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March 20, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/T. Berdych
6‑4, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  This guy has wrecked an Olympics for you; he's wrecked one Wimbledon; he's wrecked one US Open.  Does that run through your mind before you go out on the court and play Tomas Berdych?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I'm aware I have had tough matches against him in the past.  He can be very tough when he plays his game very well.  He can take it away from you, because if he can do it over five sets, like he has at Wimbledon and at the US Open against me in the past, you know, the best‑of‑three‑set match on a hard court, you know, it's a good ten minutes for him, you know, maybe, winning a breaker in the first or breaking there and breaking early in the second and just bringing it home is much easier.
The thing is, we haven't played very much in recent years.  Only once I think last year in Dubai and once before in Dubai as well.  Because we haven't played very often, I also don't think we thought of those matches that much because they go way back.
Plus those both conditions in Dubai are faster, so it was more about serving and returning; whereas today, you know, movement came into it maybe a bit more, as well.  And maybe some more tactical play.
So I saw it more isolated today trying to play a good match and not thinking so much what has happened in the past, really.

Q.  Playing Rafa again possibly.  Last time you played him here in 2013 when the back issues started up.  Could you go back to that match and your decision to play through that pain and everything that went on.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, yeah, I mean, Rafa was already feeling a little bit better, so I didn't actually have that much pain.  I was just unbelievably scared to play.  I should have never played against Stan.  Actually, that was my problem there that year.
But I played great against him in '12, and then '13 was a bit of a waste, to be honest.  I was feeling okay by then and just scared, and against Rafa it was never going to do it.
So going into the match was, yeah, not the best feeling, to be honest, knowing that 99% there is a chance that I'm not going to win this match.
So that's normally how I don't want to play.  Basically after that match I promised myself I will never do that again if I know I can't win.

Q.  How do you feel now going into possibly another third match in four years against him here?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, first he's got to win.  He has a tough one against Raonic.
But let's say he does win.  Matches against him are always tough, I think.  You know, he's going to play the percentages high.  He's not going to miss many shots.  He's got a great forehand, one of the best ever.
You know, then physically and mentally he's always going to be there.  That what makes him so good and so tough over all these years.  That's why he has the records he has and has beaten me and other players so many times.  Just because every single day he shows up and does a great job.  I have unbelievable respect for that.

Q.  Tomas said that you did pretty much everything perfect today.  Did you feel it was something like that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think I really played well off the baseline.  I had control from the baseline, and then I guess what he would have needed today is really high first‑serve percentage and a lot of aces when he had to to keep the pressure on me that way.  Because I was serving well and moving well, so maybe there is not going to be that many chances for him on the return as it is.  But at least he could have stayed with me longer, and as the match goes on maybe he would have also found his groove better.
But for me, I found it quickly.  I felt like I was hitting the ball well but also playing the right way.  When those two things happen, it was always going to be tough for him because the conditions are slower than they were against him in Dubai and other places.
I think I was really able to utilize the court much more, play more angles, you know, play with variation, spin and slice.  I did that very well.  So it was a great match to back it up after the good matchup against Sock I had against the other day.

Q.  Is there extra satisfaction with bageling an opponent like Tomas, or is it just another win?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, well, not just another win, but another win against a top‑10 player, against Berdych, who has played me tough in recent years.
But if it's 6‑1, 6‑Love, 6‑2, 6‑3, honestly for me it makes no difference, as well.  So I just try to keep pushing forward to get one more break, the safety break.  And then if I can extend it even more, you know, might as well.
I'm not the kind of guy who takes great joy out of bageling opponents, to be honest.

Q.  In other sports they talk about when they have a great rival it brings out the best.  Can you talk about the rivalry with you and Rafa and what it does for you and maybe how it helped or enhanced your legacy?
ROGER FEDERER:  What legacy?

Q.  Your legacy.
ROGER FEDERER:  If it what?

Q.  If having a rival like Rafa helped and enhanced your legacy?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think it's nice and it's good for the game to have rivalries, preferably a few, but you can only always focus on a couple probably.
But what I like about tennis is that you can have great careers side by side.  If you looked at what happened the last ten years or so, Novak, myself, Rafa, also Murray and all the other guys, there are so many guys who did such great careers and we achieved so much, and at the same time.
So we really are very lucky to be in our sport, because we have unbelievable amount of highlights.  In the beginning clearly I tried to fight it, to not accept it that he was my rival, that I did have a rival, because I was playing so well in 2004 and then '05.
But very quickly did I realize of course when he beat me the first time in Miami that this wasn't just a fluke.  This was, you know, probably a legend in the making.  You know, he's been around forever.  He's created things that are just mind blowing.  You know, Monaco record, French Open record, and many others.
Yeah, I think it's been actually very cool playing against him over all these years, and I'm sure it's made me a better player throughout.  I hope I did a little bit of the same against him.
But for me, definitely I had to try to come up with different game plans, maybe practice with more lefties as I went along in my career, and that helped me to improve certain things in my game, for sure.

Q.  Do you think all these rivals, not just him, but Novak and Andy, has helped you maintain such a high level at 33?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, maybe.  Absolutely.  Not just them.  I think also very influential was the generation of my players that came up, you know, with Hewitt, Safin, Ferrer0, Roddick.  I think we really pushed each other forward, same as the Rafa, Andy, Novak generation of those age players.
I think when you have that many great players at the same age you push yourself forward.  So I think that's ‑‑I was lucky enough to have that when I came up.  Then tried to separate myself from them, which was not really possible, I must say, because they were that great.
Then finally when I was world No. 1 the next wave rolled in.  It's been always very interesting for me, and it kept me going and definitely motivated me to work harder.  That's why I think I'm still so competitive till today.

Q.  Going back to your 2013 injury, last year when you came back here you said that you pulled the back and that you had to change the way you trained yourself.  You changed repetitions, drills, so on, so forth.  And because of the changes of trial and error situation it took a long time for you to figure out how to train yourself.  One year later you look in pretty good shape.  Do you feel you've found a training regime that can carry you through the next three, five or so years?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I would hope so, yeah.  I think it depends on where you are in your career.  If I were just going to be playing one more year, then I don't need to do a lot of training anymore.  I just play tournaments.  Just do a lot of maintaining, stretching, massages, enough sleep, all that stuff.
But if my idea is trying to play longer, then I clearly need my buildups and my breaks.  That's what I'm doing.  That's why I'm skipping Miami.  Won't just be sitting on the couch and doing stuff with my kids.  I will be working hard trying to stay in shape, and then trying to get back to my best level fitness.
That's more in the endurance part now coming into the clay and all that, which I'm happy to work on again, because in '14 I played a lot of just matches.  But now I need to just catch up on some stuff, which I did before Dubai, and now this is the continuation of it.
Clearly in '13 and then in '14 I quickly realized I have to change some things around, which was actually very interesting.  I questioned everything I was doing from all my rehab to all my core exercises to my fitness exercises.  I went through it with my whole team.  What can I do?  What can I not do?
So it was obviously a scare what I went through last year against Stan at the World Tour Finals, but I'm happy that I didn't have any setbacks again after that.  Because once you have had a back injury you always hope that it goes away quickly and that it doesn't come back.
I have been able to stay injury‑free and actually be able to train really hard in the offseason, as well.  I feel like after this next build I'm probably in really good shape physically.

Q.  Many good players are struggling with adjusting to the condition of Indian Wells.  Somebody says ball flies really fast; somebody says ball bounces really high or balls are not good enough.  You have been steady playing good here.  What is the key for you to play this good in Indian Wells?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it's just getting used to the conditions.  It's pretty simple at the end of the day.  The more time you get, the better you start feeling.  It's as simple as that.
You know, when you come here you practice for two, three days and then you maybe lose your first round, of course you're not going to be ecstatic about the conditions or about the way you have played.  So then clearly you can suck out a lot of negativity out of the players.
But I agree I have also struggled a lot first couple of rounds with the balls and in practice, as well, just trying to find the right spin I can give the ball without shanking and I feel like I have control.
Also in the serve it was a bit all over the place, because you can serve very well here in the desert because of the conditions.  We just need to figure it out, and I feel like I have now.
That's why I'm hopeful for a good weekend now.

Q.  The other day you were talking about longevity.  In one sense, are you surprised that you're still playing?  Just as a second part to what you were saying about training, picking up training after this, where will you train?
ROGER FEDERER:  I will be in Switzerland throughout until Monaco.  And, yeah, no, I'm not surprised that I'm still playing.  Let's put it that way.  I'm just very happy I'm playing at the level I'm playing and that I can put myself in contention to win almost any tournament.
It's a nice feeling to have after all these years, that I feel like I compete with the best, beat the best, actually.  Because just feeling like you compete with them is not enough.  That's why like wins against Berdych or Novak in do you know and, you know, all these wins, Milos in Brisbane, it's good to have right away at the beginning of the season.
Then what was the other thing you said about...

Q.  It was more like if you were surprised that you were still playing at this stage.
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, I was going to say my goal was always to play for long time.  Since 2004 when I became world No. 1 I was at the crossroads and I said, Well, I want to try to play as long as I possibly can, so let's not overplay.
I think that's also when I started not to play the weeks before slams and give myself that extra time, focus even more on the slams and just give myself the best possible chance to be fit at the back end of the Grand Slam or avoid injury that way.
Still do make enough vacation.  I'm a big believer in rest and then working hard in the offseason whenever you get a chance.
So I think I did well.  If I look now how no top player almost plays the week before a Grand Slam, I don't know if that's a positive thing that I guess I maybe created a little bit.
But at the same time, it seems like top guys are more injury‑free than they ever have been, which is a good thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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