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May 23, 2014

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  How, if at all, has the birth of your new sons changed your routine preparation, affected anything at all when it comes to tennis for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, not much, you know, to be honest.  They sleep that much that I don't feel bad yet going out of the room and coming back.  It's almost the same situation.
Yeah, no, so things are fairly normal.  Clearly there is a bit more happening and there is a bit more you can do if you want to, but Mirka takes care of most of it.
Of course, you know, I hold them as much as I can, but I clearly also want to go out and about with the girls.  Routines are pretty much the same, really.

Q.  You did not have a lot of preparation, not the usual amount of clay matches as you're accustomed to coming here.  How do you feel about your game and how do you feel in terms of preparation for this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I'm not sure if I have played less than in previous years on clay, because sometimes I didn't play in Monaco.  So then I also had a couple of events.
So I think it's about what I usually always have before the French Open.  The only difference is that, you know, I didn't play a lot in the last couple of weeks.  That's usually the weeks sort of I play‑‑ either I play or I play better or my best.
But playing well in Monaco was helpful in the sense that when I went to training I knew what I needed to work on.  Clearly was very exciting times.  For me, I feel like I'm in good shape.  I know where my game is at.  I'm not worried that, you know, maybe like you say that maybe there is not enough matches, all of that.
I have actually played really a lot already this season, so it also has its positives.
Again, because I was home and it gave me more time to train, I think, you know, I have become again a touch stronger in the last few weeks and months really, which was important after the year I had last year that I do take those opportunities when I have them to work very hard.
Then now after Rome it was more just staying in the rhythm and relaxing again before Paris and Halle and Wimbledon.  It's an important stretch now for me, and I don't want to come into this tournament, you know, uninspired or tired or.  That will be the worst thing.
So for me it's really about being fresh mentally more than anything at this point.

Q.  Do you feel like strong physically then, or you're approaching the tournament just like to have more rhythm and...
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, I feel very strong, actually.  I always hoped that around March, April time this year I was going to be feeling strong again, that I was able to catch up on the lost time I had last year.
And that's how I feel.  It's been really solid in practice; no setbacks in matches; I have been able to back them up time and time again.
So, yeah, I'm very confident if I need to go, you know, deep in a match or play tough matches, you know, in a row.
So we'll see also how it's going to be with the weather.  I heard it's going to be quite difficult, especially the first week with the amount of matches there are to be played.  It's clearly also going to have an impact on the matches.

Q.  I know that the French hasn't started yet, but I want to ask you one question looking ahead to Wimbledon, and in particular Andy Murray going there to defend his Wimbledon title.  What was it like for you going back to defend your first Wimbledon title?  How do you think it will be for Murray?
ROGER FEDERER:  I enjoyed it.  Clearly there was pressure, as well, trying to defend, but I felt more pressure trying to win the first one in 2003.
I came off losing the first round the year before at Wimbledon and also here at the French Open that year.
So when I came into Wimbledon in 2003, I was just so happy to be already in the semis, so happy to be in the finals, and then when I won it was a dream come true.
Following year, you try everything you can, but I was a touch I guess more relaxed, but I was also more confident that I could do it because I also had won the Australian Open previously.
I think Murray is going to manage it well, you know.  I think it's just important for him that now he finds, you know, a very good game in the next few weeks.  He already seems to make improvements as he goes along, so I think he's probably where he kind of wants to be.
As long as he's mentally free, I think that's what he needs to be right now.  Clearly he needs to be healthy, but that goes without saying.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French, please.

Q.  Do you believe this tournament is open, or do you think, as usual, it's going to be between you and some very few others?
ROGER FEDERER:  For the title, you mean?  Well, I believe the favorite will have their say, of course.  Of course surprises can happen, like in every tournament.  There are very many good players with very small differences between them.
We have seen some surprises this year already with Stan, for example, in Australia.  But in the French you need to play a lot.  You get worn out.  Some matches are really a trap.  You can't really rely on your serve to get out of it.
So I think maybe the best ones will be in the end of the tournament.

Q.  What memories do you keep from the first match you played here against Pat Rafter in '99?  It's been a long time.
ROGER FEDERER:  It's a great memory.  I was very happy to be in the final draw.  I had a wildcard, and I was very happy with this wildcard.  You know, when you're young and you play a big tournament like the French Open, if people think you have talent and it's good to give you a wildcard, it's great.  I played on the Lenglen Court against Rafter.  It was fantastic for me.  I even won the first set.
At the time you even got bonus points if you beat top 50 or top 10 players, so I was trying to get those points.  I mean, I knew I wouldn't end up winning the match.  But it's like a carrot you give to a donkey, you know, but it was great.
Rafter was also one of my favorite players when I started playing on the tour, with Pete Sampras, and I was very happy I was able to play them on the tour.

Q.  They say it's going to rain a lot this week.  Do you need to prepare differently because of that?  Do you think matches can be very long, can have rain delays?
ROGER FEDERER:  We try to practice in the rain.  Of course we know they're going to close down the courts, but there's no special preparation for that.  It's the same for everyone.
The only thing is the way you manage those rain delays.  Sometimes the rain starts at a very bad moment either for you or for the opponent or for the spectators, at the worst moment of the match.  So this is the first week you just need to win those matches one way or another, however you do it.  Even if it's not a good game, never mind.
Like last week in Rome it was very windy, and the only thing you have to do is try your best and win that match.  I was not able to do that against Chardy last week, and here it's going to be the same with the rain.
And if you're able to manage your way through, it's great.  But even if it's not good tennis, it doesn't matter.

Q.  Can you tell us something about your opponent, Lukas from Slovenia?  Did you play him already?  Do you know him?
ROGER FEDERER:  I believe I might have played him in Australia.  I'm not sure.  But I know him.  He's been on the tour for a while now.  He's not totally unknown for me.  I know he likes having a good rhythm.  He hits early.  I practiced with him several times, so I do know him.  I don't think there is any secret there.
I think it's good for a first round to play against a player you know a little bit.

Q.  I believe you were asked this a thousand times.  You changed your racquet.  What can you say about that?  Stan said you got used to it; it was good for your confidence.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yes, that racquet gives me more power and makes it easier.  I have more margin because it's a bigger racquet, and also on my backhand when I topspin it's better, and when I slice or I put a lot of effect on the ball, sometimes the ball flies a little bit.
At the start I was a little bit surprised, but I saw that, in fact, it was very easy for me to change racquets after all those years.  Now I'm very happy because I can play very well with it.
I believe it's very simple to play with this racquet.  With the older one, I needed to struggle with it every day.  So I have no regrets.

Q.  Since Rome, how did you manage this road to the French?  Did you concentrate on your fitness or did you try to stay fresh?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I practiced a lot before Rome already, and after Rome I went back home.  I practiced the next day after playing Chardy.  I took two off days and I left on Monday; Tuesday I didn't play.
So now the important thing is to keep the rhythm.  It's like in between tournaments, try to remain active, to stay fit, and on the court I will try to manage.  I will see if I'm tired or not.
But I know Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Friday I worked a lot, so I need a bit of rest now before my match.

Q.  Jo Tsonga was top 5 two years ago.  Now it's more difficult for him.  Do you believe there is a difference between the Jo you played last year and Jo you played in Monte‑Carlo recently?
ROGER FEDERER:  I could have lost.  It's like here last year he played very well against me.  He was extremely aggressive.  He was very confident, and confidence is very important for all players.
But particularly for a player like Jo, because he likes to take risks.  He likes to step into the court.  Of course he had changes with his coaching, his management during the past years, and I understand this might have an impact.
But I really hope he will be able to do something great here.  I hope I don't have to play him.  I don't know if he's on my side of the draw.  But I hope it's going to go well for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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