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August 15, 2019

Roger Federer

Cincinnati, Ohio

A. RUBLEV/R. Federer

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just talk us through the match and why you think you couldn't do it today.
ROGER FEDERER: I thought he played very well. Definitely I think I struggled on my serve early on. Got broken the first service games, and, you know, there you have it. That sort of set the tone for the match maybe a little bit.

But at the same time, you know, I think the combination was tough. He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn't think I was feeling the ball badly. It's just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions, and, you know, when you sometimes then can't rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn't think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn't do that.

He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn't give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.

Q. Is there any sort of concern of possibly not having enough matches leading into a Grand Slam, or do you feel like at this point you have been around enough that you know what to do?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I played 45 matches this year, so I think I should be fine (smiling).

Q. I was wondering if you have seen any of the match from last night, if you have any comments about what happened?
ROGER FEDERER: There was a lot of matches going on. I don't know which one you are talking about.

Q. Kyrgios and Khachanov.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I watched it and I'm not going to comment on it because I'm not just really in the mood.

Q. How was the switch from night to day? Did that affect your play, do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yes. It does anybody, but it's just a fact. Day sessions are quick. There is a breeze. The heat makes the ball super jumpy and bouncy and fast. So that's where you want to be good on the offensive.

And if you're seeking to look for rhythm against certain players, you're not going to get it, just because they are able to control the outcome of the rallies. And he's exactly that kind of player, Rublev, where he can take the racquet out of your hand.

Yeah, I mean, day sessions are always tough, you know, in North America on the hard courts, because with the heat, the ball just goes, you know. I like those conditions, though. So that's a pity today.

Q. How much different is your overall game plan for an opponent you have never faced?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think especially on fast-court conditions you can really -- you remind yourself how you want to play, because like I said, it's really up to you, you know, to dictate play and come up with the plays.

That was the plan today with my coach. Now of course you look into what does Rublev maybe do better or worse? What are his strengths and weaknesses, et cetera?

But naturally you don't quite know what are his favorite patterns. Like if I play Rafa or Novak, I know more or less what they are gonna do or can do, and that's different with a player you play for the first time. Maybe their small advantage to have over us, but regardless, you've still got to hit the corners, hit the lines, keep it going. And he did exactly that. He was really perfect today. It was a great performance.

Q. What would you do differently on a rematch?
ROGER FEDERER: Start better, you know, maybe can have him in the ropes maybe a bit longer and just wait it out a little bit. Maybe not give him the lead. A lead is always nice to have. You can free-swing after that.

To be honest, it's tough when it's fast like this to tell you, Well, I could have done this or that. I just would have hoped for maybe an overall better performance, and I would have known what I would have known after playing this first round that maybe I would know the patterns maybe a tad bit more.

He was mixing it up nicely, you know, on the serve, on the return. He's really consistent. You know what you're going to get, really. I think I just have to play better overall to hang with him.

Q. How does the speed of these courts compare to Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: This is faster, for sure, just because of the bounce. The moment the ball bounces, up here it's harder to control. So it's hard to get it down. Whereas in Wimbledon everything comes over hip height and it's easy to control from there. So that's one fact.

Obviously the heat is another one. And then spins, also, you can work with. So this is definitely faster than Wimbledon.

Q. Obviously when you come to a tournament like this you plan to be here through the weekend. How is your schedule looking at the next few days? Is there anything different you'll be doing?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, look, also very important for me is always to see that I'm injury-free and I'm feeling good. Regardless of what the outcome of this week, I'm happy I came here, had good practice sessions.

Look, I had two matches here and hoped it would have gone better. But the plan is always not to lose first round. The plan is always not to lose second round. The plan is never really to be in the weekend. It's trying to be there. So when these kind of results happen, I don't know what you can do. You walk away from it and say, like, What's the plan? I don't know. I just walked off the court.

I will speak to the team about it. I will have a few more days off now, I'm sure, before the US Open. I worked very hard coming into Cincinnati, you know, and sort of in that little season we had since Wimbledon, so I can maybe also utilize a couple of days off.

I'm going to train, exactly what I need to do for the Open, and that's it. It's fairly simple, keep it simple, but I've got to work hard.

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