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March 31, 2008

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Last week Tommy Haas, you had a walkover against Haas, and now he suddenly retires against you. How do you feel about that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's a big difference between not playing at all and playing one and a half sets, so obviously I prefer this, you know, because I warmed up. I was in the spirit of playing a match.
You know, I had to also weather some tough conditions out there. Sun was right in your face on one end for the serve. It was sort of a crosswind, you know, and opponent is a dangerous player.
So we traded breaks, and I think for this reason it was actually good to go out there and play today for me.

Q. Was there a point you could tell? Was it early on that you realized something was wrong with him?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I only -- you always wonder why does he call the physios all of a sudden. It was only after the first set was over. You sort of try to see how he plays for a game, and it went pretty quickly. I just had the feeling he was not injured. You know, it was more simply tired or maybe the sun, maybe sick, you know. Apparently it was fever.
It's tough to call, you know. I guess he was just really struggling with his footwork, and there's no point to continue and risk your health in a moment like that.

Q. Before the match, how did you see Soderling? What you are your thoughts?
ROGER FEDERER: We played on a few occasions and had some tough matches like in Madrid, and also in Halle. We had two very close ones. And then it was rather comfortable once I played him I think in Toronto. I think he's very strong indoors.
He struggles a little bit more with his serve outdoors because of the wind, the sun, and everything, and that helps the other player. But nevertheless, he's a dangerous player. He's got big game. He can play very aggressive and also be steady from the baseline. He moves pretty well for a big guy, so it's always a tricky match against him.

Q. How does it affect you as the opponent when the match ends early? You're obviously mentally and physically prepared for a longer match.
ROGER FEDERER: No, you're sort of happy you got through to the next round. You're not happy for your opponent because it's never a way sort of you want to win a match, but sort of you've got to push him to give up, you know, I guess.
I won the first set and you think, Okay, he calls for the physios. But you never know what it is and it's really important to get a good start. I got that, played well, served strong, and then right away you sort of break his will even more so. That's the only thing can I really do and I did it today, and for this reason I'm really pleased.

Q. Your friend Tiger Woods was here in Doral last weekend. Did you get a chance to cross paths with him or talk to him prior to this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: We actually missed each other. He was playing here Monday and I was in Orlando on Monday. Said hello in the plane, but, no, we didn't speak.

Q. What have you been able to get out of your first two matches here?
ROGER FEDERER: Just the relief of getting through, you know. I think that's always the biggest danger early on in the tournament. I think you're always most vulnerable as a high seed, and then once you get on the roll you start playing better and better.
That's really what I'm hoping for now next couple of rounds. The draw is not too bad. It could have been Hewitt or Robredo, and now all of a sudden it's two unseeded players.

Q. You don't seem like you've really been challenged much. Is there a difference between this and just practice?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, there is a big difference, you know. You play on Stadium Court, you've got people watching. Yesterday I played, practice, it was just like, you know, Oh, God. When am I going to get off the court? I want to play matches and not practice anymore.
You've got to do it, you know, and I was happy to be out on the court today. Gives me a good feeling.

Q. How do you feel about the chances maybe going all the way again now? Obviously Novak lost early. You mentioned Hewitt, and the draw is opening up for you. How do you feel about your chances?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, the other side of the draw, it's irrelevant until you get into the final, you know. But there's still Andy around and other good players around. On any given day they can be a threat to you.
You know, maybe lately I've had more trouble against lower-ranked players than in the past, but I've always paid a lot of attention to every match I've played. I just hope I can go step by step. Once you maybe it sort of to the quarterfinals, semifinals you start dreaming of the title. But at the moment I'm still too far off.

Q. We're all looking forward to you playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but that's not going to happen now. How do you feel about playing Julien Benneteau?
ROGER FEDERER: I think I play Acasuso. I think Tsonga was going into the Roddick/Minar section. (laughter.) There goes your question.

Q. So switch the question. Acasuso, talk about him.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's serving for it now I guess. But we've played on not too many occasions. I remember he came up against me one time at the US Open after winning the first set and then I won the next two and then he gave up. He's a tough player, big guy, big serve. He's got good groundies. Beat Lleyton here so he's definitely on a roll if he wins this.
I guess here also in Miami he's got the Argentinian support, which...

Q. An Olympic question, if you would: Does tennis belong in the Olympics?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think so.

Q. Because of you all being professionals, and it's always been thought of as an event for amateurs, what would you say in defense of the idea of tennis being part of the Games?
ROGER FEDERER: That we don't decide if it's the sport or not, it's somebody else at IOC. If they like to have us we're very happy to play. If they don't think tennis is the right sport, I totally understand their decision.
But we're part of the Olympics since, what is it, 20 years now? Even more? I'm very glad. We have an Olympic gold medalist in tennis, Marc Rosset, which is an incredible achievement. And basketballs, as professionals as well. We have some sports now that it happens more and more, and I think the Olympics is a celebration of sport, you know. So I think as many different sports shouldn't be able to take part in the Olympics.

Q. Do you think most tennis players are excited about the opportunity, or is it all over the map? I'm thinking of Andy deciding not to play.
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I was surprised. But then again, US Open is just around the corner. Maybe it's his maybe big one. He thinks, If everybody goes to the Olympics and I don't I give myself a better chance.
I totally understand that thinking, you know. He's played the Olympics once, you know, so he'd had the experience. I guess that's what it was for him.
But other than that, I think everybody's fighting to get into the draw of the Olympics. If look at the Spaniards, if you're not in the top 35 you're probably not going to get into it.
I spoke to Ferrer and he's on the bubble and he's like, I hope I can take really part. I know that probably 99% of the guys really want to go.

Q. Earlier this year, Justine Henin won a tournament in Antwerp and played players that were lower ranked.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, she's always going to play lower-ranked players.

Q. No, but she said she preferred to play top players she faces normally in finals and everything. She would have preferred to play higher end players she knows. What's it like for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I love to be in that position, also. You know, being upset playing No. 50 in the finals instead of No. 2, you know, what can you do? You try your best, and it doesn't matter who's on the other side of the net. You don't decide that.
It's other players beating other players, and that's the tough part about tennis. You have never the one match you really want sometimes, and it's harder sometimes to play against lower-ranked players, even though you have better chance of winning.
Honestly, if I'm in the final I don't care who's on the other side. I understand it's more exciting for me as a player, for the fans, for the media, if I play a top guy. In the end, once you get there you want just hold up the title. It doesn't matter who you played. Ten years from now you're not going to anyway remember who I beat.

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