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August 28, 2019

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA

R. FEDERER/D. Dzumhur

3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Might say it's not a carbon copy of the first-round match but obviously there are similarities. Would you agree? What do you need to do to get off to a better start?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I have been in that position many times where you go through a little phase where you don't start so well and everybody asks you right away, What are you going to do? You're like, I don't know. Just go back to the drawing board. Just do the same things again. You hope for a better outcome.

I don't think there is per se a secret to a good start other than warming up well, being well-prepared mentally. Not underestimating your opponent. I did all of that. You know me, I will always do that.

So when it happens like this back-to-back matches, you know, it's just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there.

But, yeah, can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward.

Q. What, if anything, has surprised you the most about your first two matches?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I got exactly what I expected from both guys. I knew what Nagal was going to give me. I knew what Dzumhur was going to give me. But I didn't expect to hit 15 to 20 unforced errors, which is basically in the entire set just sort of donated.

But look, they came out and they were well prepared and got me to do that. But I clearly have to play better from the get-go.

Q. Do you find it easier or more difficult to find your game here in the US Open as opposed to the other majors? What are the biggest obstacles here to finding that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, here it should be easier, I'd say, because there is literally no wind. Okay, now there was zero wind because we were playing indoors except for some ventilation wind, which doesn't count (laughter).

No, this is supposed to be the easy one. I don't have an answer to you. It's just poor ball striking in the beginning. It's hard courts. The ball is not even bouncing, you know. It's a pretty dead court in some ways. You should feel the rhythm quickly.

But, you know, it's maybe something the way you approach the ball, you know. But I'm not concerned. It's all good, you know, and I just need to take the positives out of it, because once I lose that first set I do get better, which is a good thing.

Q. Now that you're back on the player council what's that been like? Vasek Pospisil was in here saying he had reached out to a few members of the WTA council and wanting to collaborate on shared mutual ideas. Curious if you have ever done that in the past in your years on the council?
ROGER FEDERER: Speaking to the WTA?

Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: No. My time, no, we never did. What do you want me to answer? The question was?

Q. Do you think it would be beneficial?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, yeah. So, yeah, I mean, I think it's always good to talk. How can we help each other? How can we help the tour? How can we help the sport grow?

I think it is important to talk. The worst is in any politics or any tennis politics is if you just don't talk. I think from that standpoint that's a great thing. And I hope something comes out of it. If I can be of any help, I'll be happy to do that.

Being back on the council is good because I get all the information. I think that is important for me to give a proper opinion. It also brings Novak, Rafa, and me closer together, naturally, to be in a room. But then also away from it, we can't prepare for meetings like amateurs and just not talk to each other and then walk up to the meetings and just, like, So what's going on? And start taking decisions and voting and then it gets personal.

So we need to be well prepared, and for that we need to meet and talk, and we will do that moving forward. But I thought the first meeting was pretty good. It was okay.

Q. You have played a lot of Grand Slam tournaments where you have a lot of data points. In terms of the progress and form you can have during a tournament this long, is there a recognized pattern that you have figured out throughout the years? Does it follow a certain curve that you can identify or every tournament is just different and you don't know how it's going to go?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of level of play?

Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. That's why I think starting poorly, what does that mean for later? I don't see it that way. Sure, you can go back on statistics and look back. Like, has that ever happened and if that -- you know, I don't look at these kind of things.

I think it has a lot to do also with your opponents, to be quite honest. Sometimes you have tougher draws; sometimes not. Sometimes you carry an injury early and later not anymore or vice versa.

Most important, in my opinion, is you're 100% ready to battle, are you in good shape, are you happy to be here? For me, also when it comes to slams, I prepare my game in a way that I peak here, and then you have to give yourself the best chances.

At the end of the day all you can give is 100%, and I have been doing that for many, many years now. If it falls into place, great. If it doesn't, well, you can always go back to the drawing board and figure out maybe what did you do wrong or was it just, you know, the kind of day that didn't go your way. That's it.

Q. Tsitsipas said yesterday that he does not feel inspired when he goes out on the court.
ROGER FEDERER: Does not feel inspired?

Q. Inspired these days.
ROGER FEDERER: That's not fun, not winning much, I can tell you.

Q. Can you relate to that because it's normal for his age?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. No concerns. I have been there (smiling). You don't like tennis when you're traveling around the world and you're sacrificing week for week and you feel like the game is not there and getting pushed out early in slams and also tournaments. You feel all you want to do is, like, run the other way and just not be there. You're stuck on the tennis court sometimes and you wish it wasn't so.

But I think almost everybody goes through that. There are very few players that just from start to finish, especially early on, you know, don't have that feeling. But I had that quite often, so it's normal. For me, anyway.

Q. Vasek and others have brought up the whole issue of whether payment in tennis should be on a more broad level. Lower-ranked players should get more money so they can make a living. He's brought up issues of transparency and balance and pay the top players get versus the lesser ones. Could you take a moment and just reflect on that issue, please.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think in the beginning it was important. When I started and won my first Grand Slam in Australia, I don't remember what the prize money was. I thought it was around 450,000 maybe for the winner and now we're at 3.6 maybe.

I think it was important for us just to be able to raise winners' prize money and come up with that so we can rival also other sports like golf and others so we have a higher prize money for winners.

That went up very quickly, very drastically, which is great. But then, I don't know how you say, it became too big between the winner and first-round loser. So we have that more organized nowadays.

I do believe the challenger players and also maybe qualifying and second-round loser should get more, you know. So I think if there should be increases it shouldn't be at the top anymore. I feel like we have reached a pretty good level there.

So, yeah, I think that's going to be what we're going to fight for. And if we want prize money increases, I know the tournaments don't find it very sexy giving it to first-round quallies or second-round quallies and all these things, or challengers. But the tour, it would be nice if the players could also survive on the challenger tour in the lower ranks and not just at the very top.

Even though I'm all for it shouldn't be a losers' tour, but they also sacrifice a lot of their time and they work equally hard as we do at the top. That hopefully we're going to get that right hopefully, as well, in the next sort of five to ten years.

Q. I was chatting with Andy Murray prior to this tournament about who potentially has the best chance of winning it. One of the things was conditions, a bit of an unknown. Last year seemed pretty slow historically. Is it quicker? We were told it was going to be quicker this year. Is it, in your opinion? And how has it changed historically since you first played here?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it used to be sort of the windy slam. We don't have that anymore. Unless they put me on the outside court. Then we will see that again.

So I think that had a big impact on the way the US Open used to be played. You came out and there was always a breeze, always a strong wind. I have had some of my windiest matches here in New York. So I think that's changed a lot.

Now I do believe it's definitely slower than it has in previous years. I'm not sure if it's the balls or the speed of the court. But it's definitely not on the faster side. If you look at this was like an indoor match, so it's great for ball striking, for big servers, and it's hard to go through guys, you know.

So I feel like it's medium, at best. I also was told we're going to make it faster to last year. I don't feel it that way yet but maybe I've just got to figure out how to play and use the conditions to your advantage.

Reminds me almost a little bit of the World Tour Finals, to be quite honest, how it is here. Sort of a bit flat. It's not crazy bouncy. It doesn't skid like mad. But I do believe that maybe through the course of the tournament it's also going to speed up just a little bit more for the second week, and I hope to be there. We'll see. We'll see.

Q. You last won here 2008. In the years since, what are some of the ones you feel you should have won?
ROGER FEDERER: '09 obviously. I don't know which year I lost to Cilic, you know. Things were looking okay there after Novak lost and Nishikori was in the finals and I was in the semis against Cilic. Would have thought that maybe I had a good chance, but Marin came out and just crushed me.

I think maybe those were my best chances. I don't know about the finals against Novak, and the rest I don't remember. There you have it. (Smiling.)

Q. You have been moving through each match. How do you find balance now when you practice so you don't overdo it? Friday is supposed to be a very hot day.
ROGER FEDERER: Friday is hot? They said it was going to be warm today.

No, I mean, I think you've got to do what you feel is best, you know. You chat to the team and you see -- look, I know I can't reinvent myself from today to the third round. That's where experience kicks in. I know it's more of the mind that needs either a rest from, you know, from either a lot of practice or busy days or pressure, whatever it may be. I think this is where you find the energy, in my opinion.

Tomorrow I will not practice over an hour, because I believe that all the hard work I have put in since Wimbledon and before, that I'm ready for that. So tomorrow is really just to make sure I get to feel the ball again in an environment where I have no pressure. Every ball I play out there you feel like some sort of a pressure not to miss it, having to make it, wanting to hit a winner, hitting a good serve.

When you go out to practice on these in-between days it's quite nice just to be hitting freely and actually not think of anything while you're hitting the ball, or depending on if you have to work on a few little things, you do that. We'll chat with the team.

But I'm happy where I am at. I have had a good season so far, and I'm ready for the next round. So that's good.

Q. You are one of the few fortunate ones being able to play today. Are you thankful for the roof? Does it help keep you in a rhythm and peace of mind staying on a schedule?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, it helps me but doesn't help the other guys. I'm aware of that. Doesn't look very promising from what I heard, which is terrible. It's good for the media or for TV, at least you've got something going on. For fans, as well, who paid maybe high price for the ticket, they get to see some tennis. I think that's good. For us, the players, I mean, it's good for a few guys, and the rest it's not good.

I think this roof is more important when it comes to semis and finals, you know, than a day like today, because they're going to fall behind, matches are going to get cancelled, and then other players have to back it up, back-to-back days.

So it's going to be tough. Here I definitely profit from everything I guess I did in the game and my ranking to be put on center court on a day like this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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