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October 10, 2013

Roger Federer


G. MONFILS/R. Federer
6‑4, 6‑7, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Roger.

Q.  During the match with Monfils, when he attacked your backhand, you used the slice.  Do you have the confidence with your backhand to use it as a weapon?
ROGER FEDERER:  Try to, yeah.  I mean, look, conditions are pretty quick here.  When you do attack, it's important not to make a mistake.  Clearly it's important to stay unpredictable so you can come up with the passing shot when you need to under pressure.
But my slice has always been the go‑to shot under pressure.  I can control it better.  I can keep the ball low.  It gives me more time to get back into the point.  That was, I guess, the idea today behind that kind of a play.  It's worked against him in the past and against many players.
But I tried with variation.  It's clear to stay aggressive with the backhand.  But today I had a bit of a more difficult time.

Q.  After the second set, a great comeback to steal that set, then a little bit of a dip in the beginning of the third.  What was the difference today, in your opinion?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it was minimal really.  One of those matches that could have gone either way.  I think I was a little lucky in the second set to get back, to be quite honest.
When I broke, it was a tough game for him to lose.  I played a solid breaker.  That would have been a tough one to lose there.  I think I played a good breaker.  I was down 5‑4, a mini break, so I had a great comeback there in particular.  I thought I clearly had the upper hand.  Momentum was on my side.
Had chances early on in the third set I think to make something happen.  He kind of recovered, then started to serve a bit better again towards the end of the third set which made it difficult for me.
It's a bit of an up‑and‑down performance for me.  I think the beginning where I got broken the first game sort of hurt me.  Then he did a good job of serving well when he had to in the important moments of that first set not to let me back into the set.  Then it was just close all the way through, you know.  So it was a tough loss at the end.

Q.  Roger, it's fair to say that you're the icon of this tournament.  You helped substantially to build up the fan base, the tennis market.  There's going to be one day you will not be competing any more in the Shanghai Masters.  But the tournament still is going somewhere.  What would you expect this tournament to be like when you're not playing anymore here?
ROGER FEDERER:  As of tomorrow, you mean?

Q.  No.  In the future, let's say in 10 years.
ROGER FEDERER:  I think this tournament will be fine with or without me.  It's going to be super established in 10 years, I'd say.  It is already now.
Clearly, what do we hope for?  We hope that every session is sold out.  We hope that the fans even understand the game of tennis even more so, that they enjoy it more so, that we can do more kids' clinics on the courts, that we use this site, which I think is even big than the US Open at its maximum.  We need kids and fans and even to be part of it.
The tournament directors here have good vision, good philosophy.  They're really nice to work with, us the players.  But also running the event for sponsors, fans and media alike.  It's a very good place to have an amazing site and center court and tournament so they can already have great potential.  It's just important to utilize that and improve every single year and make sure clearly that the best players do come here every single year.
The year is long.  For some players to come to Asia, I think it's a bit much.  But if you look back over the last few years, everybody has shown up, and that's really nice to see.

Q.  Most players play one tournament between the US Open and here.  You didn't.  I wonder if you feel that you paid the price for that in any way?  And also do you feel you got your schedule right bearing in mind you took the long break in the spring before you played in Madrid?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't feel like I paid a price for not playing the week before here now.  I'm running late with practice, to be honest, because of the issues I've had this year.  I've been sort of caught behind.  I really believe the extra week of practice, the every day spending at least three hours on the tennis court for seven straight days, 20 plus hours, have been very important for me right now.  So clearly that makes me a bit more vulnerable in the early rounds.
You know, I still feel I'm heading in the right direction.  Honestly, now looking back, I know I took the decision to take the seven‑week break but I couldn't utilize it the way I wanted to.  I was going to have to rest anyway how I felt after Indian Wells, which was really bad.  I couldn't train for two, three weeks after that.  It took me some time to get over the issues I had.
So that break wasn't necessarily as helpful as it actually was.  But it was planned, but it kind of matched up well with one another.
Yeah, so, but then again, because it's been a bit more of a quiet year this year, that I didn't play as many matches, I didn't have that many tough matches overall, hopefully that's going to allow me to have more potential maybe to play a bit more next year again.
It always goes in phases.  It's important just to utilize it the right way next year.

Q.  You've remained defiant after previous losses in what's for you been a relatively poor year.  The fact remains you are losing to players who you never used to lose to before.  What can you do to recover the spark for next season?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's pretty simple:  you just keep on working hard, make sure that you get back on winning ways, then you become confident again, sort of get there.
Still losing against good players.  The level of play is very good.  But important is if you do play the right way and you move the right way, then all of a sudden that margin you don't have maybe right now, you get it again.
It's just important not to like worry too much, to be honest.  It's important to keep on doing what I'm doing.  Obviously I might get tougher draws as we move along with my ranking not being in the top four anymore.  But that's okay.  I don't really care that much about the rankings if I'm not world No.1.
So for me it's just important to keep on enjoying what I do.  I loved my trip here in Shanghai.  I mean, Monfils is a quality player, like some others.  I lost some other matches this year because I couldn't really perform at 100%.  Probably shouldn't have played.  But I don't really care having to explain some losses from time to time.  I have nothing to say.
Yeah, so I'm looking forward to Basel now.  That's the next step for me, and hopefully that's going to go well for me.

Q.  You said earlier in the week you don't have a lot of points to defend next year, but you'd like to have a strong finish to this season.  How does this loss today factor into that strong end of the season, if at all?
ROGER FEDERER:  Could always win Paris, so...  What do you want me to tell you?  I'm not going to get too down on myself.  It wasn't the perfect match.  I knew it was going to be tough.  I've played Gaël in quick conditions.  I mentioned the match in Paris.  He beat me there, too.  Like I said, he can serve his way out of trouble.
This is one of those surfaces and stuff that gets some points sometimes decide the outcome of this match.  I could have done many things better.  I could have done many things worse today.
So just going to move along.  I can still finish strong.  I believe that.  There's not much time left.  But if I do qualify for London, that gives me an extra shot there.  I usually play well indoors.  So I hope this year's going to be one of those years again.

Q.  You are the first to arrive in Shanghai of the top 10 players.  Does it distract you from the game or make you a little bit fatigued?
ROGER FEDERER:  What makes me fatigued?

Q.  You took part in this event, many activities.
ROGER FEDERER:  It's normal for me.

Q.  You were the first player to arrive in Shanghai.  Does it distract you from the game and make you a little bit fatigued?
ROGER FEDERER:  Cocktail party makes you more fatigued than a match?  You tell me.
It's part of life as a tennis player.  It ain't just practice and matches, and the rest is nonexistent.  It's a whole machinery that's happening.  Business for the tournament, as well.  I wanted to do a lot of things.  I only come here once a year.  That's exactly the reason why I arrived so early, so I had time to do all those things, but also practice at the same time, then prepare professionally.
I was here one week before my first‑round match, so it gave me plenty of time to do everything I wanted to.  The first round went well.  The doubles went well.  No injuries.  So it was a really good week.
Actually, to be honest, all these events I do extra, press, sponsor appearances, fan appearances, they actually sort of get me in the right frame of mind.  I'm at the tennis tournament.  I'm not on vacation at the beach somewhere.  I think that gets my adrenaline going as well and excites me for what's to come.
I just spent three and a half, four weeks of spending time with my kids, on the practice courts, in front of maybe two people from time to time.  So it's nice to be in the center of attention.  But as of tomorrow I'll be gone again.  So I'll disappear.  It's good to do it in phases.  That's where I quite enjoy it that way.  When it's busy, it's super busy.  When it's not, it's clearly not.

Q.  Now that Andy Murray is not going to be in London, does it open a small door for you?  Do you think about it that way?
ROGER FEDERER:  For qualifying?  Yes.  What do you want me to tell you, that it doesn't?  I mean, it's one spot more for the guys.  I'm part of that group of five maybe.  But I hope I don't have to rely on it.  If I have to, I have to.  But that's not really what I want.
I feel sorry for Andy, number one.  I hope he returns strong.  He's a great guy.  He's had an unbelievable last year or so.  So it's disappointing for him clearly because it's also in his home country.
I'm just going to focus on trying to play well.  I'm not too focused on what's the points system.  I have no idea actually to be honest if I'm seven, eight, six, nine, or ten right now, what it takes.  I'm just going to try to have a good tournament in Basel and Paris.  In the end, if I get the invite, I'll be there.  If I don't, I'll prepare for next year.
Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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