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September 22, 2018

Roger Federer

Chicago, Illinois

R. FEDERER/N. Kyrgios

6-3, 6-2

Team Europe - 7

Team World - 1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I think on court you were saying that this was like a perfect day for you from the first point to the last. Can you just explain that, why everything you felt today fell into place so precisely?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think maybe playing the doubles yesterday helped. I had a good training week. I have been now in the States for almost two months, so I think I didn't fight with jet lag, you know, like maybe some of the other guys on my team. I think that all helped.

And then I think I had a clear game plan and just had the feeling like I was making a lot of returns against Nick. And from the baseline I was calm, composed, knew when to attack, when to wait. I was moving my feet very well. I think there you have it.

Q. How would you assess the way things have gone so far? Obviously you've got a big lead right now. A lot of close matches. You have only lost the one match. Assess where things are for Team Europe.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we're looking good right now. Unless we win the next two matches, I believe we have to win two on Sunday, anyway, so still some way to go.

You know, of course Novak is the favorite in the singles, but I think the doubles, again, I think the World Team is the favorite there. So if we win 3-1, we have to win two on Sunday. It starts with the doubles again, which they are the favorite. I think it's going to be tough. And then the final stretch now. But like at the halfway point, we are very happy.

I think winning these close matches with Goffin and now today with Zverev I think could be key down the stretch. So the boys are excited. They're happy. It's a good vibe right now on the team. We're anyway confident but without underestimating the World Team because they are very strong.

Q. Last year in Prague we didn't know what was going to happen. Turned out to be a big success. Firstly, how much of this is a reaffirmation of the success of this competition from your point of view? Looking forward, one day you're not going to play in it, and what's going to happen to it then?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think, like you said, last year was a lot of open question marks, which made it super exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time for me, to be honest.

This year I could get a sense very quickly, you know, with the likes of Grigor on the team, as well, and Goffin, Edmund, Novak, who are all extremely competitive. With Sascha, I knew what you were going to get. But to see the players' reaction, how much they do care to win in front of a crowd of almost 20,000 people, you don't get to play in a stadium like this every day in front of the guys, you know, who are now supporting you. It's a special feeling.

So I think it's definitely a successful combination, the Laver Cup, so we are very happy that it's working well and that it's special to the players having the best time.

I think regardless if I'm in the competition or not, you know, it would be great if the best players want to be part of such a wonderful event and be together, because I do believe they are hungry for team competition. You speak to the World Team. You know they want it, especially guys who came through college. They thrive in this environment. And for us Europeans, it's similar, you know.

We are on the tour very often alone, fighting for our own ranking points and prize money and our own sort of legacy. But to be able to do it together and support each other, it's a nice feeling. I hope it's going to be successful regardless if I'm part of the competition or not.

Q. Two questions, if I may. One, are you determined to move this to another city in two years, or would Chicago have a chance?
ROGER FEDERER: I am not the one who can answer this question, but I don't know exactly what the mindset is, if they want to move it maybe away from America. Obviously if this is successful and we realize there is huge appetite here in Chicago, I mean, you can always come back.

It's like Prague, as well, same thing. It was a great win for tennis and for us as the Laver Cup that -- I mean, I would love to go back, of course. But the world a big place. There are a lot of cities who also want to host the Laver Cup.

We'll have to see. But we also have to check a bit the schedule for the players to, you know, to make it easy or make it fun or make it different, because I would like to -- my vision was also maybe to bring the Laver Cup to places maybe who haven't seen so much tennis. Chicago is one of those places, of course.

Q. In the match, Nick hit that serve. There was an overrule. Do you think the umpire made the right decision? I assume you understand the frustration on their side after losing a bunch of tough matches.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I understand the frustration, no doubt about it.

These are the calls where I thought the linesperson called it very quickly, so from my fear that I had is that -- the linesperson screamed right as I was hitting the ball. Now, was I going to make it? Maybe not. But the rule says that you replay the point when it's in the shot.

Now, of course if it was after the shot and maybe replay can show that, and it was after, then it was a mistake, you know. I know the serve was good. It was maybe more on the unlikely side I was going to make it. But nevertheless, the rules are the way it is. And John, the umpire, decided that he thought it was during the shot, which I thought, as well. But then again, it all happened so quickly I think for all of us involved there except Björn. Björn was relaxed (smiling). He was chilling on the bench.

We knew what the situation were, and I understand that they tried to sway the umpire to change his call, which never happens (smiling). It's a waste of time, but I understand.

Q. The Davis Cup, a lot of times after the first couple days, it's over and then the Sunday is not so great. Here you have more points it's worth on Sunday. Who came up with that idea to make it a little bit more competitive all throughout the weekend rather than not?
ROGER FEDERER: I was definitely involved. I had some thoughts. There was a bunch of other guys. Tony Godsick obviously was one, too, and some of our friends and people we knew, as well. And then just gotta run the system through and through and through to see like what if this happens, what if that happens, like what are the possibilities, you know.

I think maybe my idea was to play the doubles first on Sunday. I just thought that would be a nice reverse situation, and it gets four guys out on the court early, you know. I felt like we just need to make sure the first match on Sunday definitely has to be relevant, you know.

So far the concept has worked very well. And we didn't believe it was going to be that close, you know, so often. But it feels like you're never safe until two matches are basically played on Sunday, which I think the spectators enjoy.

I hope you also, as journalists, enjoy it and we as players. It just keeps you on the edge at all times, and I think that's a nice thing, as well. You never really are safe, which is great.

Q. As you know full well, tennis is such a mental game. Here we have seen the World Team come very close in a few matches, but here they are going up against such a strong European team. More to the point, in slams for a good number of years, we have seen the top three, four, five really dominate and the younger players just unable to make breakthroughs. Could you just talk about the dynamic of playing with such confidence and the difficulty for players to break through against great players in the game?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, I think there are a few things. Obviously the top is strong. And then if you look at, let's just say, I don't know, pick me, Rafa, Novak, I just look at how we play. We play very different, you know.

So for anybody to come through all three guys in one tournament and end up winning the tournament, I don't know if it's ever happened. And obviously the draw also maybe doesn't allow it to happen, but it's just very hard, you know.

You have to have so many different qualities in your game. You need to be able to serve well, return well. You have to have a transition game. You need to be able to finish at the net. You need to be physically strong, mentally strong. And I think our three playing styles challenge all those things.

And that may be over a weekend, over a week, whatever it may be. It's just very hard, you know, I think for a lot of guys to break through and we have made it difficult. Then you add someone like Stan in the mix who comes in with the power or A team or a Sascha or a Murray obviously who has unbelievable retrieving potential and is also a great champion, and Cilic who can serve unbelievable.

And then you realize actually maybe how difficult it is to break through, so you need to have the full package or you will just not make it, you know.

I think guys are very close, like Nishikori, as well, and obviously Grigor and Raonic, as well, and they have broken through to some extent.

But everybody is still sort of waiting for that Grand Slam to happen for those guys, and it's tricky, you know. I know how hard it is to win slams. Everybody knows it. You have to stay super, super focused for a long period of time and, you know, mentally not think too far ahead. You have to go point-by-point mentality basically, which is crazy, but that's how you are successful on the tennis tour.

Q. As we have all seen, clearly there is a great demand for tennis in a team format, both for players and the fans. My question really is about the schedule and there are coming some new familiar team events with the recast Davis Cup, with the ATP team event. As somebody who has thought a lot about the schedule on players, do you have a sense of whether there is a market for all these team events, or do you think it will just play out, or is that a concern of yours? Because obviously you have a long-term vision for Laver Cup.
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I have a small concern that, you know, especially the Davis Cup and the World Cup that Tennis Australia and ATP are trying to organize in January of the year in the future. It's hard to see those two co-existing, you know.

I think the good thing is, and I mentioned this together, is that everybody has to get to the table and think a little bit what's best for the game. Can we come together as a tour and figure it out?

I do believe Laver Cup's a different situation, you know. I think it's because it's not just one country. You know, it's multiple nations coming together, and, you know, playing for the likes of Rod Laver and Björn Borg and John McEnroe, and there is no other format in the game that allows you to be on the team with me, Novak, Rafa, Murray, Stan, you name it and all the guys who are here.

It's only three days. We are not trying to ask the players to be out there for, you know, weeks and weeks.

So I think you have to take the Laver Cup out of your equation there. It will be interesting, and I'm all for good conversations and coming up with a right game plan to just see what is best for everybody. If that makes us come together at the table, I think that's a good thing.

But also the players need to figure out maybe also what they want, because at some point they always come ask us, What do you guys think? Well, always at the very end. I think we also have to maybe be a little bit proactive, especially as top players, and just communicate together. That's also a little bit what we have been doing this week, so I think it's been a good week for that.

Of course I'd like to speak to Rafa and other guys and Stan and so forth just to see what is everybody thinking.

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