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August 30, 2012

Roger Federer


6‑2, 6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  In matches like that when you're in so much control, when do you start enjoying it?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I guess, he had a slight opportunity to come back at the end of the second at 5‑2 when I was serving for it at deuce.  I'm not sure anymore.  Then I was at two sets to love.  When you first break, you think he's not going to be able to turn this match around anymore, I'm feeling too good.  I know I can bring my serves when I need to.  I got the rhythm.
Then, obviously, maybe I see coming forward still works.  I like coming forward when I am up in the score.  Just try maintaining that.  And if things don't work out that way, you can always play it safe again.
Obviously it's tough for the opponent to try to look for the rhythm as well because I'm trying to break it at that point.  It's enjoyable.  It's a great night of tennis, not too much wind.  Great opponent who was also ready to do some shot‑making.  It's a long time, it was obviously going to be fair, tough, and nice.  But I enjoyed it, like I always do, particularly the night sessions here in New York.

Q.  With regard to Andy and his decision, you've been a gracious guy in wins and losses, sympathetic to some of your opponents.  What is your feeling about his retiring?  Any shred of feeling bad of denying him a chance to win more majors?
ROGER FEDERER:  Look, you're always going to have someone around, you know.  I had many guys also who denied me many things.  That was the last thing that came to my mind when he told me that he was going to retire.
He was happy to go into retirement.  He wants to finish this one strong.  There's no rules on how you announce it, how you do it.  We've seen so many champions go out in different ways.
He chose to do it this way.  I'm so happy for him really.  He's had an amazing career.  Some expected better; some expected worse.  But I'm sure he's happy with what he achieved because he almost achieved everything he ever wanted.
Maybe to lose the Wimbledon title potentially, but let's forget about that.  He was in those Wimbledon finals.  He could have gotten that title.  That's what I said when I beat him in '09.  He deserves this title, as well.  In my mind, he is a Wimbledon champion as well, a wonderful ambassador for the game.
I'm thankful for everything he's done for the game, especially here for tennis in America.  It's not been easy after Agassi and Sampras, Courier, Chang, Connors, McEnroe, you name it.  I probably forget a bunch of them because you had so many good players in the past.
It's been hard for him as well at times.  I thought he always did the best he could.  That's all you can ask from a guy like Andy.

Q.  When you play someone like Bjorn who you played back in 1999 and lost, you look at the difference in your careers, do you ever take a moment to reflect on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  It is quite fascinating actually how careers go, sometimes how juniors really don't matter, even though I probably was a better junior than he was.  I wasn't as tough as a competitor back in the day.
I remember going to a future in Greece, spending some time with him there.  I think we were both waiting for lucky losers at one point.  He got in and I didn't because he was ahead of me in the rankings.
Here we are on center court at the US Open.  It's quite amazing.  I'm glad we both got the opportunity to experience something like we did tonight.  Of course, I never believed in that moment that I was going to become such a great player.  I remember walking off practice courts and telling my partner in practice, I'm sorry, I don't enjoy it right now, I have to stop because I'll just ruin your practice instead of toughening it out and making a good practice for him, at least.  I was so weak back then.
It was just different times, look.  I'm happy I turned the corner at the right times, learned from my mistakes.  Now I can enjoy it so much more.  I was able to make it on the big stage.
That I did react in time, I am very relieved that that happened in my career.

Q.  I don't mean to put you on the spot, but the great American journalist who helped popularize the game, Bud Collins...
ROGER FEDERER:  He's here.  Be careful what you say.  You can't stop now.

Q.  Bud has done so much for the game.  I don't know the impact he had in Europe.  Can you recall some of your recollections of his work or contacts with him?
ROGER FEDERER:  He's always been enjoyable to work with.  Always had a smile.  He was really happy always to see me, I thought.  Good questions.  Tough questions at times, but that's what he's supposed to be doing, right?  Never had a bad moment.  I don't recall one.

Q.  Gosh, we'll have to change that.
ROGER FEDERER:  You still have some time to do it.  This press conference is not over (smiling).
No, I mean, really I have only good things to say about Bud.  Thanks for being part of such a great game and making it even more wonderful.

Q.  Andy was asked about the comparison of you being 30, him being 30.
ROGER FEDERER:  31.  Don't make me so young.

Q.  He said, I didn't want to make it through the press conference without a direct comparison to Roger.  If you look at my contemporaries that started with me, Roger is the only one still going strong.  Pretty much he's right.  I wonder what it's like to be at this stage of your career where you're seeing those players that you were competing against 10 years ago, and they're dropping out of the game.  Here you are playing as well as you've ever played.
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it's tough in some ways.  I already was pretty sad about the moment when sort of Sampras, Agassi, Moya, all the great Spanish players in the game, Henman, you name it, all of those guys that I used to watch on TV, left the game.  I was sad.  All of a sudden the guys from TV, they're gone.
Now you're only playing guys from your age.  It's fun, but it's not the same.  It's never going to be the same from playing your heroes and idols.  But then I started to obviously start enjoying my generation.  That one was an extremely strong one.  There are still a ton around.  Maybe not all those Grand Slam champions.  Safin obviously retired.  Andy is on the way out.  Ferrer has had some tough times.  Lleyton the same.  Coria is not around any more.  Nalbandian is still around.  Now Ljubicic also retired.
Yeah, it's getting tough again.  I think we just had a record in Paris at the French Open where over‑30 players made it into the main draw of the French Open.
It's great in some ways, but all of a sudden, you know, the next couple of years now, they're probably going to drop like flies.  It's sad.  That's how I felt when Andy told me.  I was a bit sad, obviously.  It means next year at the Australian Open, for instance, no Andy Roddick.  For me basically I've always gone there, he was there, he was preparing, practicing on center court.  I'll miss those moments.
But it's how it goes.  That's why I have always had the fortune and luck to get excited about my generation, the previous ones, the past ones, the ones that are coming up now, being able to play for history books at times, having the chance to play on center courts.  All that keeps me going.
When a few guys drop out of the game, I don't totally lose it.  I'm sad about it, but in a good way, because I know they're happy.  That's a good thing in a way.

Q.  If I could bring you back to an unpleasant moment when you lost to Djokovic here.
ROGER FEDERER:  It wasn't that unpleasant.  It was the semis.

Q.  You had match points in previous years.  I was wonderingif, in the end, that loss was a positive for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  I guess so, yes.  Not right after match point, not three weeks later.  But I felt I played a great US Open.  I thought I played a great Wimbledon, as well.  I played a great French Open.  So I knew I was actually playing really good tennis.  It was just not happening for me.
Then the question is, can you maintain a good level of play without getting frustrated, wanting it too badly.  I'm happy I had the right balance, was able to just stay put and keep working hard and hoping that things were going to turn around for me.
You have to make some tweaks potentially, I don't quite recall it.  I remember sitting down and talking to everyone involved, trying to come up with improvements in the plan, what tournaments to play, even though a lot was obviously in place.
I like to follow a plan and only later on really react if things go really poorly.

Q.  Have you given up on Davis Cup?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not yet.

Q.  Looks like this year.
ROGER FEDERER:  Can't win it this year.  We lost to you guys.  You took us out at home.

Q.  You were speaking of history and generations.  I think you once said of all the players you hadn't played, you wanted to play Bjorn Borg.
ROGER FEDERER:  I said many names, but Bjorn Borg was I'm sure part of that group.

Q.  If that's the case, what would you find appealing about it?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I thought he did a lot for the game, almost without wanting.  He was just himself.  I mean, I remember him playing really.  I had the chance to meet him, spend some time with him.  You could see what an interesting player, interesting character he was.  Then obviously a bit of a myth, him all of a sudden leaving so early.  Really makes him probably the legend he is today.
For him leaving early, No.1, No. 2, incredible victories, Wimbledon, the French.  Particularly everybody thought he wouldn't win Wimbledon with his playing style back in the day.  It just goes to show how great he really was.  I think he only went twice to Australia.  He could have done so many more things if the focus was only the slams.  Not that the focus is only the slams now, but it's very driven by the slams.
For me, Bjorn was a hero.  Also working with Peter Lundgren from Sweden.  He told me so many stories about Bjorn.  Some were funny, some were strange and some were just fascinating.  He was maybe one of those guys that you would want to play, but try to play against him.

Q.  What are your thoughts on Kim's retirement and what did she mean to you on a personal level and as a player?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, same thing.  Kim and I go way back.  God, I remember in the juniors, under‑16, under‑14 maybe even.  She's only a couple years younger, but as a girl you make it earlier.
Yeah, we went through a lot at the same time.  So I was very sad, really surprised when she retired the first time around, so happy when she came back actually.  The way she came back and, bang, she won the US Open.  She had a daughter.  Now I can so much relate to her.  I guess it's easier to be a guy on tour.  We can have kids while we're still playing.  For the girls it's a bit more complicated.
But I think she's also totally at peace.  She looks happy.  Almost relieved to a degree.  That's kind of how I see it right now.
But what a great champion.  She always had time for me as well.  It goes without saying that we like each other, we always enjoyed to see each other.  I always liked to follow her.  She was a great athlete, great player, always friendly.
Yeah, I'm happy she never turned bad just for success.  She always stayed true to her character.  That's really what I enjoy in particular about Kim, as well.

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