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May 5, 2013

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Just like to ask you, you look fitter than ever.  Have you changed your physical preparation at all?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not necessarily.  Just been home and practicing hard as I was hoping to.  I feel good now, you know.
Took me a little time to get over my back issue from Indian Wells.  But at the same time, that collided I with my vacation anyway, which was okay.
So I didn't lose much time there.  Now I feel good.  Obviously extremely excited being back on tour.  Sort of entering all the tournaments from here through to the US Open really, so it's going to be a long stretch.  You want to be ready for it.
I'm very excited, which is a good thing.

Q.  Last year you did awesome at this tournament, but a lot of players complained about the surface being blue clay.  What do you think about the decision of the organization of changing back to regular clay?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, it's understandable after what happened last year.  Like you said, there was a lot of criticism about the color, about the quality of the court as well, being extremely slippery.
I don't know if that was due to the color, but this tournament has, in the past, had issues with the quality of the court.  I think through what happened last year, you know, the controversy around the blue clay, I think it was a big eye opener to have a proper court here now.
I think this year, from what I'm hearing from the players, it's a good quality court and the players are happy.  In the process, hopefully we'll see better tennis this year.

Q.  Talking about this problem about the seeds in Roland Garros.  I mean, in Wimbledon years ago they had the same debate.  What is your opinion?  You must win whatever?  Nadal deserves to be No. 1?  You could be in No.1 in Wimbledon because of that, or rankings is rankings?
ROGER FEDERER:  I didn't follow it a whole lot because I was not on the tour.  I didn't follow it a whole lot.  There was an announcement that he was not going to get the seeding right to the top 2.  We all know he would deserve it.
I mean, he's been so successful there in the last eight, nine years there that everybody knows that he deserves it.
It's not like he's ranked 80 in the world, I don't think.  He needs a bump into the seeds or a bump in the top four or something like that.  He's already ranked No. 5.
I think, Is it really going to make a huge difference if he's 5 or 1?  Not a whole lot, I don't think, at the end of the tournament.
If I were to play him in the quarters or in the semis or any other player, it's not the finals yet.
So the best is going to win.  Rafa obviously has a great chance because of the great player he is on clay.
So clearly it's going to stir it up and be a subject to talk about, but I'm happy that they took a decision regardless of which one was the right one, just to go with something.  Now there is peace and quiet around it again.

Q.  Just going to Basel for one second, clarify what's the situation with your entry or not.  And does Roger Brennwald really apologize to you like they said?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I announced that I'm playing the tournament some weeks ago, months ago maybe.  Because I always said I was going to play the tournament.  That was, for me, the most important thing, is that I had an opportunity to play in front of my home city where I grew up, my home fans.
For me personally, it's a place I look back on with a lot great emotions as a ball boy, winning the title there eventually, and making my second finals there on tour.
So I've had a great time there always, and I don't want that to change just because of some business situation that couldn't get solved, you know.
So I wanted to diffuse the situation and announce that I'm going to play without getting paid and just enjoy myself over there.
So that, for me, is the most important thing above everything.

Q.  Did he really apologize?
ROGER FEDERER:  It doesn't matter.  I don't discuss those things in the press like he does.  For me, it's really important to keep these things outside of everything.
I did the utmost, and that's all I need to know.  And nobody, the fans in particular and myself, we don't get hurt in the process.

Q.  We're kind of on the around‑the‑world tour here, but while you were having a little break, Wimbledon announced 39 million pounds in prize money this year, champion getting 1.5.  It's an extraordinary achievement for the players.  What do you put it down to, the slams one by one improving the prize money so dramatically?
ROGER FEDERER:  For us, me in particular as well because I've been part of process the whole way, is that we got in good dialog with the slams and we understood each other and they understood our angle.  This is not a threat in any way.
This is just really good open dialog, and then being happy and then understanding the product that they're dealing with.  I think by talking to them and them sort of understanding how good the game is doing right now and the need to expand and being more sort of partners I think was a key element in the whole situation.
For them to change by themselves and wanting to invest and put in more money for the players was a very nice thing to do, I think.  We're talking about a lot of money in the first place, so it's always a very difficult situation to explain to everybody.
It's about revenue sharing.  If you look at that, this is where the gap had widened too much in previous years.  I think they're really trying to close the gap a bit and make sure that it's distributed in a more fair way, which obviously players are very excited about.

Q.  Each time you take a break in your career like you have done now, you come back stronger.  Do you feel it will be the case now, again?
ROGER FEDERER:  I hope so.  I mean, yeah, the thing is I'm confident that I can take a break and come back strong, because usually players are scared to do that.  I mean, I know what they feel.
Being away from the game for six, seven weeks, it's not a whole lot, but you have what, another ten, twelve, I don't know, maybe more tournament winners.  You always feel you could have maybe been one of them, so it's hard to sit out and see other players win tournaments the entire time you're sitting at home.
Obviously you're working hard, but there is no glory really in working on a practice court with nobody watching you play.
What we play for at the end of the day is playing in front of fans and being part of the show and achieving things in your career you always dreamed about.
For that, I need to work hard as well.  I need to get away from it all, so that when I do come back I'm excited and motivated.  That's what I feel right now, and that then can carry you a long way.
Last few years have been extremely busy with Olympics, Davis Cup.  All the tournaments I played I was very successful.  Getting back to world No. 1 last year and the whole thing.
For me, it was important to take a bit of a rest ‑ not too loaning ‑ just enough so I'm really sort of tough to beat in the next few months.

Q.  You've obviously said already a couple things about Brad.  This is a very sad time for tennis.  You worked extremely closely with him.  What would you like to say as a kind of few words for him and perhaps his legacy?  What can the sport do now to take his name forward?
ROGER FEDERER:  Obviously Brad wasn't just the president of the ATP but was a player himself, board member.  I don't know if he was a council member as well like what I am today.
But he obviously was a tournament director and a very important person for the tennis Masters Cup, bringing it to Shanghai I think the first time and then bringing it back again later to Shanghai.
So he's given so much time and effort to the ATP, and I think this is really what we will try to honor in a small way today.  Then obviously I think many more players got to know him through his position in the last one and a half years.
He was always very nice to work with.  Very honest.  Very nice.  Gentle.  I've really enjoyed every step of the way working with him.
For me, it was hard seeing him not be the same anymore towards the end physically, but we very much can only appreciate what he's done for us and what he did it until the last moment he really possibly could.
That will never go away.  I'm sure that the ATP and the players will come up with something for the legacy of Brad Drewett.  It's very important.

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