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August 24, 2013

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Novak Djokovic just finished, and he was saying that it's unusual to see you with a No. 7 after your name after you have been so consistent and dominant all of these years.  He added there is a new wave of players, and this is kind of like a life cycle that a lot of people go through.  Do you accept that this is part of the life cycle?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think the rankings, they fluctuate a lot, you know, especially if you don't play so well.  If you play great you move up or go down rather quickly.
No. 7 I don't think is a huge drop from No. 4, but people are going to say what they like.  Important is that I concentrate on my game and, you know, that the passion is there, that I work the right way, that I'm prepared, and then that I feel like I can win a tournament.
Then the ranking actually itself is secondary.  But I have looked at the rankings my whole life.  I used to be incredibly, you know, excited, you know, on Monday seeing how many spots my ranking went up or down.
Usually it was more excited that it was going up.  The older you get the less you pay a bit of attention about it.  But nevertheless, clearly want to move up from here.  I only have the quarters to defend, so I hope I can add some points to the rankings.

Q.  What do you make of the draw and the possibility of facing Nadal in the quarterfinals having never actually faced him here before?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think it's an exciting draw really, the section, like you mentioned with Rafa being nearby.  Plus we have never played here.  I really hope, you know, from my side that I can make it.
That's really my focus there.  You always expect the other guys to make it anyway, so for me it's really round by round, like for any other player as well.  I don't really want to think too far ahead.
But clearly when I come here I don't just look at trying to make quarters, you know.  I'm clearly here trying to win the tournament, but it starts at the very beginning and that is ‑‑ maybe Monday I'm playing, I heard, so that's really where the focus is right now.

Q.  Can you talk about the experiment with the new racquet and whether or not you might consider going back to it after the Open?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I will test more racquets again after the Open.  It was just a difficult spell I went through the Hamburg and Gstaad when I started playing with the new prototype from Wilson.  And having the bad back I had, it was just like ‑‑I couldn't really, you know, sort of get comfortable enough or know about it enough to be quite honest.
My mind was with my back more than anything else.  I'm happy that I'm playing well again.  My confidence is back, you know.  Also the confidence is back in my movement.  That's where I just said, You know, I'll go back to the racquet I know or the racquet I have won everything with.
I will play with that one for, you know, these weeks now, and then we will look again at the situation after the US Open how it is.

Q.  You mentioned your back.  As your career has progressed, how have you changed in terms of what you do more of, less of, in terms of just entering the match?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think you warm up more as you get older just because you feel that's the right thing to do.  I mean, when I was younger, I used to jump up and down for five minutes and then walk on court.
Today it's just a bit different.  I don't know if the youngsters are still doing that today.  I think the whole game in those 10, 15 years that have gone by have become more professional, because you see everybody doing extra work so.  You don't want to be doing ‑‑ be the only guy not doing the work.
I think it's changed again just doing that, but then also because of all the matches I have played I approach tournaments slightly different than when I had no experience back in the day.  In terms of work ethic, I think it's always been a lot for me.  I have always worked really hard.  Never really talked about it, to be honest.  But I have put in the hard work so many years, and that definitely keeps my base at a very high level.
It's just important when I do feel well I can also train well and do the right things on the practice court and on the gym, and also for rehab maybe stretching, sleep, nutrition, whatever you can do to save some energy or sort of recover quicker, I guess, is important.

Q.  How much do you feel better in the morning than you did earlier in your career?
ROGER FEDERER:  Feel better today, believe it or not.  When I was younger I had incredible muscle pain like I could hardly get out of bed back or all of a sudden the back was really like bothering me, you know, for a day or two, and then all of a sudden it disappeared the way it came, just really quick.
Today you feel it coming, or you don't feel anything, it's not there.
So I think it's actually more comfortable today with the body than it has been in the past, to be honest.

Q.  What kind of concern is your back?  (Indiscernible.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Not anymore.  At times I was playing a lot having it in the back of my mind, and that has definitely affected me sometimes with my movement, you know, just trusting the movement, trusting my play, and actually not being able to really focus on the point‑for‑point mentality that you want to have out on the tennis court.
So now I can really say I'm really just focused on the point for point, and that's why I'm not concerned.  My back problem is not that major.  I just need to make sure, you know, I don't have any bad moments in the future.
For that, I'm trying, you know, everything by compensating, by doing a lot of exercise, the right exercises at the right time, how much is enough, how much is too much.  It's a balance I have to find, and I think I'm getting it slowly.

Q.  I'm very glad that you're back playing for the US Open this year.
ROGER FEDERER:  Thank you.

Q.  I think there is a lot of strong newcomers, as well.  How do you feel about that?  Is that exciting for you, or do you keep an eye out on them?
ROGER FEDERER:  I keep an eye open on almost every player.  I think it's exciting entering these big tournaments.  It's always great stories, great matches.  It's just too many matches for them not to be any good ones, you know.
You have younger guys who are trying to make their breakthrough.  Other guys are there to try to prove themselves.  Other guys are there on the comeback.  Other guys want to finish strong the season.
There are many different stories to be written going into this tournament, as usual.  The young generation is definitely one you have to keep an eye out just because they are the future.  And sometimes you can also get inspired by them ever so slightly.  It's normal.

Q.  The women's ball and men's ball at the US Open are different, and all around the different tournaments the balls are different throughout the tournaments.  Can you talk a little bit about the subtlety and what you guys feel when you hit those balls, and also in terms of what you look for when you serve, when you're looking at the different expansion of those?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, starting with the last question, I guess why do we look at three or four balls and just take the two is we are looking for the fuzziest ball; you leave it aside.
All balls are used sort of the same.  You take the best‑looking ball probably for the first serve because you feel mentally that's maybe going to help you an extra mile, even though who cares?
It's just a routine you go through.  I try not to waste a lot of time doing it, to be honest, because it's not rocket science out there, you know.
And then, yeah, I mean, it is complicated on the tour having so many different balls, and, how do you say, also leading up to events sometimes, changing the different types of ball is sometimes tricky.  You know, could be tricky on the arms or the mind because you don't always have enough time to prepare.
But it's how it is.  We've gotten accustomed to it, you know.  You hope that the tournaments, everybody understands what we have to go through.  I know for them it's easier.  They just sign deals and then we deal with it.
But at the same time, I hope they take into consideration that it's us feeling the vibration into our arm.
But I think it's always better to have faster balls out there because the surfaces have slowed down.  I think if you have too slow of a ball it's really hard then to see nice shots, so you're not going to see as aggressive plays anymore because the balls will fluff up too quick and then you don't dare to take too many chances anymore, especially with the strings and racquet technology we have today.
Nevertheless, it makes for great and long and grueling points, if you like the athletic ability to see that from the players.  It's really become a game of movement, so it's exciting nevertheless.
And the ball has an impact on us as well, like the strings and racquets and the court speed.

Q.  How impressed are you with Nadal's record on the hard courts this summer, never his best surface?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm clearly very impressed, especially seeing him play really well on the quicker hard courts.  It would be different if it was just Indian Wells and Miami where it's very slow over there, and then, you know, Montreal and Cincinnati would have been first rounds.
But, you know, he won those as well, and he showed also on the quicker hard courts he's someone to be reckoned with.  There were a lot of question marks when he came back, especially people thought he was just going to play on the clay courts, or most of it, and just some hard courts.
He's playing a full schedule, and he's had an incredible season so far.  So, I mean, it's super impressive, and I hope for him he can keep it up.

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