Roger Federer was asked in press conference what he wished he had been more aware of at the beginning of his success when he started playing more and more matches on the big stage. 'Nothing really,' Federer replied.
'I think the unknown is the exciting bit, to be quite honest. Not knowing how you're going to feel in a fifth set, not knowing how you're going to be serving for a match at 5-4 in the fifth. Not knowing how it feels to be broken three straight games, but you still have a chance.
In these best-of-five-set matches you have a lot of lives. It's more to go through all those emotional rollercoasters early, the rush of getting crowd support, then the feeling like, Oh, I got to produce something so the crowd gets back into it.
Feeling that pressure is not fun, but it's part of what you go through. I think the unknown was actually extreme exhilarating back in the day.' Federer defeated Frances Tiafoe in five sets on Tuesday. What would he describe the experience of playing against another NextGen player.
'Ours was called New Balls Please campaign.' Federer said about his own generation when they were young players. 'They had a lot more older guys in there. I remember Guga was in it, Tommy Haas, everybody, it was great.
In a way it's similar because it's a bunch of them, which is what we need. We need not just one or two guys coming up, but 10. That seems what's happening right now. They seem all like totally different characters. I guess that's similar to what we were back then.
We were all very different to one another. Of course, one is always going to make the move earlier. But then the rest of the group is going to look towards that guy and try to imitate and surpass him. I think it's a great initiative, the NextGen.
Frances has done well, as well, this year. Moved up the rankings. Got a taste of Arthur Ashe, how it is to play against top players. He's only going to learn from a match like this and become better. But obviously our generation also was very strong.
We went on to become, many of us, top five players. I wish the same for them.' ALSO READ: ATP SHANGHAI - ENTRY LIST: Federer wants his second title. Nadal to play