Could you speak to the difficulty of doing that over any stretch of your career. It compares to a stretch in 2005 and '6. How this compares to that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wouldn't know that it happened in '5 and '6. I feel like these streaks just happen. You can't plan for them anyway because one point can change the outcome of a set. If you break it down, it could be one shot really. That's not something you can always control.

Of course, if you give yourself maximum chances, you're playing well, you have super focus, then these streaks are kind of possible.

Look, I'm equally happy if I would have won all the matches in four sets. That it happened to be in straights, it helps me for the season, to save energy, it helps me to save energy for the rest of the tournament.

I don't think it's something anybody aims for, is to win every match in straight sets. It's like today, I hope I get off to a good start, go from there. If it happens, it happens. It shouldn't be, for the player or for me, a shock, and, Oh, my God, I can't believe it, I lost a set. It's part of what a tennis match is about.

Maybe for the press, maybe for the fans, Oh, wow, he lost a set. Maybe there is a vibe there. For me personally, there's not much of a change just because I lost a set.

Q. You spoke earlier about things you do to stay curious, sort of inspired on court, like sneak attacks on returns. Talk about how you're doing that these days or today.
ROGER FEDERER: To stay inspired?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: That's why I like playing on grass, I guess. There is always the occasional approach shot that the opponent has to come in because you're dragging him in, he doesn't hit and go back. Same for me. All of a sudden there's a short ball, you come in, there's passing shots, lobs, dinks and stuff. That's why I like playing on the grass.

In practice at the moment, I'm not working on anything specific. It's really about being just solid. The goal is to win matches and not to be too creative right now. That's going to happen naturally if I play well. I'm really just focused on that.

Q. Even on the rest day, I saw you getting mobbed by kids who wanted selfies with you and stuff. Everyone wants a piece of you. Does it ever, throughout your career, been overwhelming or affected you negatively?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean negative, not really. It's a lot sometimes. But, like, yesterday it's different because the majority of the people were all juniors. I was them a long, long time ago. I still remember it. I would have loved to probably also take a picture with, you know, some of the players. So from that standpoint, I also told the team, How shall we handle this? Do you want to take some pictures or tell everybody, Look, it's not the moment.

It's juniors. I'm happy to take a lot of pictures today. And maybe you do less, like today, you do hardly any pictures. So from that standpoint, goes in phases.

But it's true that sometimes I'm also tired. But I think that's why also I need breaks away from the tour sometimes, when you are maybe more in the center of attention like now. I enjoy being in the center, but then when I'm on vacation or on a training block, I'm happy I don't get swamped like this with requests for autographs and pictures.

For the time being I love it because it means they look up to me or they're excited or maybe I can inspire them, motivate them, with a little quote here and there or a picture. It's all good.

Q. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but on the final there's a potential clash with the World Cup final. Obviously England potentially could get through the semifinal and be playing at the same time as perhaps yourself on Sunday. Would you be concerned about the fact people can watch simultaneously the World Cup match, be reacting to that, while in Centre Court? Would it detract from the atmosphere?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's going to happen anyway, if I'm going in the final or not, the Wimbledon final will take place, and so will the World Cup final (smiling). I'm more concerned the World Cup final will have issues because the Wimbledon final is going on. They'll hear every point, Wow, Love-15, 15-30. The players are going to look up in the crowd and not understand what's going on at Wimbledon.

That's how important Wimbledon is to me and to us over here. Maybe you should ask the questions over in Russia, how they're going to feel about Wimbledon being played at the same time, so...

Q. John Isner made the second week here for the first time. He was saying one of the factors was courts playing harder and firmer, bouncing higher, which helps his serve, which he thought would also help a guy like Nadal. Have you sensed a difference in that? Do you think courts this year could favor a different group of guys than guys who succeeded here the last couple years?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, especially the first week. Because I think the first two matches are the ones that are maybe most uncomfortable for a bunch of guys. I think because it's been so hot, the ground has been so hard, there's been more bounce in it, it's been easier to move. When it's damp, wetter, more humid in the air, I think it's more tricky for, let's say, the baseliner, maybe even for a big server because it's harder for him to move, as well.

It's definitely helped a certain style of player, maybe the big servers, maybe sort of the good baseliners. But the second week I always feel like it plays different. The court is used in the back. You can move better. Then it's just a question, like, how warm is it, like what he said, the ball does bounce and go now.

I think back of the Roddick final I had against him, I couldn't break him for the longest time just because the ball was shooting through. It was really hard to break. The same with del Potro semis in the Olympics. Also felt like on a hot day it was just really hard to break, as well.

I'm sure it does help a different type of player this last week.

Q. He obviously gave you a decent challenge at the end. The first set took 16 minutes. Is there a tiny part of you when that happens when you think, this is the fourth round of Wimbledon, playing a guy in the top 30, I'm 36, is there a tiny part of you that kind of thinks, Why aren't you offering more here?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I'm telling myself why didn't I break the first game of the second, you know. Yeah, I mean, I told my team the other day that for me also, after all these years, it is surprising to be the No. 1 seed, in the top two rankings at 36. I didn't think that was ever going to happen, to be honest.

That has been the surprise for me, that sometimes there is a set like this against a player who is not the biggest server, it can happen. Then he showed that he is top 30 after all, he played two good sets after that.

I think it's a tough matchup for him maybe against me. I'm not sure. But, sure, I was also surprised it was that fast, that first set, especially 16 minutes, like you said. That was too fast. Shouldn't really happen, but thankfully they do for me. I probably won't have another 6-0 set this week, so I'll enjoy this one.

Q. The word 'surprise', at the level you are, you know so many things, read everything about tennis, you could be more surprised about yourself one day, what happened about yourself, inside your tennis, your mind, or your opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't understand. I'm sorry.

Q. If you have more fear about yourself one day, bad day about yourself, you don't understand why, or something that your opponent is doing that day, that specific day?
ROGER FEDERER: What I'm more worried about?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe similar. I feel like it's the same. I know that my level at this stage doesn't drop under a certain level, and I also feel like I can be only surprised so much because I won't underestimate my opponent. I feel there is on both ends, you know, a feeling of, you know, how good can he play or how bad can I play, and how does that match up.

But I do believe that me, the top player, many top players, can lose against a lot of the guys, even going all the way down to 200 in the world. I feel like everybody who is within the top 250 maybe has a chance on any given day. He might not win the tournament, but he can beat you, especially in a best-of-three set match. Maybe in a best-of-five set match it takes more, because there's more margins for us. Of course, the faster the surfaces, the smaller the margins are.

If that makes sense, that's how I feel.

Q. The first set went very fast, but the second set he seemed to calm down, got pretty close. What is the dynamic in that second set? What did you think about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I was thinking that, you know, if things would have matched up maybe a little bit better, I could have had the lead earlier in the second, and maybe in the third, you know. But, you know, he did well to fight back into the match. Maybe had almost a little bit momentum even though he was down in the score.

But because I was holding my serve still somewhat comfortable, I had different options how to return him. I decided to still stick with the slice, play with variation rather than try to go too big, too soon.

I think for me really important was to find a way in the second set to find the break at the end and get two-sets-to-love lead. Then the third, things loosened up a little bit, points got shorter, and it became maybe more, how do you say, a bit more athletic again in the third, whereas the second became more endurance, which I think he likes that kind of a pattern.

But, yeah, I mean, look, he also was able to raise his level of play, then I had to do the same again because the first was almost too easy. Even though I played very well, it was not just going to be able to -- I was not going to be able to just sustain it like this. I had to adjust my game because he also played at a higher level.

I was just very happy how I played, to be honest, at the end of the day, that I was able to protect my serve, find a way to break, create opportunities. I think I can be very pleased.

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