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November 24, 2011

Roger Federer


6‑1, 3‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Is it difficult at all to have the same intensity when you know you've already won the group?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really because I feel I give a hundred percent every time I step on the court.  It's a matter of trying to do the exact same thing, you know, knowing I don't really need to win, but maybe because I know that somewhere you just maybe don't, you know, play the same way.  Who knows.
But still have to give credit to Mardy.  I mean, the first set wasn't as one‑sided as the score suggested, and the second set he played great.  He really started to zone in on many shots.  I thought he was able to keep that up in the third set.  So I was happy to get the crucial break early in the third and maybe cruise a bit more.
I definitely struggled a little bit more today, but I thought that was more due to the circumstances, like you mentioned, and Mardy actually playing well for most of the match actually.

Q.  That win takes you to 37 in the finals all time, two within Lendl's record.  How important is legacy at this stage of your career?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I didn't know about it.  I'm happy I was able to win today just because of momentum for the semis in a couple of days.
Yeah, I'm surprised how well it's gone always at the World Tour Finals level for me because these are maybe almost the toughest and most dangerous matches to play during the year because it's best‑of‑three, against fellow top‑10 players indoors where a few shots usually do decide the outcome of the match.
I mean, I guess I do play for a little bit of the legacy and the history, you know, the record books, all that stuff.  But it's really the press that reminds me of most things.  I just try to go along with it because I have no intentions to quit.  So I can concentrate on just playing tennis at the moment.

Q.  It strikes me that you're hitting more backhand winners this week.  Are you whipping it a bit more, putting more topspin on it?  Anything you're doing differently?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think I'm hitting my backhand well.  It started in Paris already.  I think I got into a really good groove.  But that was because conditions were slower.  I had more time to set up the shot.
But it's true, I think I've gotten confident on that side as well, you know.  If I mix it up with a good slice, some heavy roller backhands, I can even mix in the flat ones sometimes.  I think it's working well as a good variation.  It's always been a good variation shot for me, the backhand side.
But I agree, particularly this week and last week it's been working very well.

Q.  Can you give us an update on the current state of affairs in the debate about the length of the season and whether a strike is still an option?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  It's not been an option really, in my opinion.  Next year's season is going to be shortened by two weeks.  That's I think as much as we can squeeze it really because otherwise a lot of tournaments would have to go or we would have four tournaments the same week, which I don't think is a very smart idea, to be honest, for the game.
Yeah, it was brought up a few months ago, the whole boycott thing.  It's nonsense.  It's not going to happen any time soon.  Things are good right now, so I don't see a reason why we should just boycott.  There's absolutely no reason for it.

Q.  Having said that, I don't know if you watched Novak's match last night, there maybe is a perception that some of the other guys are short on gas in the tank.  Do you think there's anything in that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Uhm, I mean, the season's always been long, tough and grueling.  Back in the day, they used to play singles and doubles.  Now maybe it's gotten more physical so we play mostly only singles.  But I've played 10 years straight now I guess 60‑plus matches, if not even 90 at times.  That's just singles.  I think it's about how you manage your schedule.
Who knows, at the end of the day Novak might still win the tournament here.  We're talking like that right now.  But we know things change very quickly.  Rafa could still end up winning the tournament, so could Novak.  That's why we have to wait and see.
It's really only the final day that we'll really know who's tired and who's not.  Right now it's all just a debate, which is not a good one to have right now at this stage.

Q.  Are you now an Arsenal fan?  Sitting next to Thierry Henry during a match, does he pass on tips as to what's happening at that level?  What happened last night?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, Thierry obviously being a legend of the club, asked me‑‑ said, You almost have to come.
I said, Just let me try to beat Rafa first, if I'm through in the group, there's a good chance I'll come.
Right away I told him I was coming.  Great seats.  Sitting next to him was interesting.  I'd ask him a question, Why would they play this way, why did they do that, what does that player do well?  He can explain all these things.  He's like a manager.
It was very interesting for me.  I enjoyed it.  I think he enjoyed it as well to host me.  He's come and watched a lot of tennis.  I've provided him with a lot of tickets.  For him to give back like this was a beautiful thing, as well.  I was able to go down on the pitch, go in the locker room, meet the players.  They were extremely happy.
It was nice for me to go see some English football.  I haven't seen soccer here that often.  10 years ago I think I went to see England/Argentina in the old Wembley Stadium.  That's the only soccer match I've seen in England.  Before that, never before.  That's why I was very excited I had a chance to go.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts at all on the suggestion made by some people we should go to a two‑year ranking in tennis, like they do in golf, rather than a one‑year period?
ROGER FEDERER:  My opinion on the two‑year ranking?

Q.  Yes.
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm not a big fan of it just because I think it would make things rather boring.  But that's my personal opinion.  Other than that, as the president of the Player Council, I think it's not a good thing for the lower‑ranked players, to be quite honest.  I think it's going to be a struggle for them to make a big breakthrough.  It's going to take them multiple breakthroughs.  So the dream of having one great tournament, then making a move, in my opinion, is never going to happen.
I like golf, but I couldn't tell you who's in the top 10 of golf right now.  I couldn't even mention four players.  This is where I think tennis lives from the weekly rankings we have, the changes.  You guys love it, I think.  You guys like writing stories and the debates about what's going on.
If we have a two‑year ranking, things would be so slow and nothing would really move.  I can't support it as a president of the Player Council and I have to look at all the players in the eye.
I know it could be a good thing for me or for Rafa or for other good players because we would stay at the top for a very long time.  For us to move down in the rankings would take something extraordinary.  But for the lower‑ranked players, I don't think it's a good thing and that's why I can't support it.

Q.  I don't know if you would like to talk about the discussions about the new ATP CEO.
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm happy to discuss anything with you.  That's why I'm here.

Q.  You being the statesman of the game, considering your passion for the game, did you ever consider being an ATP CEO in the future?
ROGER FEDERER:  Myself?  No, I'm very happy right now with the player situation.  But it's a very important role.  Let's not kid ourselves.  I've had a few CEOs in my lifetime as a player.  I've gotten to understand how important that role is.  That person between the tournaments and the players, understanding both sides, wanting to talk and listen to the players and the tournaments I think is a very important one.
I think it's a very difficult job to do, quite honest, because you'll always upset someone on some side.  But I think it's a good thing that the top players are involved.  But at the end of the day, it's the board that takes the decision, and we as a council or as top players can only talk to them and give our opinion, then see where it takes us.
This debate now, this CEO position, after Adam Helfant, is still an interesting one.  Still ongoing.  No decision has been taken yet.  So for the time being we're waiting to see what's going to happen.  It's going to be an interesting next few weeks and months, I'm sure.

Q.  If you don't mind, could you look back to the Basel finals against Kei Nishikori.
ROGER FEDERER:  What would you like to know?

Q.  What impression do you have about him and what do you think about his potential in the future?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I always knew he had a great potential.  I always saw a very talented player in front of me every time I played with Kei.  That's back when he was 17 years old, you know, five years ago when I hit with him the first time.
For me it was nice to see the breakthrough he did in Shanghai and then also in Basel, using the wildcard to his advantage.  Then moving all the way to the finals, beating Djokovic, the season he had, Berdych, also the great season he had, was really nice to see.
Playing him in the finals like this is special because I know Japan is a country that gets very excited about a player like Kei.  I'm sure he's going to be a wonderful player, but only the future will tell if he's going to move into the top 10, top 5.  But I definitely think he has the potential and he's a wonderful player and a very nice player.

Q.  You're getting ever closer to the No.3 spot again.  What would it mean to you to reclaim it?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know what it takes.  It doesn't mean the world to me.

Q.  If you get to the final...
ROGER FEDERER:  It's not going to change anything for the seedings at the Australian Open, so for that reason it doesn't change anything for me, my personal opinion.

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