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July 4, 2019

Roger Federer

Wimbledon, London, England

R. FEDERER/J. Clarke

6-1, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looked beyond the second set quite straightforward.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I thought so, too. It was a good start to the match, which is always nice, especially after the last game, you know, trying to do a better job there.

I was trying to be more aggressive, you know, than in my previous match. I was able to do that. Also the reaction was good again in the third. Obviously was a bit tight in the second. But I was able to hold my nerve and serve well when I had to.

It was very much dominated by my serves, I thought my service games. Then on the return, just tried my best. Sometimes it was working, sometimes not, which is normal I think on the grass.

Q. This is going to be Marcos Baghdatis' last professional tournament. You've been on the road with him for a long time. Can you give your impression on what he was like as a player, a person, how much he might have meant to his country of Cyprus.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, totally. Well, I remember Marcos when I played him at the US Open in a night session match. He was still very young. He had super long hair. I don't know, I felt -- I think he took a set off me, too. You could see how good he could become because he had the speed, simple technique, forehand, backhand, which is always going to help you throughout the course of your career.

He also had a winner mentality, liked the big stage. I think that's also one of the reasons he did well here and also in Australia when the big matches came about.

Off the court, he was always a lovely guy, always very funny, easygoing, good to be around with. So, yeah, I liked him on the court, off the court.

I think for Cyprus, he did so much coming from such a small country and becoming, you know, a sporting superstar. I'm sure that was a big deal at home.

You know, this is his last hoorah, but I hope he can go out in style, do it his way. He's always been a joy to watch also for us players, so we'll miss him once he retires.

Q. The Duchess of Cambridge was here on Tuesday. She spoke how you are Prince George's favorite player.
ROGER FEDERER: That's very big (smiling).

Q. She also said he had a chance to hit a few balls with you. When was that? How was his technique?
ROGER FEDERER: At that stage it's all about just touch the ball, it's already good. Same with my boys. I think I have a little advantage that I actually spent some time, you know, with him. So maybe he's the only -- I'm the only player he's ever met. Then you have a little head start in who is your favorite player (smiling).

Look, he's a cute boy. I love to see that they're into tennis or into sports. Definitely, you know, his mum has always enjoyed their tennis. That's it. I hope that he'll still say the same in a few years' time. This is not just in-the-moment situation that he said, Oh, he's a good guy.

I just seen him recently.

Q. Was it up in Norfolk that you played?
ROGER FEDERER: It was at the parents' place. I don't think that's where it is.

Q. Kensington Palace.
ROGER FEDERER: Where do the parents live?

Q. Bucklebery.
ROGER FEDERER: There you go.

Q. Many players during your period of time have fallen by the wayside, burned out. How would you explain how you have sustained your passion for the game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you need your, how do you say, body to play the part. Once you got that going, you know, maybe if I was from South America or Australia, maybe things would also be more complicated with all the travels throughout the years. Being from Switzerland, which is basically close to any European country, has helped me to stay on the tour easier.

I don't know what else has made it. I think I've had a solid team around myself. But some guys are still going, like Feliciano, Karlovic, others. It's not like I'm the only, only guy standing.

I think I also wanted to play for a long time. I felt that I took that decision a long, long time ago, not just three years ago, hopefully I can still be on tour. This was basically taken back in 2004 when I became world No. 1. I felt I would like to be on tour for a long time.

I think when you have that mindset at a younger age, I think it's easier to sustain that later on, too.

Q. What does it say about the deepest feelings you have about the sport?
ROGER FEDERER: That it shouldn't be grueling, but it can be. Can be tough. People get burned out from all the travels, you know, compared to musicians going on world tour. We do it every year, Jan to November. It's a lot to ask for sometimes from a player, you know, to be away from all their best friends, the family, if you like, as well.

I've always enjoyed it. I always try to see sort of the glass half full rather than half empty. I surrounded myself with people I respect but I also have a great time with. I think I was lucky also early on that my wife was always willing to endure the travels. I guess for her it was no big deal because she also has the 'I'm a player' background, too. So that was helpful.

Q. There's been a lot of this talk about Cori Gauff, how much promise she has. She's only 15. The WTA rule, would you make any changes to it if it was up to you?
ROGER FEDERER: You're talking about Coco, right?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm a little bit -- I understand the rule completely that they want the young players not to play too much. I've told the WTA they should loosen up the rules. I loved seeing Hingis doing what she did at a young age. This is not me being involved in any shape or form as Team8 through Coco. I try to give her as much advice as I can through Team8.

I think it would be nice, you know, if they could play more. I feel like it puts in some ways extra pressure on them every tournament they play. It's like their week, this is now where I finally am allowed to play, I have to do well, right? I'm not sure if it's maybe to some extent counterproductive.

They could maybe do a mentoring system that there is maybe still a rule about how many tournaments they're allowed to play, but maybe it should be more, in my opinion. Then the mentors should come in, the legends like Billie Jean or Chris Evert, Navratilova, others, maybe speak to the parents, the coaches, the player for that matter, and really, like, educate them so they don't fizzle out.

Maybe your best time, and your best time is from 14 to 20 for some reason. It's not like for everybody else from 20 to 30. So in a way you take away that opportunity, you know. Some want to have kids maybe at 24. At least you had a strong career for 10 years, from 14 to 24. I don't know.

It's up to debate. I don't have the perfect solution. I see why they did it, because we've had the history of some tough parents out there. But at the same time you're also increasing the pressure for that player each week to produce.

Q. Back to today's game. What did you make of your opponent? Did you sense a degree of nervousness playing against you, of all people, on one of the grand stages, Court No. 1? How did he measure up to that pressure?
ROGER FEDERER: I sensed he was a bit nervous in the beginning with his double-faults in the first game, that he served two or three double-faults. That's the only way I can tell if he's nervous. I'm not going to put my hand on his chest and check is the pulse higher or not, I can't do that (smiling). It's maybe only through mistakes that you can actually tell if he's nervous or not.

Double-faults is usually the biggest way to tell. I felt like after that, he got into it. He had breakpoints, to get back. I think those were big for him. For me to pull away, go 4-1, 5-1, that was the end of that first set, gave me everything I needed to know for the rest of the match.

Then in the second set, I think he did very well to stay with me. Every time he got a little bit close on his service games, he was able to produce something special. He had his chances in the breaker, you know, where I donated him a missed volley. He could have pulled away. I was able to come back right away.

But, you know, I liked what I saw in Jay. I mean, I still think playing on grass, I don't know if it's his favorite surface or not, it seems like he doesn't mind longer, extended rallies, so maybe grass is not his maybe number one surface. Whose favorite surface is grass anyhow? We don't have really time to practice on this surface.

I hope he keeps working hard and results will show how good he is.

Q. What do you make of Andy Murray playing doubles with Serena?
ROGER FEDERER: Great. Very happy. I was happy when I heard that. It's good for mixed doubles. It's good for men's doubles, or doubles in general, that Andy is just playing doubles and mixed. Because in clubs, usually you play doubles. But the pros all play singles.

So I think it's good to highlight how important doubles and mixed is. I enjoy myself a lot at the Hopman Cup when I played mixed there, at the Laver Cup when I played doubles with Rafa and Novak the last few years. To have Andy play with Serena, I mean, that's going to be exciting, to say the least.

I'll be watching, I know that.

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