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June 29, 2019

Roger Federer

Wimbledon, London, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A lot of people say how much the grass at Wimbledon plays like hard courts now. Novak's career, of course, pretty special these last few years. You seem to really think the grass is different. You speak about grass in different terms. Can you delineate some of those differences.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, I still think it is very different. Maybe for some, they feel it's not as far from hard. I think it's still quite different.

I think the movement requires different talents or different movement. I believe also the way the ball bounces, the way it takes the spins or not, I think is quite a change still.

Obviously you can play better than ever on the grass courts. Every single year they get better and better, so it's easier to play from the baseline. Especially I would say the first week at Wimbledon, it's still a huge change to hard courts.

The second week, it gets more similar. You can move better from the baseline. I think it speeds up a little bit more, as well. It takes a bit more of the spin. But at the beginning it's still very soft, it's tough to move.

Q. First time in a while you're doing the clay-grass surface switch. What are the things you built up on clay that you can use here and what difference does it make having played the clay?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don't feel like -- I don't know I have a massive benefit from having played on clay. Like I just explained, I do believe it plays very different. Not only does the spin not take effects like it does on clay, but also the guys are not returning from so far back. Naturally everybody is much closer to one another.

Look, I mean, Halle went well. Practice this week has been going good, too. I think I can maybe answer that question better once the tournament gets under way or once the tournament is over.

So far I'm really happy I played the clay court season. I'm happy I was able to adjust again on the grass. I came through Halle, the clay court season, French Open, without any injuries, feeling good. I guess I would be ready for longer rallies.

But am I seeking out to play longer rallies because I played the clay court season? I don't think so. It's still going to be the goal to take charge of the point and play on my terms really.

Q. I think I'm right in saying that four of your wins here, you got through the first week without losing a set. How important is efficiency in the first week for you here as opposed to the other slams, or is it the same?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's everywhere about the same. I don't think you can say it's better to avoid five-setters or tough four-setters here than in Paris or at the Aussie.

I just think it's also how you felt before the event, where was your confidence level at, how can you build up the first week feeling good once you get to the, let's say, quarterfinal stage. I think that's what it comes down to.

Of course, the mindset has to be that you can play tough matches also the first week and still win in the second week. So, yeah, I don't read too much into it, to be quite honest.

Of course, if you can go through in straight sets or, you know, comfortable four-setter, that's definitely always a good sign.

Q. What do you think it means for the sport to have the three winningest men's major champions playing so well for so long at the same time?
ROGER FEDERER: What I think?

Q. What do you think it means for the sport to have the three of you?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's great. I don't know. I think these things don't come around maybe so often. Yeah, I mean, it also shows that side-by-side we can have incredible careers.

Funny enough, you always think somebody takes away something from the other. Probably we have. At the same time, we also pushed each other to greater heights, to improve maybe Rafa's grass, Novak's whatever, hard courts, I don't know what, my clay, I don't know.

I think we definitely became better because of one another. I don't know if we'd all still be playing, maybe would have played in different eras. But it's been fun having us, from my side. I don't know, I hope the fans enjoyed it. Because I think we're all very different characters, they could like either player.

Yeah, we play all the tournaments. Played for a long time now. I think people know us because of all the interviews we've given, as well, because they've seen us on the courts.

Q. How much contact have you had and what have you seen of Coco Gauff's run here, youngest ever qualifier, with your agency? What do you make of her progress so far?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm super happy for her. Look, I saw the last couple games when she qualified. Obviously everybody was waiting to see what the draw was going to be like. I think that's fascinating, that she plays Venus now. I don't know if Venus is the oldest in the draw.

Q. She is.
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's a great storyline. I hope they put them on a big court. I think that would be a great, wonderful experience for Coco and Venus anyway. Her pulse is going to stay comfortable, low.

She's not been there before. Been in her shoes, as well.

It's a great story. Coco is a nice girl, works really hard. I think she's obviously got a wonderful future ahead of herself. I have seen her a little bit, but not at this tournament yet, only on the little screen watching some of the matches.

Q. Rafa came in earlier and said he thinks the seeding system isn't fair. What do you feel about being bumped up to No. 2?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what you want me to tell you. The system is the way it is. It used to be different. I don't know, I guess it was different also before that. There's not much we the players can add to the story, other than we just deal with it.

At the end of the day, if you want to win the tournament, you got to go through all the players that are in front of you. And now that the draw is out, we move on.

But we knew that the system was in place. I guess the system is, you know, it rewards you for playing a lot on the grass, well on grass. I guess I benefited from that. That was not part of my plan the last few years. Just happens that this year I get bumped up. Kevin Anderson got bumped up.

Back in the day, it was tougher. Guys who were seeded became unseeded. So that was a bigger storyline I think than this one. Just happens that Rafa obviously went down, so I think that makes the news. With social media nowadays, they love it (smiling).

Q. Gauff said after her Australian Open loss in the juniors last year, you spoke to her, then she won the next slam. What has it been like representing other players?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm just another player.

Q. Helping them.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, honestly, if it's Coco or any other player asking me questions, I'll answer the question. I like to pick up players when they're maybe not feeling so well or they're insecure and unsure. They think they're about to climb this mega mountain, but actually it's just part of the journey. If I can be helpful there, I'm happy to do that.

So same as Coco, like with others, too, at the Laver Cup, as well, if the young guys have questions, always happy to help, yeah.

Q. It's now 30 years since Becker played Edberg. Could you talk a bit about how important that rivalry was for you growing up.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was important. I remember sitting in the living room on the carpet rather than the couch because I was too nervous on the couch so I moved down. They played against each other here a couple of times, a few times.

Becker was first my idol until some of my friends said, Why Becker? Edberg is cooler.

Is he?

Okay, I'll be Edberg.

Both were very important for me. Of course, you know, I was joking around also hoping one day I'd be a Wimbledon champion. This was more like, you know, how it is, just dreaming about it, not really believing it.

Yeah, they were important for me. Then naturally after they retired, I thought Pete was the guy, the cool guy, the Wimbledon champ and everything.

Yeah, they were big. Yeah, 30 years ago, it's crazy. Can't believe it, yeah.

Q. There's been some talk that maybe they might introduce mid-match coaching at the slams. Some said it was going to happen at the US Open, now maybe not.

Q. They also experimented with the mid-match coaching during the US Open qualifying. What are your thoughts on that? Is there a version you prefer to the other or just prefer it's not introduced at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, so I don't know the latest. This was in Halle, I guess, I heard you can speak to the player from the player box at the Open. This is maybe not happening any more. So nothing is sure.

I'm of the opinion that we shouldn't have coaching in tennis. I'm a big believer in that. I know some people are completely on my side. Some people are, Why not? Every other sport has it.

I guess you can see both angles.

I do believe it's what actually makes our sport unique as well in many ways, that the player gets his advice on the way, how much can he remember, how much can he deal with in the moment, figure it out yourself a little bit.

I think it's very cool, a great story. So, yeah, I'm against on-court coaching in any shape or form except for rain delays, whatever you call it, when it gets too late, gets carried over to the next day.

I don't think it's necessary, to be honest. Then we go deeper into the sport where maybe I can obviously afford more coaching than others. Is that fair? It is what it is. I think it puts everybody on an even playing field if there's no coaching.

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