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June 1, 2014

Roger Federer


E. GULBIS/R. Federer
6‑7, 7‑6, 6‑2, 4‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Tough luck today.  How do you assess your form today?  What are your thoughts on the match?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I guess it's a bit all over the place, you know.  Clearly very disappointed, you know, not to come through with the win.  After the chance in the second set, fighting back in the fourth, not to play a better fifth set.
A lot of regrets here now.  But I think Gulbis, you know, did a good job of hanging around and clearly coming back in that second set was crucial for him, I think.
So it was a tough match and I'm disappointed I lost it.

Q.  That was quite a long injury timeout at the end of the fourth set.  Did you have any troubles staying warm or keeping your focus during that period?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I mean, I went through the same thing against Tursunov, you know.  So if the rules allow you to do that, you know, what can you do?  There is nothing much.
It's definitely something that hasn't happened very often against me.¬† Back‑to‑back matches, they leave the court, go for treatment and then come back.¬† You don't know what they were doing.¬† Must be lower back or thigh or groin or something like that, because the rest they have to do on the court.
So, I mean, that's part of the game, you know.  In the past I guess it's been abused much more than today, but still, what can you tell?  He didn't look hurt in any way.  But if you can use it, you know, might as well do it.

Q.  How hard is it to come out against somebody like Ernests?  I mean, you don't know who is going to show up, the Ernests who can really play or the Ernests whose head is someplace else.
ROGER FEDERER:  Honestly, I knew what to expect.  I know how he plays, and he's got a good serve and all that, you know.
I just have my side.  I just wish I could have played a bit better, just overall.
But still, you know, I think I got in the match all right.  It was tough early on in the first set.  So that was very big, you know, to win that tiebreaker.  So I was very happy with that.
And then the second set was difficult, you know.¬† I was up 40‑Love when my serve got broken.¬† I'd break right back, and then I have the 40‑15 game I guess it was, and don't close it out and things got tough from then on for like a half an hour for me.
But, you know, I kept fighting.  And Ernests was also doing a good job of keeping the pace up on his serve and also trying to play aggressive with his backhand from the baseline.
So, I mean, I kind of knew what I was expecting today.

Q.  Can you compare Ernests version 2010 and Ernests version 2014?

Q.  You have played him three times in 2010.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, it's very similar to me.  We had close matches there.  We had another close one here today.
Clearly matches like this, you know, sometimes a few shots do decide.  It was the same thing in Madrid.  It was the same thing in Rome.  Don't quite remember Doha.  But, it's the:  Can you save that one extra break point or not?  That's what it came down to.
Today I just feel like I maybe should have done a bit better from the baseline putting him under more pressure, but I just couldn't kind of figure it out for a long time.
That's a disappointment.  But I think he's clearly confident right now, you know, after winning last week and after the good season he's had already.

Q.  The break in the fifth set, something you ultimately could not recover from.  Is that the kind of thing as you get later in your career, are there more spots in given matches where your mind goes out a little bit and you get more vulnerable?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not necessarily.  I mean, I was feeling physically fine and I was mentally ready for the battle.
But I didn't quite get into his service games enough to really, you know, maybe play more freely.  At the end of the fourth set it was it was just a bit like a bit of a relief to get through it after everything that had happened in those sort of 20 minutes, so who knows?
Maybe I lost focus for just a second.¬† I don't remember when I quite got the break, if it was first or second ‑‑I think it was the second service game maybe?
But I put that down to maybe not playing the best service game, him taking advantage, and that's about it, you know, and not about, you know, all the other things that could be the case.
You know, I think when you go deep in a fifth set or in a match, margins are so small both sides that not necessarily always the fitter guy who wins or always necessarily the better player wins.  You just have to create chances, and he did that definitely better in the fifth today than me.

Q.  Talking about your disappointment, but after all this, you can spend some quality time with your family and with your children.  Could they give you some kind of comfort?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, not just my kids, everybody, you know.
Mentally I have already switched to the grass, to be quite honest.  For me, it's like, Okay, clay court season was fun, but we are moving on.  Clay doesn't need me anymore, I got flushed out here (laughter).
No, I'm looking forward to spending, sure, some time with the family now.  It's been an intense last few weeks.  And clearly, you know, you want to try to be as professional as you can to perform well on the court.
Clearly now I don't know what's going to happen next sort of week or so, but I'm looking forward to playing Halle and Wimbledon now.

Q.  I'd like to ask you about the future, because most of the people are saying the best Grand Slam for you, the one you can win is Wimbledon.  Do you feel like that?  Do you feel you can still win Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I do feel so.  Clearly first the focus is on Halle, try to defend my title there.  It's nice going back to a place where I have to defend something.  Hasn't been like this for a while, so that's something I'm looking forward to.
Yeah, I think when I'm healthy, like I have been now for the last six to nine months, I think clearly I can also decide the outcome of the matches more than I could last year.  So I"m very excited about my chances for Wimbledon now this time.

Q.¬† Going back to the rules which let people go to have some massage, to stop the game in some way and come back, and yesterday we have a match when the player won just six points and lost the set 6‑0, and then came back and was fantastic player.¬† Do you think it is correct, is normal, and do you think is a normal game that you can do something, you can ask maybe for the ATP to do something for someone?
ROGER FEDERER:  This is an ITF event, just by the way.

Q.  Sorry.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, is three, five, seven minutes really that much of a problem?  I'm just asking, you know.  It's actually not.  It could be a little rain and it could be the same thing.  Here it's just a little timeout, and that's it.
Clearly you can interpret it in so many ways, and I think, you know, you're not allowed to go to the toilet anymore during the set.¬† I came through my career in the beginning where everybody used to take a toilet break at 5‑4 when you're serving for the match (laughter).¬† Everybody had to run to the bathroom at that point when I was younger.¬† So that was like a given, almost.
Then there was an injury timeout maybe just before that, or right after that, depending on how you used it (laughter).
So I grew up with that.  So now, I mean, it's like a big deal when a guy goes to the bathroom like on the set breaks.  Give me a break, it's like, when it's cold like this, you have to go to the toilet.  Sometimes when you go deep in a match, sometimes you can have treatment because the rule allows you to.
But clearly you don't want anybody to abuse it, you know.  I hope that Ernests didn't or whatever, whoever did it doesn't do it for that.
But you can call the doctor and the trainer at any time and talk to them, you know, and then they can evaluate you, what the problem is and then the treatment starts.
Actually on center court everything happens much faster.  I think of court 16 out of the blue there is a court call and then there is like five at the same time, don't have enough physios sometimes.
So that's a problem out there.  But on center court it all happens pretty quickly, I think, and they are always on standby.  It's not that bad, you know.
But I just think as long as integrity is fine and the players do it because of obvious reasons, it's okay.
But if it's just to disrupt play for the other guy, then clearly it's not really, really nice.  Not very fair.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.¬† 5‑3, 40‑15 in the second set.¬† Until the end of the third or the fourth, what happened really?¬† Did you lose track of the timing?¬† What happened?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† You can't do a smash 5‑3, 40‑15 and put that in the same category as 4‑2 in the fourth or third.¬† It's something entirely different.¬† I was simply running out of luck.¬† I could not conclude the set.
I made a mistake, a small mistake.  He returned one small and sometimes, you know, there are scenarios that you cannot account for, things that happen.
I had my chances.¬† I was leading 5‑4.¬† I was still in the tiebreak.¬† I had some opportunities.¬† And that's where I have regrets obviously, because after a smash or a volley, nine times out of ten you get the job done.
But maybe he relaxed a bit, and he made things slightly more difficult, because he may have found a little tip at the end of the second when he broke me, when he played without losing.  There is something that clicked into place, and that helped him in the third set.

Q.  In the game you felt as well as the beginning of the season or maybe today was a day where you really couldn't do what you wanted to do?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, tactically speaking it was difficult, because Ernests, with his serve, will also put a lot of pressure on the opponent with his service game.
You think I'm going to do this, and then three points down the road you're led 40 to love.  And you think, well, maybe on his serve you will be able to do something else, and then you get a second serve and you play it the wrong way or not quite how you wanted to play it five minutes earlier, because maybe you forget or maybe you did not do exactly what you wanted to do in your serve game, so you're worried and you don't focus any longer.
That's maybe what happened today.  I mean, with big service, it's the way it goes.  But I expect from myself on clay to find a way in the rallies to upset him.
In the end of the match, I was not able to deliver on that particular point, and that's why he won.

Q.  How do you assess the tournament?  Is there anything you're going to learn from this tournament for the upcoming grass season?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Physically I'm fit.¬† I have a few answers now with the two matches I have played against Gulbis and Tursunov, also.¬† Twice more than three hours on court, which becomes rare on the tour because¬† five sets is more in Grand Slams and in some finals of the big ATP tournaments. ¬†It doesn't happen as much, but it's happened in the past.¬† That provides you answers when you do five‑set matches.
But things are going to change with the grass season.  It's going to be different.  I have to shorten the back swing, how do you say that in French?  The swing.
Usually one plays well on grass because one has to do so much on clay to put pressure on the ball that it's necessary to hit hard.  I feel the same for myself.  When you move on the quick ground, it's difficult to take the speed from the opponent.  On clay it's different, and that's probably the reason I play rather well on grass after the clay season.

Q.  Different topic:  You refused to participate in the International Premier Tennis League.  Could you tell us about this decision and the reasons so far?
ROGER FEDERER:  The Indian thing?  What was it?
Okay, because I don't know what it's all about, and I did not want to embark on something I didn't know.
Just to see whether it worked or not.  That's all.  It's fairly straightforward.  I had enough to deal with now in my life that I did not want to add something else.

Q.  Have you had a chance to talk to Edberg?  He was there at the beginning of the match and he left and we didn't see him again.
ROGER FEDERER:  What was the question?

Q.  Have you talked about this match with him after the match?

Q.  Now, with hindsight and your experience, can you forget this defeat?  It was Robredo in the US Open.  There was Wimbledon.  Are you going to forget this defeat, or do you think you missed an opportunity?
ROGER FEDERER:  For every match you can't necessarily explain why you lost.  Sometimes you're more disappointed; sometimes less.
I'm not mad, but I'm not happy, either.  Because I missed too many opportunities.  I did not play like I wanted to play.
What it boils down to is I lose in five sets.  I had so many opportunities.  Obviously I don't want to try to answer questions to try and explain those mistakes.  I'm going to try and think about something else and I don't have to prepare for a match in two days, anyway (laughter).  What's done is done.
I'm happy to leave now and do something else.  Stakhovsky, that was a shock because I knew the danger, but I did not expect to lose in Wimbledon in the second round after so many years.
And the defeat against Robredo, that was a difficult year last year in the US Open.  It was probably the toughest for me.  It was wet, wet conditions.  It was sort of strange game on the Louis Armstrong.  It was just difficult.
I was trying to understand where I stood.  But this time I was in good shape, and I think I could have done better.  That's why I'm probably even more disappointed this time.

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