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June 29, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Roger, that was quite straightforward?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was great. I was very pleased with the performance because I knew the danger against Marat, like I said in my previous press conference.
It was really tricky conditions, swirling winds and a tough opponent. I was doing a good job of keeping the ball in play, keeping the ball low to his forehand with my slice and took my chances.
So I expected him to serve well in one of the three sets at least, so I think that's why he got close in the third set and the wind stopped and it was easier to play.

Q. You played really well. How much credit do you give the fact that you're playing a guy like Marat who is such a high quality player?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know if I played phenomenal, I just think I played the right way against Marat today. Really kept the balls in play. Served well when I had to. You know, moved well, returned pretty good, so I just did what I really had to, and that's what I was hoping to do.
I could kind of just neutralize him from the baseline, and it was hard for him. I had a quick first set obviously, so he was right away under pressure, and a pretty good start to the second set, too. So he was down two sets to love, and from then on it was too late and I played a great tiebreaker.

Q. When someone plays you on grass or wherever, they know it's going to be tough, but it's equally as tough just to get a set off you. It must be quite intimidating for players; are you aware of that, that you rarely even lose a set here?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess that's what happens with streaks, when you're on such a big streak like I am now. Rafa was on clay. You wonder who's going to win a set. I still believe grass is kind of easier to win a set because if you serve well and it kind of falls your way, you're going to win a set.
Whereas on clay, Rafa has got so much room, and it seems like it's just different, you know?
Anyway, for me it's definitely good to keep on winning, keep on winning in straight sets. Maybe the intimidating factor is there, but I don't really care too much about that, I just want to play good tennis.

Q. Did you feel really, really confident on your serve? You seemed to serve well throughout, but right at the end of the first set and the first couple points in the tiebreak did you have a really good feel on your serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, you know, you go through different serves throughout the whole match, and when it comes to the crunch you want to pick the best one and you have to take into consideration where is his best return, where is your best serve, are you going to stay back, are you going to stay in, are you going to mix it up.
So you have to really take the right decision at the right time. I thought my serves down the T were working well on both sides. They paid off. He couldn't get the returns back, and it only took one minute to win the last tiebreaker, and it was crucial I served well because anything else I think would have been not good enough in the tiebreaker.

Q. I remember reading a quote when you were saying that a long time ago you had to choose between two ways, which way to approach your career, a talented way, kind of laid back and easygoing and enjoying life, and the second one is hard-working way, you know, total commitment, and you chose the second one. Do you think in Marat's case, for example, he's obviously a very talented guy and he won two Grand Slams, of course, but he would be the one who would choose probably not the way you've chosen?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I can't talk about his career because I don't know what he does when he's not at tournaments, and I don't eat dinner with him every night. So I don't know. But I'm sure Marat worked very hard also in his career. You must work hard to get to the point where we are, to play all year long on a solid base.
He's won plenty of big matches, you know, especially five-setters. He's got a phenomenal record, so he must be fit, especially match tough. You can put it down to talent to one degree, but I think he also chose the way of hard-working, but just he never changed on the court. He was always very emotional. You saw it again today.
I changed that. That's why I look maybe much, much more professional now. I don't know if I am, but I'm trying my best and work extremely hard off the court, and I would expect Marat to do the same thing.

Q. Do you think everyone can change that? You said, "I changed that." It's like, easy?
ROGER FEDERER: It wasn't easy for me. It took me many years to understand why am I working hard? What am I working on? For what specific goal? There's many different -- we're very confusing in tennis, and then you change surfaces, you play opponents who are always going to play into your weakness, try and make you play bad.
So it's hard in the big jump from juniors. But thank God I made the step pretty quickly and I learned very quickly, like some of the juniors these days, as well. So it's a big advantage when you have talent on your side, as well.

Q. Did you talk to Pete at all about that exact subject when you had those hitting sessions with him in March, about making that commitment from earlier in your career when you were not doing so well?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't talk about that, no.

Q. With all the success that you've had, can you still get a kick in a way that do you feel a normal player would out of playing a great match and the adulation of the crowd and so on, or does it just wash over you now because you're so used to it?
ROGER FEDERER: Today, for instance? I get very nervous before a match like this because this is like a real big match for me. I mean, Marat is a former No. 1, former Grand Slam champion. He's won Davis Cup, something I've never done. So he's a hell of a player.
I mean, I admire his talent, his backhand, his serve, the power he gets on his shots. I've had some incredible battles with him over the years, almost came through juniors with him. He was one year older, so then it's always surreal when then later on you find yourself on the bigger stage and now you're one of the best in the game.
It's such a big occasion for both of us, because for me it's to prove I'm the real No. 1 and for him it's proving he can still be No. 1. So it's a big match and a very prestigious match, so I do get very excited for matches like this.

Q. How far in the match do you begin to calm down? Does it take you the first game, the first minute?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably the first three or four games because it was hard, you know, it was so gusty that I really struggled to get my rhythm. You're trying to get a look at his serve.
The sun was shining from the one end so it was really hard to play from the baseline or just to pick up the serve because you had the sun in your eye.
Then you always wonder how is he going to be playing in the beginning, hopefully he misses a few shots, hopefully you serve decent.
So I had an opening service win that went overdue, so I think that was a bit tricky so right away. You have to come up with some good serving and good baselining, and thank God I did. I think I calmed down after the third or fourth game.

Q. We've seen some wear sunglasses. Any chance Nike might add a pair to your outfit?
ROGER FEDERER: I doubt I'm going to do that. As much as they want it, I'm not going to do that.

Q. When you're asking yourself all those questions, you know, tough questions, what I'm here for, I mean, how hard can I push myself or whatever, what am I striving for, what would you look to to help you find the right answers? It can't be just you and yourself. You have to have --
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's a work in progress kind of. I mean, first, you have to have passion for the game, otherwise there's no point traveling the world and going through jet lag from one to the next, you know?
I love traveling, but sometimes it's also a bit much, so you've got to have the passion for the game. But then I think you go through different stages where you have different coaches early on. They always feed you with a lot of information, they motivate you, they tell you how it used to be in the past maybe, they motivate you of what you can all achieve.
So you start to dream a little bit, and you chase those dreams as far as you can, and then eventually you start to realize yourself you also have capabilities, possibilities, a lot of talent.
You want to get the best out of you, so eventually when you retire, you feel like I'm very happy with my career and I didn't leave maybe -- I don't know, three Grand Slams out there which I should have won.
So I want to feel good when I go to bed at night, so I think it's got a lot to do. And parents, of course, they always motivate me. I've had great parents, and then of course my girlfriend, as well, especially these last seven years.

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