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March 21, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Raonic
7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Do you feel based on the last week you're playing some of your very best tennis at the right time?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  I mean, no doubt.  I played great in Dubai, great again this week.
Because it's a tough stretch, in a way, if you don't play well there is a lot of time where you're either practicing, waiting, or just don't have any match play, which can be a problem down the road.
So I'm very happy how well I'm playing.  Feel good physically.  Obviously I feel refreshed after the holiday.  I'm serving well, which is always crucial.
Yeah, the racquet's working great still, so I'm very, very happy.

Q.  Do you think it's frustrating for these young players that you guys aren't going away any time soon?  (Laughter.)
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't think for the young guys.  Maybe more for you guys.  (Laughter.)  I have been here since '09.  Give me one shot, okay?
No, I think they are doing very well.  As long as I see progress or they see progress, I think that's key.  With Milos, I definitely see that.  Then some guys are so new.  Still need to give them a few years.
But I think there is a next wave rolling in, and I think it's going to be good fun the next year or so.

Q.  Last year you had a great final against Novak.  Can you talk about playing against him again?
ROGER FEDERER:  Last year?

Q.  Yeah, last year.  And then also, you have the most titles here at this tournament.  If Novak wins he will tie you.  Do those numbers here mean anything to you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  I mean, I think last year's final was great.  I think we both played very well.  Came down to the wire.  Didn't get off to a good start to the breaker, I think, and then he ran away with it.
He's tough, as we know.  He barely misses.  He moves great.  He makes you go for the extra shot.  This is one of the great hard court players we have seen, you know, in tennis.
After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy how I was playing.  Can't wait until we get a chance again to play him here, because you have to wait one entire year, got to win another five matches, and finally you're in the finals again.
So I think it's very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year.  I'm looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.

Q.  Just wanted to ask about the final you two were supposed to play in London last year.  You pulled out.  Serena had to pull out of her match last night, as well.  Wondering how you go about revealing that and announcing it, how delicate was the situation, and what you wanted to convey to the crowd at that moment?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, then again, finals is different to semis because there was a match here yesterday before the whole thing.  With us it was basically the only thing going on, as I recall.  Plus, it was the last match of the season, basically, for the ATP.
So for me, very quickly after Stan's match I realized that it was not going to happen the next day.  I still wanted to see how I felt in the morning.  But when I could barely walk, basically I knew, Okay, no miracles here till 6:00 p.m.
So I called the tournament director right away and just told him, like, We'll get ready for the plan B, whatever that is.  I want to give them enough time to get ready, because I think it's important to have the right message and have maybe a plan.
He asked me if I could do the on‑court and speak to the crowd, because that always ‑‑ I think it's the hardest thing to do for an athlete, but it's most respected by the fans.  Clearly you go nervous into that kind of a speech.  It's good when you have a good guy on the mic.  Makes it easy for you, to be quite honest.
I had more of a speech than anything else.  It's tougher.  Can get carried away.  I was just trying to make them understand how difficult the situation is for me more than for them even.  I understand they bought tickets, but more than anyone I wanted to play that match.  I never had to give up in the finals like that.  It was unbelievably disappointing after the season I had.
Clearly I was happy once I got it out of the way and the message was out, but it was one of the more difficult moments in my career, no doubt about that.

Q.  How much do you remember about last year's final over here against Novak?  Would you look back on any sort of video footage to remind you what happened in that as you look ahead to tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, possibly, because clearly the conditions play the same this year as last year.  Dubai plays different.  I know that, but you can read into some of that stuff.  Maybe also into just the last few matches we have played against each other.
I think we played five times last year, and then now this would be the second time this year.  We have played each other a bunch now, which gives us a lot of information.
I think it's going to be quite physical out there, even though Milos or against Sock or against anybody now I have played, you know, Berdych, as well, the points have been kept quite short because you can do the one‑two punch quite well here.
Still have to think about exactly what does the surface allow you to do and whatnot and then how much variation do I need to give or not.  So I still have to think about all of that.
But sure, that is also the one thing I might do is watch some video from last year.

Q.  You're obviously here to handle your own business, but when you play someone like Novak 38 times, do you enjoy these legendary competitions, best of the best, or do you go in and say, I want to win a championship no matter what?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, yes, you want to win the tournament.  Can't control who is on the other side of the net.  No. 1, that's the goal there.  If it goes hand in hand beating, you know, No. 1 player in the world or a fellow top‑10 player or a young guy, there is always something that adds spice to the match.
Tomorrow clearly, because it is Novak and he's the world No. 1, it makes it much more interesting in the process, clearly.

Q.  Since last year's final you have done pretty well against Djokovic, and Dubai final was only like three weeks ago.  How's your confidence level for the final?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think we are both happy playing each other.  We are both playing very well, so this is a time to face off for both of us, in my opinion.
Same as in Dubai.  We were both playing well.  So that's kind of when you don't want to play each other, when one guy is not feeling well or one guy is half injured or whatever it is.  I said the same thing yesterday if you have to face Rafa.
I like these big matches.  I have been playing so well and I don't feel tired.  I feel great going into the finals, and I hope I can keep up this kind of a level.  I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak's going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do.
So I will see how it goes.

Q.  Considering the winning wave you're on and the form you have at the moment, do you ever tell yourself, Hmm, maybe I should play Miami after all?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  (Laughter).  No, I'm not going to miss the ski season for my kids and I'm not going to change my schedule around.  That's going to stay as it is.

Q.  What would you say is the biggest key tomorrow?  Your serve?  Maybe the way you move?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think tomorrow is a combination, because the surface requires everything.  We saw today I had to defend a lot against Raonic; had to serve well.  At the right time you need to return well, but you have to try to have an aggressive mindset.
So I think that's what's interesting about playing here in Indian Wells.  You require a bit of everything; whereas maybe on faster courts maybe you can rely more just like outright dominating more with your serve and just going for one‑two punches in the entire match and just putting pressure at all times with a quick court.
Here it's not so possible.  It's going to be more strategic and more interesting in the process potentially.

Q.  You have a lot of great rivalries.  Can you characterize your rivalry with Novak compared to your other rivalry, like Rafa and the older ones like Marat and some of the other guys?  How would you describe this rivalry?  How would you distinguish it from the others?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it was always overshadowed by the rivalry I had with Rafa in previous years because I always played against Novak mostly in the semis for years, and then maybe I dropped back and they were 1 and 2.
So we still kept playing in the semis sometimes.  We did have some great finals, as well.  I look back at the US Open final, Wimbledon final now, as well, the big semifinal match we played at the French Open when he was on that unbelievable streak.
So we have played some really big matches that have been a lot of fun to be part of.  For some reason for me it's more foggy, the whole semifinals we played before during the Rafa rivalry.  You know the semis in Rome.  There was a semis there.  I was like, we have played so many times in the process you forget about some of them to some extent.
But what remains is that you know it's always been tough against him.  I have seen the rise of him, you know, as he's gotten fitter and more match tough, mentally tougher, became one of the best movers we have in the game.  It's been nice seeing him do that, you know, and improve as you move along.
Sometimes I wonder if everybody's willing to improve as much as Novak did.  It's been interesting to see him figure his game out, and I'm happy I can still hang with him.  I must be quite honest, because he's in his absolute prime right now, and I enjoy the challenge of him.  I hope he enjoys my challenge.
So we will see tomorrow, but I think it's a very dynamic rivalry we have.  Great movement.  I don't think we need to change our games very much when we play each other.  We can just go out there and play our game, which I think is quite cool also for fans and for ourselves, which is interesting.

Q.  Closer to getting on par with the Rafa rivalry?
ROGER FEDERER:  It will never be the same.  Not better or worse.  It just will be different just because the matchup is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak's is totally, like I said, straightforward.
With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him.  I have played so many times against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry, whereas with Rafa has been more clay and grass.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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