Roger Federer 1R interview

  • def. Denis Istomin 6-3 6-4 6-4

Q. You're playing Dan Evans. What do you remember from that 2016 match on Centre Court?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, to be honest, I remember playing well. I remember the match more when I played against him at the Hopman Cup a couple years ago. I think it was my first match back after the knee issue. So that was my first match. Clearly that was in some ways memorable. It was our first or second match, I don't remember.

It was a good match. I liked the way he played. He's got all the shots. Likes to take chances, takes the ball early. It's nice to see him back on the tour as well. I'm happy for him that he won his first round.

Q. How were you feeling tonight out there? Pretty routine win.
ROGER FEDERER: I think I was hitting the ball pretty well. Yeah, look, I think I protected my serve well, didn't allow Denis really to get into my service games very often. I was always in the lead, as well. Obviously that helps. I can free swing maybe a little bit more. At the same time I think I have to do some defense, some offense. It was a bit of everything.

But I'm very happy with my first round, to be honest. It's been great. Felt the ball really good.

Q. If you had to narrow it down and say one or two things that you really appreciate about Andy, what would you say?
ROGER FEDERER: What I appreciate about Andy?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: First thing that comes to mind is somebody that will try everything on the court to beat you. I appreciate that. Within the rules, whatever he does, with his fighting spirit, with his tactics, with slicing, defense, attacking play, even serve and volley, chip and charge, he'll do it all. He'll leave everything out there.

I feel there's no regrets for him after losing a game. I like that about him because I can't stand it when guys go into the match and they're just content, I do my thing, it doesn't work, so be it. He's not like that.

Yeah, he's one of the great retrievers we had in our sport. He's a big guy to do that. He's more from the modern generation, with Novak together, two guys that move like smaller guys. Yeah, carrying the weight of Britain on his shoulders for British tennis, that was not easy for him. I think you could see that it wasn't always simple at times for him.

At the end, all of us, the players, we're extremely happy that he ended up winning Wimbledon, Davis Cup, Olympic gold, even though Olympic gold went through me.

He had to really fight for it and earn it, like world No. 1. He gave it all he had after Novak's incredible start to the season. He had a sick finish. There's a lot to admire about Andy, how he went about it.

Q. Rafa earlier expressed his concern that the guys on the players council hadn't gone to him to get his opinion on the changing of Chris Kermode. Is there a bit of a worry that the players council is insular at the moment, not going out and hearing points of view from the rest of the tour, especially experienced guys like you and Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I knew about it. I really tried to be interested, to be quite honest. If I want to voice my opinion, I need to know. I care. But it's hard, especially through the off-season, to stay in touch with everybody. The problem with Rafa, as well, he's been away a little bit through injury at the end of the year. All of a sudden you realize, Well, Rafa was not around that much, as well. So somebody has to call him. For somebody to call Rafa, it's always a bit like, I don't want to bother the guy.

I think it's tricky, but somebody needs to reach out to him, no doubt about it. For that we have player representatives.

Look, whatever happened happened. I anyway wanted to speak to Novak a little bit about the whole situation. I also definitely want to speak to Rafa now that he's back on tour. We're here, we're playing the same day. I would like to meet him on an off day and get his take now that he voiced his opinion about the tour. It's nice to see that he cares, regardless if it's positive or negative. I think it's always good when top guys care.

I was on the council with him. I get along with Rafa really well. I do also with Novak. I just want to get the take and see how we can move the sport into the right direction moving forward. Not that there is any miscommunication and groups being built in some shape or form. I don't know exactly what has been going on in that regard.

Look, it's a big decision-making time right now. I think it's important that Rafa, Novak, and me, we get together.

Q. I don't think you faced a breakpoint tonight. Is your serve at career best?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think it's going so well. I think I can trust my second serve in particular. When you trust your second serve, you can go after your first serve. I have good variation, to be quite honest. This court plays slightly different to the Hopman Cup. At the Hopman Cup also I served very well.

I think I can be happy how I got out of the blocks from the off-season. I think that's always the most tricky part, is how do you get through your service games time and time again, because if you don't get broken much, or hardly ever, not at all, you have so little pressure on the return games, you can really try out different things.

I think I started to feel that midway through the first set already that it was going to be difficult for Denis to get into my service games. That relaxes you from the baseline. Then good things really happen.

Q. On one of the rare occasions your serve was challenged, you serve-volleyed. Are you comfortable doing that on these courts?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I mean, I played a lot of serve and volley against Zverev, basically the whole match at the Hopman Cup. I feel like I'm volleying really well. I feel really comfortable at net. I think also mixed doubles, to be quite honest, helped me because I served and volleyed in the mixed doubles all the time and spent a lot of time at net. I've been feeling good at net for quite some time now. I think the transition with the sprints and stuff, I feel really good about it. My body is in good shape.

I think it always depends on who you're playing a little bit, depending on how they return or well, it's better or not to serve and volley against certain players.

Today I didn't feel the super urge to do it. The way Denis returns when he does connect, maybe it's dangerous when you serve and volley. I only did it in selective times.

Look, we'll see who I play and if it can be of good use. I'm happy I have it in the bag.