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February 8, 2019
JANINE GEIGELE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. The third edition of the Laver Cup will be staged at the Palexpo here in Geneva from the 20th to the 23rd of September. Therefore, I'd like to introduce you now to the CEO of the Laver Cup, to Steve Zacks.
STEVE ZACKS: Thank you, Janine. On behalf of our chairman, Tony Godsick, and all of us at the Laver Cup, I want to say good morning. I'd like to recognize a few people. First off, the mayor of Geneva, Sami Kanaan; the former mayor and current member of the
City Government, Guillaume Barazzone; the minister of sport of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, Thierry Apotolos (phonetic); and the director of the Palexpo, Claude Membrez.
Thank you very much, gentlemen. On behalf of the Laver Cup, thank you so much for your kind hospitality and great support. We look forward to a fantastic event in September with your help.
I'd also like to express our gratitude to some of our Laver Cup sponsors: our founding partner, Rolex; global sponsors Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse; and our global suppliers, NetJets and MoÃ«t & Chandon. We thank you for your support.
JANINE GEIGELE: Thank you very much, Steve. Now we know that the tickets since this morning are on sale. Are there a few around already or is everything gone?
STEVE ZACKS: Sure, Janine. I'm very pleased to tell you that the demand has been incredible. We are so grateful for the fan enthusiasm and support for the event. Very few tickets remain as we speak right now in the upper bowl. There is no more, any available today in the lower bowl. We still do have hospitality packages, and we do plan a single-session sale to come. More details will follow.
But again, we thank the fans of Geneva and around the world for their support and enthusiasm for the event.
JANINE GEIGELE: It will be great event. Thank you very much, Steve. I'm sure you'll be here afterwards to talk to the media.
STEVE ZACKS: Thank you, Janine.
JANINE GEIGELE: Let me give a few words what's happening here for the outline after the opening Q&A with Roger Federer and BjÃ¶rn Borg. We will open for a few questions in English, French, and then of course in German. But there will be no one-to-one interview for the print media, because afterwards, we will set up for the TV interviews and then you can please follow our media team.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome on the stage, Mr. BjÃ¶rn Borg and Mr. Roger Federer.
JANINE GEIGELE: BjÃ¶rn, I mean, you never stop with your success. After winning 11 Grand Slams, being World No. 1, now you won twice the Laver Cup as a team captain. How easy or how difficult is it to be a team captain?
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: Well, first of all, I was very honored and very proud and happy when they asked me to be the captain of Team Europe. It's really special moment or thing for me to be with the best players in the world.
Starting in Prague, I was very nervous, because I never been captain before. That was my first experience. And especially to be around these guys for a week, I didn't really know them that well. Of course I have seen them in different tournaments all over the world, but for me to start the week and start to get into their skin, as you say, it was a great experience and it was a lot of fun for me.
JANINE GEIGELE: How can you be nervous as Mr. Cool, as Mr. Who Won Everything and so many things and then you be nervous?
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: No, but the thing is that we wanted to win.
JANINE GEIGELE: Of course.
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: All the players. I'm sure Roger was nervous, too.
JANINE GEIGELE: You were nervous, too?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, a little bit. Just so BjÃ¶rn is not the only one here.
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: In Prague, and then we went to Chicago, it was the same thing. Two very close matches.
Maybe on the paper, Team Europe has the better players, but it's being played indoors, and Team World has big players, big serves, so anything can happen. It was another close match.
But it was a great experience, great tennis, and, you know, to come to Geneva in September is going to be a huge thing, so I really look forward to it.
JANINE GEIGELE: We are all looking forward. Especially you too, Roger, I guess, because it must be a dream came true, because you grew up 253 kilometers from here, you have good experience in Geneva, you certainly won a few games. And now you're the man behind this concept, bringing all these legends together.
How important is this for you to say I can do that in my home country in Geneva?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Well, first of all, I'm very happy to be always in Switzerland. I haven't been home for a while now, so it's nice to be back home. Also in Geneva, I spent some time here but actually not maybe as much as I would have hoped over the years. I have spent more time in Lausanne, you know, up to the lake here. But I love being in the city and it's nice to see Mark here, my good friend.
I love being here right now introducing the tickets going on sale in September here in Switzerland, because the goal was never to actually bring the Laver Cup to Switzerland in my lifetime, you know. I just thought let's create a great event together with Tony and some friends and, you know, come up with a great concept where we can honor legends of the game, and at the same time have, you know, the superstars of today spending time with the younger guys coming up and everybody getting together and having a festival of tennis over a short weekend and just having a great time.
I think, you know, and the pictures show and people who saw them, the intensity was crazy in Prague and Chicago. I loved every moment about it. I also was extremely nervous, of course, because it is different playing in front of a Rafa or a Novak or a BjÃ¶rn. It gets your heart going. I'm sure it's going to be the same again here in Geneva. We are very excited.
JANINE GEIGELE: It was crazy what we saw from Prague and Chicago. Expecting exactly the same thing here in Geneva with the crowd at the Palexpo?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I think America is different. Czech Republic was different. That was an amazing inaugural Laver Cup. Czech people are very excited about tennis. Chicago, we didn't know. They hadn't seen, you know, big-time tennis like this for some time. But to see the appetite in Chicago was incredible. They also showed interest to host a Laver Cup again in the future, I believe.
I know the Geneva crowd, and I'm sure it's going to be incredible but different. It's a different arena and different crowd, and that's what I love about tennis in general, playing in different places.
JANINE GEIGELE: We talked about nervosity, the team captain. How big is your impact on the team and the players? What can you teach them? What can you bring them? Maybe the mentality way.
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: I think that's a good question, because you're among the best players in the world, and to be around these guys, I think, first of all, that's why we started in Prague, that we got together almost every night, the team. They got to know each other and were laughing. So the team spirit was very strong.
That was very, very important. And after that, you know, what should you say to Roger when he plays? You know, I'm the captain. And the greatest player who ever played the game, history, ever played tennis, I suppose he knows what to do --
JANINE GEIGELE: He says, "I suppose." Roger, why you laughing? He says, "I suppose."
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: -- under certain situations. I think I and the rest of the team is to give energy, pump them up. If you play bad game, a bad point, we are there, come on, next point.
So in that area, we are very, very strong, the Team Europe.
JANINE GEIGELE: You going to win again?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we don't know the opponent's team yet. Good thing is I know Rafa is going to be on my team, and that makes me a bit more confident, of course, knowing Rafa is going to be there. Home soil for me in Geneva, in Switzerland, indoors, I like indoors a lot. But then again, still a lot of months have to be played. Then we will see how the team comes together.
But I think knowing the chemistry with the captain and also with the Team Europe now and having seen who played on the first team, the second team, so maybe we will have some more experience, members on the team, or maybe new guys who have never played Laver Cup, could get very nervous, I'm not sure. But I think as Team Europe we can always be going into Laver Cup very confident.
JANINE GEIGELE: It was a historic game where we saw you with Rafa in Prague. Maybe we see it again? It would be nice for everyone.
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. I hope the best players are all going to come together and we can create some incredible doubles teams and otherwise just support each other in singles. I had a blast the last two Laver Cups.
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: Excuse me, but that's captain's choice. Maybe I don't put Roger and Rafa together.
ROGER FEDERER: Exactly (smiling). We first have to prove ourselves to BjÃ¶rn.
JANINE GEIGELE: Absolutely. There is always improvement.
Let me open the floor for a few questions in English first. Give up a sign if you have a question in English. No questions in English? Yes, there is one.
Q. BjÃ¶rn, you won your last official tournament here in Geneva. Are you aware of that? What are your memories of this tournament if ever you have them? I know you played Wilander in that special tournament. Do you remember that?
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: Yeah, I remember that. Of course I remember that very well (smiling).
ROGER FEDERER: It's a grilling session in Switzerland. They are checking on your brain.
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: No, I have always had a good relationship to Switzerland. I like the country. I have been all over Switzerland. Like you said, that was a tournament I believe I had in September in Geneva. Of course I remember it.
I always enjoyed playing here and being back with Team Europe here, with these guys, the best players in the world, is going to be huge. It's going to be great.
I'm sure you're gonna see some unbelievable tennis. You know, for me, I have seen a lot of tennis over the years. But the tennis these guys played in Prague, Chicago, and hopefully in Geneva now, I have never seen better tennis.
JANINE GEIGELE: Other questions in English?
Q. BjÃ¶rn, playing in Geneva, will this give a bigger chance for Stan Wawrinka to be on the team?
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: First of all, the two who I spoke to immediately who wants to play Laver Cup was Roger and Rafa. They said immediately, they said yes to play.
Right now I'm in contact with other players. Other players want to play. But we have to see after French Open who is going to be qualified or not. But I hope that maybe Roger and Rafa might be in top three, because I have three I can pick, captain's pick.
So I can maybe pick three other players, but most of the players want to play Laver Cup. So we have to see later. But I'm in contact with the players, and of course I want to have my best team playing in September.
JANINE GEIGELE: For you, it's always special, Roger, if you play with Stan Wawrinka, right?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course. I hope he plays. He's had a tough last couple years, so I'm happy to see him back healthy again. And winning the Olympics with him in '08 and the Davis Cup in '14, those were magical moments for both of us. Hopefully we can do it again here in Geneva. We'll see what happens.
JANINE GEIGELE: Let's see, yes.
Other questions in English?
Q. Roger and BjÃ¶rn, we are super excited in Spain that Rafa is playing on your team. How is it having Rafa as a teammate?
ROGER FEDERER: Really easy. He's a great guy, super professional, great team player, natural leader, as well. Never asks for anything out of the ordinary. He just really fits in the team super nicely, makes everyone feel comfortable, I believe. Gives great energy and motivation, to be honest.
And the belief to believe in yourself is a very strong personality, and that's why I enjoyed my week that we spent together in Prague, and then also in the doubles, of course, that was truly something I really enjoyed.
I can't wait. We talked about it just in Melbourne, we talked about how excited he was and me too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports