March 15, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Please go ahead for Roger.
Q. There is a possibility that you will be playing against David Nalbandian. How do you see yourself playing that match with him?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, that is in two rounds. First got to win my next one. I just came off winning my match, so I don't really think about playing Nalbandian. I'm thinking about playing Berdych or Ljubicic. That's my focus.
Q. How about Coria?
ROGER FEDERER: He's in the other part of the draw.
Q. I'm speaking as far as the possibilities of you two playing the semifinals, either one of them.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, there's many, many Argentines around, good ones. I think it's a good surface for them. I think I played Chela here last year. It's quite slow, so they've got time to grind from the baseline. They're a little different players, Nalbandian and Coria. I think once they start playing well, they're very tough to beat. If I play him, it's going to be a very tough match. That's very clear. But, like I said, I'm not thinking about playing either one of them right now.
Q. You won in two sets but it seems you had to work for it.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, that's my -- when I go into a match, that's what I think about, you know, it's going to be a tough one, even though maybe I'm the big favorite and my opponent hasn't played many of the big matches on big courts around the world. But I thought I had the match under control all the time, you know. Maybe the match took longer for 6-3, 6-2 than it usually does, but that's because I missed I think many chances and we had a couple of long games on his serve and my serve. That was the reason. But I always felt in total control. That's what I was hoping for.
Q. You have a variety in your game. Many players today think the only way to really grow their game is to stay back. How did you get into that mode where you had options in this game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I had the feeling with the one-handed backhand you almost have to mix it up because the double-handed backhands, they're so consistent, just more consistent than the one-handed backhand. You don't want to go into the backhand cross-court rallies with them. This way you have to mix it up and sometimes shorten up the points, like Llodra did against Hewitt today. You've just got to take chances. I've learned the game this way. I've always tried to build it up around my serve and my forehand. You know, if I'm really playing well, I have many opportunities to really come to the net. So I'm happy I have this option because maybe in the long run this is going to help me out to have a longer career.
Q. Is this next round kind of worrisome to you? I saw the match at the Olympics, Berdych seems to hit every line. Ljubicic has had a couple finals. Is this a little different this early in a tournament to look up and see that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's not that early. After all, early is first, second round. It's really the third. I've spent time on center court. I'm used to the conditions. I'm feeling well, two quite comfortable matches for me so far. Now I would say I'm ready for a player of this caliber, you know. I would have been ready also before that, but there maybe I wouldn't have known exactly mentally am I feeling that well to beat these guys right now on the day. I think now I'm more secure if I would have to play them. I mean, I favor Ljubicic for tonight's match, you know, just because he's been winning many more matches than Berdych. But no matter what for me, I will get a tougher opponent. So it will be interesting for me my next round match tomorrow.
Q. You haven't played Berdych since the Olympics?
ROGER FEDERER: It was the only time I played him.
Q. What are your memories of that match now? It was such an important thing. He just hit every line.
ROGER FEDERER: You know, it's maybe a match I would have won at a different tournament. But maybe, you know, the Olympics, with the pressure and everything, I ended up losing that match. I never really got used to the conditions in Athens. I thought the ball was flying quite hard. So I left Athens very disappointed, you know, of course because I never really got the chance to actually play well. Even my first round match against Davydenko wasn't the best either. But at least there I had glimpses. But against Berdych, I never really felt like I was playing well. I was just playing terrible in the first set, ended up winning that, almost sneaked through. When it got important, you know, like you said, he hit the lines. I had a couple of breakpoints, he ripped forehands up the line, on the line. Backhand same story. If he just would have missed one of those shots, I would have been serving for the match. But that's how it was. It's a pity, but, you know, I think he played well when it mattered and that's why he deserved to win.
Q. Was that one of those matches where you look back and you say to yourself, if you just could have gotten through that one, made an adjustment?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but "if". We would all be doing different things maybe. So, no, it's how it was. Just nothing to be changed about that. You have to be patient and wait four years. That's how it goes if you miss your chance at the Olympics (smiling).
Q. You mentioned Ljubicic. There's a possibility you will be playing him. When you're mentally preparing yourself, do you consider the fact that he survived a Civil War, has a different kind of edge than other players or do you strictly focus on the game?
ROGER FEDERER: No, to be honest I can't think about his background too much. It's not my problem, you know. If he's my friend, you know, then we can speak about things like this off the court. But I think once you get on the court, you know, you just play against your opponent and you try to beat him. After that, you're friends again, you know. But to be honest, I didn't know about this background. I won't ask him about it because I don't know how it is for him. I'll just play the player, even Ljubicic, and not his family, not his friends, you know. So we'll see tomorrow.
Q. How important are the rivalries in tennis? Which ones did you follow when you were a kid?
ROGER FEDERER: Becker and Edberg. This was my favorite.
Q. How about sort of the importance to the game, how important it is? Seems like we have them now a little bit.
ROGER FEDERER: The rivalries? I think it's just important that your favorite player makes it as far as possible in every tournament, you know, that he comes through to the finals, you know, that you gets I would say the TV time for the ones that look up to them. That's what Becker was. He was always playing well at maybe the most important tournament. Wimbledon, for instance, I would watch that the most, the most closely. He was always there. Maybe that's one of the reasons why he was one of my favorite players. He's from Germany. I'm from Switzerland. We're neighbors. I think that made a difference for me, you know, him being my favorite player.
Q. Did you style your game after Boris Becker?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all.
Q. Is there a player you did style it after?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, my coach told me to play a one-handed backhand and this is how it went.
Q. What were your favorite subjects in school?
ROGER FEDERER: Languages.
Q. The brain typist has typed you as you're a very intuitive thinker.
ROGER FEDERER: Who is that?
Q. A brain typist with the Boston Celtics. I want to find out whether or not he's accurate.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know if he's accurate or not. I can't answer.
Q. Are you into the future or things? Do you look at a big picture or are you pretty much just in the moment?
ROGER FEDERER: Both. You have to, I have the feeling, be both. Short-term, long-term, I think you've got to set goals for yourself. But to be honest, what comes after my career, I cannot answer this yet. I have ideas, you know, how my future, I would like it to be, but if it really happens that way...
Q. How many languages do you speak?
ROGER FEDERER: English, French, German, Swiss German. That's a little different. I understand a little bit of Italian all this.
Q. And you talk to yourself in English when you miss a point?
ROGER FEDERER: Anything.
Q. I heard you today in English.
ROGER FEDERER: Was that English?
Q. What makes a great rivalry?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you've got to play each other often on the big matches. I don't know if a rivalry you need one time the one wins, one time the other wins. I'm not sure about that. I just think you've got to play each other often on the big matches, like I said. That's what we've been doing, the Masters Cup, Australian Open. The ones I played in the last Grand Slam finals I won was Marat, Andy and Lleyton. So that's definitely a good sign for the future.
Q. Besides playing frequently, what are the other elements that makes a compelling rivalry?
ROGER FEDERER: You have to write good stories. You have to help us out, as well. I think marketing, you know. You've got to do it. Otherwise the fans won't even know that we have a tournament in the city. Everybody has to play according to the same rules, otherwise it's just not going to work.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.