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June 27, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Gicquel
6-3, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Roger Federer for you.

Q. Marat Safin, after his win a couple days ago, thanked the club for slowing down the courts. How have you seen the courts change here over the years, and how does the change affect your chances?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't think it's that much of a difference since I played Pete here in 2001 really. So, I mean, it's not that extreme, you know, to the point where I need to thank anybody, I think, you know.
I think it's just also the way how players are playing today: more from the baseline, not as much serve and volley, chip and charge. That sort of gives you the feeling that it's slowed down, as well, you know.
Because 95% of the guys play from the baseline today, whereas before it was maybe 50/50. That is a big change, I think, and that's happened in the last, let's say, 10, 15 years.

Q. You must be very satisfied with your first week's work.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm very happy. I think I played well. You know, my opening match against Soderling was difficult. Today was a very solid match again, so I'm very happy the way I played. Conditions weren't always easy, you know, with quite a lot of wind.
Then today, you know, I got broken first game. You know, the rain sort of looming around, you know, maybe wasn't the best conditions.
But still, you know, I think I played a good match today, and I'm obviously very excited to play again on Monday.

Q. Do you think you have a psychological advantage on Lleyton Hewitt?
ROGER FEDERER: Why is that?

Q. You've beaten a lot of players, but you seem to have beaten him resoundingly. Do you think you have any sort of advantage over him?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I've definitely played well against him the last times I've played him. Don't remember when the last time was that I actually played him. It's been a while now again.
I think, that works in his favor maybe, just, you know, that we haven't -- now we played last week where I beat him quite comfortably, that didn't happen.
It's always a challenge playing Lleyton. He's a great player, a guy I really enjoy watching, as well. He's a great competitor. Yeah, we go back a long time. We played when we were 15, you know, for the first time against each other. Saved match point and won in the end. So we go way back.
Especially here, him being, you know, former No. 1, former champion here, I think it's an intriguing match for both of us.

Q. The fact that he's the only other person here who's won, does that make any difference?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a whole lot, I think. It's been a while, but at the same time he knows what it takes to win slams. So does Marat and other players. But I think Lleyton Hewitt definitely believes very strongly in his chances, which is normal.

Q. What do you like most about being on the court of play with just one other person, that one-to-one aspect of your competition?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, that I'm in control if I win or lose. I mean, in some ways, of course, the opponent also has some say in it, obviously. I also enjoy team sports a lot, you know. I'm not completely like the individual athlete, whatever, because I grew up, you know, doing all sorts of sports.
And soccer for me, you know, celebrating the goal with the mates, was a great feeling, you know. Maybe even more exhilarating than winning on a tennis court all alone.
But at the same time, I think tennis is by far my favorite sport. And, you know, having no body contact I think is also something I don't mind. So it's just better for, you know, not to get injuries through somebody who's lost his mind, let's just say, you know. So I'm happy about that.
And I think the fairness is also a big factor, which I like about this game.

Q. You come here, you stay in a house and not a hotel, you're not in a big city, and you now presumably have three days off. How big a deal are these different rhythms, just different vibes that this place has as opposed to the other three slams?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's very slow. You know, it's just very easy here. Like you say, we stay in a house here. We don't stay in a hotel. I think it's the only tournament actually throughout the year I do that.
I just can't beat the traffic every day, maybe get stuck in traffic for two hours. I'm not in the mood for that. That's really the big reason why I'm staying in a house here.
It's nice, you know. It's been a busy, you know, schedule the last few weeks, as well. So it's nice to sort of slow down with Halle and Wimbledon, not having sort of a big city around you. If you want, you know, from Wimbledon, of course, then you can go for a nice night out in the city. You've obviously got London right in front of you, which is, you know, a great city. I'll probably enjoy the weekend, you know, with some city action.

Q. Is there any sense that you accelerated in the third set because of the risk of rain, or was that just how it happened spontaneously?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I wish I could turn on a button and say, Okay, rain's coming. Let's just quickly win and then it's all done. It's not the way it works.

Q. There is a feeling watching that maybe you did accelerate.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, this is Wimbledon. This is not some junior tournament where you're like 10 times bigger than the other guy.

Q. It's just the way it happened?
ROGER FEDERER: This is serious stuff. I tried to push pressure on him as much as I could. I think I played well, you know, off the baseline. In the second set I couldn't read his serve very well. He got quite a few easy games, you know, in a row. He didn't maybe serve that well, got more into his service games, and I served well all the way through. So it was a good finish in the end.

Q. You mentioned there are more baseline players now. Do you find that's wearing the grass away on the baseline and causing strange bounces?
ROGER FEDERER: Not that much, to be honest, except if you hit it hard down the middle. That's not something you usually do, let's say. I think the bad bounce would sort of be behind the baseline, because this is where we run, not right on the baseline or right in front.
Actually, those bad bounces don't occur that often here at Wimbledon, which is great. I think it almost looks worse from the outside, because when you play you think the grass is green because it's right in front of you, you know. The dirt, you actually are running on it. You don't look at it. It's no problem for the bounce really.

Q. There were a couple of big surprises yesterday: Roddick and Blake going out. Did you see the games? What did you think?
ROGER FEDERER: I saw a little bit of Blake. You know, he's struggled on grass always a little bit, so that's not as big of a surprise that Andy lost. I really thought he had a shot this year of doing really well again.
But it was a disappointing match for him, no doubt. You know, Tipsarevic, obviously he's a dangerous and tough player. But I still would have thought, you know, Andy would have come through. So he'll be very disappointed, because there goes another chance for Andy at Wimbledon.

Q. How do you assess the state of the draw three rounds in?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy with the way I'm playing. No doubt there's been some surprises, you know, especially Andy and Novak losing. Doesn't happen, you know, very often in slams, lately especially. So it's sort of big news automatically because they've been playing very consistently, especially Novak the last few months.
Doesn't affect me a whole lot, you know, because I'm not in the semis yet where I would have had to face Novak. I'm sort of concentrated on my own game, and I've got my hands full with Lleyton in the next round, which I definitely won't underestimate.
Yeah, Rafa struggling against Gulbis doesn't surprise me a whole lot. He's still in the draw. He's surviving. I think he'll be tough to beat in the other half.

Q. Obviously in the tournament here at Wimbledon there's been a lot of upsets of the top seeds. Yet slam after slam you're getting deep in the semis and finals. Aside from the obvious sheer talent, what is the key, the important part of being able to get into the semis and finals?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, you've got to be healthy first of all. I mean, you know, not being injured or anything. So that's a plus I have, you know, because maybe of good scheduling. I'm confident I'm doing the right things sort of off the court to keep myself healthy.
Other than that, I think I know what it takes, obviously, to win slams or to go far. So I have the proper preparation. I have the belief, you know, not underestimating any opponents in any way.
Then I got many different possibilities, you know, in my game that allow me to beat all sort of different kinds of playing styles. It's not enough just beating the aggressive baseliner, you've got to beat the guy, the counter-puncher, the serve and volleyer if there is, the lefty, the righty.
I think that's the difficult part, you know, to be able to have a game that adapts to any playing style.
That's what I've been able to create over the last few years. Obviously, the record is great, to be so consistent at the highest level, and this is what I always sort of dreamt of. When I came on tour, everybody was telling me, He's a good player on any given day, but he's not very consistent. You know, so that was sort of my dream: to be consistent.
I took it to the next level, which is obviously very, very nice for me.

Q. Do you feel at this tournament more than others that you have something to prove?
ROGER FEDERER: To myself maybe, yeah. I mean, I always like to win all the tournaments I enter, you know. Doesn't happen all the time because it's not possible. But playing at Wimbledon always creates extra pressure because it's what's closest to my heart. Maybe wish someday my career ends here in a way, because it's the most prestigious tournament we have on tour. That alone creates pressure, so I want to prove it to myself I can do it again here.

Q. What do you make of the notion that squash shots are occasionally being played or shots that come out of the squash game are being played today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's the only way to get the ball back sometimes. It's the only option you have sometimes. You have so little time, you don't have time to get your feet set properly to the ball because it goes over the net so quickly sometimes.
It's an improvisation shot, but it's been around for 15 years or so, so it's not a shot that's entirely new to the game, I think.

End of FastScripts

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