Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

17TH February - 2nd March 2019
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
17TH February - 2nd March 2019
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 27, 2019

Roger Federer – Press Conference

2019 Men's Singles 2nd Round: R. FEDERER/F. Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Photo of Roger Federer

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You didn’t really look like you were going to lose, but you didn’t look that sure winning either.

ROGER FEDERER: These best-of-three set matches, you’re not always in control of everything because, like you saw at the end, a good five minutes of the opponent or a good five minutes of you can decide the outcome of the match. You’re definitely living on the edge at some point in the match. This is how it is. I’m happy I actually stayed calm throughout the game. I felt like I was having a good feeling out there. Even though I wasn’t playing my best, I still felt like it was going to fall my way when it really mattered. I think that confidence is kind of important in sports or in tennis. I’m happy I had it today. I was right. I played good at the end. I had the serve when I needed it, had some good shots, a good point on breakpoint when I needed it. That was nice to win it that way.

Q. How difficult is it to maintain your focus and your intensity throughout a match like that?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I’m used to it. It’s okay for me. I think that was particularly difficult when I was younger, especially a teenager. It’s just hard to stay out there, like you said, sort of focus with a point-for-point mentality. It’s very difficult. You have to start to do that in practice. You can’t expect wonders if you’re not practicing well or hard enough or long enough, that in the match it’s going to click every single time. At some point you’re going to have a bit of a lull. A lull could mean two double-faults in a row, could mean you blink at the wrong time for some reason. I don’t know what happens. I think as a junior, I was actually really trying to concentrate on playing a lot of tennis during the day, three, four, five hours, just to be out there, just to cope with it. Nowadays it’s very easy. I think it’s just important when I’m playing to sort of not play the percentages too much. As you get older, I don’t want to say you play safe in any way, but you know so much what could happen, the outcomes. You predict a lot. Sometimes it’s better to let it fly off the racquet and go against logic. That’s I think my biggest not struggle but my biggest sort of thing I have to come through mentally.

Q. Before the tournament you told us you were not sure if you were going to feel rusty or nervous. After the first two matches, how have you felt?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, they were very different matches, haven’t they been? A lot of wind and topspin against Kohlschreiber. Today against a lefty, no wind, perfect conditions in some way. Fernando can take the racquet out of your hand with his serve and forehand at times. At the same time he can also beat himself. That is what he did that in the first set. Started to play better in the second. And in the third it was even. From that standpoint I’m just happy I made it through. The game is getting better. Naturally it was always going to feel a little bit better today with no wind. I checked the forecast, going to be cloudy tomorrow I think again. We’ll see what the conditions are going to be like. I think probably something similar to today. More of a straightforward playing in Fucsovics tomorrow. I think I can maybe assess better what’s going on tomorrow.

Q. The electronic line system. Do you know if you’ve ever played any matches that weren’t Hawk-Eye, that were Foxtenn, the one with the 40 cameras, camera on the net, the Spanish one from the start of last year?

ROGER FEDERER: I doubt it. Yeah, I don’t even know about it. I don’t know. You know the tournaments I’ve played. I guess there they haven’t used it. Hasn’t it been Hawk-Eye all the way? I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell you.

Q. You said before you’re a very positive thinker when it comes to difficult moments. What kind of words were you telling yourself when you lost the second set and Verdasco got a breakpoint in the third set?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it’s an opportunity. As bad as it looks, it’s an opportunity. I try to see it that way because all that one shot you might hit, only if you hit an ace, which I did I believe, can turn around things so much mentally and also in terms of your feeling. As a tennis player, you know you’re going to have ups and downs. It’s just important to accept a point for a point. Don’t get too worked up if you lose it, maybe don’t get too worked up if you win one. I think taking the right decisions is the key, knowing how much risk to take, when to serve and volley, when to play it safe, when to chip, when to spin. All these things happen very quickly. In some ways it’s good we have so little time to think about it because the more time you have, the more crazy you would become potentially, I don’t know. No, I mean, I guess you compress all your information you’ve received in the last five minutes or half an hour into that one shot or one point you’re going to play. Sometimes you just can’t produce. Sometimes you can. Today was a day I could, so I’m happy.

Q. Can you tell us if you agree this one has been the best performance of this year for you?

ROGER FEDERER: This one?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: No. I’ve played better this year.

Q. When?

ROGER FEDERER: All of Australia, so… Yeah, I mean, look, this is the second round after a very tricky first round. It felt like a first round again to some extent. In Australia I think I played all my Hopman Cup matches great. Against Zverev particularly. I think I played wonderful there. I think at the Australian Open I played all good matches, to be honest. From that standpoint, I was very happy how I felt there. I got used to conditions. Just because I won now and maybe lost some other ones doesn’t mean they’re always necessarily better. That’s a hard thing to sell, I know.

Q. Today was your 50th win here. Does that mean anything to you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was told on the court. I was like, Whew, 50, a lot of tennis here in Dubai. I’m very happy. It’s a big number. I’m not sure if I’m going to get to 100. Let’s put it that way (smiling).

Q. In Melbourne you said you wanted to have conversations with Novak and others about all the stuff with the meeting. Now that Indian Wells is coming up, do you have a better idea of what’s going on? Do you have an opinion on what’s going on?

ROGER FEDERER: I think important was to see how the Davis Cup was going to go a little bit maybe as well, to be quite honest. I did speak to Rafa during the tournament. Novak I didn’t see. I guess that was my fault because I lost earlier. That robbed me of spending more time there. Yeah, I think to some extent also I have to take a decision if I want to be, you know, involved in any way. Politically I’m not involved. I’m not on the council. But I’m always happy to listen and all that stuff. At some point I also have to be careful with the time, Novak’s time as a council president. I got to play it the right way. I think my next conversation needs to be with him. I had some meetings also with council members at the Australian Open. It’s been quiet recently. It’s always like that. It’s always busy, busy, just before the Australian Open. After that everybody focuses on tennis. After that the tour moves on, you don’t see each other any more. Things flatten out. Like you said, things are going to come back to the surface a little bit in Indian Wells. Good or bad, it’s going to happen.

Q. A few words on your opponent tomorrow.

ROGER FEDERER: I know Marton quite well actually. He came to Zurich to train with me. He was nice enough to come there. I don’t remember how long we spent, but a few days practicing together there. We had a great time. Then I played him at the Australian Open last year. Good match. Had one of the craziest shots there. Just hit a mega frame and it still ended in somehow. Ended up winning the point after he hit two smashes. I remember that point vividly. He’s improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it’s going to be definitely a match that’s going to test me tomorrow.

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