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Roger Federer first round

Monday 24 June 2013

Roger Federer gives his Wimbledon press conference following his 6-3 6-2 6-0 first round defeat of Victor Hanescu.

Q. Was this the kind of match you were expecting, or do you really go into these openers with no expectations?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you hope to play a good match. That's what I said yesterday. Then you try to control what you can. If he serves well and, you know, plays big, plays the right way, you know, breaks you early, or he can hang with you for a long period of time, then clearly that's what you also have to be ready for.

I pack my bags anyway for five sets every single time. So I'm happy that things went well out there today. I mean, in the first round, we've seen the surprise losses happen too often. I was always going to give credit to Victor.

Q. With Nelson Mandela in very serious condition, what are your thoughts on his life and legacy?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he's been very influential, amazing personality, you know, believed in something, had to pay a big price for it. Someone you can definitely look up to. And that's for me very important people in this world. You know, clearly there's many that come and go, but he has been there for a very long time. And he's very much respected and loved.

So we hope he does well here now in this process.

Q. This is your sixth time out there on opening day as defending champion. Does it now feel familiar, or do you have a sense of excitement and nerves? Would you wish this were a longer match, to have longer on court for the first day?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, the longer the match, the longer you spend on Centre Court, it's not a bad thing. That's what I was thinking today. It went by very quickly.

But I guess at the end of the day you'd prefer to have it this way, walk away as a winner instead of being out there for five hours and losing in the first round.

It's been always a dream come true for me. In some ways, once I understood what it's all about, opening Monday, the defending champion gets the honor to open the court, ever since it's been an amazing day and match to be part of. And I see it also for the other players. They always think it's super exciting being a part of that match.

I'm happy I won 'em all. So that's been a good thing, as well. That helps to enjoy it (smiling).

Q. Obviously quite a quick match. What do you take from it?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, I thought overall I played a good match, you know, no hiccups on the serve. Returned good, sometimes aggressive, sometimes with the chip the way I usually do it on the grass anyway.

Then I was moving pretty well even though I thought it was quite slippery, because it is opening Monday. It always feels a bit slippery. I think I handled that well. Just a bit of a breeze, as well. It was cold. I'm happy to get out of there early and quickly. So it was a perfect day.

Q. I think you said in the past you've improved in the last 10 years.

ROGER FEDERER: I would hope so (smiling).

Q. What specifically is better about your game? What do you say is the weakest part of your game that you would want to improve?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I just feel I'm stronger, you know, because I was just starting to grow into a man's body back then, if you like, not quite sure how endurant [sic] I was on the court. Not quite sure tactically always how to play. Mentally still, you know, that edge where I don't know if I could handle it at all times in every single match. That was something I was still trying to prove to myself.

Then today, because I'm stronger, because I have the experience, because I've played so much, I'm just overall a more complete player. In those 10 years, many things have changed, racquet technology, strings, balls, court speed. All these things have a big impact on the game. I also had to adjust accordingly to it.

In the process, other players came on the tour, less serve and volley players, less chip and charge players, more baseline players. You have to adjust. If the game went into serve and volley, that's what I would be doing today, too. I just had to adjust to the circumstances.

Honestly, as a tennis player, you can never stop working on something. I always believe all your strengths need work and all your weaknesses also need work, whatever you might consider what it is.

Q. Back to Mandela. No other great leader has had such an interest in sports. He said sports has a transformative quality. In your many years traveling the globe in this sport where the locker room has Croatians and Spaniards, Japanese, so forth, can you talk about whether tennis touches people's lives, whether it is transformative in any way?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think sports in general, if you see how many fans flock to the stadiums around the world, you know, almost on a daily basis, how much it is a life school for the athletes, and then also for people watching, you know, how they also leave the stadium, you know, watch TV, because you never know the outcome. At the same time you're learning how to deal with, you know, maybe controversy, maybe difficult situations, disappointments. But then also success and then the pressure.

So for me sport and tennis has given me so much, you know, in terms of an experience, life experience. That's why I hope my kids one day can also do sports, because I think it's a great education as well at the same time, without clearly neglecting school, which is, should be the priority. But sports as well has its place in society. I think it's a good tool if you use it the right way, there's no doubt about it.

Q. Do you think the game brings fans of different cultures?

ROGER FEDERER: I would think so. Like you mentioned in the locker room, I was just there before, and to think back, you know, talking to everyone and everybody, you interact, and it doesn't matter where you're from. We feel like we're one family because we're under the umbrella of tennis, so we feel as one.

Q. Given how the discourse has been over the years with you and Rafa and the other top men's players, such as Djokovic and Murray, pretty much calm, respectful, what are your thoughts on what took place this weekend with Sharapova and Serena Williams and their swipes at each other?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I didn't follow it all. And I'm not going to comment on it because that's their little thing going on, so... That's really it (smiling).

Q. You've been involved with politics, you're on the players council. Can you imagine a situation here where players boycotted the tournament, defending champion didn't show up, making those types of sacrifices?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm sorry?

Q. Can you imagine the situation where you, as defending champion, would skip the tournament for whatever the issue was?

ROGER FEDERER: Why are you asking me the question?

Q. Well, it happened here at Wimbledon.

ROGER FEDERER: Right, years ago.

Q. Do you imagine that situation could happen today with today's players?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, never say never. But then again, it's not really what anybody's looking for. But if it did happen, it's just one tournament really. Doesn't sound like a whole lot, but the tournament would hurt in a big way. That's the problem, you know, then for everybody.

But as it is really not a subject we need to talk about, I don't feel, because it's not going to happen anytime soon, I hope not in my lifetime. I hope we can always find consensus, understand each other, discuss it, instead of having to do it, you know.

That's what the goal was with the slams or with others in general, with the tournaments, is that we feel as one, not that we're feeling like we're miles away from each other. I think we were able to achieve that on this instance. When the boycott happened years ago here, it was completely different circumstances.  So you never know what's going to happen.


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