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March 8, 2014
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
R. FEDERER/P. Mathieu
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions, please.
Q.¬† Obviously you're very popular; you've been popular for a long time.¬† Do you notice it when the crowd kind of gets behind you as they did in that match and you hear the, Go, Roger in the stands, when it's a critical point they start to make noise?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I mean, you definitely feel the importance of the score.¬† So I don't know how much that is if I'm popular or they're behind me or they just want to see a third set or they just want to see good tennis.
So in that very moment you try not to analyze too much.¬† You just try to take the positives out of the cheers you get, because cheers can make you nervous or they can really lift you up and make you play great tennis.
That's where you've just got to use that experience I have and to the right effect, I guess.¬† But I do enjoy being popular, for sure.
Q.¬† Have you ever had a time where people rooted against you?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yes.¬† Many times (smiling).¬† But maybe not necessarily against you every time but also just for your opponent, you know, more for the other country who you're playing against.
Q.¬† A couple of days ago when you were in here you said if you can't play for No. 1 you'll play for titles and you feel good, you're healthy again.¬† Do you ever feel "old"?¬† You look around, there are 18 year olds playing you, or does your body not feel the way it did five years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: ¬†Well, I mean, sure you had good spells, you know, when you were ‑‑ five years ago had good spells, 10 years ago; but nevertheless, you always had, you know, some niggling injuries or some pain that goes with being a professional tennis player.
It's not like I played pain‑free up until last year or anything.¬† So that's an illusion, too, you know.
From that standpoint, I don't feel old either because there are many guys playing who are my age now.¬† I feel there are many guys from the junior times my age still playing, and there's not that many 18 years olds, like you said, who I'm playing against actually.
The youngest guys are usually 21, 22 years old.¬† So, no, I don't feel like we're being pushed out.¬† It's really we are going out on our own terms at our age, which is nice for us anyway.
Q.¬† When you knocked off Sampras at Wimbledon, sort of the match that pushed you forward, did you look around you and say, These old guys out there, the Samprases and those, when you were 22 and 21, or did you just play the game, not think of the age?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No, you think of the legend and the great champion, you know, that you face.¬† For me, it was amazing times back then playing on the tour, because those were the guys I knew from TV.¬† Those are the guys that are not old guys, they are the guys I knew from TV, guys I maybe wanted to play against one day, but it's such a far away dream you don't think it's ever going to happen.
Next thing you know you're right in the mix of it.¬† I must say it's very, very special, and I will always look back at that as some of the best days of my playing days.
Q.¬† You may not want to answer this...
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Okay.¬† (Laughter.)
Q.¬† The other day Pete was talking about the role his wife Bridget was playing and spoke very beautifully how it was really important having her in his camp, saying it doesn't matter what others thought, she was always there for him.¬† Could you talk about the role of Mirka in your career?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I think every wife is important.¬† Mine is no different.¬† You know, she's been involved to some degree as of late, but I guess more involved, you know, midway through our relationship just because she came to every practice, every match, spent breakfast, lunch, and dinner together for years.
I mean, still very intense today, but just we have kids now, and, you know, she's seen 900 matches, I guess.¬† She's okay missing one once in a while and not coming to the practices anymore.
But she's been very important in my life, not just as a tennis player but overall.¬† I'm happy that she always thought in the best interest for me and my career and never pulled me away.¬† It would have been easy for her to say, Look, can we not change it up or do different?
I hear stories, you know, some guys don't get allowed to travel maybe three, four weeks on the stretch in a row somewhere.¬† The only request she had is we can spend as much as time as possible together, which is what I wanted anyway.
Yeah, she's been amazing.¬† But at the same time, I also have to be able to take decisions all by myself and, you know, do what's best for me as a tennis player.
Of course, in the back of my mind I always have family and friends and everything, but, you know, you can't always run everything by Mirka.
Anyway, I take decisions in the team, but as a leader I also have to take decisions myself.
Q.¬† It helped she was on the tour herself?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I guess so.¬† But at the same time, I guess it must also be nice to have a girlfriend or wife who has nothing to do with tennis, you know, doesn't know everybody.¬† Depends how you see it.
I thought it was a positive for me, because when she started traveling with me, she was injured on her heel and she couldn't run or walk anymore at that point.¬† She was on crutches and everything.¬† Then she decided to come on tour with me, and I guess it was for her like‑‑ it extended her career a little bit.¬† That's why she was so excited and motivated to still be back on the tour, but with me in the supporting team more than as a player.¬† Which was nice for her, I think.
Q.¬† You know, Roger, a couple years ago it was rare to see players over 30 playing, and especially playing at a high level.¬† Now you, as well as a couple others on tours, men and women, are playing very well after 30.¬† Is there something you see why there are more players playing at a high level after 30 right now?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I think it's got something to do with actually that life on tour is nice, you know.¬† Because I know Stefan, he told me he could have played easily for another five years, but he chose not to do that.
I don't know why, if that's family decisions or saying, You know what?¬† I have done it.¬† I'm okay with it.
But today players must be telling themselves, You know, it's actually really enjoyable on tour, and the last years of my playing days may not be one year or six years, I don't know yet, but I want to take it a bit more easier, or, you know, just enjoy it a bit more.
And then maybe they realized that actually with a more relaxed mindset they can be equally successful.¬† Maybe a little less, but that's still good.¬† Or sometimes even more.
So I think it's very interesting in this day and age to see actually the older players are not being pushed out, which is nice to see.¬† I don't know how the women's tour is, how many older players are on the tour there over 30, but on the men's tour anyway we have a ton.¬† For me it's great because I know many of them from a long time ago.
Q.¬† You just used the word "special" when you reflected back on the early days.¬† Do you miss those days?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I do.
Q.¬† Would you like those days still to be here now, or is it still as special now?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† It's totally different today.¬† I enjoy the game totally in a different way today.¬† Back in the day I did have a lot of pressure, so I felt I was being forced to having to play well.¬† I was expected to, and I don't feel it this way today.
But the special part I meant before was just seeing the guys from TV live in front of me, being able to practice with them and being able to play against them.¬† That was like such a cool experience for me as a player and person that I will never forget that.
Today it's different, because like I said, I still play the same generation players.¬† There is the next generation which clearly eventually have to embrace, which I did, which I enjoy it as well with the rivalries we have had with all the players we know, and then now you play guys who know you from TV, basically.
So that's a bit weird at the very beginning, but you kind of get used to it.¬† It's not like everybody comes up to you and says, I know you from TV, but it's nice to hear stories from time to time.¬† Adds to the drama of tennis, I guess.
Q.¬† On your year or so on Twitter, you have gotten very good at selfies.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, okay.
Q.¬† If you could take a selfie with anybody, who would it be?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Nobody.¬† I mean, this is totally for the supporters of me, whoever follows me or a fan of me, whoever it is, the people who do, you know, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.¬† Just trying to make it fun and different.
Took me a long time to sort of warm up to social media, because I just didn't know how it's supposed to be used‑ even though there is no rule to it.¬† But I find some people use it in a very funny way and some in a very strange way.
First, for myself, I had to find out what was going to be my direction.¬† I saw it more as giving more sort of the extra, you know, sort of hints, sort of my angle, an extra angle to our life on tour.
So it's actually become quite enjoyable.¬† The last thing I want to feel is pressure that I have to take pictures or have to is something.¬† If I don't want to post anything for weeks, I have the right to do that and that needs to be the case.
But I must say it's pretty funny, and it doesn't stress me out.¬† You just can't being sucked into it too crazy, otherwise all you start doing is spending time on the phone, and that's not what I want to start happening to me.
Q.¬† A quick follow‑up to Craig, when you're talking about managing expectations, are you talking about pre or dominant years, like before you won slams?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† When I came through the juniors, probably the first three years, like from 17 to 21.
Q.¬† A question about Stan.¬† You are playing doubles here, spending a lot more time together than normal.¬† Has he been coming to you asking about how to manage expectations?¬† And if so, what...
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Not so much.¬† I think the good thing for me is he's not 18, you know.¬† So he's been on tour for a while and he knows that success is just an extra mega bonus for him.¬† Now it's going back to the practice courts.¬† Enjoying the limelight he's in, but managing that so it doesn't drain him.
Maybe can do things, you know, that he couldn't do before, meet people, go to events, who knows?¬† He always thought that may be cool.¬† Then he's done three and he's like, That's enough now, maybe.
I think it must be really enjoyable for him to also be recognized more as not just a journeyman who just happens to play very well, but actually be maybe a crowd pleaser, an idol to some, you know, a favorite player now, people admire his backhand even more now, those kind of things.
It must be cool for him.¬† I think he stopped coming to me probably three, four years ago like asking about everything, about managing his life, his forehand, his backhand, his break points, all that stuff.
And I also let go, because he needed to grow up by himself and make sure he was the player, you know, he can be.¬† Now I sometimes go to him and ask him for advice on certain players, and he still does the same sometimes, you know.
So it's a good dynamic, and I'm happy that he is in a solid place now.¬† I hope he can play very successful for the coming years.
Q.¬† No enrollment in the Roger Federer School of Success?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No (smiling).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports