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August 28, 2018

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA

R. FEDERER/Y. Nishioka

6-2, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You switched back through the summer, you were playing with a black and white racquet, now an all black one. Just a paint job?
ROGER FEDERER: No, same like the old one. I just felt like I wanted to have that one again. Played so well with it. Even though the black and white one also was great, and I'll switch back to it probably after the Laver Cup, because I have something different in the works for the Laver Cup, but I don't know, I just felt like black for the US Open at night, just felt like the right thing to do. I can't explain.

Q. Can't help but notice so many of your fans wearing the RF logo. Since the brand change, you haven't been able to wear it. Has that been resolved yet?
ROGER FEDERER: Down the road maybe. For the moment, no, not yet. It was never going to happen overnight. We have to speak. I think Tony's got meetings here as well just to see what's up.

Obviously I'm aware that the fans want it. I would love it. There is a process you have to go through. It's all good, you know. I hope time will solve that problem, if it is one. For me it's okay.

Q. On court we were a little surprised to hear you say the word 'retire' even though you said 'not yet.' Usually don't hear that from you. Can you explain your thinking?
ROGER FEDERER: That was meaning like I never lost a first-round match here at the Open. I won all my 18s. You don't want that to happen next year. I said maybe I could retire now, because I protect my 18 first-run wins here. That's what I meant with it. It's a total joke, yes.

So please don't read into it. Don't even write that word (smiling).

Q. On TV you referred to your legs. Analysts also, when talking about your game, talk about your hands, wrist, footwork, your vision. As a player, aside from your mind, what part of your body is really the key to your game and distinguishes you?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe my feet. I don't know. I feel like I have quick feet. I need to be explosive. Anticipation, all comes through the feet. Worked very hard at it, as well, with my fitness coach.

Maybe some of it is also racquet control, the feel, understanding, anticipation, all that stuff. Maybe the feet is something I always felt like was really important, yeah.

Q. You've spoken about the butterflies and everything. You've won this tournament five times. Does starting the US Open ever get old?
ROGER FEDERER: Thankfully I wasn't too nervous tonight. I felt good. I felt like I had a good preparation week. No hiccups there. I think that settles my nerves there.

When you do walk out onto Arthur Ashe, you feel like people are there to see the show, enjoy themselves. Sure, they come for the tennis, but it's also sort of a bucket list, wanting to be there.

So, yeah, there's pressure. But, no, never gets old. I love coming to play here. It's been so many years now. So it's great to have played also a good first round against an entertaining first-round opponent. I'm very pleased to be back in New York, of course.

Q. Uniqlo first time here. Everything matched exactly the right shade of red. How have you achieved that with different manufacturers?
ROGER FEDERER: How do you do that? There is a book around the world known with colors. If you say, I want that type of red, everybody knows what red you're talking about.

We had asked Nike if they could do that type of red for the shoes, different types of shoes. That was it. Same with the clothes. Obviously clothes lead to shoes at this point. We'll see what happens with the shoes in the future.

I'm happy it all matches up.

Q. Does the red have a name?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm actually not sure what the color of the red is. But I like it. It's a different type of red. I actually haven't worn it like this.

Q. Was this match an example of experience over youth in tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it definitely helps having played in heat a lot. It helped me to play a lot of matches out on Arthur Ashe. I think I definitely have an experience advantage there, no doubt about it.

I don't know how nervous he was going in. But I've been in tough matches against left-handed players over the years, like Rafa. I know what left-handed players can do.

Yeah, so maybe a bit of that. But at the end of the day the aura, it doesn't win you the match every time. You have to go out there, you have to work hard. I just finally stopped sweating. I also put in a lot of effort. You have to bring it every single time.

I say you're only as good as your next match. I try to live by that mantra a little bit. Then again today I didn't know how really good Nishioka was. I wanted to play well at the beginning of each set. I was able to break the beginning of each set, cruise after that. I was very happy.

Q. How different is the pace of the court this year and what effect do you think it will have on your fortunes?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel it plays very slow, to be honest. Probably center court is maybe even a bit faster than some of the outside courts. Armstrong, from I what heard, I feel like the P courts they play, have a lot of bounce in them as well. I remember when I was here before Cincy, I came to practice here in New York, and I also combined it with the balls we played at Cincy, but the bounce was incredible. I feel like it's a very bouncy court. Obviously at nighttime it goes slower.

Most of the big matches will be played at night here, especially down the stretch. So I feel like you can really construct the point nicely. If you play attacking tennis, you have to do it smartly. Like in Cincinnati, you can't outright play aggressive tennis and try to suffocate your opponent.

This, to me, seems the slowest US Open we've seen in years. That's my opinion there, which I don't think necessarily is a bad thing. Usually it helps the top guys, the slower it is, to be honest.

Q. When you were first starting your comeback in 2017, you talked about just to play free. Has that been tougher recently?
ROGER FEDERER: Tough when?

Q. Has it been tougher to play free more recently?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, it is hard to do, play free, just every time. You do care about the outcome of the match. You do care about each and every point. Not the same, like a breakpoint is not the same importance like a 40-Love point. Sometimes you don't play as good in a first round. Sometimes, like in Cincinnati, you have days where you're happy to make shots. Then you have other days, like in other finals, because you're playing so good, you're like, In which corner shall I put it tonight?

It also varies on how you're feeling. But I think playing free is meaning, for me anyhow, to play without fear, like there to take chances, but probably controlled aggression, I'd like to call it. Not play too safe, but at the same time you don't want to be silly and play sort of with no plan. It always has to have a plan with it.

I think it's especially important when you're actually feeling good, the score is tight, for me is to remind myself then in that very moment how exactly I want to play and not to freeze and not to feel too much pressure at that moment.

I feel like anything that comes here, anyway, I should try to see it as a bonus, but it's easier said than done because, like I said, I do care about the outcome of the match.

Q. The performance analysts, video analysts, can you share some confidential info for us, not so confidential, how it works in your team, who is running the video analysis, off-week, off-season, Severin or Ivan doing it, together going to the video room? And when you started this, the importance of the video analysis, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you have an archive about other players?
ROGER FEDERER: You sound like you know what we're doing (laughter). I don't do video analysis, but it sounded good, the question.

I used to watch a lot of matches when I was younger of myself so I could understand my technique from a TV angle, seeing my own game. I think that helped me early on, to watch my matches and feel like I don't like this maybe shot about my game, or I don't like this technique about my game, I don't like this decision-making in that very moment. I think it helped me in the beginning.

Then you have kids. You start watching less. You're running around with them. I still remind myself sometimes, just for myself. I did that with Nishioka, too. I wanted to see some of his matches, what he's done, just to get a better idea of what do I see, what do I feel. I absorb all the information I get from Severin and Ivan about tactical, about my opponent, but obviously about my own game.

Very often we try to create a tactic that is based on my own tactics on how they think I should play, because I'm a very active player. I'm not so reactive maybe like other players are. So I think that helps me.

Then obviously we live in a world which has more statistics than ever before. It's also a question of how do you absorb all the information you get as a player and as a coach, what is important, what can you use, what shouldn't you use. It can also fill up your brain so much that then after that you're not free anymore or you don't feel so good anymore if you know the guy serves 52% to the backhand on breakpoint, is that help you? Are you going to cover the backhand now or it doesn't matter? You just go with the flow, go with the feel.

I think an overall tactic by my coach is clearly helpful, just to stay the course in more difficult moments.

Q. You take the game as intellectually and scientifically as anyone out there. Without giving out any secrets, anything you do with technology of the string selection, the tension to handle how the ball comes off in this weather?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don't think I would give a very different answer than most of the guys you ask. I think the hotter the conditions, the tighter you string your racquets. Especially daytime, the ball flies a lot, the ball bounces more.

But having a tighter string pattern, string job, you will be able to control the ball more. Then the slower the conditions, the looser you could maybe string. That's how I do it. I've played with the same string tensions for the entire week now. Just because it was hotter today, I actually didn't change my string job, but it's because probably I played at night, as well.

If I played a day match, maybe my next round against Benoit Paire, I might add a couple tighter string jobs just to be protected on that side as well. If the ball is flying off my racquet too much, I feel like I don't have control over the ball, I have a couple of tighter string jobs in my racquet bag. It's also a feel thing a little bit. I don't think around too much.

Once the tournament starts, I pretty much say stay in a range of string tension. I don't move around much anymore.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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