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January 14, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger.
ROGER FEDERER: Hello, again (smiling).

Q. Your preparation was a little different this time. Can we read anything into your loss at Kooyong?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope not because tomorrow we'll have different news, win or losing.
I mean, last year I lost a match, too. Just it was earlier. So you guys had more time to write about it. But I think, no, you know, my decision to come to the net very often yesterday was because it was so windy. I didn't want to lose my rhythm. Here it's going to be not as windy in Rod Laver Arena.
I decided to kind of mix it up a bit, play a bit differently. That's why I don't think so, no.

Q. What did you think of the lead-up event? Are you happy with the way things were going at Kooyong?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, especially the practice days before Kooyong. Just the way I felt physically throughout the tournament. I think I played a good match against Marat. Had good moments against Andy, as well. Against Stepanek, that was the first match I played all season. It was just important to kind of get a feel for, you know, playing points again.
I think, you know, for me it worked well. I came out of the tournament feeling like, Okay, I'm playing well. Now I'm ready for the Australian Open as much as I can.
It's always very early in the season. It's for everybody the same. You can't expect yourself to be already peaking like crazy. You're in an exhibition tournament. It's not just important and hopefully get through that match tomorrow.

Q. Did you learn anything about any of the other players that were there? Was there anything interesting that you hadn't seen? Did you notice anything about them?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Not too overrate their performances at Kooyong. Everybody is looking for their mark. No, you have to look at the players now at the Australian Open really to find out if they've changed anything.

Q. How would you describe this tournament for yourself in relation to the other Grand Slams, in terms of feeling comfortable here, enjoying it, different atmosphere? How is it different or how do you feel about it?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, you kind of get here, and everybody is like, Happy New Year. That always changes. Everybody is kind of happy to see each other kind of after the off-season. It's kind of like the 'Happy Slam,' so to speak, because people are happy to play again, happy to see each other. Whereas maybe at the US Open, you're like, Okay, I hope it's over soon, you know, kind of. That's just the way it is (smiling).
No, I mean, it's a great, great tournament. Things are really easy here. Hotel's close to the courts. Always a lot of fans on the grounds, in the arena, as well. You have the day and night sessions. It's always very exciting, as well.
You know, the coverage it gets here, tennis in Australia, on TV, the papers, the radios and everything, it's great. I think that's why we players enjoy coming here very much.

Q. How about the courts themselves, speed-wise?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, good. Normal pace. I mean, like I said in Kooyong, people were saying it's going to be really fast, how it's changed and everything. I don't think it's changed much, if anything.
I mean, it depends. Obviously matches again, how it's going to react to the night sessions as well. That's usually when the big matches are played. This is usually also when the conditions are slower. Tomorrow is going to be the day session. I can tell you maybe more tomorrow.

Q. First-round opponent from Germany. What can you tell us about him? I think you've met him before.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I played him in Washington. I lost. He's a player I know since quite some time, since '98, '97 already. Played a couple of futures with him back then. We both came actually a long way now. I know his game. He's a good righty, fast around the court, got a good backhand and everything. Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see, playing against a guy you haven't played in six years, seven years.
Yeah, not to underestimate, you know. He's beaten Agassi in Dubai I think last year. Probably had a few good wins, so I have to be careful.

Q. You certainly had some comments about the ongoing calendar issue. Do you think it's feasible to move this tournament back?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: That's just my only real solution, trying to put in time for the players. The other Slams are throughout the year. The off-season is maybe a little short. The only way to really get that longer is to move the Australian Open.
But I didn't say that to start something. The schedule will always be a mess, you know. We'll never be able to figure that one out. I'm okay with this one right now.

Q. Starting in March then, is that really what you'd like to see?
ROGER FEDERER: I just think it makes things easier. You could move maybe Indian Wells, Miami earlier on, you know, just have the Australian Open later on. I just think it would make more sense.

Q. You lost only five games last year, which is pretty close to the perfect year. Is the concept of perfection something you think about or have as an ambition? Flawless tennis player, is that possible?
ROGER FEDERER: Started bad already. I lost yesterday (smiling). Messed that one up. Have to wait for '08.
No, it's going to be hard to repeat last year's season. I mean, I had a great last few years. Just hope to keep it up, stay healthy. That's really what my secret has been, as well, you know, staying healthy, not being injured too much, having a good schedule. Obviously, I've carried the confidence for quite some time now. Every time I had a setback, I bounced back very strong.
Now the first slam is around the corner. Hope I can do well here. We'll see how it goes after January.

Q. Do you have an idea of someone who can be a surprise this year or do you think the old guard like Safin or Roddick is coming back?
ROGER FEDERER: I think this year we'll see more of the younger generation, you know, like Murray and Djokovic. I think we'll see more of them this year. I was a bit skeptical of them, you know, like a year ago still because they had very bad Grand Slam results, they didn't really get that far like everybody was talking about. I think this year will be better for them. I definitely see that coming.
I don't find it's a tournament of surprise, no. Grand Slams are usually not very much the case because it's five sets every time. Not allowed to have any mental or physical lapses. You know, experience pays in such tournaments, knowing how to handle a Grand Slam. That you only start to know once you've been through to a semifinals or a finals.
But there's always a chance. I don't think the Australian Open is more of a chance than the other Grand Slams.

Q. After the Masters Cup, Rafael Nadal talked about working very hard, changing things with his game, maybe his serve, becoming more aggressive. Are you expecting to notice anything significantly different about how Rafa is going to play?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think in the next few years, we'll see him adjusting his game because of maybe the physical strain to his body and everything. You know, he's young. He's still got time to really work on his game, try to come in more, try to improve his slice, try to improve his backhand. I have no clue. He's got plenty of things to work with. The only question is, Is that going to make him have more success? Because in the end, it's your base that's going to make you win most of the matches, you know.
So it's going to be interesting to see. I'm looking forward to playing him again, seeing if he's changed anything. I haven't seen him at all, so I can't really comment on that. Can see after this tournament.

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