THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Assessment of Kyle, having now been on court with him, being on the other end, what do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: He didn’t have the best start, so that cost him the first set. Second set, it was definitely better. I think he probably struggled throughout a little bit. He never really got going. Conditions are tough with the glare, and the jump of the ball is sometimes hard to find the rhythm and timing.
Being able to belt the ball like he does needs either a good start or good conditions, and he didn’t quite find that.
I’m sure I profited a little bit from it, but again, I was able to keep him uncomfortable throughout the match. So that’s why I think the last game was big for him. Not to break for me obviously, but for him it could have turned things around. I was relieved I got through that one.
Look, I see what he’s got. He’s got everything in the game. It’s just a matter of keeping improving, keep plugging away, and then he will make big results again. He knows that.
Q. Both here and at the Laver Cup, we hear you say brief shoutouts to Rod Laver, but could you talk a little bit more in depth both about his game where he could do it all, serve and volley, come over the ball, and him as a man and his contributions?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, him as a player, there is not much I can say, because I don’t remember seeing him play, really, other than the highlights. So you have probably seen more than me.
Just his, you know, what he went through, from amateur to pros, with all the XOs they played, I think over 150 a year, going from city to city.
Two different days, you know. I enjoy that part of history. And clearly he was ahead of his time. Like most guys who are changing the game, you know, they brought something else to the game, and he was definitely one of those.
And he also was the bridge between different generations. You know, he played Borg at the very end. I think it’s nice when you have those kind of players. As a man, he’s like all the other great legends of his generation, incredibly humble and a joy to have still around the game today.
Q. When you play guys like Kyle and Hubert next for the first time, how much does that keep it fresh and exciting for you as you progress?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I enjoy it. I mean, either way, it is the way it is, these draws. You can’t, you know, choose who you’re gonna play. Shapo would have been fun, too. But Hurkacz, the same thing. He’s also up and coming, so that’s fun. Kyle, the same thing. I have never played him before other than practice.
It’s nice to see what they have in the matches, you know, and really get a sense how much more we will see of them. For me, at a top level, I like it that I’m not playing the same guys every single week.
Q. Just a fun question. One of your coaches recently gave away that you do player impressions.
ROGER FEDERER: Do I? Okay.
Q. Is that a denial? I was wondering if you do, which ones and if you could be persuaded to show…
ROGER FEDERER: You mean like as in technique? Oh, not too much, actually. Maybe I think I used to do it more.
When you’re in front of the crowd all the time, I don’t like doing it, you know. Recently they have been a lot of fun, the crowd. It’s usually more in the off-season you do it.
Who do I do? I don’t even know. I wouldn’t want to tell you, anyway (smiling).
But I’m not the best at it, I don’t think.
Q. What you’re doing at 37 and to see this week Karlovic at his age and Venus doing what she’s doing, what does that say about playing deeper into careers and where the game is right now?
ROGER FEDERER: Don’t know. It’s definitely nice to see players — I think, No. 1, you’ve got to be happy to be on tour. It’s very simple, because usually you’re not at your career high, you know, ranking-wise, anymore at that age. So you have to pick on something else that’s exciting for you, whatever that may be: travels, match play, whatever, practice, life on the road. So you’ve got to be passionate about what you do.
It’s nice to see — I feel more guys and more girls are, like, really actually enjoying that part of the tour, which before I felt players were happy to do something else, which is cool, too, you know. I think tennis really provides you with an incredible platform where you learn a lot, you run into a lot of interesting people.
I mean, at the end of the day, you’re the boss of your own company, if you like, and you can choose how much you want to train, where you want to play. It will be very different at the time when you retire, most likely, because it will never be quite — you won’t be quite in control unless you run a company, and even then you have a completely different pressure than you have as a tennis player.
So I think players see more and more what actually a privilege it is to be a tennis player, and that’s nice to see.
The secret behind, I’m sure, is starting with nutrition and, you know, stretching, massages, sleep, you name it. All these things have gotten more and more professionally done at a young age already. I remember, when I came up, people doing the elastic band, people laughing at them doing it. Now everybody sort of does it. People stopped doing that and doing other things.
Back in the day, all you took is a hot bath, ate a banana on the court. That was it. Nowadays people do all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s interesting to see how the game has evolved. I still like it when it’s somewhat amateur-like, to some extent, because I don’t want it to become all scientific, to be quite honest.
Q. You were saying you hadn’t played Edmund before. But a guy you have played a few timings, Nadal, is waiting perhaps the two of you meeting, I guess two matches from now. Are you looking forward to that? Does it make it exciting, too, when you get to play the other top players?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, absolutely. I think that’s also one of the reasons I’m still in the game is that hopefully when I play the top guys that I’m ready for it. For that, I train hard.
The thing is, is when I’m still quite highly ranked, I don’t see them very soon in the draw, so I have to go a long way to get to them. And it’s not easy to get to semis or finals of Masters 1000s.
I’m very happy this week. I hope I can get there, but I’m not going to underestimate Hubert.
Yeah, Rafa looked supreme this week. He clearly also goes in as I favorite against Khachanov, but Khachanov played a good match just now against Isner. I think that’s also going to be quite a test for Rafa, but same for me with Hubert. I don’t think we’re looking too far ahead, to be honest.
Q. A tennis nerd question. You seem to have the quietest head, this ability to watch the ball all the way into the strings. Was that something you had to work extremely hard on when you were younger? Is it something you have to maintain throughout the years? Is it something you just built in your formative years?
ROGER FEDERER: Keeping the head down?
Q. Contact and eyes on the ball.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don’t know where that comes from, to be honest. I feel like I probably did it even more extreme in my junior years that it almost felt like it was too long, too extreme.
But nobody ever told me to do it or told me to stop doing it. You know, for me, it’s the only way to play tennis, and it happens to be that way. So I can’t explain how that came about.
Q. Discussion about the GOAT. Do you think it’s fair to look at it throughout the history of tennis, or it needs to be in generations? That it’s difficult because of the different phases of the sport to actually pinpoint one person as the greatest of all time?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely difficult overall. You know, I don’t think Ken Rosewall was thinking of how many majors he was going to win. You know, I think the future is only going to be reminded even more so of what everybody has achieved. I think players 30 years from now are going to chase much more records than I did early on or Pete did or and so forth.
And because the game was what it was, you know, it’s very difficult to compare. To be quite honest, yeah, maybe you could do it in generations. But I think at the end of the day, it’s just a fun and interesting debate, nothing more. We will never quite know, because you only get sometimes the chance to be the youngest to win a slam, and you only get a chance later on to be the oldest to win something. What’s more difficult? I don’t know.
Sometimes you also get unlucky or lucky that a streak broke because of injury, because of some freak accident. Does that ruin everything? I don’t know. It’s really difficult, anyway, to see all these things.
But what I know is I think any player who is in the conversation is already incredibly proud of that effort.
Q. The other day I asked Belinda if she could choose to be one other person for one day, she picked you.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, God, okay. She basically knows already what my day looks like (smiling).
Q. The question is: Who would you want to be for one day?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a tennis player. Something else. Don’t know. Probably a musician, see how it is on the stage. Yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-13 23:25:00 GMT