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

Federer Tuesday Press Conference

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Roger Federer

Press Conference
R. FEDERER/M. Berrettini

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You face a tough test next. You haven't faced Djokovic since Wimbledon. Have you thought much about that match and about what you need to do?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think indoors you've got to go with what you can do best. At the end of the day, maybe it took me a few days, couple weeks at most, you know, to get over the Wimbledon loss.

At the end of the day, I still thought I played a great final and a great tournament, beating Rafa there along the way.

No, I'm excited playing against him. I'm excited to see how he's going to play tonight, as well. It's definitely going to give me some more information about what to expect.

But other than that, I think I need to focus on my game, what I do best. And regardless of what I need to do, I just hope I play well.

Q. When you played him at Wimbledon, Berrettini, he thanked you for the lesson at the end of that match. But he did say the other day that what he learned from that was he had a lot to do to improve to get better and he couldn't wait to play you again. What differences did you see in him today?
ROGER FEDERER: Every place plays a little bit different, you know. Maybe here the ball shoots through the court a little bit more than it did at Wimbledon. Maybe the bounce is higher.

So naturally it's maybe a little bit more complicated to handle the return situation, so he got a bit more free points today, especially that first set I thought in particular, which at Wimbledon I felt it was pretty slow. I remember I think he hit his first ace midway through the third set, and every time I was able to get into the rally, neutralize him, and then outplay him from there on.

But I knew he was much better then, that match, as well. I think he was not sure. I knew (smiling). He's shown that in a great way to qualify here for the World Tour Finals. That semis at the US Open, that was a big run for him, and I think it just shows that there is more to come for him, you know, because he has the variation with the slice. He's got the big forehand and the big serve. That goes a long way in our game.

And I think, to me anyway, it looks like he's very comfortable at the net, as well. He just maybe doesn't come there enough.

But he will only improve from here on. And who would have expected him to be here, to be honest, at the start of the year, outside of the top 50?

Yeah, I'm happy to play him again next time, but I know it's going to be tougher every time I'll play him.

Q. You practice with Japanese junior player. His name is Mochizuki. You know, he's champion of Wimbledon juniors this year. Could you tell your impression about his talent and his potential?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I practiced with him twice yesterday and the day before. Yeah, I mean, look, he's a very clean hitter of the ball, very fast. I even remember watching at Wimbledon, I think his semis maybe was against Damm, I'm not sure, who I played the dad. Okay. Whatever. (Smiling.)

So yeah, and then it was a very close match that one, I remember, and then he played solid in that finals. I think there is obviously much, much more to see. With somebody who doesn't come in with the power, he has to win his points in a different way, and I think it's through a tough mindset, fast legs, and great competitor, and I hope he has that.

But honestly, it's very hard nowadays to predict who is going to be good and who not so good. I didn't predict Medvedev to have the year that he had. I didn't predict Berrettini to have the year that he had.

But I'm happy just to be surprised, to be honest. I just don't know anymore, you know. Before I think it was all technique. Now it's not all technique anymore, to be quite honest.

He's a super nice guy, and I think he plays great.

Q. How does it feel to still be the favorite of the fans? I mean, I come from Greece. They came here for Stefanos, a lot of the Greek guys, but they are so crazy for you. They both came here for you and for Stefanos. What's it mean to you after all these years on tour?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's great. I'm very happy. It's very helpful to stay motivated on the tour, to walk out and feel like it's a dream come true for maybe many people or my fans who haven't gotten a chance to see me again, and for those who have seen me play already, it's another one, maybe another one or maybe not.

So it really feels like a lot of these fans come out and maybe feel like it's maybe the last time they see me. I'm not sure. I feel like it's been that way for a few years now, but I keep going and I appreciate them always being behind me, to be honest.

All I expect is that they have fair play towards the other players. I feel like they are. Social media can't always control it, but also there I really want to see a good, being nice to one another and not being nasty.

No, I'm definitely very lucky to have this kind of support.

Q. You have seen so many players evolving with their games within all these years. You said on court that when you played the first time your backhand was your weak point. It's probably also Berrettini's weak point. Do you see he can evolve the same as you did or is very difficult? Of course he has a double-hand backhand. It's complicated. What do you forecast?
ROGER FEDERER: You're talking to somebody who cannot hit a double-handed backhand. So I'm not the expert of how you improve a double-handed backhand.

No, 100% it will improve. It has to, you know, just over thousands of balls being hit into that corner. I actually think he returns good on the backhand side. It's more of a straight shot.

And on the forehand side he has the whippy forehand. I think it depends also on what surface you play against him. I think that's why he's actually also good on fast, because I think the backhand works well on fast, and then the forehand works on basically anything but also especially the clay court, you know, probably where he grew up on, and the slower courts.

So that's why his game is very versatile. I just think most important, as always, if you improve a shot, with me it was, it was the footwork. You improve your backhand or whatever the shot is through your footwork. I think there he's only going to get faster, only going to get stronger.

He'll understand the plays better. He'll know the players better. Of course that's also going to change for next year. The players will know him better, as well. That's why I think next year will be an interesting year for a lot of guys who broke through this year.

But it's a good challenge I think for him, and he's already got a lot of great shots in his game, which is a beautiful base to have.

Q. The eighth game into the second set you had three breakpoints against you, and you managed to overcome that situation with your serve. In terms of strategy, what did you have in your mind? Take us through that moment.
ROGER FEDERER: Not to miss the serves like I did against Thiem. Make those first serves. And I did.

That's maybe what the difference was against Dominic. I'm not sure. But I was missing the spots, going through second serves on breakpoint, and I felt like Dominic made me pay for it. Plus I felt like he was trying to actually do something on the return, as well, on my second serves.

I think this is where we are today on the indoor court. You have to take it to your opponent. So I tried to make the first serves, and then from then on stay aggressive but not just give away the break if that's what happened.

I wanted to see Berrettini play a good point, a great point, actually, to get the point. And I felt against Thiem I just didn't do that. I was maybe a tiny bit too hectic still, and I misfired on the serve. Sometimes that's all it takes to make a difference.

Q. You talked earlier in the week about making sure you take enough breaks through your schedule. Is it quite difficult then to keep enough match sharpness? I wondered whether that was a problem against Thiem. And also maintaining the ranking points for seeding when it comes to the big events.

ROGER FEDERER: It's a fine line. It all maybe depends a little on where is the body? Because regardless, if you're going to play matches or -- I mean, the thing is when you don't play matches, you can control your schedule much easier. You can wake up in the morning and say, Ah, stiff back. What do you guys think? Well, let's take a day off and let's practice twice the next day.

When you're having matches, you can't say, like, Ew, tournament, can I play tomorrow? Today is not my day.

That doesn't work. So from that standpoint, it's just nice to be able to control your schedule when you don't have any tournaments.

Then I don't necessarily think I'm a player who now needs a million matches, you know, to feel good on that day, but it's true with every place you go to, it probably takes you two days, five days, three matches to feel perfect, you know.

So in the beginning, everybody feels a little bit uncomfortable, and that's no different for me. It's just getting used to the conditions, the flight of the ball, the ball pressure, the altitude, whatever comes with it.

And then the question also was?

Q. Maintaining enough points?
ROGER FEDERER: Points? Yeah, who cares? Who cares if I'm ranked 3, 5, 9? If I feel like I'm 100% fit, then I feel like I have a chance to win the tournament. But if I don't feel that way but I'm ranked 1 or 3 or 5, whatever it may be, I know it's going to be extremely more difficult and sometimes almost impossible, even though I feel like if I'm in a draw, usually I always give myself a chance.

So rankings is not the priority unless it's battling for World No. 1, to be quite honest. But of course it can help that you might not play a certain guy earlier, but at the end of the day, I anyway feel like at one point you've got to beat them probably anyways.

So it doesn't matter if I play them in the semis, finals, or quarters or fourth round. Not really, actually, at the end of the day.

Q. Given how close you came to beating Novak for that Wimbledon title, what emotional/mental scars did that leave on you? You said it took a couple days to get over it. How much of a bearing could that have on this first meeting on Thursday?
ROGER FEDERER: We'll find out, but I think it's all flushed away from my side. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then now.

We have played a lot of matches since, and I think we both look back at a great match. I think we both can take away some confidence from the match. Him obviously a lot. Me maybe a tad bit less, but at the end of the day, I don't now -- I wasn't hoping him not to be in my section or in my draw. I didn't hope I was never going to play him again.

Actually, it's good for me to play him again, and maybe that all helps to get a chance to get him back or whatever it is, but at the end of the day, I'm here for the World Tour Finals and not because of the Wimbledon finals.

It's logical to be asked, it's fine, but I'm personally excited to play against Novak on Thursday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
 
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