July 1, 2021
Wimbledon, London, UK
R. FEDERER/R. Gasquet
7-6, 6-1, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Since your return in 2021, this match against Gasquet was the best we have seen you. Did you feel as good as we saw you on the court? How were you feeling physically?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I thought it was a good match. I was actually very happy with my Evans match this year, the Cilic match in Paris was good for me, too. I think this one is up there with the top three.
I think it was a nice match back for me. Felt good physically. Much more relaxed in many ways, as I was able to play a really good breaker, then have a great sort of 32 minutes to whatever the end was, almost an hour, hour and 15. I think it is really crucial for guys to be able to stretch the lead. What I was able to do today gives you a lot of confidence. You can start to play so much more freely.
I was able to do that with my shots. Then the shot-making comes into it, then the variation comes into it, also move correctly, you're much more clear in your head. I think I definitely had a really nice stretch there for sometimes after winning that breaker, also even during the breaker taking good decisions.
It was a nice match for me, good atmosphere for me, good weather. It was definitely, like you said, one of the highlights of the year so far.
Q. What do you remember about maybe the first time you're a fan favorite at Wimbledon, and how would you describe what it's meant to you to have fan support here for all these years?
ROGER FEDERER: You mean when I remember the very first time I felt crowd support here at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Good question.
Maybe first round 2002. Lost first round in straight sets because I came off beating Pete the year before, playing against Henman in the quarters that year, then people thinking obviously I was one of the favorites coming in 2002. I was ranked, I don't know, maybe top 10 at the time, 8 or 6 or something. I finished 6, I believe, in the world. I don't even remember. Who cares.
I felt like there I had crowd support. It was short-lived. I lost first round to Ancic and went home.
Obviously in the Wimbledon Sampras match, I felt like actually the crowds were really cheering me on. I saw highlights the other day. I was like, Wow, actually the crowds were quite fair with Pete having won just five in a row, going for his eighth total I believe, seventh. I don't remember now.
Anyway, that was a big moment to be on that court and share it with Pete and actually get crowd support there. I would think that probably was it, actually the first one.
Q. I heard your TV quotes about playing against Cameron. I want to know, what is it actually like when you walk out and you don't get unanimous support? You normally get a hundred percent backing. Not the first time you played a Brit here. What is it like when you get a mixed reaction? The crowd are maybe confused. Secondly, will you be watching the Swiss tomorrow in the football?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, about crowd support, I don't know. I never really walk out and expect everybody to be for me, to be honest. I'm a little bit the same. Sometimes I like the underdog. You know how it is. You want to see a close match, too. It does go in phases. When you see another guy hit great shots, I hope they applaud the guy. You want the atmosphere to be there.
If it's sort of one way only, it's also not what it's supposed to be. I think you applaud in tennis the good shots, the good plays. Eventually when it gets really, really tight, down to the wire, yeah, this is where you see who people are cheering for.
But I think also a lot of people come to the stadium most of the time and say, Let's see what the players have, then I will decide a little bit on the spot as well who I'll cheer for.
Maybe with me they know me a little bit better, they've heard of me. But not everybody in particular has to be for me. I don't know, for me I enter the match very similar than I would enter against Gasquet, for example, against Norrie.
At the end of the day you have to focus on your game. If the crowd gets into it, it's good, even if it's maybe for him. Let's see what happens.
The worst is if there's a lot of people sitting there but there's no noise. On Centre Court you always have a guaranteed good atmosphere regardless if they are for or against you. So that's why I think for me it's such a wonderful court to play on.
The Swiss? Yes, I'll be watching them tomorrow. I don't know yet exactly when they play, but I'll be watching. My schedule will be organized accordingly, so I will not miss that.
Q. Will you take the same attitude as tennis fans: decide who to cheer for depending on who is playing well?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'll go for the underdog in this match (laughter).
Q. You played Cameron once before in the Hopman Cup.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah.
Q. What do you remember from that encounter? What do you make of him as a player?
ROGER FEDERER: I see good improvements from him. I remember when he came on tour, he was really steady off the baseline. I don't know what his favorite surface used to be, what it is today.
When you're steady, you can play on all surfaces. You would maybe argue it lends itself well for the clay, but then again his backhand is very different to many other guys' backhands. He doesn't have much topspin on it.
I felt like the first results came on clay. If I'm not mistaken, he also had some Spanish influence, coaches potential. I'm not sure any more.
But I feel like everything in his game has gotten a little bit better, if it's just the serve or the zip on the forehand, and the backhand has always been really clean. I think the confidence is growing.
I feel like he's worked on his game. This is what I would like to see every player do. When you see them again, for me as an example, a player who hasn't been around for a year, year and a half, you want to see a different Cam Norrie, you want to see a different player. You don't want to see the same guy again a year and a half or two later who hasn't improved anything. That is to me just such a waste and such a disappointment.
But he has not done that. That's why I'm really happy for him. I'm excited about the match. He's a good guy, too.
About the Hopman Cup, I don't know. Was it the first match of the year? You see what happens. I felt like I played good there. I played really well in Perth every year that I went. I was expecting to win there as well.
I don't know, here may be different. He had a good win last week. A very convincing victory today. That clearly gets my attention. I'm excited to play against him in the third round.
Q. The bookies say that the most probable final is Djokovic-Medvedev; the second to most probably final is Djokovic-Federer; the third is Djokovic-Berrettini. Are you surprised you are the second best final after all the problems you went through, you say you were happy to go to the second week, things like that? Why do you think Berrettini is more favorite than Zverev for the bookies, being third probable final?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, number one, don't care so much what they say. Number two, where are the bookies from? Are they from England?
Q. Yes, as far as I understood.
ROGER FEDERER: That answers your question about Berrettini. Whoever wins Queen's is always very high with that. Plus he won Stuttgart two years ago, I believe. He had a decent Wimbledon a couple years ago.
Q. Against you.
ROGER FEDERER: That's why he's up there.
I feel like Zverev also should be higher maybe because I've played him on grass before. I know he can play very well on the grass, especially if he's clocking his serves.
Medvedev, sorry, he's No. 2 in the world. It's normal that he should be up there, as well. Then me with my results here, they always have to put me in somewhere.
I don't know how to explain it to you. I don't care. It doesn't matter. But they probably are right about Djokovic making all those finals on the other side, that he's the favorite.
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