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August 23, 2019

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've had some great matches with Novak over the years, just had one at Wimbledon. Talk a little bit about his ability to go for broke in matches when he's facing match points, how he's able to dig himself out of those situations.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he backs himself. I'm sure there's confidence. He goes more through making shots, then also tries to be aggressive. When he's down or up in the score, he has tendencies to play more loose, more free.

We saw it in the match at Wimbledon, as well. I don't know if it was the second or third or fourth set any more, when he lost the set 6-1 or 6-2, he was making more mistakes. Then he goes back to tightening his game up a little bit. He goes through phases.

I don't know how he decides when to do what. It's worked well for him. Like when somebody goes bigger, you just try to weather the storm, try to play aggressive yourself. It's where good serving can help because you don't allow the other guy to play that way.

I don't mind it when he plays on the more aggressive side over the more safe side. Important I think as a player is that you have both. He has that. The best players do have that.

Q. You've had some tough luck in some close matches here in recent years. Talk about that, why you think it went that way, what's been going on? How do you feel about this year?
ROGER FEDERER: You're talking about recent years?

Q. Recent years, a couple losses, last year with Millman. Just seems like you've had a little bit of a struggle here.
ROGER FEDERER: I was thinking also, it hasn't always been easy here. Two years ago I came in with a back issue a little bit, I had a struggle early on with five-setters. I remember Tiafoe and others. That set the tone the tournament was going to be tough. Last year I struggled with the heat against Millman. Obviously, what was it, '16 I missed it entirely.

I think we were talking on the practice court yesterday or two days ago, this is probably the best I've felt in years coming into the US Open again, which is encouraging.

I mean, look, I have no explanation why it didn't go as well as it did. I think a bit unlucky for sure also. That was part of it, yeah.

Q. Your relationship with Rod Laver has been well-documented. Obviously naming the Laver Cup after him. On this 50th anniversary of his second Grand Slam, talk about what kind of a profound effect Rod has had on you, and what an elusive thing it is to capture that Grand Slam.
ROGER FEDERER: It's an amazing accomplishment, no doubt about it. It's also not just what he achieved, but also the way he carries himself, also all of his generation I think carried themselves. They were very humble, didn't take themselves too serious.

I think it's nice that we today recognize those players who did so much and really sort of inspired us. Of course, I had to get to know Rod through storytelling first, through watching some videos of him, then just spending time with him.

It's been a thrill. As you know, I've always been a great fan of tennis history. I think it's important that the young guys know who was there before them, why do we play in stadiums like this today, why is there professional tennis, et cetera, et cetera.

I think Laver is at the very top. I think it's important we celebrate the 50 years. I'm just very happy to see how much he enjoys the Laver Cup nowadays.

Q. Do you remember the first story you were told about him?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know which story exactly it was, but it was definitely Tony Roche telling me stories about rod, yeah.

Q. You haven't won an US Open since 2008, you talked about being 'unlucky.'
ROGER FEDERER: Sometimes, more health unlucky.

Q. What is your mentality going into this year? Do you feel like you are putting extra pressure on yourself to be able to get that sixth title, especially with you winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open recently?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I'm not putting extra pressure on myself. I know it's going to be tough. I'm not coming in as the overwhelming favorite like maybe I did back in 2006 or 2007. I'm very much aware of how I need to approach this tournament mentally.

What I'm very proud of is I've had a very consistent last year and a half, two years, ever since my back locked up on me in Montreal. I struggled here as well, struggled for quite a while.

I've been playing well. Playing well in slams recently, which has been great. I think also the win over Rafa in the semis was big for me. Also the finals, the way I played that in Wimbledon, is going to give me some extra confidence.

I'm happy where my game is at. Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early, who knows. It's maybe one of those things that sometimes needs to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in '17, then went on to win Indian Wells and Miami.

Maybe the same thing, played a great Wimbledon. Needed to get knocked down in Cincy, get my act together, train hard. That's what I did. I'm ready for the US Open. The draw is out, see which qualifier I will play.

It's going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I'm part of that group who can do it.

Q. Players over the years have always noted why the US Open is one of their favorite tournaments, because the crowd energy and the fact that you're playing in New York. What do you enjoy most about this major?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I just think how big everything is. Biggest stadium in the world. Everything is bigger in America. I come from a small, small country. So coming to the States and playing has always been a big thrill for me.

I remember when I left Switzerland, went on the plane to go to the Orange Bowl under-14 in Miami, that was already a big deal. So imagine for us playing in New York or for me playing in New York, it's a big deal. Besides all the crowd and all that, which is great anyway.

It's a great event. They've really improved over the years. I've seen it grow. This is different. I played in this stadium in 2000 against Juan Carlos Ferrero, the year when the Olympics was happening, the crowd was rocking and everything. Now we have a roof, we've seen it improve. It's nice to see. I'm happy to hear that many players think this is their favorite tournament in the world.

Q. We've heard people talking about the big servers in the game. People don't talk as much about the return, except probably with Novak. Can you talk about the return, how difficult it is to master.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no return, no wins, I'll tell you that. It's that simple. It's maybe not as important as the serve. I think still bigger serving is a bit more important.

But it is amazing how returning has improved in the last 20 years since I started in the game. There were some shocking return players back in my day when I started. Now you rarely have them. Everyone can make returns at all times.

I don't know if there's really a safe place to go to. When you kick serve to the backhand, now everybody waits for it, can make it, can even be aggressive on it. It's nice to see the improvements.

You have different styles of returns. I use the slice. Me, Rafa, Novak return completely different. It's so interesting. Rafa is by far the best from returning way back in the court. It's amazing the power he gets from there. Just Novak, how long he is, he's still able to stay aggressive. I use the slice a lot.

The good thing is you can do it in different ways. I think consistency is the key when it comes to returning.

Q. How much physically and mentally did that Wimbledon final take out of you? How do you reflect now on that day? Andy said he thought it's tough to come back sometimes from an incredible match like that.

Q. Roddick.
ROGER FEDERER: There's a lot of Andys (laughter).

Look, I struggled a little bit the first couple days. At the same time I was caravaning with my kids. I didn't have that much time thinking about all the missed opportunities. I was setting up tables and organizing my life for my four children, driving around the beautiful countryside in Switzerland.

Sometimes you have flashbacks, things like, Oh, I could have done that, should have done that. The next day you're having a glass of wine with your wife thinking, The semis was pretty good, even the finals was pretty good. You go in phases.

Took me maybe a couple of days just to sort of get those things out of the system, like it takes with everything. Then first couple days back playing tennis, as well, you have a few flashbacks.

Overall I think if I look back, I'm very happy I was part of such an entertaining match as well. We are in entertainment, as well. The crowd paid big money to be part of this match. I was part of the main show with Novak. We put up a great fight. Somebody had to win. Novak was the better man on the day. He was tough.

I don't know. I've been there before, had some tough losses along the way. So many great wins, as well. I was just more upset rather than being sad. I think being upset made me get over that finals much easier than being sad, dwelling over it too much.

Honestly, I've had a great run through the clay, on the grass as well, that I was not going to be too down on myself. I hope it's obviously going to help me for here.

Q. What do you think the positives or negatives of the kind of lack of any new winners in slams is for the men's game, how that weighs?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think it's a problem, per se. I think now that Novak, Rafa and me are healthy again, Andy also slowly coming back again, has made it much harder for young guys to come through. They are definitely knocking on the door big-time now. I think that's very encouraging for those who want to see somebody else win. I think also Novak's domination, Rafa's domination is also not normal for the game of tennis.

If you win 55% or 65% of the points won in a match, you're dominating. It's that close. I think there's going to be chances moving forward, but it's not surprising with the type of tennis they've been playing in recent years. Also Stan coming up. He was very strong, as well, when he won.

Yeah, it seems like the same guys are the favorites again this time around. It will be a surprise if anybody else won other than the guys I said, yeah.

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