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July 6, 2018
Wimbledon, London, England
R. FEDERER/J. Struff
6-3, 7-5, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I want to know if Struff's game, did it help you to improve your balance in your game?
ROGER FEDERER: I just want to make sure I understand the question correctly.
Q. I was wondering if Struff's game as a hard-hitter helped you today to improve your game, to finding balance?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think, look, it's good that I faced different types of opponents I think in this first week, was able to find a way to get through. I think it's always helpful.
Like you said, he is a hard-hitter. Always takes time away from the opponent, me today on the serve, on the return, on the first shot after the serve. It's constant.
In the next round it will be a lefty. It will be much more of a strategic match, I believe, the way Mannarino plays.
Yeah, I'm happy I found a way today. Some moments where it can be frustrating because you're not finding any rhythm, at times you're more reacting than playing active tennis. But it's okay. I knew that going in. I'm just very pleased that I found a way that first set, then also stayed calm in the second set, regardless that I had maybe missed opportunities.
He was always going to be a tough third-round opponent.
Q. You talked about Wimbledon being a mystical place. A lot of the women have dropped in the first week. Is that the reason why? And one seed in the men's draw who is not going to be here, Marin Cilic, a potential semifinal match a lot of people were looking forward to. Is it a match that you were looking forward to see where your level is at?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, so with Cilic, clearly we're not there yet. I'm disappointed for him because he's a good guy. I really also expected him to go deep. I played Pella, as well, before in Stuttgart on the grass. I really favored Marin in that match. But Pella did very well to fight back. It was played over two days. It was not just, like, one match. It felt like two matches, maybe also for him. Different conditions. Once he lost his rhythm, I guess he really struggled.
Yeah, I'm not thinking that far ahead. It's true, I favored him in that section together with maybe Raonic. I don't know who else is in that section.
Then on the women's side and the seeds, I think sometimes it's a coincidence that it happens. The guys who have won in previous weeks, like in Stuttgart, in Eastbourne, in Rosmalen, wherever it was, they all happen to lose quite early now, as well. I think it just happened to be this way.
That top seeds from the women's side happened now shows that the field is quite even maybe as well, regardless of who is 1, 2, 3, and 4. Even 10 to 20 are really close, maybe even 30 to 50 are not that far off on the day.
Still throughout the years the best are at the top, otherwise they wouldn't be ranked where they are now.
Q. You seem to be playing freely at the moment. How I think that knowledge might have impacted you, that you might be playing for your 100th title, the buzz it would have created around it as well?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly it didn't change anything for me. I was worried about just getting through at the end in Halle. I was tired. Didn't say much about it, but it was the eighth or ninth match in 11 or 12 days. I was just trying to stay alive because I should have lost to Benoit Paire in the second round maybe in Halle.
Look, I was just happy to give myself another chance for 99 at the end. Ended up losing. I thought he played very well in that final. Title No. 100, 99, here or there, it doesn't matter.
Honestly I've been in much bigger matches, bigger occasions in the past. I don't think it would have had any impact if I was going for No. 99 here or 100, for me anyhow. It would have been a nice story for you guys, but for me nothing changed after that.
Q. At one stage you hit a half-volley return. Haven't seen you do that often recently. Do you forget about it and remember sometimes?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, little bit. Well, I can never practice it because how do you? I just feel like totally it's not really what you do in a practice with other guys. They would be like, Really? I can only really practice it with my coach. That's why it disappeared a little bit.
When I do it again, it's quite exciting for me, Oh, I can do that maybe again. I always have to check the score first.
I'm happy I did it. I'm happy it worked. After that I feel like I got, how do you say, there is a buzz for me. Okay, shall I do it again, no? What shall I do now this next time? I think it just helps me with keeping it exciting for me, as well, with options.
I already always have the option of slicing or coming over. Then with the SABR, I think it makes it more fun for me. That's always the idea for me in practice or matches, keep it entertaining, keep things going. I don't know, I always look for new ways to win the point.
Q. Stefanos from Greece, how much do you know about him? What do you think of his technique, especially on the backhand side?
ROGER FEDERER: So I think I almost played him here last year. Was he in my second-round section, then he lost?
Q. Raonic beat him.
ROGER FEDERER: Right. I did practice with him. Instead of playing with him in the match, I practiced with him the following day. He was excited about that. I think he would have preferred to play me maybe on Centre Court. We practiced after that a couple times also in Australia.
Yeah, I feel like he's taken a major step forward since his match here last year. My team thought he was not bad, but I think seeing how he's playing now, he seems much more comfortable coming to the net, playing from the back, knowing when to use power, when to use finesse.
I think that's always key for a one-handed backhand player, like I explained. There always needs to be a little bit of that understanding your game. I think it just takes longer when you have a one-handed backhand.
Yeah, I think he's a good kid. He seems very quiet from what I can tell, but always very polite and very sweet. I wish him well. He seems to do very well so far.
He ended up winning today, correct?
ROGER FEDERER: It was 6-2, 6-2, 5-4, with a break, but you never know.
I'm happy for him. I don't know who he plays now. I hope he can play another good match after that. Fabbiano was tough. I thought that could be closer for him.
Q. When there are a lot of upsets at the tournament, does it make you more nervous at all? Do you know that kind of spirals?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, usually it does. Not this time for some reason. Thiem seemed hurt. Cilic maybe is the big exception. I don't know who else lost in our section.
Q. Dimitrov, Stan.
ROGER FEDERER: Dimitrov. I mean, people talk about it like it's a huge surprise. I believe in Stan. I know what Stan can do. At the end of the day, it doesn't feel like a shocking loss for me after all. Then Novak and Rafa, all these guys are still in the draw.
At the end of the day I feel on our side not that much has happened. I know on the women's side more so. I didn't feel the effect this time. In the past it has made me nervous when I've seen bigger guys go out. I feel like, Okay, it's me next time. It's logic.
Q. Your agent said you had a tremendous appetite for fashion.
ROGER FEDERER: I like to eat it. I like to eat my clothes (laughter).
Q. How would you describe the traditional all white outfits at Wimbledon and what they mean to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, it's good fun that it's different. I already said that numerous times over the years. I think it would be nice to add a splash of color, let's just be honest for a second here.
But I understand that traditions are the way they are. I know that Phil Brook, the chairman right now, he believes in strict tradition, going back to the '50s, '60s. I get it. Back in the day, Borg and McEnroe walked out in red outfits. I'm not saying that should happen again. Maybe it would be nice if we mix it up a little bit more.
It also creates for the brands a challenge, how much different can you make white. There is ways to do it. They're trying hard, let's put it that way.
Q. Novak mentioned how interesting it was trying to get from one side of the site to Court 2 through the crowds. Why did you choose to practice on one of those courts down there when most people practice on Aorangi? Is it because the courts are different or because you like that interaction?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't choose which court to practice on at Wimbledon. They assign me to a court. I go practice where they tell me to.
Now, I don't know, for some reason, I practice at Wimbledon when I'm playing my matches because I just feel like it's one locker room, you get there, put your stuff, you go practice, come back, that's where you are. When I'm not playing, I don't think I'm allowed to hit at Wimbledon anyways. You just play at Aorangi.
That's it. It's fairly simple. There's really nothing behind it. I wish sometimes the court was right next to the locker room, you don't have to walk through the crowd. I don't mind it either. The interaction also is very nice for the people. If you walk to No. 9 where I practiced on today, there's, like, many other courts that all of a sudden see a player walking by. I think it's actually quite entertaining for those fans, as well. Oh, my God, a player is walking by, has another match. Centre Court only really gets to see those players.
I think it's good that actually. If you're playing at Wimbledon, you get a chance to hit at Wimbledon. I think it's also very nice for the fans to do it.
Q. You mentioned the increased depth, the field maybe being more even.
ROGER FEDERER: The beginning?
Q. The increased depth. Why do you think that's the case? Maybe increased prize money for lower-ranked players leveling things up a bit?
ROGER FEDERER: On the men's or women's side?
Q. Whichever one. I think you talked about the men's side.
ROGER FEDERER: I think I mentioned the women's side.
I think it's the same on the men's side. Probably we have more overall professional tennis players that probably take everything even more serious on a daily basis, whereas maybe before not that they didn't take it serious, but probably not like today. Didn't have your own fitness setup, all this stuff, like the whole team, the federations. Everything has become more professional.
Naturally you would think that the depth is greater. The game has changed over the years. It's not much serve and volley going on any more. Players are adapting to what the tournament directors choose what surface speed is being played. But I think it's natural. Over time, it's going to get stronger and stronger. 20 years probably again a next step that it will be stronger, I believe.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports