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August 13, 2012

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Do you feel like you had enough of a break after the Olympics?  I know you pulled out of Toronto.  Did it clear your head?  Is it time to move on?  How did you do it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, in a perfect world you would like to have a few weeks, right?  Last few years we always had, what is it, at least a two‑, three‑week preparation, I guess, for the hard courts.
This time around we really don't have that.  We just had two and a half weeks more on grass, so obviously I don't think the preparation is as good as it's been in the previous years.
Then again, it's the same for everyone.  Novak came to Toronto and won after all, so you can obviously make the switch to the hard courts.  I think we've been doing it for many years.
But looking back, I've had better preparations, there's no doubt about it.  It was definitely key for me to take some time off.  I'm in a different place than many of the other players.  Obviously I'm sort of in a tunnel vision right now from the French through Wimbledon, Olympics, until the US Open making sure I have enough rest, I play enough, and I stay injury‑free.
That's why I couldn't play Toronto.  I'm happy.  I feel well now in the hard courts.  I arrived Thursday and I'm ready to go, but I'm happy I got a few more days.

Q.  Is there a mental difference playing in the Olympics and a tournament like this?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, obviously the Olympics you can't compare to any other event just because it's rare for us to only go to a tournament every four years.  And then when you do, you always have the federations that are very involved.  You 're wearing their stuff; they tell you where to go; there are some official stuff you need to be doing.  So it's a different situation.
Whereas if you come here, you kind of do what you feel is right and wrong in terms of practice.  You can tell them most likely when you want to do press and do things.  So it's more you're own schedule, and that's what we're used to.
But either is fine.  Obviously the Olympics is very unique in so many ways.

Q.  When you talk to your children.  What languages do you speak to them in?
ROGER FEDERER:  In Swiss German and English.

Q.  Have you had time to think back on the gold medal match at all?  Any new observations on it since time has passed?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  Honestly, I haven't thought about it much.  It's one of those matches you try to move on from.  Unfortunately there is no repeat of it where I can just come back, rewind, and just play it again and hopefully feel better.
But I accepted quickly that Murray was better on the day.  That was it.  I wasn't going to let it ruin my Olympics campaign just because I didn't win gold.  I still thought silver was a great result for me.  That's how I felt when I got back.
I had my birthday, I was with my family, and we were getting ready to come here.  So I was able to make the switch very quickly mentally, I think.

Q.  I was watching Stan Wawrinka on an outer court last year and someone was telling me that they cheer for Stan because he's Swiss and this is a Federer town because you've won it so many times and had a lot of good results here.  Do you feel like this is your turf more than other tournaments especially because you've won it a lot and some of the other guys, like Nadal, Djokovic, have never won this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER:  I've also played it more often so I had more chances to play well and win than them.  So the five years for me that I am older help me sometimes; sometimes they don't.  In this case I guess they do.
Honestly here either I play really, really well or sometimes I just play really bad.  So that's why the focus is big in the early rounds.  It's true that once I get rolling here I do play extremely well.  I've always enjoyed coming here.  I think I've only missed it a couple times, once to injury in 2001, and I don't know if I missed it another time.
So it's always been a nice place for me to come to.  Like you mentioned, I have great fan support here.  You feel you're very close to them.  Every practice you go to is packed, every match you play is packed, so it's really a nice event.  They do a great job for the players.
Okay, it's maybe not New York or London or Paris, big city right next to it, but it works really well for the tennis fans and for the players.

Q.  Does the proximity towards the US Open, is it more important how you play here than maybe some other of these level tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, there is always pressure going into Masters 1000s because you have really tough draws, like we saw at the Olympics.  It's best‑of‑three set tennis all the way through here now.
Yeah, usually for the top guys, okay, it's an advantage to have a bye in the first round for the top 8.  At the same time, the guy you play in the first round, he already played a match under the circumstances.
So it's tough, you know.  You just try to focus on the tournament itself and not so much on how are you feeling right before the US Open.  I play to win everywhere I go to, otherwise I'm not just going to show up and play for a couple matches and then pull out and then I don't have a chance to win.
I'm here trying to play well, and that's it.  Then we'll see.  The preparation for New York, that's going to happen next week.  But this ain't the preparation week, this is tournament week.

Q.  You've been with Paul Annacone for a while now.  Can you maybe elaborate on how he uses analogies from the time he was with Pete?
ROGER FEDERER:  He doesn't talk so much about how Pete used to do it or how things were back then.  I ask him from time to time, but I've heard a lot of things from Pete himself and from Paul just from having dinners with him.
But when we prepare for events and for the matches and for practice, it's not so much what he's done in the past.  It's really based on me and just seeing my situation.  Every situation a unique; every situation a different.
We do take traveling and matches and family life different than other people.  He tries to understand that with Severin and Pierre Paganini and stuff and all my people on the team and my wife tries to come up with the good game plan.  It's worked well so far, otherwise I guess he wouldn't be on the team anymore.  (Smiling.)
Q.We have a question from one of your fans:  What kind of advice have you picked up throughout your years that has been most helpful in your game?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I guess there is no easy way to victory just like that.  It doesn't happen overnight.  It's a process for many years trying to work hard.  I got very far by not working too hard; but at the same time, I do believe that when I was working I was making progress.
So it's important to understand why you're working out.  I was a guy who was asking a lot of questions trying to understand why I was doing certain exercises and certain routines, because I wouldn't understand first of all why I was doing weights.
What does that got to do with tennis, you know?  And they had to then explain me that.  That's maybe a good thing from time to time to do, because maybe you'll feel the benefit in three to five years.
Even though you do feel a little bit bigger after doing weights, it doesn't make you hit the ball harder yet.  There's just many important things that go into that.  Then I just think the team is important, the family support, that they do give you freedom to work and the team.
But at the same time, I think it's good to have a bit of an eye on your own kid and seeing what are they doing and the what are the coaches doing.  For me that's been most important, the support I've had throughout any life and my career, really, because that's what allowed me to improve as a player and become the player I am today.

Q.  How long did it take you to completely trust Annacone's advice?  I would think a coach/student relationship takes time to develop.
ROGER FEDERER:  Right.  I don't know if there was a certain moment where I thought, Okay, this is it.  I'm very happy with Paul.  Obviously we went through ‑‑ did we go through a trial here I think this time around two years ago maybe.  Then I think we signed the deal just before the Open or so.
He came to Switzerland for practice.  That's what it was.  I mean, I knew Paul, but it was just important to see how he was working on the practice courts and then how was he giving me advice for matches.
Very quickly I'm a person who can trust rather quickly, I think.  I have a pretty good sense of who's in it for real and who's not.  I thought he was ‑‑ I mean, he was really excited obviously to start working with me.
After I signed the deal, for me it was clear that I was confident about how things were going to go.  Obviously you don't know if it's going to last a year or ten years, so I'm happy we're sort of in the second year.  Hopefully we're going to keep working together.

Q.  After so many weeks on grass and now with the transition to the hard courts, how is your body feeling and what's the hardest part about the transition?
ROGER FEDERER:  I just think the joints in general:  ankles, knees, hips, back maybe, I don't know.  Just that thing from the wear and tear of being able to, I don't want to say easily change direction, but you feel like you can get to any ball so you go into the extremes of what the body can take.
That's not something the body has been used to for the last three to four months maybe since we finished in Miami.  That's where I think it's the biggest challenge going from grass to hard courts.
And then obviously the jet lag comes into it and the whole thing.  I made sure I got here as early as possible so I eliminate as much risk as possible of getting injured coming to the hard courts.

Q.  How has your thinking evolved on the dropshot?
ROGER FEDERER:  In terms of?  If it's still a shot to use?

Q.  You were against it a few years ago; wondering how your thinking has evolved.
ROGER FEDERER:  For me now?

Q.  Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER:  For me it kind of started to work okay .  I guess why I was against it in the beginning was because I was playing a lot of guys who were on the baseline, conditions maybe were a bit faster back in the day so didn't have really that many opportunities to hit dropshots.
But then now there was a time ‑ not so much now anymore ‑ but there was a time, let's say eight years ago or so still, where guys were staying way back in the court in particular on the return on hard court, on the clay court.
I just realized it was very hard to hit through the guys, you know, time and time again, because they track down everything.  Maybe by using the dropshot a bit more they have to play closer to the line; then it's easier to hit through them again.
But it took me some practice and then just some confidence of pulling off the dropshot as well when it was important, not just doing it at 40‑Love.  That's easy to do.  It's hard to do when you're trying to play the right way.
Actually, the dropshot is not the first thing on your mind because it can't be.  It's not an easy way out.  It's sort of a panic shot I thought back in the day.
Today when I tell myself that the dropshot in an option before this next point, I very often also use it then and I use it to good effect.  Obviously sometimes against certain players you barely can use it because they do play on the baseline.
And then some courts maybe it doesn't work out so well.  Grass is obviously a bit harder maybe, or maybe here I feel it's difficult too because the ball bounces so high.
Depends on how the points are set up against certain players.

Q.  Serena said earlier today that her goal is to win as many grand slams as you.  How do you assess her chances?
ROGER FEDERER:  What is she at, 15?

Q.  14.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, obviously it's very possible.  She's just been dominating Wimbledon, and I feel like when she's healthy she can win anything.  I hope she can do it.  I hope we can keep raising the bar as we go along.
It's nice to be an inspiration I guess to a degree for someone that's such a great champion and been in the game longer than I have actually, even though we're the same age.
It's good that we're not done yet.  Hopefully we can achieve more.

Q.  Rafa is injured at this time.  Have you had any correspondence with him since Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  No, but I was going to write him and check on him because I can't believe he's been out that long.  I thought the Olympics, okay, that's fine.  That's a personal choice.
I thought for sure we would see him in Toronto, but now he missed Toronto and Cincinnati.  It's very surprising, because it was nothing that we heard of prior to the injury.  He played so well on clay, and then actually seemed fine at Wimbledon.  He had more time by losing earlier at Wimbledon.
So it came as big surprise now, these two pullouts for me.  Even the Olympics, too.  So I'm sad for him.  I hope he'll be back for the Open.

Q.  Just away from here, a question I want to ask you is about membership at the All‑England.  Obviously as a singles champion you are a member.  Do you think it's time that they also look to the Bryans and made them members for what they've achieved?  What are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm just a member; I'm not the chairman or whomever.  You have to ask them really.  Yeah, it's a very much their decision.  I don't think we should weigh in on anything that they decide.  It's a club, it's run in a very normal way during the year, and then obviously they have this incredible tournament happening for a few weeks of the year.
Yeah, so they cannot take away anything that the players achieved, so that's already ingrained in the history of Wimbledon for them.  Yeah, I don't know if they need a membership necessarily because of just winning it in doubles.
Then again, they might make special rules.  Didn't they make special rule for Todd Woodbridge maybe?  You only got to win it nine times; it's pretty simple also, you know.

Q.  People talk about this being a golden era in men's tennis, but if a fan came up to you and said, What should I look for if I went to a men's tennis tournament, what would you tell them to look at to understand the level of tennis today?
ROGER FEDERER:  I would go not just on center court.  I would go all around the grounds, you know, going close‑up particularly on the outside courts and seeing the speed of the footwork and the serve and all that stuff.
See also sometimes what a classy sport it can be, but also how toughit can be at times playing within the rules.  We obviously want to try to win, but at the end there is always a nice shake of hands usually.
Yeah, other than that, just enjoy and get a sense and an idea for it and get the difference between TV and live sport.  And then once you've maybe been to one tournament, then it's nice to go to different ones if you do have the opportunities and see the differences then between let's a tournament like here and then the New York and then a tournament in Basel, my hometown.  Or you go to the Australian Open, you name it, and just see the differences there.
Everywhere you go you maybe meet more people, and it becomes this community which is really nice, I think.   I think it's nice.  The tournament puts on a good event.  They have 51, 50 weeks a year to prepare for something that takes a very short time, so you can expect good stuff from the tournaments usually.

Q.  Are you really impressed objectively by this younger generation, like Harrison, Tomic, Raonic, Dimitrov?
ROGER FEDERER:  Anything is possible, right?  They could all be No. 1 in the world at one point or they cold never in the top 5, all of them.  We don't know right now.
I hope they will make it far and go deep in big tournaments and reach very high in the rankings.

Q.  But when you made the jump from being a very good player to a great player, what was key for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  What was key?

Q.  Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I was I guess lucky‑unlucky in the way‑‑ I don't know how you want to say it, but I had Hewitt and Safin and Roddick and Ferrero and all these guys almost a touch better than me I guess while I was coming up.
I was being compared to Sampras at the same time.  I didn't have basically almost any titles, any Grand Slams, I was ranked 20 in the world, and they were all in the top 10 and winning Grand Slams.
So I guess that was a key for me of trying to become a better player, understanding that I need to improve if I want to keep up with these guys.  Then I would beat them from time to time, I would lose from time to time, but I would learn a lot.
For them it's not quite ‑‑ they're not quite being compared to the same age.  Grand Slam champions, yeah, because it's hard to compare them to us right now because we're older than all of those guys.
But it's an interesting phase for them I think in their career right now because I'm sure they're going through some ups and downs as well emotionally.  The rankings at times don't help them much because they're unseeded, and then you run into big guys early on.
I remember Raonic I think at the beginning of the year I hit every best player in the draw almost for five straight tournaments.  Sometimes you just go through a tough spell like, and that's not very helpful if you want to raise in the rankings and make a move.
Eventually you feel like you're gonna break through, and then it can be frustrating.  I went through the same thing.  Important is to just keep on working hard and not get too frustrated by the whole traveling and losing early and just spending time on the practice courts.
That was the toughest for me, because I didn't like practice.  I wanted to play matches, but then I always got knocked out somewhat really.  I'm sure they'll learn and be they'll great players in the future.
They already are now, but because I guess you mentioned them they are expected to get in the top 10 in the next few years.

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