Menu Nitto ATP Finals The O2, London | 15-22 NOV.

Federer Thursday Press Conference

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Roger Federer
Press Conference
R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. May I ask you if you feel as young as you look out on the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Thanks (smiling). Yes, I feel good. I feel young. But I think it's the haircut (smiling).

Q. You were on fire from the first point to the last point. Can you just give us your views on the way this match went and your excitement at the end when it was finally done?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yeah, there is a lot that goes into a match like this. I spoke at length to the team before, probably over an hour 15 about all the different possibilities about what can happen.

They told me what they think is going to happen. We shared those feelings. When you walk out, you just don't know if any of it is going to work out or come the way it will.

I felt from the get-go I had good rhythm off the baseline and on the serve and that I felt like he was living dangerously if he was not going to play great tennis. That was a good feeling to have, but then again, that doesn't mean much because Novak has done an unbelievable job in his career to find ways to either make you play bad or to just be better on you on the day or squeeze another victory out like the way he did at Wimbledon.

So I knew the beginning wasn't key, but I knew it was important. I had a great run on the serve, as well, throughout I think that first set.

I was able to keep the pressure going and mix up my game, because he was playing incredibly aggressive at one point midway through the first set, which surprised me a little bit.

Yeah, I think things just worked very well for me. Tonight was one of those nights where, you know, I was clear in the game plan. I got what I kind of expected, and it was a great feeling at the very end. The reaction showed.

Q. A great performance tonight again. Talking about winding back the years, I'm sure you're aware that the last time you beat Novak was here in 2015. Have the ghosts of that Wimbledon loss disappeared now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, they were never really there. There was some press guys that made that up. So from my standpoint, I also didn't know I hadn't beaten him in a few years, actually. Didn't feel that way because it was so close in Paris and in Wimbledon against him.

I realized I hadn't beaten him since my knee operation. I heard that today. I don't know if that was good to know or not, but anyway, I found out.

And then, yeah, I felt like I was going to have my chance, to be quite honest. I knew when I explained myself after the first round against Thiem, first rounds are never easy. If you make a comparison of how I clocked my serves today compared to the first round, it's just day and night, but that's how it goes.

I'm just happy at the level I could play today, and obviously it's always special beating Novak, even more so of what happened, but I didn't feel like I had to get rid of the ghosts or anything like that. I feel like I moved on pretty quickly after that.

I have been playing very well this season, and I think this victory proves that today.

Q. People in general talk a lot about how effortless your game seems and how easy a lot of things seem to you. I'm curious, how proud are you of the grit and kind of the fight in that aspect of tennis that you have shown at this level for so long?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I never tried to seek effortless tennis, you know. It came naturally through my coaches over the years, especially in my junior years that taught me tennis this way.

When I see somebody play tennis, it's what I see how tennis should be played, you know. The way I do it, I struggle with the extreme grip or double-handed backhand never worked for me. For me, this was the only way to play tennis.

I wish sometimes I could have done it a bit differently, but it ended up being the way it was. I made the most of it, and I really felt like through hard work and fitness, getting to balls I didn't believe I could, it made me the player I became today.

I guess it became an effortless moving style I also had, which eventually also ended up saving the body, which has been a good thing, to be honest. And then I won a lot of matches also sometimes in short time. Like tonight, for instance, these matches are doubly as good, because it saves the body and gives you incredible confidence.

Yeah, so that's what it is. I never planned to play this way. I'll tell you that.

Q. You survived once with Bear Grylls on your side from the Swiss mountains. You survived again with Bear Grylls inside the O2 Arena. Which survival was most difficult or easier?
ROGER FEDERER: He was here. I was happy to see him again. We know each other for many years now. He's very inspiring, too, super-positive person. I feel like I'm similar in this regard.

I always see things in a good way, and it's nice to connect again. But, yeah, out in the wild where I'm not as confident and comfortable than like in here, it was definitely more difficult than tonight.

Q. I found one of our Danish colleagues, and she told me you had been training with a new player that is from Denmark. Do you see him in the future? And do you see any Swiss junior after you or after Wawrinka?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, apparently we are going to have four Swiss juniors in the main draw of the Australian Open juniors, which is great. I'm not sure when that's the last time it happened. Must be years ago. So that's a great thing for Swiss tennis. So there is some talent coming through, which I'm very happy about, and I have practiced with probably two out of the four.

Yeah, and then Rune, I practiced with him here. I have hit with all the juniors here, two were here the first week, two of them are here now the second week. It's been fun for me. It's been good for me.

But I hope it's been more fun for them, because it's like a dream week. I would have loved to do that at 16, just to hang with the big guys and warm up one guy and then you go warm up the next guy, and they play each other and you completely see the vibe of how the teams are and how the dynamics are.

Yeah, I mean, I am impressed by all these guys, how much working ethic they already have, what a strong team they have, how they hit the ball.

I'm sure that we will see much more of all these players down the road, but it's so hard to predict nowadays, to be honest.

Q. Unbelievable performance with the serve. 83% on the first set, first serve. 16 points out of 19 in the first set. 4 points out of 4 on the second serve. Do you remember to have served so well recently? And also, I mean, what do you expect now? Every year, every day seems different with Thiem and Berrettini probably didn't play so well as you did today.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I have had a good serving year, to be honest. I'm sure at some point this year I felt great. Maybe even Basel because I ran through the tournament there. So I know I can do it. But obviously that was not Novak Djokovic, you know, opposite to me.

So to hit the spots the way I did today is definitely special. Also just to be also strong on the shot that comes right after. And then being able to also produce good returns, because I thought I actually returned also very well today. I made a lot of returns.

Then when I was in the rallies, he felt like the need to play extremely aggressive, because if he didn't, I was always going to take a big cut at the ball.

No, it was a great match. Yeah, the serve stats are clearly key to either hang with him or beat him. I did that in Paris. I did that in Wimbledon. Actually, I hardly got broken in those matches, too, and again tonight. So against Novak it seems to work well on my serve.

It's just a matter of sometimes having better returning days. Cincy was terrible when I played him, but sometimes it's just also the feel of the moment, and today was definitely a good one.

Q. I was paying attention at you signing balls and shirts and lids for fans after the match today. I started to wonder if even Rafa would ask you to sign something today for granting him the No. 1 of the world by beating Novak? Of course until the semifinals or the final.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no. I don't know. I know he was there (smiling).

Anyway, I'm sure he was watching, but I have been there before, so at the end of the day, I'm trying to play a good tournament myself.

I knew there was a lot on the line for Novak today. If he wouldn't have won Wimbledon, maybe he wouldn't have even gotten to that, to be quite honest. That's what I was telling myself, too. Because he beat me at Wimbledon, actually Novak was as close as he was.

And Rafa has had an unreal of a stretch, as well. Both guys have had great years. I'm happy I was able to beat both this year, but they both deserve to be ranked higher than me this year.

But, yeah, it was a good day for tennis. I'm sure to some extent, not because I beat Novak but the race of World No. 1 was riding on the match, as well, and the atmosphere in the building was very, very nice. I was able to produce under pressure, and I was trying to remind myself to play with less pressure than what Novak had throughout the game, and it worked. I'm very happy. I'm very pleased.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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