Roger Federer talks to the media after the 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2 win against Dusan Lajovic
Q. Obviously a bit of a tough first set. Can you just walk us through the match and how you managed to...
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, like you said, I think I just struggled early on. I was feeling nerves for some reason. Not sure why. But, you know, I was able to come back in the set breaking at 2-Love. I think it was big for me.
Yeah, I think the courts were playing quite fast today because of the heat. Then I played a great breaker. I think from then on I never looked back. Got early breaks in sets 2 and 3 and was able to protect my serve in a good way. Never really found ways to get into my service games on first and second serves.
That obviously relaxes you, and then you can go for more on the return.
Q. If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what kind of advices would you give to yourself?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the advice that I received from my coaches way back when. I think they did a great job of trying to improve me as a player and a person. Also let me be, you know, myself up in the public eye to some extent.
Yet I did feel I could live an anonymous life to some extent. You know, I was just traveling with my coach way back when in the very beginning on the tour until later on I got a massage therapist and so forth.
It was pretty simple, and just learning by doing, really. Making mistakes, trying to not make those again. I really had good advice all the way through.
Q. You have Mischa up next, who you have had a lot of success against in the past, especially on the grass. I guess that will give you a lot of confidence. He can be a tricky customer on this surface and not give you a lot of time. How do you prepare for that sort of match? Do you practice differently playing against that sort of style?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yeah, look, the rallies are going to be totally different. I have played him on several occasions now, and he's played me different every time. In Australia he played me really close on the second serve and would try to attack me, everything that he saw that was short he would come. Whereas in Halle when I played him he played from way back, which is highly unusual on the grass. Especially second serve -- I try to remember if he did it as well on the first serve. He might have. I think he did.
So I guess I don't know quite what to expect in the match on Saturday. But, yeah, because he serves and volleys, points are played differently. Tomorrow and the next day I will train and warm up with left-handed players. I think that's the biggest switch always when you play against an opponent who is left-handed, that whole swinging serve, kicking serve, especially getting used to the returning, you know, is most important.
On your own service games, I mean, you're in charge usually, so it's really just a mindset, again getting used to a lefty.
Q. A few of the players have complained about the courts and saying that the conditions have not been great.
ROGER FEDERER: In what sense?
Q. In that there isn't enough grass, and they felt it's dangerous for them and they are slipping a lot.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay.
Q. Mladenovic said in her match both her and her opponent didn't want to play even from the very beginning. Even in the warmup she slipped. I was wondering if you have practiced on any other courts, if you felt any different? And also in a situation like this, both players are saying if they feel it's unsafe, should they play?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, tough one. I don't know. Well, I mean, what happens with the grass, in my opinion, and I saw it in Halle too, because we had a good, warm, nice week and here it's the same now. When you go on the practice courts you should go see for yourself, but like where we stand the most, the grass gets beat up and used and sometimes it's not attached anymore. You know, it's like dead grass. It changes color. And that bit can be slippery.
So it makes moving hard. I don't know if that's tougher than just green grass, you know, when it can slip out of nowhere, in my opinion. At least with the other one at least you know it's a bit different. I mean, it's always been like this.
Now, is it more this time around? Possibly, because it's been extremely hot today and yesterday. So that's why maybe -- that's what we are hearing. It's not a good sign, and you should always take the players' opinion serious, especially when both say it.
But to postpone a match because of slippery grass, I have never heard that. It's a tough one. I don't know what to say.
Q. Towards the end of the period when you were off the tour for an extended period, you made an interesting comment when you said that you missed the fire of the tour, the whole roller coaster.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah.
Q. Can you say what you find so compelling about the tour? Is it the competition, challenges, traveling circus?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it's the competition. Even though today when I was walking out on court, I was like, oh, another match where I feel nervous before the match. I don't love it. It is what it is. It's going to feel better once I'm out there. It took me a while to get rid of the nerves. I always say when I'm nervous, I care, which is a great thing.
When you're only practicing, you never get nervous like this because it doesn't matter if you miss breakpoints or play bad or whatever it is. As long as you train well, it's supposed to be all good. Eventually you miss the competition of those nerves, but also just seeing my fellow tennis players, friends on the tour and, you know, there are so many people that go with it, you know, tournament organizers, tournaments, fans, and you name it, so I think you start missing that, of course.
Q. I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the courts not related to injury but how it changes over time through the whole event. You know, it gets to be, it's darker and obvious. Do you have to adjust there and do you mind it or how do you adjust to it?
ROGER FEDERER: So I feel like the second week is easier to move, funny enough, but I think, you know, how do you say? I think especially after the week one, because they have Sunday off where they can work on all the courts, they really get rid of all that, you know, laying around, sort of dead grass. Then it becomes easier to move around, especially in that, you know, sort of, that area where you serve and in the middle court. That's where you spend most time, split-stepping and moving in a direction.
I feel like it's easier to move from there on and I feel it's easier to become more aggressive with your movement whereas the first week, especially the first two matches, in my opinion, you have to be a bit more careful that you don't slip away. Yeah. So that's my opinion.
Q. Yesterday Victoria Azarenka was asked if the way you have handled parenthood has been an inspiration to her, and she said, not really, because things are so different. When you see what she's done, come back so quickly, et cetera, what are your thoughts and what do you imagine it must be like for her?
ROGER FEDERER: I can't (smiling). It's unbelievable. It's a totally different ball game what she's going through than what I did. I was just there supporting my wife, whereas I didn't go through it myself. Even though that would be quite an experience, I guess (smiling).
I always admire what they have to go through and, you know, just imagine going into practice right away shortly after that. It's what she knows best. The body tells her when she's ready to do it again. I find it unreal, you know, that she's back playing. I admire her courage and her, you know, like desire to wanting to be there and being successful at it.
I wish the same with Serena when she comes back, that she's strong and loves it and has, you know, the family life next to it, as well, which is most amazing. I can speak for myself there. Having family and playing at the same is possible. I show it. And I'm not the only one. In the top 5 we have other guys who do it exactly like I do, as well. Maybe they don't have as many kids as I do. But it doesn't change. One kid can scream as much as four kids sometimes (smiling).
It's an amazing experience, and I'm happy for her. And I met the little boy, as well, which is cool.
Q. Can I just ask you again just to come back to the nervousness that you felt at the start of the game? Was it perhaps more acute than you usually feel? Is it perhaps because you have invested so much I suppose emotional capacity in this grass court season and in this Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think so. It was definitely more acute than I normally felt it, but not because of the second bit you said. I think it was just like all of a sudden I was walking up to the locker room after my warmup and I was just, you know, feeling excited and nervous.
And then when I walked to the court it was still ongoing and after the warmup it was still there. And down 1-0, Love-40, it was still there, and then it was still there at 7-6 in the first set. Just took a while to shake it off, to be honest.
But I was not nervous at all for the first round. So I think in the third round I will feel better again. And it's weird how sometimes you can be way more nervous for a second round than, say, for a finals, believe it or not. It's like you wake up every day the same, and I'm happy I got through this one feeling the way I did, because in a way it's strange playing this way when you're so tense. Yet you have nothing to lose or in a way that's what I'm telling myself, just play freely. It's not just that simple once you get out there.
Q. You were just talking about nerves before the game. You played so many incredible matches on Centre Court. Can you sort of explain to us what the emotion is like standing in the tunnel, waiting to walk out and when you finally walk out on to the Centre Court?
ROGER FEDERER: Like I explained, sometimes it's like a piece of cake. Sometimes you just stand there and, okay, what's happening? Can we go or not go? How much longer do you want us to wait? Do we have enough time to put our bags down or not? Because the bags are getting heavy, nine racquets I have strung. That's all going through your head.
Sometimes you walk out, oh, finally, we're outside. How is everybody looking? How is the weather? Sometimes you feel that way. And sometimes you're in this tunnel, oh, I hope I hold my first service game. You can't explain. It really depends on what your mind is telling you.
Then tennis, you know, like in a match, you have tons of time to think about other things and just the next point. Sometimes you forget about everything else and all you think about is the next point. That's where you get into this, like, great mood and concentration and focus. But it's hard to get there. For that, you need to play a lot of matches and you need to win a lot and become super ultra confident. I think the more confident you are the less your mind starts wandering, I guess, if that makes sense.