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January 15, 2008

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're obviously feeling pretty good.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy with my form tonight, yeah (smiling). Wish it was like this every night.

Q. You should be sick more often.
ROGER FEDERER: No, don't say that (laughter).

Q. In terms of, as you say, a first match for quite a while, that was rather emphatic, even by your standards.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, exactly, because especially the beginning was tough. You know, he played some good stuff. He was solid off the baseline. I knew he had a good serve. I remember being down 4-Love in the first set against him in Paris.
So that was a bit of a scare. Came back, and I think I beat him 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 or something. Really had to battle it out. So it was a bit of a surprise. Easy result tonight.
But I checked out his results, you know, from last year. 90% were on clay, so obviously I have the big edge of knowing, you know, the hard courts. It's an advantage, obviously, and I could use it tonight.

Q. Considering the lack of match practice that you've had, is it a good or bad thing that you had a game which lasted a little over an hour tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: As long as I'm through, really for me the rest doesn't matter. I'm happy with my form. Important that I didn't have any lapses, you know, mentally, or just gave away easy points.
I think I really played pretty tough, you know. Second set, who knows, I could have maybe won a point more here or there which could have really changed things. I was really happy the way things went. I served especially well, which I think is also important for me.
My first match that I come out and serve well. Shanghai I just served perfectly, especially from second, third round robin match on. So I'm very happy with that and hope I can take it from here now.

Q. You said you checked his results. You usually check the results of your opponent on the Internet?
ROGER FEDERER: With him, honestly my memory wasn't that good anymore to know exactly how he played against me in Paris. You know, that was clay. I just wanted to see against what type of guys he was winning and losing, where he was playing, because I hardly saw him around.
It makes sense now because he was playing so much on clay. Yeah, sometimes, you know, I just like to, for peace of mind, so I know what's sort of coming for me.

Q. Did you expect to be that fluid, given your preparation? Did the last few days of practice make you feel that sort of performance was going to come out tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: I never expect a result this extreme obviously. But I was playing well in practice, moving well, serving well, and conditions were perfect. I played every day at 6:00 on center court. You know, there was no wind. It was also perfect conditions.
I knew that, you know, with the full crowd, I'll play even better. And with the adrenaline rush, you know, you push yourself even more. You just dig out a few more balls, which make a crucial difference. So I knew I'll come out here tonight and probably play pretty good, you know.
But the result was that extreme, I didn't expect that, but I'm really happy about it.

Q. Was it just food poisoning that you had? Do you feel completely better?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm fine now, like nothing ever happened, which is a good thing.

Q. And it was food poisoning?
ROGER FEDERER: Apparently. That's what they told me, and I believed it. I've moved on now mentally. I'm past being sick. Looking forward to a healthy couple of weeks hopefully.

Q. Can you have peace of mind going against your next opponent, Santoro?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I have a good record against him. I've been pretty dominant against him the last few times we played. Of course, he's a tricky player to play against. Everybody knows that.
He's got incredible experience. He's a great tactician. So you, of course, have to be very careful playing against him.
I really think I know how he plays. I'm not going to get too surprised anymore because he is to some degree limited, you know, with his forehand slice and, you know, with his power.
But he plays it so smart, so he makes you think twice what you want to do. That's the tough part playing against him. Depends on the conditions. I guess we play during the day. We'll see if it's windy or not. That's going to play a big factor. Then we see how it goes.
But I hope I can play well again.

Q. He broke Andre's record for Grand Slam appearances today. I'm sure you know that. Are you surprised a player with that style has had this kind of longevity?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know. I mean, it's a different style. I guess when you're different it's a bonus. But at the same time, of course, it's very physical for him.
But to see him still grinding it out and playing so well at his age just shows you, you know, if you want you can play for a very long time.
People like Fabrice, Agassi, are inspirations for the youngsters to, you know, play well. That's why it's quite disappointing when I see ladies retiring at 23, 24. They think they've seen it all. That's why Lindsay I think coming back, stuff like this, it's exciting for tennis. It's good to be around for a long time.

Q. The shot that perhaps gave you the most enjoyment was the ace after, as it were, you were Hawk-Eyed. Gave a smile back and forth. Was that almost the most satisfying moment of the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was a good moment. It was set point. I had nothing to lose. I think it was 40-Love, too.
Everything was going my way. It wasn't the biggest risk of a second serve, but I thought I could probably surprise him because he expects now just a little kick serve.
So, yeah, it was a good moment. I like those moments.

Q. A lot of variation in the third set. Were you just experimenting?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, not experimenting, but you see what works better and worse. I realized, you know, the slider serve on the deuce court worked well. So instead of banging it up the middle or, you know, working it too much, you can swing the serve. I like to do that, you know, if I got the opportunity.
I was hoping to come to the net a bit more often, but I was also quite happy to stay back and look how my backhand works. You know, everything was working perfectly. He had trouble, put him under a lot of pressure, so I could always play on the front foot. Then obviously it's always going to be tough.

Q. Nalbandian has had some good results against you. Do you look ahead to a possible showdown later on?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, I don't even know where he is in the draw. Apparently he is in the semis or quarters, I don't know. Look, I mean, he's had his back problems. I guess he's fine again after winning his match, but he's had an incredible end to the season last year.
He's probably got a tough section himself, you know, making it all the way there. I'm concerned about my section, and hopefully I get through the next one, go from there. If I have to face Nalbandian, it's fun, you know. I've had, I don't know, about 16 matches against him. We're 8-All.
That's all I need to tell you. I beat him in the juniors to finish No. 1 in the world, so I have some history with him. I always enjoy the matches against him.

Q. More information about how these courts react to different spins versus the Rebound Ace?
ROGER FEDERER: I was going to say it's the same as last year. Now you want to hear the difference. Honestly, there's not much of a difference.
I think the only big one is during the day, if it's really hot, I think the ball is bouncing really a lot on Rebound Ace. It's not uncontrollably, but it was quite different to the night sessions. Whereas the night session it was rather dead.
I think this is a bit more even throughout day and night. I think that's good for the players. Honestly, I think that is the biggest difference. You know, there is still this spring in the court, which is a bit softer than when you walk out in the US Open.
It's like concrete, more or less. It's really hard. And it's not as sticky maybe as last year. It's a bit more not slippery, but I think it's just a bit more healthy on the body, this one this year.

Q. Slice is not as effective?
ROGER FEDERER: It is effective, that's why with spins and slice it's the same. Yeah, it's more on the footwork it's different, I would think.

Q. You still think it's too slow?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, balls fluff up quite a bit. So towards the end, before ball change, I mean, the balls are heavy. It's tough to bang them down for an ace, you know. Depends on who you play, how you play.
You can, you know, shorten the points beforehand so balls stay really quick all the way through. It depends on who you play and how you play, honestly.
We'll see how it goes, who you play. But I was feeling good tonight. I didn't think it was crazy slow, which was okay. That's why I think it's pretty similar to last year, to be honest.

Q. Do you feel like congratulating your opponent after these kind of games?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't congratulate opponents after such matches. But I wished him luck for the season, yeah. There's not much time to talk at the net anyway, so...

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