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August 13, 2019

Roger Federer

Cincinnati, Ohio

R. FEDERER/J. Londero

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You missed Canada a few other times before and come straight to Cincinnati. How much different is it with the extra week of not playing since Wimbledon to Cincinnati, the extra time to get the rust off, if you will, grass to hard, but the extra week of time?
ROGER FEDERER: Wow, I mean, it's the same amount of weeks like back in the day for Canada. It's just we lost a week because we gained a week on the grass. I liked it the other way, too. It's nice that the grass court season is longer, so, you know, if you want to take somewhat of a break and prepare somewhat well physically and tennis-wise, it's hard for me, I mean, at this age, I don't know, but just to right away head into Canada.

It would be a very quick turnaround, because I usually take a week to nine days off after Wimbledon, and if then you want to train for, let's say, two weeks, just basically can't make it. I mean, you can run into Canada, but I don't know.

I'm in a different place in my career, you know, with the family. And Wimbledon being the big goal, it's important also to let it set a little bit and take time to prepare for the next part of the season.

Q. Your opponent today had a very strong forehand. He won a number of free points with it. What else did he do to make the match really competitive?
ROGER FEDERER: Conditions are fast. We barely had any rallies in the first set. It was just bang-bang tennis. And like you said, he had a good forehand. He hides is well with the grip. And because I have never played him before, it's hard to see the release happening.

You know, I think he actually can play very well on the faster hard court. He moves well, can take the ball early. He has the option to go back but maybe here it's just a tad too fast.

So, no, I liked what I saw. I think he's going to have a good career, you know. He's a good fighter. I saw especially a good fight from him against Rafa at the French Open. And even though he was down two sets to Love and a break and you think, well, you know, it's over, he kept believing and kept fighting. This is a quality I respect a lot, you know, in a player. That's why I knew it was going to be tough maybe today.

Q. Who are some of the players on tour that you like practicing with most? And what are the things that you look for in a practice partner?
ROGER FEDERER: A good guy, a guy who can play tennis. I don't know. I like to play with Robin Haase or Chardy or, I don't know, Schwartzman, Goffin. I don't know. Fucsovics I have practiced a ton as well. Just guys that I get along well also off the court that maybe also can play up in the court, play aggressive or steady, good to have a chat with before, during, and after the game.

I mean, I'm not very picky, to be quite honest. I'm fairly relaxed.

Q. I have heard some of the other players here talk about utilizing some of the younger, more dynamic players to help market the game, to grow it by drawing in a new set of fans. You have been doing this a long time. I'm old enough to remember when you came up. You were young and dynamic and cool, also. At what point in your career did you feel this mantle responsibility of being an ambassador for the game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, very similar to the NextGen, I was part of the New Balls Please campaign. So I remember those days. I was pumped to be on the poster alongside -- it was a bit more erratic, how do you say, marketing.

Probably Nicola remembers. I don't know. We had the young guys but then there were the older guys in it, as well. Agassi was even in it. And then Guga and others, you know, and Rafter, I think, as well.

I thought it was well done. It was more this gladiator look, as well, they were trying to achieve. I think it's a good way to market the younger guys, actually introduce them to the crowds, really, because I think it's important to know a little bit of the back story of each player.

It's not just the Grand Slam champions and former World No. 1s who have a story to tell. Many others have a great one, too. I think when the fans then get into it and they read maybe a piece about, I don't know, let's say Khachanov, they're, like, Oh, this one really sparks my interest. Let's go see him play.

And you realize this guy is a really cool guy and he plays great, and I actually really enjoy him, actually going to support him in this match right now and maybe beyond.

I think that's that little thing that needs to happen, you know, every week and on TV, as well, for the people who can't travel to the tournaments. From this standpoint, I think the ATP is doing a great job, and I think it's important because not everybody always gets on center court right away and has the big-time matches, especially in a tournament like here where center court is shared, men and women. And, jeez, I mean, like Wednesday or Thursday, it's really tough to get on center court if you're not a top 5 player. Not even then you're safe. So you've also got to do it through marketing.

Q. You mentioned the conditions being fast here, and I'm curious if you have any sense yet of what the courts are going to be like in New York, if there are whispers, you know, if it's going to be fast or slow before you show up. Any heads up or if it's unknown until you start hearing reports from guys who are actually there?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't heard any reports yet. I heard rumors that it was not going to be as slow as last year. Because somehow people said it ended up coming up a bit too slow on the slower side.

So I don't know what to tell you. I guess it's never going to be as fast as here, but I believe it's going to be just a tad bit faster than last year. I think last year was, for a US Open, very much on the slower side.

Q. I asked Novak this earlier, and I'm wondering, given how much winning you have done over the past two decades, when you think about that and you think about all of your peers, who, as a result of how good you have been, have not won big tournaments, do you ever think about that and feel, like, a sense of guilt about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I don't know. Everybody tries their best, you know. You know, in the juniors maybe I felt bad sometimes, you know, just because I did. Don't know why.

Afterwards, I guess it's part of the business. You want everybody to do well, and that's why I'm generally happy when somebody does well, because like you said, not everybody can attain, you know, whatever it is, but what you can attain is the best of yourself.

I think probably if you ask a lot of the guys on the tour, they'd say, like, I probably did much better than I expected, because the dream is, of course, to, you know, to be top 100, top 10, World No. 1, winning tournaments and all that stuff, but, you know, to be able to make a living from what you wanted to do, I think that's the cool bit.

That's when sometimes it gets a bit rough. All of a sudden you achieve your dream and you have been told you're terrible because you didn't win so-and-so. You're, like, Okay, you know what? Get lost. I don't care what you say.

And that's the truth, you know. You've got to do what you can do best and make yourself proud, your family, your country, whatever it is. And in tennis, very quickly, take another sport, but if you're No. 100 best player or athlete or whatever of your sport, you're a champ, and in tennis you say, Oh, he's just 100, and I disagree with that.

Q. So you practiced with Christopher Eubanks today. Murray has practiced with him. Serena has practiced with him. He got a wildcard to the US Open today. What makes him so great as a young player that everybody wants to work with him?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. He's a good guy. He's funny. Like I said before, you want to practice with the good guys.

Yeah, I mean, look, I practiced with him -- I wonder if it was last year or two years ago at the Open, at the McEnroe Academy. You know, it was his height and power and everything and variation with the one-handed backhand and a good slice and all that stuff.

I mean, it's nice to practice with somebody like that. And then you want a guy who tries hard. And he does. He's, you know, always going to joke around a little bit. You're going to have a good laugh with the guy. You know he's going to show up.

Yeah, so this is the kind of guy you want to have around, and I hope for him that he's going to be able to take it to the next level and not just be a practice partner like you say now, because he's much more than that. And I hope he can break 100 and improve. On that I would be very happy for him.

Q. (Question about the sport and politics.)
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we like to battle a little bit within our sport instead of maybe opening the horizon a little bit and the vision saying we should maybe battle other sports rather. But it is what it is.

At the end of the day, I still think things are moving in the right direction. Things are positive. We have good numbers, you know, in terms of attendance, prize money. You name it, it's all going up.

Could it be more? Yeah, maybe. Possibly. I don't know. But I don't like to talk bad about our sport, and I put in a lot of time and other guys have done the same, and we have a lot of very hard-working people in our sport that love their tournament, their sport, whatever, fans.

I think we really have particularly strong, how do you say, people that appreciate the game and love it and they don't care. They can work for scraps and they're just happy to be part of the show, you know. We've got to take care of those people.

Sometimes maybe it stops us potentially of having the super entrepreneur at the very top leading things at a certain tournament, but at the same time, I also like it that way, to be honest, when it's not all so business and all so driven and it's maybe a bit more on the amateur side sometimes.

I like it. Seems friendly to me, and, you know, the game's got to grow. It has to grow, of course. I'm aware of that, too. And maybe by joining the council, I can help a little bit there.

But, you know, I think the game is definitely in a much better place than it was 20 years ago when I came about and it was already in a good place then. You always are going to go through ups and downs, but you won't hear me talk bad about the game, to be honest.

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