July 3, 2021
Wimbledon, London, UK
R. FEDERER/C. Norrie
6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the grass. We asked you about it after the first match. You said under the roof it's a bit slippery. Do you think there's something different this year?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think so. Yeah, I mean, I went down sometimes in the past. I mean, it's definitely much, much easier to move now. I don't feel a difference, per se. Is there maybe anything to do with that there was no tennis here last year? I doubt it.
I would think it's the same as it always has been, in my opinion.
Q. It feels like next week is a defining week in men's tennis as Novak tries to win slam number 20. What have you made of his dominance this year at the slams? Are you relishing the challenge at this time, keeping you going, to continue fighting with him and Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think I'm playing because he's doing well or he's doing great things. Same as Rafa. I think I'm doing my own thing. I had problems of my own with the knee. That's been the focus.
Then again, it's just very, very impressive to see what again he's doing this year. Like you said, it's going to be another big one for him the coming days. There's always danger in the draw wherever you look.
At the same time he's able to have different ways how to win matches. He's done incredibly well in Australia, now again also in Paris. That was exceptional, of course. He looks like the big favorite here going into whatever round he goes into.
He deserves it. He's worked extremely hard. He's playing great at the same time, too. He's going to be tough to beat.
Q. I wondered, did you see Andy Murray's match last night, hear what he said afterwards?
ROGER FEDERER: I did.
Q. He said he's wondering if he can't put the work in he needs to on the practice court, wondering whether it's worth it if he can't play how he wants to play. You've been rehabbing for the last year and a half. Could you empathize with the way he's feeling?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, definitely. It was also nice playing with Andy, actually feeling the ball that was coming back from him, just seeing what can he do also in terms of his physical ability. I watched a little bit yesterday side-by-side with the football.
But I totally know what he's trying to say because if you have to make compromises every single day, instead of practice you have to rest, instead of practicing three hours you can only practice an hour and a half. Whatever it is. If it's every day like this, you have to cut back on different types of those choices, yeah, it makes things more complicated.
On top of it all, you can't probably play 35 tournaments any more. Now you're playing maybe 25, maybe 15 or less. All these things really matter in a player's mind.
I totally understand where he's coming from. Plus he's also had a tough year. He hasn't played many matches. There's clearly some question marks.
At the same time he should be very, very happy about himself. I think he has a huge admiration from all the players what he's going through because that is not just some simple knee thing like maybe some others. This is major stuff he's going through. I wish him only the best. Everybody hopes he stays on tour and keeps on going, to be honest.
But, of course, most of all he needs to be happy. That goes with being healthy clearly.
Q. I wanted to ask your reaction at the end of the match today, sort of what was going through your mind? How much of it was perhaps relief to get through in four, excitement? It's been a while since you had a chance to be in the second week of a Grand Slam tournament. The other thing I wanted to ask was, this is apparently going to be the last time we'll have a middle Sunday here at Wimbledon off. Just wondering about your thoughts on the Club's decision to do away with that tradition and play the full 14 days starting next year.
ROGER FEDERER: I wasn't actually sure if it was going to be middle Sunday on or off this year already. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I wasn't sure. Now I know (smiling).
Look, at the same time you got to love traditions. But, again, French Open also went to a 15-day event. Everybody wants more days. Look, more days means more revenue, more options, more this and that. I get it.
I don't think they did it only because of revenue. I think they just think it's going with the times, as well. I think in some ways you liked it because it reset the entire draw for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. At the same time every other tournament does it differently as well. Maybe it's going with the times. I get that.
And then the first part of the question was?
Q. Your reaction at the end of the match.
ROGER FEDERER: The crowd really got into it. I thought I was extremely calm throughout the match. Maybe that's why I saved all the emotions for the very end of the match.
It meant a lot to me because I thought actually I played a really good match throughout, except maybe that one game where Norrie breaks me. Sure, he returned well. It was a bit easy for him to get that break. It was a difficult couple of minutes for me after missing the breakpoints, then coming back and serving on the other side.
Credit to him for pushing me. I know he's had a really good season so far. He's played a ton of matches and a lot of tournaments. It's really a win for me, like a reference point as well, if I can beat somebody of his level who's played well last week, who is playing at home, who's played a ton of matches, it's really... I know who I beat, you know what I mean? It's not just like a guy that can play good on the day. He's a good player.
That's why I was extremely happy that I found ways to fight back in that fourth set.
Q. I think you said in your courtside interview afterwards you thought you were a little bit lucky in the first round. Do you think you're getting stronger as the tournament goes on, maybe your rhythm is getting a little bit better match by match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, definitely. Look, I mean, lucky to some extent. I still would have backed myself if it would have gone five sets. But you don't want to be in a fifth set against Mannarino in the first round at Wimbledon under the roof with the fresh grass. From that standpoint there's always open questions. I did get a bit lucky that he gets injured and the match ends right there basically.
I definitely feel like I've gotten my rhythm now at this point. Clearly I've gone from lefty to righty to lefty. There was a bit of a breeze on the court as well. Sometimes I was still mistiming a little bit my shots. For the most part I was still trying to play on the front foot, play forward. When you do that, like I did against Gasquet, you're always going to miss some, and important is that I accept those and move on.
I did that very well today. I thought I had a really excellent attitude, from what I can tell how I felt. That has been something that has changed nicely throughout the last weeks and months, to be honest.
Maybe one of the first times I just felt very much at peace out there, really sort of a tranquility I guess to everything I was doing, where I wanted to serve, how I wanted to win my service games, then how I took misses, how I took wrong choices. I just brushed them off. It was like we're moving on, things are going well. I know it's the big picture that matters.
I was sitting on the change of ends, it was just empty thoughts, no bad, no positive, just sitting there and relaxing. This is how I want it to be. I think that for me is a very positive sign, to be honest.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports