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December 30, 2013

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  A lot people talk about your best chances to make another slam.  What do you think is your best chance?  All four?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I mean, depends on how well I'm playing in particular periods.  Let's say I play my best ‑‑ probably I always feel at Wimbledon is going to be my best chance.  US Open, Australian Open, and then the French Open.
But then again, who cares?  (Smiling.)  It's up to me to show it, to prove it, and give it a try and give myself opportunities like I have in previous years.

Q.  We saw you hit with Lleyton yesterday.  What was that like after all those years being on tour together?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I really enjoyed practicing with him today.  Back in the day we didn't practice much, even though we played the juniors together at times and doubles together at Wimbledon.
But then we were such rivals I guess that we didn't think that one or the other wanted to practice with each other.  So now at this stage of our careers we're really happy, getting the best out each other for practice and helping each other.
Clearly being here now in Australia it's probably a bit more special.  I always wish him the best.  I hope he can win tournaments and move up in the rankings to give himself better opportunities to move forward in the draw.
It seems like he's really enjoying it, which is nice, because for a while there I thought he was not going to be able to stay on tour much longer with all the injuries that he had.
So it's nice to see that he's back healthy and has the fire in his eyes, because that's what he needs to play and to beat the best.
That's what he has, so I'm really excited for him.

Q.  Do you think he can still trouble a few of the top guys?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  You saw that at the Open against Del Potro, who had a great finish to the season.  Hardly lost matches.  Plus it's a court that suits Juan Marin.  He has won the title there in '09.
Then I think this court really suits Lleyton.  Probably similar to what Sydney was a few years ago which he won a bunch of time.  Here in Australia he's the last guy you want to play against anyway.

Q.  I know you touched on it the other day, but what specifically are you looking to get from working with Edberg?
ROGER FEDERER:  We spent time, one week together in Dubai chatting about life for him to maybe get an idea of how my life works as a tennis player, because everybody does it differently at the top.
He met the family, the team.  Met everybody together and gave him an idea of what he would see or what he would get into.  Because I wanted him to have a just a‑‑ feel comfortable, I guess, you know, if we did such a‑‑ I don't know if you can call it a big step or not.
He hasn't been back on tour for 15 years and he needed some time to think about it.  Especially I think the practice week was a good idea from both of us just to see how he got long with everybody.  It wasn't a problem, which I'm not surprised.
I thought if we could do a few weeks together, maybe ten, maybe twelve, it could be something fresh, new, inspiring.  Him being the legend he is and someone I look up to so much, anything he will say will mean very much to me and my team.
Like that I think we can build on that, and then see how it goes in Australia, and then as we move along in the year, we'll decide where he's going to come to.

Q.  Had you had much contact with him before that, the last few years?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, never.  I never had his telephone number.  Now I have it.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Having Edberg as a coach, does that mean that you will play and you need to play a more offensive game?
ROGER FEDERER:  Like if I don't serve and volley he's going to split up with me?  (Smiling.)
I don't know.  I mean, I think that's the thing.  It's going to be interesting to see what he thinks, if it's possible to play a lot of serve and volley on the slower courts we see all around the world now, or if there are different ways for me to find my way to the net.
I've tried many things.  We can debate, and Severin Luthi, my coach about ways to come to the net or not.  Clearly it's important to take time way from your opponent, to dictate play as well as much as you can.  Also, you have to be able to not miss too much and physically stay in the rally and mentally as well.
So it's a combination of many things now against the good players we know at the top.  So it's going to interesting to see what he has to say.  I have some idea, but then am I able to make that happen in a match yet?  I don't know.  First anyway I need to discuss it with Severin, my coach, as well.

Q.  You talk about competing for slams.  Outside of yourself, can you take a look at Rafa, Djokovic, Murray, and what you expect out of them this season?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think Murray, we hope he's going to come back strong.  It's nice that he already played a few matches this year now, even though it was an exhibition match.  It's a big step forward for him in his mind.
I'm eager to see him again.  It's been since probably US Open I haven't seen him, so I'm hopeful for him that it's going to be fine for the Australian Open, which is going to be a huge test for him now because it's a best‑of‑five‑set matches and so forth.
I think Rafa and Novak are going to be the ones who are going to be the ones to beat this season, particularly in the beginning.  Then as we move forward, you have to see if they stay injury‑free and keep on winning.
I kind of expect them to go deep in most of the tournaments they'll enter, of course.

Q.  On Novak, were you surprised he hired Becker?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, not necessarily that he hired somebody or somebody else or that you're always open mined.  But Becker I was surprised.  I didn't think he wanted to become a coach.  I didn't to see him back on tour, so that was a bit of a surprise.
But then again, I'm happy seeing former greats and legends excited to be doing such a job and wanting to help the next generations.  To bring them back into the game, I think it's a good thing.
In tennis we have tendencies to, I don't want to say drive out our legends and former greats, but I think we should integrate them for more.  I don't know if it's the best way as coach, but at least to see them again.
Maybe they get a taste of it and other greats and stars see that as well, that they're very welcome and we're so happy to see them.  Not just you guys, but also the players and everybody involved, the tournaments.
I think it sends out a good message.  It's going to be a good Australian Open, I'm sure.

Q.  I saw on Twitter you follow Kanye West and quoted him.
ROGER FEDERER:  Did I?  Oh, the one...

Q.  Are you a Kanye fan?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I just thought‑‑ I followed him.  Not more than that.  I heard some of his songs.  I don't know him personally at all.  It was more like, Let's see what he tweets.  He doesn't do much anyway, so it's very quiet.

Q.  Do you relate to him at all?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I don't know the guy.  I couldn't tell you.

Q.  You just met three of Australia's greats.  Tell us what that was like.
ROGER FEDERER:  Very nice, you know.  Talked about our experiences at the Olympics.  They asked me what I thought of tennis being part of the Olympics, how important it was for me or for tennis.
The hurdler in particular, I think she was very excited meeting me.  Yeah, I love meeting other athletes.  Plus, they won all gold, so it's always a pleasure spending some time and just discussing.
Some have questions about how do I handle maybe the tough moments or they want to know things like how do I handle everyday life and being recognized and all those things.
You can share many things.  Sometimes I answer more than I ask, but it was very nice, very friendly.  They're all from around here, so I hope to see them again this week.

Q.  You mentioned having that focus in your tennis.  Can you share what you've been doing?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I haven't done much sort of mental training or much sort of focus exercises.  I just think as tennis a player, because we play that many matches, you need to have a bit of a relaxed mind in some way.
You can't get too caught up like it was the Olympic Games every single day, otherwise it kind of consumes you.  You're not free enough in the mind to play.  Otherwise every practice, every match, almost becomes too important.
I'm aware that it is very important.  But at the same time, I need to enjoy it as well.  If the enjoyment level starts going down, down, down because the pressure is so big, that sort of forces you out of game I feel too quickly.
So you need to have the right balance.  For that reason, vacation is important; friends on tour are important; who you practice with; when you practice; which tournaments you play, and so forth.
You need to keep it exciting, and that's what I've tried to do throughout my career.  Sometimes better than other times.  But overall I'm very happy with my career, of course.

Q.  You're playing with a Wilson racquet?
ROGER FEDERER:  Different racquet to what I was playing with after Wimbledon.  It's one again that Wilson worked on and adjusted after my comments.  They anyway wanted to do some more work on that racquet.  They sent me one round of racquets after the US Open, and now another one after the World Tour Finals I tested again a couple and chose the one I'm playing with now, that I've been practicing with two and a half straight weeks in Dubai with it.
I feel very comfortable, more comfortable than I did with the one after Wimbledon, which felt very different but very good as well.  This one feels more of an extension that I had before, but it's more futuristic form, I guess.  I'm actually very eager to see how it's going to react in the matches now.

Q.  Same weight?
ROGER FEDERER:  I actually don't even know.  Yeah.  My stringers and Wilson know.  I'm not that detail crazy about it.

Q.  You were saying before about ex‑players getting involved in the game.  In the future, would you ever consider coming back and being a coach?

Q.  Never?
ROGER FEDERER:  Like them as well, probably.  I don't think they thought, Lendl or Edberg or Becker or all those guys, they didn't think of doing that either.  Me the same.  I see myself more helping kids and all that stuff, which everybody sees themselves doing.
Who knows what happens in five, ten, twenty years.  My experience I have as a tennis player, that will never go away.  That's why it'll probably always be interesting to some degree to work with someone who achieved being world No. 1 or winning Grand Slams and winning so many tournaments and going on winning streaks and facing the media and doing all these things.  I learned by doing, and that can always be interesting for someone.
But I don't see myself as a coach, no.

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