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August 8, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for the birthday boy.

Q. How was the cake?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was nice. You got some or not?

Q. You'll always remember where you spent your 25th birthday.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I also had a good cake in Montréal, I remember a few years ago. I was home the last two years, so it's good to be back on the road again for the birthday.

Q. How did you like your first match? How did it feel to you?
ROGER FEDERER: It was good. I was very happy. I was happy with my serve, my forehand, my backhand. Everything worked pretty well. I think I can just, you know, improve the movement a little bit. I have to get used to again the pace and everything, the playing points.
But, you know, all in all, that was an awesome match for a first round.

Q. Do you like this surface?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do. I have a great record on it. I think it's fair. Even though it plays quite slow, I still think, you know, if you have a good attacking game, you can do that, too. So I think it's a good surface.

Q. You said recently you're less tired at this stage of the season than you have been before. You put that down to being physically stronger. Would it also be that you're more relaxed now, you know what you can do and what you can achieve? Would there be a mental factor to that?
ROGER FEDERER: I think so, a little bit of a mental factor because I know what's coming ahead. I do obviously a better schedule than maybe I used to. Maybe I'm winning matches more comfortable to save more energy and so forth. I know how to handle the situation better. Then all that pays off when you start having a break. You know, you feel fresher, you know, more quickly and you don't maybe need, instead of having two weeks' holiday, all of a sudden nine days, it's enough and stuff. So that's kind of what I feel at the moment.
Thank God I have had no injury problems this year, after that ligament with my foot. I'm very happy. Didn't have to heal out any problems like last year when I missed Montréal.

Q. Did it mean you enjoyed the break a lot more?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm just happy to get away from tennis, you know, once in a while, then I'm really happy to get back because I like playing matches, I like traveling the world. We had a good time. Break was nice with Mirka, we had a great time. Then the practice sessions with Tony and the conditioning with Pierre was great.

Q. Coming back after a month, did you feel comfortable straightaway?
ROGER FEDERER: I actually did, yeah. I thought I was playing pretty well already in practice. So actually I was very relaxed going into today's match, even though I knew the opponent can be very dangerous. That I played, you know, so well, always a bit of a surprise in a first round. These Masters Series are really, really tough from the first round on. To come through was a good sign.
Like I said, the only thing I could improve is, you know, the footwork on defense, getting used to the pace of the guys again because practice and matches are just different stories. So for this reason, I'm very pleased.

Q. Do you like having birthdays or have you reached the stage where you don't want to have them any more?
ROGER FEDERER: I think that comes later on maybe (smiling).
No, no, I do enjoy birthdays. Yeah, I do like to be the center of attention once in a while. I get that already enough through tennis. But then on birthdays, it's even kind of more unique, you know. I had a nice day today with Mirka. She gave me flowers. It's nice. She knows I like that.

Q. 49 hard court wins in a row. Does the thought of losing ever go through your mind? When it does, is it scary?
ROGER FEDERER: What record do I have?

Q. 49 hard court records in a row.
ROGER FEDERER: That's not true. I lost to Nadal in Dubai.

Q. This is in North America.
ROGER FEDERER: North America. Okay, that's a good one. I know I have a good record here.
You know, I always feel like hard court is the most even surface for everybody. This is a surface normally where everyone can beat everybody. This is why I come into these tournaments going like, well, I hope I survive kind of the first round, then hopefully I get to the semis and see what happens. Every time I end up winning the tournament lately.
I guess it comes down to great preparation, playing well, consistently on a daily basis. I don't have any off days. That's been paying for me. But, no, I do never feel like unbeatable. That never crosses my mind.

Q. Marat lost today. When you think back to him winning the US Open in 2000, what a great player he is, great personality he is, how much do you think it's disappointing for the sport that he hasn't been able to be more consistent and every year be a threat in all the Grand Slams like you, maybe Lleyton and others have been able to?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's most disappointing for him. Not only is he not playing well, but he's also injured. It's the worst of combinations. It's obviously a pity. I would love to have him around, even though he would make things much more difficult. He's trying to get, you know, the whole thing back together and make it work. I think when guys like Tommy Robredo see the draw, they're not happy to see he's playing Safin. His ranking has really dropped now.
But I see Marat around tournaments. He seems pretty relaxed. I think that is at least a good sign. I hope he's going to come back up very soon. Hopefully shortly.

Q. As much as the crowds can sort of get you going or have other impacts on you when they're playing, how do the Canadian crowds treat you compared to ones you see at Wimbledon or the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I do really enjoy playing in Canada. I mean, I don't get the opportunity very often. Tonight I really had the feeling, geez, the crowd is getting into this first-round match. We didn't have that many long rallies. He was taking huge swings on the return to make key points extremely short. Once there was a little bit something to cheer about, they were right there.
They kind of surprised me. It really showed me once again what a great crowd they are, how much fun it is to play here. I'm very happy I made the choice to come back to Canada finally again.

Q. Do you have a hard time getting psyched up for a tournament like this compared to a US Open or Wimbledon? Is it harder to get ready every day?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all. Not at all. For me, I mean, I only play, what, about 20 tournaments a year. It's not that much. Other guys play 30, 35. I can really get into every tournament I play in. When it's a Grand Slam, obviously that's always related to a lot of pressure. The Masters Series are I think extremely tough physically because I start Tuesday, I play six matches in six days. Then when I play the smaller tournaments, that's great because the draw's smaller. You can then also choose your schedule more. You play five matches in seven days. It's a smaller draw, smaller tournament, it's kind of more relaxed. I enjoy the variation of that.
For me, it's really no problem getting motivated for a tournament like this.

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