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January 23, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. With a Roddick semifinal next, how did you assess tonight's match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it doesn't have much to do with the next match really. Totally different players, you know. Conditions were very slow I thought tonight, you know. And it was windy again, you know. After a couple matches indoors, it was quite a change. So I had to adjust to that. It's going to be nothing like it in the next round.

Q. 10 service breaks in the match, five in the first set. Was that due to the wind?
ROGER FEDERER: I think so, yeah. From the one end it was really blowing against you, so it was really hard to get a grip from the baseline. Plus, you know, he's a tough baseliner so he plays it smart. I tried to change up a few things. But didn't quite work. I wasn't in the rhythm yet. But I got that crucial actually first break which was against the wind.
The wind sort of calmed down midway through the second set and also this is when we could then concentrate on playing the player, not against the wind.

Q. You've been with Tony Roche for a couple years. Talk a little bit about what he brings to the table for you, and how long you expect that relationship to continue.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's been a few years now. I was very happy when he said yes, you know, to work with me. It's been very interesting, you know. Especially the first few months where we had to put everything on the table, you know, where he said what he thinks about my game, where he would like to go, that we kind of have the same mindset for the future. That was quickly found, you know. We've been working very hard in practice.
I was fortunate enough that he always came over to Europe in the summer and I've had now the last three years with Tony in December, which is crucial. We work very well together. I don't see an end to it any time soon.
But you know, look, he can decide whatever he wants to do really because he doesn't quite need it, you know, any more after all these years with tennis. But I'm happy if he does, so...

Q. What is your relation like with him in general? Is it really more like a friendship? Is there a father figure involved? Is it all business?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, it's not all business. But, I mean, we just have a good relationship. It's really relaxed, you know. I think usually tennis players are pretty laid back. Their coach is usually, too.
I think it's important, you know, to have a lot of respect for your coach because that sometimes can go away. Especially when you make the breakthrough with somebody, you kind of know him before. You're looking up to the coach before, and all of a sudden the coach is looking up to you. Kind of changes a lot throughout the career.
You know, when we got together, I was No. 1 in the world. I think there's always been a lot of respect for one and the other. Yeah, it's been a good really relationship we've been in. Don't see him all the time, you know, but we have decent contact, which was important.

Q. Are you satisfied where your game is at at this stage of the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think I played pretty well. The break of serves, they're due to the wind I assume tonight, the conditions, just being really cold, maybe not getting the same effect on the serve. I had to kind of change my game around a little bit midway through the second set.
I think my attacking style really worked out well. I volleyed really well tonight. You know, I had to battle much more from the baseline. That was expected. I'm really happy to have come through.

Q. Do you think your volley will be an important part of your game against Roddick?
ROGER FEDERER: It depends how I play. In Kooyong I came in a lot. I doubt it will be that much. It's important to knock off important volleys and be able to have that option. I don't think it's going to come down to volleys, but we'll see what happens.

Q. When you played Andy at Kooyong, did he look like a different player to you than he's been since his improvements began?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don't know what his problem really was in terms his success because I always thought he was playing okay. He just had a couple of shock losses for him really: first round at the US Open and then the year before, he won a couple of rounds. That was just very disappointing for him, you know. That year when he lost to Johansson at the US Open, I thought he was almost like a favorite to win the tournament. He was playing so well. All of a sudden he lost in five sets.
Yeah, I mean, I think he's really found his serve again. His serve kind of got lost all of a sudden. He didn't get the same free points any more. He couldn't really, yeah, put the pressure on the opponent because it was too easy to return his serve. I don't know if it's due to change of tactics or change of conditions. All of a sudden, got really slower. He's definitely picked that up again. Ever since, he's been a great player again.

Q. Your efforts in getting the job done in three sets is outstanding. Is that your own personal benchmark? Do you have that in the back of your mind that you don't want to be dropping a set?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no. As long as I get through, I'm happy. I think the five-setters and stuff also gives you a lot of information, which now maybe I don't get. I prefer this scenario. I'm really fresh coming into the semis. I mean, that's key, you know. They always say you can lose a tournament in the first week, but you can't win it. That's exactly what I've been able to do in I don't know how many Slams now in a row I've been in the semis or in the finals. I think that's also been a very important key to my success in the Grand Slams.

Q. Do you set that down as a target to say, I want to do it in three all the way through?

Q. Do you have a cold here?
ROGER FEDERER: It's going away. Today was running more. Look, I mean, I'm much, much better than, what, five or six days ago. That's basically over.

Q. Given how good you are on grass, do you think the courts are ideal for you generally across the board or would you prefer more faster-court tournaments?

Q. Than there are.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the tour is kind of mainstream, that everybody's got a chance on any surface. Before grass was really quick, you know, indoors was lightning, outdoors was medium sort of, clay was slow. It's not that way any more, you know. We have much more medium-paced outdoor. Indoors has also been slowed down. Grass has been really slowed down. Everybody's got a chance now in a way. So in a way it makes it more easy but more difficult at the same time.
Hard to say. I mean, I kind of like, you know, medium pace because it gives you the option to do a bit of everything. But I don't know if it's entirely fair to all the players. Look, that's just how it is.

Q. Is Roddick at much more of a disadvantage in a three-out-of-five-set match because eventually you figure him out towards the end?
ROGER FEDERER: If it's an advantage for me or him?

Q. For you. Versus two out of three at Shanghai.
ROGER FEDERER: Best of three is always a danger. You can be a set and a break down in no time. Against Andy especially that could be it. But, look, that could be against other players, as well.
That's the interesting part, especially in Grand Slams, you play more with the mind and the legs, you know, throughout the Slam. Especially over a best-of-five set match, if that's an advantage for me, I hope it is, but I doubt it really.

Q. In early '03 people were questioning when or if you would win a Slam. After 2003 Wimbledon, the rest is tennis history. What was the critical difference between you in '02 and '03?
ROGER FEDERER: I was playing better bit by bit. I won my first Masters Series in Hamburg in 2002. That was for me kind of a milestone. I cracked the top 10, started to give myself more chances also in Grand Slam tournaments, started to make the third, fourth, quarterfinals on a regular basis. All I really needed was a breakthrough kind of making the semis at a Slam. I made that at Wimbledon first up. I mean, I ended up winning the tournament and never looked back.
I guess that loss at the French Open against Horna really put me down. I was really disappointed. The important was the reaction from then on. Yeah, it was so important to come to Wimbledon with a good mindset again, and I was able to shake it off in a couple of weeks' time, which was important.

Q. Did you ever get impatient or concerned about your progress in Grand Slams?
ROGER FEDERER: It's tough. I mean, I have to say, the media puts a lot of pressure on you as a youngster, as a player. So I can imagine what the other youngsters are going through, the ones that haven't won slams yet. Start to, you know, question you. Shouldn't you be making that breakthrough soon and everything? You start doubting yourself as well. It's hard and tough.
But, look, that's just the way it is. When you're young, everybody's interested especially in the tennis game the interest is so much on the youngsters. Yeah, I'm happy I'm not there any more.

Q. Did you watch any of the Murray/Nadal match last night? If so, what were your impressions?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I saw from the second set on till the end. Yeah, I thought it was a very interesting match. I think Andy did well. I don't know what happened with his rib or whatever. Looked like he was totally in control and all of a sudden he just gave it away, then came back.
It was a very awkward match. It was very interesting, I thought. I mean, Raf is incredibly tough. I like to watch him just battle it out. I love seeing that. I mean, he was so strong in the end. He deserved to win. But Murray was really close. It was great to see a five-setter.

Q. Were you surprised how hard Andy pushed him?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I wasn't.

Q. When you're 12-1 against a guy, like you are with Roddick, is he a real rival to you? Do you consider him to be a real rival?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, "rival", absolutely. I think we've played on so many big occasions against each other, look, I mean, if I wouldn't have been there, maybe look at the success he would have had, in Wimbledon especially, maybe at the US Open as well.
Uhm, yeah, I mean, we've had some really close matches. We're about the same age. You know, he's been No. 1. I mean, I don't think the record really plays much a role. Now that we've played over 10 times, I think it gets always very interesting. I think the record is good for me, but I think it's still a great match with Andy.

Q. You're the one out there that plays with the smallest racquet on court. Did you try a bigger size? You're playing with a 90. Did you try a 95 and you didn't like?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I've always been very happy. I switched from 85 to 90 back in 2002 just before I won Hamburg really. That was for me a big move because I was really shanking a lot of balls.

Q. With the 95?
ROGER FEDERER: With the 85. Then I changed to a 90. I asked Wilson to make something special for me. Yeah, I mean, it's a great racquet for me. Funny, I wanted to play with the racquet of Sampras, now Sampras is playing with the racquet of me. Kind of weird (smiling). Look, he changed to mine now as well.
I mean, really helped me a lot. I never really tried a bigger head size racquets. I don't think it would maybe help me much.

Q. It's still the smallest on tour.
ROGER FEDERER: Still the smallest, yes. But the best one (smiling).

Q. The string combination, you have a special string combination, filament and gut. Usually players have the strings the other way around.
ROGER FEDERER: For me, that worked. I've seen other players playing the way I do, but mostly play the different way. I've done that also in 2002 already. I was actually one of the first to make that switch, breaking so many strings. It's given me much more control. I'm happy that it's been working.
I think the strings have really also changed the game a little bit because everybody tried to slow down the conditions, so the players had to react in terms of getting control back. It was not so much the power that made it - how do you say - the effect of winning or losing was more actually not missing. That's what we have today, that kind of problem, no one is going for enough any more.

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