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May 25, 2014
R. FEDERER/L. Lacko
6‑2, 6‑4, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions in English, please.
Q.Â Tennis alone doesn't give you happiness, but how much happier are you today with your game and with your life?
ROGER FEDERER:Â I mean, everything is great.Â I'm happy I got off to a good start for the tournament here in Paris.Â There's always that little bit of feeling that if you don't feel well, if the opponent plays great, whatever happens so you could lose early.
So I was happy seeing, getting early signs out of the match that I was actually playing well and I was going to get my chances I was looking for.
I'm very pleased with the outcome of the match, you know, very satisfied.
My personal life, as we know, it's all great, so I'm happy the family is here.
Q.Â You get to play one of two qualifiers next.Â I was wondering if you knew much about them, Schwartzman or Elias.Â If you don't know much about them, how would you prepare for a match like that?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yeah, I don't know Schwartzman, to be honest, and I know Gastao Elias better.Â I have practiced with him in the past, and when he was just sort of coming up, you know, when he was still maybe 17 I was practicing in a few days in a row in Monaco, I think, one time and again maybe in Miami.Â I know him quite well.Â We always have a chat.Â So it will be fun playing against him, clearly.
Q.Â You have been working with Edberg.Â Can you talk about your work with him and how is it progressing and whether you have done anything special for this tournament.
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, I mean, I think for me it was more the last few months getting back in shape, becoming healthy again, 100%, and then solidifying all of that, really.Â I think Stefan comes in the most, you know, with little hints, little advice here and there, and just observing what is going on, and just sort of staying in touch with him.
If I have any questions, I can always ask him.Â It's really nice for me to have him as such an inspirational person, you know, in my team.Â He was very happy with what he saw today, so that makes me happy, too.
Q.Â You played against Slovak opponent.Â Your wife has Slovak background.Â Do you speak any Slovak?Â We know your great language skills.
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yeah, but not on that one (laughter). For some reason, I don't understand a word when she speaks.Â And it's been, what, 15 years now I have been with her almost?Â It's such a hard language that ‑‑I don't know.Â At least my daughters understand it, and my wife speaks it and all that, so that's enough.Â It's good for them.
No, clearly I have never been to Slovakia, would like to go one day, and sure, we had to smile when we saw the draw that I was going to playing against Lacko today.
Q.Â First match of a tournament on a big stadium like that, at a Grand Slam, you have done it a million times.Â Is there still a bit of a rush?Â How would the rush be different here in Chatrier than maybe some of the other Grand Slam main stadiums.
ROGER FEDERER:Â I wasn't nervous actually going into the match.Â It's more just like those hints of fear, you know, maybe yesterday, maybe this morning at one point, just for like five seconds, Oh, I really hope I don't have to pack my bags today, that kind of feeling.
But other than that, you know, it's also I think I don't get too worked up about it, because I know it's a long match maybe potentially ahead of me and it's not a sprint to the finish line, it's more of a marathon.
From that standpoint, I think today with my experience I'm more laid back going into a tournament, going into a first round of a Grand Slam.
Then actually it doesn't really matter which tournament it is, Masters 1000 or a 500 or a 250 or a Grand Slam, for that matter. It just depends on the atmosphere that stadium has.Â Is it a night session match?Â Is it packed?Â Is it 12:00, early in the day?Â How is the weather?Â That all plays a factor in if you become nervous or not before a match.
Q.Â Considering Rafa's results this spring and some of the things he's said about his own confidence, how vulnerable do you feel like he is here?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Not different to previous years.Â Not really, my opinion.
I don't know who is saying it, by the way.Â I definitely didn't.
Q.Â He's talked about his own confidence issues this spring a little bit.
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yeah, but when, you know?Â Not the last few days, I would assume, you know.Â I think he's back on where he wants to be.Â He's played his matches he needs to play.Â He's even won one of the, one of the Masters 1000 at home in Madrid for him.Â So I think he probably is where he wants to be, in my opinion.
Q.Â I believe you had practiced a bit with Nick Kyrgios in Zurich recently.Â Can you just talk about his game and what strengths he has and what kind of potential you think he has?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yeah, I really like his game.Â I think he's very open to trying out things, going for the big shots.Â I think he's strong physically, but clearly he needs to keep working hard now the last couple years to make sure he makes the next move and he's solid for five hours, solid for two weeks, solid for one year, all that stuff.
It comes into play now.Â I think he's got really great potential.Â I hope he does well this year already.
Q.Â You spoke about Rafa, but what about Novak?Â I mean, do you think from what you've seen, everything the last six weeks, that Novak is the justifiable favorite here now for this event?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Not for me, but maybe for you.Â And three weeks ago he couldn't play tennis anymore, I remember that too.Â When he was injured, oh, my God, you know.Â Things are looking so terrible.Â Now everything is great.
Yeah, it doesn't go week by week, you know.Â I don't know who's talking all the time, but Rafa is the favorite, and then Novak, and then the rest, you know.Â It's very clear.
But it doesn't matter who is the favorite or not.Â We will see in a few weeks.Â Really doesn't matter one bit.
Q.Â I wanted to ask you a question sort of what Tom asked.Â You're known for your calm and your confidence, but talk about your nerves over the years.Â When were you most nervous?Â As a junior for the Orange Bowl?Â What big tournament?Â Wimbledon final?Â When were you most nervous?Â How did you deal with it?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Probably very nervous for the Sampras match at Wimbledon, because it was my first time on Centre Court, my first time against Pete.Â There I remember the cold hands, nervous, the pulse.Â Just feeling like this is not the usual match, you know, kind of thing.
And then I have had it probably on some other occasions like first finals maybe in Milan or first title I won there, but first maybe was in Marseilles.Â Just those moments when it happens for the first time, it's like the first time you have to have the speech or walk up to a girl and talk to her because you like her kind of thing.
It's just when you're not used to it, you know, I think what freaks you out the most.
Q.Â Goran has talked about his handshaking at match point, Andy Murray talked about that, also.Â At match point have you had sort of a high anxiety?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Oh, yeah, of course.Â I have had it and ended up losing the match.Â I don't think I lost because I was nervous necessarily, but just because the circumstances.Â Clearly during a match, as well, you have a very elevated pulse and you get the shakes sometimes, and you don't know why that is.Â Sometimes your legs just freeze, so you try to stay in movement, you know.
That's what I like about sports or tennis, you know, it's like when we get nervous at least we're moving and doing something so we can kind of distract our mind away from it a little bit by physical effort.
Q.Â You moved so well today and you were very focused and very healthy, but you mentioned the atmosphere.Â Do these flying cameras ever distract you?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Not really.
Q.Â There was once in Australia in January where, they come much closer to the court there?
ROGER FEDERER:Â The Spidercam?Â Yeah, that's more like a change of ends and all that.Â I think it's a bit extreme how much we, the players, like, you're not allowed to move, you're not allowed to stand up, we can't play otherwise.Â I think it's gotten to quite an extreme actually.
I almost don't mind if there's some guys moving around.Â You just have to go along with the rhythm and keep playing.
Q.Â You looked irritated in Australia when you were changing shirts and the Spidercam came right down to you and you sort of glared at it.Â Do you remember that?
ROGER FEDERER:Â No, but yeah ‑‑yeah, I don't like it when they come too close not.Â Necessarily the Spidercam, but the cameraman himself, when I feel like he's just filming my nose or something.Â So that's when I ask them just for some space because I am trying to focus.Â And when you are changing a shirt, because, I mean, it's not like because I like to do that, but it's because I have to.Â And then it's like that focus, I feel like it's a bit odd, you know, who is that guy controlling the camera?Â I don't know.Â Is he a weirdo or not?Â I don't know.Â That's probably why (laughter).
Q.Â Could you talk about just quickly the fact of playing on a Sunday, starting a Grand Slam on a Sunday?Â You have played on Sundays before here.Â Is it something you like?Â Is there a reason or...
ROGER FEDERER:Â In a way it makes sense for tennis tournaments to start on a Saturday/Sunday rather than on Monday.Â I don't necessarily agree that the French Open has a Sunday start and 15 days of Grand Slam over Wimbledon having 13, let's say.
But I enjoyed it myself.Â I here, today, that's most important and over the course of years and history it ends up being this week.
I remember the first year when they introduced it I played on a Sunday and I refused to play on the Sunday and they made me play on it, so by now everything is more laid back, you know, and I was actually very pleased to see a full crowd almost for a first round.
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions in French now.
Q.Â In three weeks the soccer cup will start, the football cup.Â I know you love football.Â Are you going to follow the matches?Â Can you talk more about La Nati and more precisely the match against France?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, it's like Hitzfeld.Â Of course I'm going to follow as many matches as I can.Â You know, the last time is usually at the end of Roland or Halle or during Wimbledon.
It's always at the same moment during the year, and sometimes you have time to watch these matches either in the players lounge or at home or in the hotel lobby.Â Sometimes you meet with other players or with your team and you can watch these matches, you know.
As far as Switzerland is concerned, well, of course I hope that everything is going to go on fine.Â We have a good team.Â That's all I know, I think.
It's a World Cup or European Cup, perhaps.Â It's always very difficult to know what's going to happen and, you know, with these three matches, red card at the wrong time, if it happens, and then the tournament is almost over, I have the impression.
So that's why I think with the groups we have, it's interesting both for Switzerland and France, and this match will be interesting certainly because France always have interesting individual players.Â And we can do this together for once again, and, you know, to us everything is okay so far.
But then in South America the rules are different sometimes.Â You know, it's damper, I mean, the weather is.Â I think Switzerland can do something.
Q.Â (Off microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, I don't really know.Â I don't know that, no.Â Draw, I'd say draw, no risk taken.
Q.Â Back to tennis, what about your feelings?Â I had the impression you had good feelings today.Â What do you think about the Chatrier court this year and the clay?
ROGER FEDERER:Â I think they redid the clay this morning when I was practicing.Â It was a bit damp, a bit damp, a bit weird and strange.
During the match it was really great, and I played well, and today, you know, I know how big the court is.Â At the time it was too big for me.Â The space we have on the sides and the back, it was incredible to me and it was difficult for me.
I didn't really know where to stand on the court.Â I was automatically usually too far behind the line, you know, the baseline, I mean, because there is so much room behind the baseline, whereas on the annex courts you have something just behind you on your back.Â It's not the case here.Â I know the central court, and I think it's not really changed very much in the recent past.
Now, the only thing is to adjust to the different balls and shots, which is what we have seen in the months that recently lapsed, but everything went on well and I'm happy.
Q.Â About your match in France, it's a good start to whet your appetite, to start Roland Garros this way?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yes, it was a simple, straightforward match.Â I had everything under control from A to Z.Â On my serve games there was never a dangerous moment.Â It's always very pleasant to have such a good first round.
And then on the return games I think I seized many opportunities.Â There was a moment when I had to take the break, which is what I did, and I did it quite often and that's why the match was rather easy for me.
Q.Â Would you feel that your draw is "affordable" or, I mean, can you make it?Â What do you think about your draw here?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, yes, it's a draw.Â So don't know.Â Don't know.Â I don't give ‑‑I don't care.Â You know, everybody says this and that about the draw.Â It's for them, not for me.Â What I do, I focus on the next match, match after match.Â That's true.
Sometimes I had a draw that was more difficult, but sometimes my draw was a lot easier, I think.Â So I hope that I can seize my chance and go deep in the tournament and then play my best tennis.Â This is what I always hope I can do before any tournament.
Q.Â What do you think about the fact that we postpone Wimbledon due to the fact that it's too close after Roland Garros?
ROGER FEDERER:Â I think it's a good idea.Â I think it's incredible it didn't happen before, but it's happening still when I'm playing during my career, which is great, because then you have an extra week.Â It's not much, but it's a week, though.
I think it's pleasant.Â For those who really like to play on grass, they can play more matches on grass, and then we will see.Â Maybe we will have better grass players again, because, you know, usually you play one, two, or maximum of three tournaments, whereas now everybody is automatically going to play probably three tournaments each year.
And this will be a good thing, I think, as well for tennis on grass in the future, I think.
Q.Â Back to Nadal that you mentioned before.Â You said it's unfair that is the criticisms against his game or play.Â Why would you say he's at the same level?Â Why would you say that?Â Why do you say that?Â Or do you believe in him?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, look at his latest wins in Roland Garros, nine Roland Garros.Â Look at what he did.Â That's quite simple.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports