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January 8, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Millman
4‑6, 6‑4, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What did you make of John's match out there tonight?  What did you make of him I guess?  Probably first time you'd seen him play.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I remember seeing some of it match maybe at the Australian Open last year or two years ago, I'm not sure.  But I've never seen him play enough to really know his patterns or what his favorite shots are and all those things.
So makes it more difficult clearly, especially if you get in a tight situation.  You might serve into the wrong place.  You might play well, but might play to his strength.
I thought he was definitely the more consistent player out there.  He was dominating the baseline, so I tried to come in some and tried to mix it up.
But I was feeling really tired in the first set.  I don't know, I guess it's just still maybe some jet lag.  Maybe some nerves as well when I realized he was playing very well.
Also it was humid.  For some reason I was not coping well with it.
As the match went on I started to feel better, and obviously it was an unbelievably intense situation midway through the second set.  I mean, unbelievably close there.
Basically I had to elevate my game because he was not letting go.  Thankfully I was able to come up with some good tennis then and push it to a third.
Once I was in the third I felt like I had a bit more of the upper hand and knew how to play him better and started to relax.  That's when I could make the difference.
But I was very impressed by him.  Great competitor.  Great attitude.  Moved well.
Yeah, I mean, he deserved to win today in some ways clearly.

Q.  For you, you talk about maybe a little bit of rust at the start.  Is it good to have a long match‑ probably not what you want‑ but to get some game time?
ROGER FEDERER:  Like you say, I definitely got some rhythm out there.  I got used to conditions quickly with a three‑setter, two hours of tennis out on center court.  It's a good start.  Always good when you're still in a tournament, because gives you an opportunity still to win.
Clearly I know I can play better.  I need to play better probably.  But at the same time, I do believe Millman played a very good match against me today; eventually I had to play some really good tennis to come through.
So that's something I can look back on and be very happy about, that I actually fought my way out of it.  Those kind of matches really make you feel good about yourself.

Q.  When you've been around as many years as you have, how do you feel when you start out at a tournament like this?  Excited again for the start of the new season?  Just kind of feel like you're going through the motions a bit and you know what you have to do for the Aussie Open?  How does it feel after all these years?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I was more excited ‑‑ because I been here since Saturday, I was excited that the tournament got underway.  I wanted to play a good first match.  Then I realized very quickly I was very tense.  Normally after three games you relax, but I missed opportunities early.  And that's when I think I started to become a bit tense out there tonight.  Even though I was actually playing well in the beginning.
I was able to create chances, you know, and I had ‑‑ I had a proper game plan in place with my coach.  You know, I was feeling good about how I was hitting the ball this whole week.
But first rounds are never easy, regardless if it's the first week of the year or last week of the year.  Something about it is very complicated.  You're just not quite sure about the conditions.
I didn't know the player at all, so I'm happy to be through.

Q.  How would you compare your level of confidence if you have to compare with one year ago at the same time?
ROGER FEDERER:  Last year was totally different because this would have been my first match with a new racquet, so that was flying around in my head last year.
I actually played very well in the beginning against Matosevic and Nieminen.  I had a good start to the tournament and then eventually I lost rhythm through some doubles.
The Chardy match didn't help me going into the finals, but still it was a good week last year.  I realized that my back was good.  I gained confidence through a good week here in Brisbane.
This year I've had a good off‑season.  Not that many doubts flying around like last year.  Not that many questions with the racquet.  It's been working very well with me.  I had great statistics on my own serve, and on the return I just got to take my chances and play with purpose.
So I'm happy I get another opportunity to play again tomorrow and maybe be a bit more aggressive, not feel so tired, all those things.  If I do‑‑ I got to check things out why this is, if I need to prepare differently or not, but so far so good.

Q.  Bernard Tomic is on the other side of the draw.  There's been talk about his improved maturity and fitness out on the court.  Have you caught either of his matches?  What do you make of him?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I only saw a little bit against Kokkinakis, and not enough tennis for me to give my opinion on it.
Clearly it's vital for any younger guy coming up, like Nick or Thanasi or Bernie, to make sure that their fitness is taken care of.  That should be out of the question that he even needs to improve it.  Because everybody will work hard.  If he doesn't do it, somebody else will do it and he will start to fall behind.
Basically, for hard work there is no excuse, because that's something I believe you can control.  Then it's about managing the tour, the grind, the travel, the pressure, the media, and all those things and making sure you play the right schedule and don't get injured.
Those are the things you then need to learn quickly and have the right team around you.  But fitness as it is on the court is something you can very much control.  And in the in the fitness room, get some expertise that can guide you through the right training program.

Q.  I am from Japan, so I am hoping to see you play with Kei in the final.

Q.  Would you tell me what you think Kei's unique strengths, especially last year?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think he had a fantastic season.  All of last year he was consistent, from Australian Open where he played Rafa in a very tough in the day session I remember in Melbourne until the World Tour Finals.
So very solid, very consistent, very dangerous.  He beat many of the top players on big occasions.  Clearly his movement has always been very good.  His backhand.  I think this last year he has also shown his toughness.  I think he won a lot of best‑of‑three set matches and also best‑of‑five set matches.  When it came down to the crunch he was there and physically he was there.
So I think he's made a big step and improvement there.  And also, the top guys got the message that he's not going to go away.  I think that's why‑‑ maybe that's the biggest jump for him in my opinion, is also in the mind of the top players, knowing that he is the player he is now.
Doesn't matter what the score is, doesn't matter how long the match goes, you're aware that Kei is not going to go away.

Q.  Up against another Aussie in James Duckworth.  Are you expecting a similar sort of match to what you had tonight?
ROGER FEDERER:  Bit different.  I think James' game is based more on the serve and first‑strike tennis more than Millman, who goes into the grind and grinds you out and makes it physical.
I think James like to go for more on the return and on the serve, so I think we'll see shorter rallies, to be honest.
Yeah, need to be quick and agile in a match like that.  I played him last year in Melbourne in 40 degree heat.  It was unbelievably fast there, the conditions.  The ball was bouncing all over the place.  I hope I can control things a bit better out there tomorrow.
He played a great match against Nieminen.  He looked down and out for most of the match but fought his way through.  He can play free tennis, which is clearly dangerous, especially if I hits a big ball like he can.

Q.  What have you been doing off‑season, and did it change something to play the exhibition for your preparation?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think the XOs in India and at home for the foundation against Stan in in Switzerland was good for me because it reminded me where my game is at.
It's nice to play some competitive matches in a situation where you have an umpire and linesmen and spectators.
It's always nice.  That's why I play the game.  I clearly prefer that over training.  Training you're alone on the court.  It's good fun sometimes, but for too long of a period of times sometimes it gets a bit boring and can't wait to get back on the tour.
I think that's also one of the reasons the players like to play XOs.  It's not to chase money, it's because it's an opportunity to play in a different, relaxed environment for a purpose and for maybe a city, a country.
For me, it's the same thing.  And then training went well.  I was in Dubai some; I was in Switzerland some, also for Christmas, and then I came back to Dubai, trained again hard with Goffin, and then I came here.  So it was a good off‑season, but was busy I must say.
I'm happy that I'm playing this and Australian Open then I got another break again, which I need again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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