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January 15, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you sum up your first round match? It looked pretty easy, straight sets, but I guess it wasn't all that easy.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, more breaks than the usual straight sets. You know, that's for sure. More up and downs. But I thought I played okay at times. You know, he played well. The times when I got broken, maybe I missed a few, but I think he came up with some good shots, good returns.
Sometimes there wasn't much I could do, either. I'm happy I'm through because it looked like it was definitely going to head for a first-set loss, but I came through. That's the most important.

Q. What's the proper way to address you now? Is it Mr. Ambassador? Is it Your Honor?
ROGER FEDERER: You decide. You can also call me Roger, it's okay (laughter).

Q. Was he doing anything today that you were finding difficult or more so than any other opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, I've hardly seen him in the last few years, you know. Never practiced with him; never played against him. I knew he had a good backhand up the line. I didn't quite know how he serves, how he plays from the baseline, if it's more an aggressive baseliner or more a counter puncher. So I had to kind of feel my way into it. I was hoping my serve would carry me in the beginning, but it didn't. That's why it was such a match that went up and down.
He came up with some good shots early in the rally always to put me under pressure, and I just wasn't steady enough in the beginning, so that's why he went up and down. Yeah, he had some good moments, that's for sure. He's just got maybe not a good enough first serve. But he's quite small obviously, so it's going to be hard. You're always going to be in the rally with him.
I varied well in the end I thought, and I had the options, so it was good.

Q. What was the problem with the foot?
ROGER FEDERER: I had to take the tape off. I just felt like something was bothering me on the foot, like it moved. But when I took off the tape it was actually still in the position when I did tape my foot. Then I just decided to take it off anyway because it just didn't feel right. Nothing to worry about.

Q. Is there anything you have to work on for the next match? Is there some aspect of your game you've got to think about?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think consistency always, obviously not try to get that many breaks because if I can hold my serves, I mean, then the match would have been really, really easy if you think about it.
It's just that, you know: if I could just press on the accelerator a little bit more in my own serve, put the pressure more on the opponent, then I think things are looking very good. I think that's a little adjustment. I hope I can make that for the next match already.

Q. I guess it's hard to believe that there was a time when you weren't winning everything.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, I came up on Tour and I got many, many wildcards, especially in 1999 after finishing the junior year in '98 as No. 1. So I was thrown in with the big boys very early.
I mean, that was a great experience for me, but I wasn't the player like maybe Roddick, Hewitt and Safin and Nadal who came out, and just right away consistently won matches. I had a real drought of six months where I was really struggling to win matches. That's when I lost to Bjorn, as well. That match was really hot I remember in Washington. I could hardly walk anymore after five games. So I had that problem. But then also I had no confidence. If you have no confidence against a player who's steady from the baseline, you're always going to lose. That's where I was just not good enough yet.
I went through a patch where I had many losses, and maybe more so I enjoy it now when I win, so it's great.

Q. You're playing now at such a high level. How much room for improvement is there? I mean, how can you improve?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think you can always mix up your game. You know, I have the option to do that. So it's -- for me in the end what matters is trying to win matches, enjoy it out there. And if I can mix it up, that's great. If I have to play solidly through, I don't enjoy it so much, but in the end the result is what counts. That's what I play for, really, try to win matches.
There's room for improvement on the physical side always. I think you can always improve. And then in the end it's just carrying it through for an entire season. So that's what I've been able to do. That's what's also my goal in the future.

Q. Isn't it just a little bit of an adrenaline rush on the first day of a Grand Slam? Do you wake up in the morning on day one and think, All right, it's business again, and this is really exciting?
ROGER FEDERER: A little more maybe the moment I walk out on court than just waking up. Kind of get into that routine of a Grand Slam and all of a sudden it hits you. You're like, Okay, well, now really no errors, please, and kind of play well and everything. So that's kind of what goes through your head first up in the beginning of the match.
Once you're in it, you just hope to play well from point to point. But now that I'm through my first round, you obviously kind of shake it off and you feel good about it, so it's going to be a good day tomorrow then, I guess.

Q. When you were a boy growing up in Europe, were you curious about that island at the bottom of the world? Were you anxious to see it? Did you have any notions about kangaroos or anything like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I guess I knew about Australia because my mom is from South Africa, so you kind of know more of the world. I actually came here as a 14-year-old for vacation for like two weeks before I went to the tennis center in Switzerland, before I kind of moved away from home. So that was our last big vacation we had all together for like two weeks. We did the Great Barrier Reef, drove up to Cairns, drove around, also Queensland and everything. And we had a great time. So actually I got to know Australia already when I was 14, so it was nice.

Q. Now you own it.
ROGER FEDERER: Right now, yeah.

Q. Given the change in your preparation this year, are you happy with where your game is at now? You've had a look at your first Grand Slam match. Are you satisfied?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, my level of play, it's not so important as long as I win the matches. That's really why I'm here. I'm not here to play well and lose. I'm here to kind of play bad and win basically.
I hope I get through in the next match, as well. Bjorkman will be a very experienced player, or Patience, a guy I've never played against. It's going to be interesting.
I think the level is okay. You know, I think it could be definitely much better. But that's how I always feel after a first round usually. Sometimes I get good ones, but this one was okay.

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