THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the start to this year, because it’s starting to look like 2006 again. It’s really an incredible start for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I agree. It’s been great. I don’t remember what was my best year.
Q. I think you were 16-0 in 2006, that start.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, and I was, I guess, probably on that run that ended here also when I won a lot of matches.
But, yeah, I mean, look, it’s a totally different year, many years after. So I can’t even remember one match that I played in that time except the Canãs match that I ended up losing and then also began in Miami.
Yeah, I’m just happy that Hopman Cup went as well as it did. It started off great. Felt like I found my range, my rhythm early in the year. Usually pays off for me, you know, like the offseason coming in. So many years I felt good actually in Australia already. I don’t know if it’s Australia per se or, you know, taking the benefits from the hard work I put in into the new season.
Yeah, and then also Rotterdam was great. I was very happy that I was able to win the tournament there, not just get to the semis and get world No. 1. So that was nice.
And here now I’m relieved that I was able to win three matches already. Because in a big, tough draw like here at Indian Wells, you’re never quite sure what to expect. So I’m just happy I’m on a good run.
Q. Is it more significant because of your age, as well, compared to 10, 12 years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, possibly. But again, you know, I think it’s more significant maybe world No. 1 at the age that I did it rather than maybe the beginning of the year’s start.
Sure, it’s a great one, but, you know how it is. You can’t plan for these runs to happen. Either they happen or they don’t. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to keep the runs going. And this year it’s just been really good, you know, solid matches. Especially again in Australia I played great, you know, getting to the finals and everything.
So it’s been good, and we’ll see how long it lasts really. This might be the last day. So we’ll see (smiling). It’s just how it goes. Don’t jinx it.
Q. Chung had his problems with his feet in Australia. Are you looking forward to having that match and going up against the next generation?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, that was tough, not to watch, but to see. Yeah, knowing also he was actually struggling going into the match, not to which extent, but that was tough, you know, under the circumstances.
You know, seeing the blister after, that wasn’t very nice. I can just imagine how much pain there is to it. You kind of want to go out and give it a shot, but then you’re like, probably shouldn’t. You’re just stuck in a situation which is hard. So I felt for him.
I was honestly quite surprised how quickly he came back, you know. Because that thing looked nasty and it takes some time to heal, you know. So I hope he’s okay now. He didn’t come back too early. But he seems fine and he played a great match today. So, yeah, I’m excited to play against him tomorrow.
Q. With the talks about the ITF changing Davis Cup format for World Cup, ATP pushing for World Team Cup, are you getting a bit concerned for maybe the future of the Laver Cup spots in the calendar?
ROGER FEDERER: We take three days out of the year, so don’t worry about us, you know. I think it’s a great event. I think the players really enjoyed themselves. I hope it’s going to be forever successful. We have no guarantee, like, no tournament really has except maybe Wimbledon, to be honest.
You know, we’ll just try to put up the best event possible. And if we could push tennis in the right direction and make some exciting weekends and exciting events possible, that’s a win for everybody.
And if the ATP and the ITF decide to change their formats, you know, and the players enjoy that, that’s great.
So I just think it’s important that we have a good tour, good schedule, happy players, happy tournament organizers. No, I’m not concerned, but of course we try to put on the best event possible, for sure.
Q. You said a few months ago that as you’ve gotten older you’re trying to play shorter points. How big of an impact is playing these shorter points having on extending your career?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure if I play shorter points because of my age. I’m not sure about that.
I think I just chose to do that because I thought it would be more exciting tennis for me personally to play. I think the bigger racquet change in ’14 allowed me to return more aggressively on the second serve, which then allows me to be aggressive earlier in the point.
And I have come to realize that by taking charge earlier in the point that’s exactly maybe my situation. I can always go back to slicing and doing what I always used to do back in, you know, my best years.
You know, when you are always on the offensive, you also have to maintain a certain level of defensive skills, you know. So it is always a bit of a give and a take, you know. You only have so much time to work on your game, especially later on in your life. Quality is more important than quantity.
So I don’t have that many hours on court, and in those hours what do I choose to do? That’s why I think my fitness work is really important, what I do with Pierre. And then when I go onto the tennis court, I think it needs to be very clear what we need to work on in that time.
For the moment, it’s working. If it’s going to stop working, I will change my game up again maybe. But for now I will play faster points, but I’m always happy to extend the rallies, too, because I feel like I can also back myself there.
Q. Today you decided to stay quite close to the baseline returning the first serve and you chose to take a few steps back returning the second serve. Can you talk us through the reason for your choice?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, I also tried to go back some on the first serve even, which I very rarely do. I just think Jeremy does a very nice job of going for the one-two punch serve and then step around and do his forehand really nicely, and he can pull that forehand either way.
So I just felt like maybe changing return position was going to help me a little bit on the second and on the first. I did it a bit more on the second serve.
And I just think here in Indian Wells you can do it a bit, you know, because I think when you serve well and you get into a certain groove like I did last year, I don’t think I dropped my serve all the way to the finals against Stan. I don’t want to say it’s simple to protect your serve, but you just serve and you get the first shot and you dominate the rally from then on.
Because even if you hit a decent-enough return, it still seems to be in the slot for the server, and it’s just hard to get out of the return and the next shot and then, you know, you’re on the run. And you need to win a lot of good points in a return game. But then it can also happen very quickly if you see too many second serves as a return player. You have chances.
So I was just trying to mix it up and seeing what was working, but I think it was because of the swirly winds, in my opinion, that I was probably changing and because of Jeremy’s, you know, just good protection of his own serve, to be honest. I think it was tough to return today.
Q. Loss of life in the tennis family is always a part of the mix. We saw Sampras dealing with it during the Courier match in Australia years ago. You had a terrible loss with Peter. Do you have any thoughts about the passing of Ken Flack, just 54 years old, great dubs champion?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I’m not sure if I met him before. I remember him being especially great doubles player. They all used to play singles, you know, back in the day, not like today where we have only some doubles experts per se.
But I remember growing up and hearing about the team and hearing about him. I know also that Paul Annacone knew him very well. It was his generation, of course, as well, and I know how sad he is.
He told me a bit about him the other day when it happened, so I was very sad. You know, just like you said, for tennis family, we all get together in a moment like that. It’s sad to see.
But, yeah, just wish the family all the best, really. That’s all I can say.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Chung Hyeon? Everybody says his play style is kind of similar to Novak. Do you feel the same way? If you have talked to him before, what kind of guy he is?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know him well enough to tell you I know him personally very well. It’s been very short, you know, and nice, to be honest. Hey, how you doing? Nice to see you. Congratulations. Well done, whatever. Bad luck, you lost or I lost.
No, but he seems like a nice guy, very level-headed. I think similarities to Novak’s game are particular, which is mostly in his movement, the way he’s able to slide to his forehand and to his backhand with the open stance, you know, which not many guys do or do it as extensively as Chung does.
That’s the only similarity I see. You know, service motion, all the other motions are very, very different. It’s a Chung motion, if you like. Nobody has that kind of motion, I think, which is good.
But I see where the similarities come from with Novak and it’s not a bad one to have, to be honest, because Novak has maybe the best footwork on hard courts we have ever seen.
So it’s just a question for Chung to see that he can maintain that level, you know, with the blister, with injuries, over the course of the next 10, 15 years to make sure he stays injury-free and doesn’t get injured three months of the year.
But it’s highly explosive, it’s highly impressive what he does, and I think he’s going to be a great player. How good will still remain to be seen. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, and I think he’s going to be, yeah, very successful.
Q. It’s a Wednesday, late afternoon, middle of the desert, playing to a full house. Can you talk a little bit about the fan base here in Southern Cal and how they support this event every year?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. Yeah, you know, now the outside courts are not as busy as they were on the weekend and there is obviously less matches now.
But to see center court packed with a great atmosphere, just a great feel in there, you know, them being there for really those top matches, you know, they want to come see. It’s a good feeling as a player. It’s what you play for.
We do enough practice in front of nobody. Here there is a lot of people. But when I go away from the tour, you know, I sometimes have no people or fans or anything.
So it’s a privilege to come back into a wonderful stadium that we have here in Indian Wells, and I think the community and, like you said, Southern California support this event in a big way. They went through a rough patch where they almost lost the tournament, then were able to keep it here. They found Larry, and he’s taken it to the next level.
So it’s nice to see what has happened to the tournament. We, the players, enjoy it. We try to give back. And I think at this point everybody’s very happy and very successful.
Q. Just following on from what Carol was asking earlier regarding World Team Cup and Davis Cup and all that, you have been away from Davis Cup now for a few years now, would you consider going back to playing either or both those events with the new formats?
ROGER FEDERER: Problem is it’s far away, still, and I don’t plan this far ahead.
But in the beginning of my career, I probably would have played, yes. Still, we’re waiting for the vote to come in in August for the Davis Cup. The World Cup, I’m not sure exactly what the latest is there, so, yeah, remains to be seen.
I’m open, you know. But then again, you know how selective I have become with my schedule and, you know, I just hope it’s going to be a good event that brings something to the tour, of course.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-15 01:48:00 GMT