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May 5, 2019

Roger Federer

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. We saw on your social media when you had your first hit on the clay. What was that like? What's it been like the past few days, weeks, training on a surface you haven't played on in a while?
ROGER FEDERER: It's been good. It's been fun. I was lucky, we had good weather when I started. So that helped because I remember years ago -- or years ago -- three or four years ago, when I was practicing it was snowing, like this weekend in Switzerland, and that didn't inspire me very much to go, you know, go practice on clay, or go into an indoor bubble and stuff, so that -- this year was easy. I enjoyed myself a lot.

I'm happy also that the decision I took last, I guess around December, when I started feeling like I definitely want to do the clay, that it was the right decision, you know, because I haven't looked back at the clay-court build-up yet, or everything that I have been doing, like maybe I shouldn't have. It is really -- I'm happy, I'm here and I'm happy I'm on the surface, yeah.

Q. I think you practised in Switzerland with Dan Evans.

Q. I wonder why it was that you invited him when we wouldn't think of him particularly as a clay-court player and how did it go?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah, I mean, like it doesn't have to be that specific sometimes, you know. You are just looking also at some players that are available, you know. I think we were looking in that very moment at players that were not in a tournament or who have just lost at a tournament. And we reached out to him and he was ready to come.

And it's also interesting sometimes to play with a one-handed backhand player who has got a slice and stuff and I know Dan, and he is a nice guy, and it was going to be a three-day, or four days I think it was -- a four-day practice week. And he was flexible and he could react very quickly. So, it was good. We had two tough days, it was so windy. It was unbelievable. I've never had practices in winds. You should ask him about it. It was hilarious. Anyway, it was good fun and I was happy he came.

Q. Roger, I'm sure you have been following all the news around Justin Gimelstob and what happened with his situation. In light of that, in light of the reaction, what are your thoughts on it? And also what does it mean for the ATP and maybe Chris Kermode's future? Could he come back in or stay on longer?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I haven't thought about it really a whole lot, about Chris's situation because I saw it in isolation. For Justin, you know -- yeah, I mean, I don't know exactly the process, when the votes are happening, when the new CEO, all this stuff gets decided. But he'll probably -- anyway it may be should be put back into the thing, you know -- I don't know what you call that -- in the mix, good word. But then again I don't know if he would want to be after everything that happened. Sometimes when these things happen, it is like okay, I had a good run, and it's okay to go. So I don't know what -- I haven't seen Chris for some time now. I only saw him briefly in Indian Wells and I haven't spoken to him at all so I don't know where he stands.

And in light of the Justin situation, I think it's definitely the right move by Justin. He needs to go back and figure things out. There is no doubt about that. And the Tour needs to keep moving forward in these challenging times and important times right now.

So I was speaking to also to some of the players on the Council to get a feel where they were standing -- was it last weekend or the weekend before that when everything was brewing? And I'm happy that the decision was taken by Justin and that now we can move forward and really like learn from what had happened also.

Q. Do you think it's hurt tennis's image to have Justin stay on as part of the board as soon as he was facing these charges? And Stan Wawrinka's written a letter to The Times saying tennis has been complicit by staying silent during the whole process a lot of people were concerned once he was sentenced to the lack of profile that, high profile names speaking out and saying it is time for him to go. And while that is good that he's stepped away, do you not think there should have been more vocal action from the tennis community being like you need to leave now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm not going to come out on social media and all of a sudden comment on stuff, you know. And I was not in the press. If I would have been at an event, you could ask asked me. But I was home. Nobody knocked on my door. Then I would have given my comment. But I'm not going to come out on social media and start commenting about it. Sometimes there is also a process. Sometimes also -- when I usually do it is behind closed doors, not through the media. I know you guys will enjoy that a bit more sometimes, but I don't. So, and when you do ask me question, I always try to really answer it truthfully and as openly as possible.

So, yeah, I could have spoken out, but I was not around, you know. And stuff could have been done differently in the past, you know. But again, this is in the past now and I'm sure mistakes were done whatever, you know, how big or whatever reason it was. That's what I mention also we need to learn from what had happened, you know, and really move on in the good direction because it's an opportunity for sure.

Q. Back to the clay. I'm wondering for you whether any particular things that you found tricky to get readjusted to the surface? And yeah, if you can answer that.
ROGER FEDERER: Not too much, funnily enough. Look, it takes some time getting used to how to construct the points maybe a little bit more. Because there is more baseline, there is a possibility to play with more angles and height, I guess, off a hard ball you can roll it and spin it and go loopy, whereas on a faster court you almost have to hit against it. It is hard to take pace off the ball.

So, from that standpoint, it's been interesting and fun. But not so challenging, to be honest. But then again, matches might be a completely different story because in the practice you can -- it is always okay to take chances and not get rewarded, you walk away from any and you're like, who cares? In the match, every point matters, so it will be interesting to see how as the tournament goes. I have not high expectations in some ways, but at the same time I also know that things are possible. I mean Madrid always plays fast with the altitude here, so intrigued to find out myself. But it's been good so far.

Q. I would like you to tell me something about David Ferrer on his retirement. Some memories, your opinion about his career?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, I'm a big admirer of his work ethic and personality. Of course, also his success. But the person comes first and he's -- the guy has been so solid for the last 20 years. He's always been the same guy and I have always appreciated that. We've always had for the little we speak together, you know -- or as much as we speak together -- it's always been one of a lot of respect and, obviously, we've had some good matches over the years.

They all went my way -- okay, fine. But I don't see it the head-to-head that way, you know. I see a guy -- he's at my level and I look to him eye-to-eye, you know. And so I'm happy for him that he was able to take the decision and really he seemed genuinely happy because he is also playing well now at the end of his career and he can go out on his terms and for any top athlete like he is, that is the dream, you know, that you can leave on your terms. And I hope it is going to be a wonderful experience for him. I'm sure he will be a little torn in his heart that it's coming to an end. But yet he's going to feel the love from the people. And that was already a case in Barcelona as well when he played Rafa there and now again here in Madrid. It is going to be great.

He has all the respect from my side. He doesn't need to prove himself anymore. And I just wish him all the very best for what is to come with his family and his future.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Swiss.

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