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August 9, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Roger, what does an 18-minute first set tell you about your game?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean it's not the first time I've had a short first set. But it's -- I definitely felt like by the time I sat down, I was kind of starting to get warm, you know. Because 18 minutes is really fast, you know. And the games were going quick, my service games, especially. And I used my chances, you know, I had right away. So that definitely put a lot of pressure on him.
And I knew that if I could just press a little bit more in the beginning of the second set, that would be it. So I was happy it all went my way and I didn't have to struggle too much out there today.

Q. Are you hitting the form that you want at the right time, I mean after only two matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm really happy. I mean, I thought the first match was already very good, you know. Looking at the circumstance with the wind and playing Karlovic, and now playing in normal, actually perfect conditions today, and playing a solid match against a youngster, that was an excellent match.
So it's going to be different the next match, you know, so I'll have to adapt. But I hope I can keep this level of play, because if I play like this, I think I'm in good shape.

Q. Does that kind of match test you at all? Does it push you in any way?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, mentally it was difficult, you know, because fans want to see more. At the end of the first, and the beginning of the second, of course, they start cheering for your opponent. And you feel like if the guy's going to get one chance, he's going to take it, you know. That is the kind of pressure they put on you. It's not easy, you know, but I think I handled it well today.
I've gotten used to it over the years. But every time it happens again, it's a tough situation to be in, because you're playing so well, and normally would think everybody wants you to win it so quickly, but that's not how it works. They want to see more. And this is where they start cheering for your opponent, so it's okay.

Q. When you're in command of a match like that, do you actually try different things or work on something?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, when you feel like your own service games are going well, you can serve and volley maybe a little bit more, you can chip-and-charge a little bit more, you can definitely take some chances especially when you're up one or two breaks and you feel like you're in control from the baseline. That you can definitely do, but you do it in a controlled, you know, manner.

Q. Considering how many tournaments you play and how deep you tend to go in these tournaments, how important in the overall sense is a 45-minute match at this point of the week to be able to conserve energy for the more important matches later on?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really important, you know. I'm ready for three-hour matches for five days in a row, really, to be honest. And the doubles is not going to take anything out of me.
So I remember last year in Toronto, it was a tough week I had, starting a Wednesday, too, I think. And four maybe out of the five matches went over three sets. So I mean, maybe good looking ahead, maybe for Cincinnati, if I would be there in the semifinals, then I would have won here. It's good to have played a 45-minute match. But when I'm there, it's all good problems to have. And then I'll have a lot of confidence and then the fatigue is not an issue anymore.

Q. Do you watch other matches during the tournament at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, especially when I'm on the grounds, you know. When I'm back home I don't usually watch too much. But I enjoy watching tennis, yeah.

Q. Nadal at all in particular?
ROGER FEDERER: Nobody in particular, no. Whoever is on center court, usually, you know. If the time falls right and he's playing, I watch him too.

Q. Are there any drawbacks to a short match?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really (laughing). That's the only positive. People like to say, you know, I couldn't get into the rhythm and stuff, it's not true. I got a perfect rhythm out there today.

Q. You have the possibility of playing Hewitt. What is your feeling about that, former world No. 1?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was exciting, you know. Especially the person he is, a battler. You'll always see good points between the two of us. We've had some incredible matches and rallies over the years, and so same age, you know. We were supposed to play the Australian Open junior doubles together, you know, and ended up not playing together because he won Adelaide already that year, and I won a junior tournament the same week. But then we played doubles later on in our careers, you know, in Wimbledon.
So, you know, we know each other very well. He was being coached by Darren Cahill, and me by Peter Carter who were best friends so we'd hang out a little bit, so we've known each other a long time.

Q. Do you see any difference in the way he approaches matches and tournaments these days?
ROGER FEDERER: Who does? Layton?

Q. Yeah, he seems to have picked himself up in the last six months or so.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't really agree. I always thought he was there. The problem was for a while he would never play the clay court season anymore. And he would not come to the indoor season in the fall. So he would maybe play 15 tournaments a year after his two-year period as No. 1. So that was the reason why people thought he was not at his best anymore. And the problem was he was not playing anymore.
So that's for me my opinion. You don't go after ranking; you go after player. And the guy's won US Open, Wimbledon, he's been No. 1 for many weeks. So he's always a huge threat to all of us, you know. And I consider him better than whatever his ranking is. I don't even know what it is.

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