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May 8, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/I. Karlovic
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (From Italian) First of all, please explain for those who are not too familiar with Karlovic's game what it is like to receive on such a surface his serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's unusual, obviously. It's completely different to any other serve out there because of his size, you know, and he also backs it up very well at the net. He's a good net player. Puts a lot of pressure on you. Because.
He can hit all four corners very easily, it makes it hard to return against him.

Q. Do you have any complaints about your game? Are you pretty happy with the way things are going so far?
ROGER FEDERER: Hard to always judge your game against Karlovic, obviously. But you have to play a tactical game against him, you know, and I didn't go for my first serve that much. I tried to keep the ball in play and didn't chase the lines too much.
So it's a different way of playing. I think tomorrow will be sort of similar, but, you know, more baseline tennis. I know that Radek likes to take away the net, so it's go to be interesting to see. I actually played him here in the past. I play the next match against him, and I hope I can repeat the same form as I did when I played him here last time.

Q. As a man has just walked, is there any difference in atmosphere playing on the Pietrangeli Court as the old center court? Any difference?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, they feel pretty similar now. I didn't play much on the court in the last few years, but I practiced there sometimes. The space was very big around the court, you know.
I think this year by taking the stands in a bit closer it has a much more feel of the center court of last year, you know. Plays pretty similar.
I still believe that the court is not as dry as maybe the center court of last year so the ball doesn't bounce that much maybe like it does on the outside courts here. That's the only difference.

Q. I know you wouldn't have played him until the final, but is there a slightly different atmosphere to a clay court event when Rafa is not in it to when he is playing?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you just have the feeling the draw has opened up tremendously. It's an opportunity for everyone, because you favor Rafa against all of those guys in that section of the draw.
It's tough for Rafa. I feel for him. He was on such a great streak for the last three years, but I'm sure he'll bounce back either at Hamburg or Paris anyway.
It was a bit of a surprise, but I said it in my first press conference: he doesn't have an easy draw in the first round. I didn't see any of the match unfortunately, but Carlos must have played a good match.

Q. Do you feel it was right when he was complaining about the clay court season being so tough?

Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: I did not hear him.

Q. He was complaining that he had four big tournaments this year in a row every week with no week of rest between.
ROGER FEDERER: Hmm, of course it's tough. It's tough for everyone. I'm playing four tournaments as well, it's just that I placed them differently.
I understand he wants to play Barcelona and try to defend his title there. It's a tough year because of the Olympic Games, but I think the problem is more maybe in Miami where they moved because of television, I think.
To move, you know, Miami because of television, because I think it was the NCAA, I mean, that is rough on us. Especially on a guy like Rafa who wants to play a lot on clay.
So I agree, it's not right, you know, but it's the way it is this year unfortunately, and hopefully things will be better next time.

Q. (From Italian) You seemed more nervous than usual today in some points of the match.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it wasn't easy. Like I said, I had to save a couple of breakpoints early on, which made it hard to relax. After that, you know, he serves four bombs and you're serving again, you know. It's not a whole a lot of fun.
But I stayed calm. You know, I tried to get the rhythm back on my own serve and get off to a good start on my service games and then finally I could relax.
I actually felt I was playing okay, but he can take it away from you like what Sampras did in the old days with his serve and his attacking style. It's hard.
But I think I did well in the second set. I created many opportunities, many more than he did, and that's why I actually started to relax as the match went on.

Q. How does your clay court game feel compared to a year ago? Any specific areas you think you improved on?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, now I can assess my game on clay mush more than I could a couple weeks ago, you know. It's always tough entering the clay court season because you haven't played on it for maybe ten months or so.
I feel I'm playing well and moving well again. At the beginning I think the difficulty is always getting the movement right: You know, when to slide and when not to slide, when you can use the sliding to your advantage. And I feel like my defensive skills are getting better and better.
Now, to compare to other years, I always feel like I'm bringing more game into my clay court game over the years, you know, even though it was good before as well.
I just think I'm just a more clever clay court player today, and I hope this shows.

End of FastScripts

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