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February 28, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
6‑3, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You know your way around that ship now, don't you (indicating trophy)?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I don't think it's changed much over the years.  This is nice.  Some trophies keep changing.  This looks familiar.

Q.  You rose to the challenge, didn't you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, you know, you try.  It started well the first game maybe?  Did I save two break points in the first game or second service game?  I think that's always crucial to stay even in the score with Novak early because he does a very good job, a great frontrunner, one of the best the game has ever seen, probably.
So it was very important because at that point I'm not quite sure yet about my baseline game, about how exactly I'm supposed to be playing, and that takes a few games.  So that was big to go get out of that one.
Then as the match went on, I actually played a very good set.  I think the first set belonged to me; whereas the second set belonged to him more.  He created many more opportunities.  I struggled to get into his service games more frequently.  It seemed like the moment I wasn't serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me.  It was a huge game clearly at 5‑All, 40‑Love for him.  I crawled my way back into the game and ended up breaking him.
So that was big, but I think the break points saved were even bigger tonight.

Q.  The serving tonight at crucial moments was spot‑on.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, because I did struggle on the ad side a little bit to make more damage against him.  He does a very good job of covering both sides there and wasn't quite sure exactly how I was going to play that side all the time.
Whereas on the deuce side I felt I had more openings with the swinger wide and the T.  On the ad side I was struggling.  On the big points most of them go that way.  I'm happy that I got some big ones up the T and also wide when I needed them.

Q.  You have won this tournament seven times.  Only Halle and Wimbledon you have won that many.  How do you explain this place being such a special place?
ROGER FEDERER:  I guess it definitely helps practicing in Dubai quite a bit.  I know how the ball flies and the conditions here.  I don't think the surface necessarily suits me, but definitely it's probably similar conditions every day even though we have all seen some wind here now this week and expect it to be much more windy tonight as well.
I also think I had a rough first visit here to Dubai where I was accused for not putting in my best effort, I remember, and I came back the following year and won it and went on a roll.  I really felt like I had something to prove after that, and I guess that's what got me to my winning ways here in Dubai.  And then ever since then I fell in love with the tournament and the crowd and the city here.
The seventh is quite unbelievable, what I hear people talking about that, announcing I'm the seven‑ or six‑time winner here in Dubai.  Sounds pretty crazy.  It's nice that Wimbledon and Halle are that way, as well.

Q.  Did you always feel like you were pretty much in control I think psychologically and your game was also spot‑on?
ROGER FEDERER:  Tonight, you mean?

Q.  Yes.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think when you're up in the score you feel like you're somewhat in control, but then being down break point you're like, Oh, this is all slipping away.  It depends what moment you're asking me.  If I'm tossing up the ball on break point, no, then I don't feel like I'm in control.
Other than that when I'm even in the score the second set I still feel very good about my chances, and I know all I need is that one good game.  I thought I had it at Love‑30 when I hit two great backhand down‑the‑lines.  Maybe went for a bit too much and got a bit overexcited.  It showed me that even if I go for it or I play safe, I still will have my chance out here tonight.
So I felt very good about the way I was playing, was very positive ball striking, and then I just needed to make sure that I mixed it up enough and served big when I had to and not double‑fault too many times, because I was trying to also hit bigger second serves and it all worked out very well tonight.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about hitting the 9,000 aces?  I think it's 9,012 now.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think I remember which one it was even because I was even counting a little bit.  I wasn't sure (laughter).  I think it was one of the swinger wides maybe.  I'm not sure.
But I think it happened in the second set at some point.  But clearly it is nice to get past that so now I don't have to think about it ever again for the next 9,000 or so.

Q.  First match point today, seemed when you missed that forehand, it seemed like someone yelled something behind you.  Did that distract you?  I think you double‑faulted.
ROGER FEDERER:  Did I?  It didn't distract me in the double‑fault after that.  Did it might maybe distract me on the forehand?  Maybe.
But everything went so fast.  You know, I hit a big first serve.  He hit a great forehand back, and he was always going to skid so that I was going to catch it maybe a little bit late.  Could always happen.  So it was the combination maybe.
But it was a fan who was already cheering for me, so I couldn't be upset about it.  And then after that it was just about refocusing and trying to avoid the tiebreaker, because that would have been extremely difficult to go into a breaker being broken.

Q.  You talked last night about being surprised that you were playing so well so quickly after a vacation.
ROGER FEDERER:  Still feel that way, which is good.

Q.  I mean, is it because you feel much more rested or did you get a good training block in?  Is it just because it's Dubai?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I think it's all three, to be honest with you.  Yeah, I mean, when you're winning, everything is so easy to explain, yeah, I did the right preparation, did the right things on vacation, did the right things on the practice courts.  But then if you wouldn't have won, you're like, Hmm, was that the right thing to do, to go on the break for so long?  Did I do the right things in practice?
You never doubt when you win, but I do question myself even in the best of times, and I'm still thinking, was there right things, was there anything I could have done differently?  And now clearly what do I do from here to Indian Wells, you know?  How do I utilize that time the best possible way so I go into Indian Wells and playing again as well as I did last year?  Because I think I played great there as well.
It's going to be a bit different conditions, so I guess I'm going to try to get to the West Coast as quick as possible before playing the XO in Madison Square Garden against Grigor.  Other than that, you know, I have been through these moments time and time again where I did take long breaks, not playing tennis much, and then I come back and play great throughout my career, so this is nothing new.  I don't feel like I actually have extra pressure by not playing.
I remember the best years of my career is like 2005, '06, I used to take five weeks off, no tennis at all, and be like, I hope I can still play tennis at that point.
So now I don't take that long of a break anymore without playing tennis.  I take maybe a week and then I play maybe for 20 minutes.
But at least I get the feel for it.  Now it couldn't work out any better.  Take a huge break, come out, get confident right away.  Now I get a bit of a break before heading to Indian Wells, really.

Q.  You have beaten Novak now 20 times.  He's beaten you 17.  How do you describe this rivalry compared to the ones you have versus Murray or Rafa?  How close is it in your eyes?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think it started as a semifinal rivalry, you know, because me and Rafa were ranked 1 and 2 or 2 and 1 for a long time, and he was always 3 or 4.  We always faced each other in the semis at the beginning of his career, let's say.  I was mid in.
Then it changed.  You know, he became world No. 1 and then we still played each other sometimes, like last year, in the semis, but we started to play each other I felt much more often in finals as well and in the bigger matches like the US Open and Wimbledon now last year again and so forth.
I think it's really become a very nice rivalry.  I think we play very nice against each other, and it seems people like the way we play against each other, as well.  I don't think we have to adjust our games very much against each other, which I think is nice, as well.  We can just play our game, and then the better man wins.
It's been nice seeing Novak's improvements over all these years.  He's become such an unbelievable player, especially the last five, six years, and cleaned up his game so nicely and became the best mover in the game.  It's really a pleasure playing against him every single time again.

Q.  During the award ceremony, you and Novak were having quite a long conversation.  I'm just wondering what you were talking about and if you could tell us about that.
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't even remember.

Q.  There were speeches going on.  You were smiling.  You guys were talking.
ROGER FEDERER:  What were we talking about?  I think we were talking about the attendance, yeah, how nice it is now that Dubai has grown so much.
Because I remember being here over 10 years ago, I guess, and I remember the day sessions were not, you know, were very spare really.  And now even day sessions are pretty good and night sessions are usually packed.
It's nice seeing Dubai grow like this.  And I'm sure we talked about other things, but more on the silly side, I guess (smiling).

Q.  Is it in your plan to do something in Dubai like for after career like tennis academy, something like that?  You have strong connections.  There are people who love Roger Federer and Roger loves Dubai.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I love being here, but with all those kind of things I'm very careful.  I have been approached and I have thought about it, but as of now, I don't really want to do anything.  I'm very much just ‑‑I'm going to focus on tennis, my family, on all of that, and then all the business and all the rest can come afterwards.
Sure, you can do some things simultaneously, but if you need an academy or something like that, I feel you need to be there and invest time and energy and thought into it.
So it hasn't been really top of my mind ever.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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