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March 10, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The players say that you're the one Roger. How do you keep your edge?
ROGER FEDERER: Used to it by now, so I'll be all right.
Q. During that first set against Nadal, you were what I considered unbeatable. What clicked in the second couple games, couple --
ROGER FEDERER: You know, I think it's hard, you know, to keep it up, to play really, really aggressive, you know, like I did in the first set, you know. I've got to find a way where you don't over do it. I think I got into the match better in the second and third, so it was even all the way till the end. But, you know, he won the crucial points in the end and that was a pity, but I was still pleased the way I played.
Q. We asked Nadal yesterday, what he's got that seems to trouble you and he said to ask you. What does he got that seems to trouble you?
ROGER FEDERER: Ask him that back. He's just a good player simple as that. But I enjoy the challenge with him. You know, he's a terrific scrambler and he brings something else to the game, you know, as a great left hander, and we don't have many of those. You know, so I consider that a tough thing to do, you know. To play against a good lefty, you know, really matters, so, yes, the more matches I play against him, also it's going to be easier for both of us to know. We're more predictable by now, the first time we played in Miami a couple years ago. But I enjoy playing him.
Q. Roger, is he different to play compared to when Lleyton had the wining streak over you a few years ago?
Q. What I'm getting at is, you've got a winning record over Hewitt at the moment; Hewitt had a winning record over a few years ago, so is there much of a difference?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it was very different because I look at things much more relaxed now than before, you know, where guys at winning records, I would not like the guys because they were beating me. I thought they were not nice people, you know (laughter). And, I don't know, I couldn't really like the guy when he was beating me, and we were the same age, you know, so that changed, too. It was a big rivalry between us and we played a lot in the early part of our career and also even in juniors, under-16s. One time where I saved match point and beat him, so you cannot compare. I'm at the top of the game, so when I lose or win, you know, I don't freak out. I'm much more relaxed after all, so you cannot compare, really.
Q. Roger, what sets him apart from the other so-called good scramblers? Is it just being a lefty? Is it the forehand or is he just all around solid?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess it's got a lot to do with him being left-handed, you know, but then, you know, he's a big guy. He moves very well for his height, you know, there's no question, and he's strong in his legs, you know. He gets back many balls, you know. He's got a great forehand, great spin, so he uses that well, you know.
He reaches the dimension of the court very well, I think, and he's very all-around, too, so he's got many strengths in the game.
Q. Does that wear on you after a set or two just constantly getting that heavy ball back and back and back?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, no, I don't have that problem at all. Even at the French, you know, that didn't bother me, so that's a good sign.
Q. You've had some concerns about instant replay and how that's going to happen in Miami. What's your feeling now?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess I'll play with it, you know.
Q. I mean, what's the concern, that it could slow down the game?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I've addressed my concerns about, you know, Hawkeye. I guess if it's better for the game, you know, I have no problems playing with it, you know. We really only can tell how it is once we've used it, so...
I'm also interested myself to see how it's going to be, so we'll know -- knowing in a few weeks already.
Q. Roger, did you bring your umbrella?
ROGER FEDERER: Nope. You travel with an umbrella?
Q. What do you think of the rain?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm used to it, you know. I'm European, so this is nothing.
Q. Does it affect you mentally with the weather?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it makes you want to go out even more, you know, because you sit around and wait and don't know when to eat, don't know if you can warm up and all these things. It makes it hard to really focus on the match because there's so many players around, you know, waiting in the areas, you know, in the lounge, and everywhere there's just players. So, you know, it's good if you play, I don't know, like third or fourth or fifth match, you can stay in the room or go and have a coffee and just sort of follow it from further away.
But, you know, by now again, we're so used to it, you know, the ones that have been on tour for a long time. And it's also nice for a change sometimes, to be honest, and have some rain and wait around, because it's a different atmosphere then.
Q. Roger can you call this is a rivalry now with you and Nadal or is it still too young?
ROGER FEDERER: I've played only four times, but obviously we've been No. 1 and No. 2 for -- for a little bit now and I guess we'll have to see how it progresses. But I always said, you know, there's more players than just Nadal, and I still believe that. And I think, you know, the other players will play well, too, here in Indian Wells, and the game coming up. We'll see if Nadal can back it up at the French, at the clay court season and everything. But I don't think we can call it yet a rivalry. There's just too many other great players round.
Q. Backing it up, you mean the pressure once the clay court season starts?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, pressure, I think he's going to handle that without a problem. It's just to see if he can play another fantastic clay court season because it's so hard to do it. Same for me, I have to show Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, you know. That's going to be hard, too. I've got the pressure now. He's got it later on. It's going to be interesting, the next couple months.
Q. How do you feel about Baghdatis?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't seen him since training opened. Yes, I mean it was a great story, really, at the Australian Open. I enjoyed it. We had a great final I thought. It was a good contest, and now he's seeded, so he's got it a little bit easier, also a little pressure relief for him now. He's sort of proven himself, but at the same time now, you know, the eye's on him to see what he can do for the entire year, the Australian Open finalist. I have no doubts he's going to be a good player so I think he'll be able to back it up.
Q. Is it ever going to be easy to be a defending champion, there's a number of defending champions. Does that ever in time become an easier situation for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Grand slams, master series are tough. Because you look at a draw and you go like, wow, you know, how did I do that last year, who did I beat. You've got to repeat it all again. So...
The Grand Slams you've got the five-setters from the early rounds. Here at the Master Series you play the better ranked players from the earlier rounds, so it makes it really hard. So that for me is the tough part, and it's never easy to defend because it's -- you've got to focus on the first few games and points to get yourself on the way. And then you want to win your first match, it's such a long way to go. So I'm excited but at the same time I feel the pressure, of course.
Q. Since you haven't been a big proponent of instant replay, can you imagine being in Key Biscayne in the first match and being reluctant to actually call it into play if you feel like the call's gone against you?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope I play on the outside court so I don't have to face it. I guess for me, you know, it's the most -- it's going to affect me almost the most because I'll play most probably many matches, you know, for the next few months on the center courts, you know. If they have it, I'll always be facing them. Like I said, it's going to be interesting to see because I'll play many players who maybe played it for the first time, and I'll be used to it by now. If that's fair, I don't know. So we'll see after -- maybe after I can say more about it.
Q. Is it more just the fact that they're using instant replay or is it the challenge procedurally, would you rather have it at the French Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't thought about it much, about this whole you know challenge system calling. To be honest I'm not 100 percent sure how it's going to work, so I've got to learn, you know, for next week as to how it really works. Yeah, I just read quickly, you know, the press release and it sort of explained, but I've really got to talk to somebody who can explain it. I'm aware of how I can use it and how the opponent uses it and how the umpire reacts to everything, so I don't know. I can't really tell you much right now.
Q. Are the balls heavier now? Are they slowing things up or making it hard to play?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I have the feeling both have been pretty similar for the last few years now. At one stage I had the feeling, like four years ago the balls were extremely fat -- flat. Sorry. There really I had the feeling I couldn't crank the ball at all, but now I think you get good pop on the serve. If you want to kill the ball, you can do that. I feel like the ball is playing pretty fair.
Q. Do you have any plans of trying any doubles at all whatsoever?
ROGER FEDERER: I played doubles in Dubai, gonna play doubles this week. After that I think maybe one in maybe Monte Carlo then maybe in Halle.
Q. Are the new doubles changes with no ad scoring, and the super tiebreaker encourage you to play more because you know the matches will be shorter?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I played for the first time last week, that new system. It's good to know how it is, really. Definitely cuts down in time, you know, because you know you're only going to serve maximum whatever, seven serves, then the game is over, you know. So you don't really get too exhausted, you know, playing a doubles match.
And I always enjoyed playing doubles. If it's going to make me play more, I think it would, yeah, definitely not less, you know. So that is a good sign. And it's more pressure, you know, playing that sort of system. There's many more important points and I think that's what -- it's maybe gonna be also more important, more interesting for the fans, too, you know, because I think doubles is very different to singles after all and the fans enjoy it. So I think it's good we need the change.
Q. Do you think doubles helps your singles game at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, sometimes. You know, I don't spend that much time at the net as a singles player, so when I play doubles, I'm forced to come in and sort of be around there and for the reflexes and you work on your returns and your serve once in a while. So it seems to help, yeah.
Q. Are you criticized at home for not playing Davis Cup?
Q. Were you criticized at home for not playing Davis Cup?
ROGER FEDERER: Not much, no, thank God.
Q. On the court were you surprised you beat Switzerland even though you weren't on the team?
ROGER FEDERER: No. It was for me a 50/50 tie, and I was hoping it's not gonna come down to the fifth match and once that came down, I thought it will be a tough one for Bastl to beat Guccione because he played there Friday already and everything. So I was happy, you know, the Wawrinka played, played excellent all week, also played a good doubles.
We were hoping for maybe a win of Michael Lammer against Luczak. He won the first set and then lost. I think the more consistent team won in the end.
Q. Would you change your mind now, in the last two years not being in the team in the first round?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I go tie by tie, you know, and year by year. So we'll see if I play at the end of the year. Then we'll see if I play again next year. But it's definitely a long-term goal for me to play Davis Cup. At the moment, for me, No. 1 ranking, grand slams, and everything is just too important to also play Davis Cup at the same time.
And it's hard decisions to do, to make, you know. Especially both times it was back in Switzerland, and obviously I enjoyed doing that but I've got to make tough choices so...

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