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July 28, 2008

Roger Federer


ROGER FEDERER: You know, it's the start of the hard court season really for the next, Jesus, eight, nine months really until Monaco next year.
So this is the start, you know, so I hope I can start well.

Q. Defending is one thing, but like you said, this is also the time you start to tune up for the US Open and then you start to look at those hard court tournaments. Is this a good round to start gearing your game towards that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think most important is trying to win some matches here, you know. I didn't get that last week unfortunately, which just disappointing.
But, you know, I've been able to get some good practice in and looking forward to this week and then obviously two huge events in front of us with the Olympic Games and then coming back for the US Open.
So it's an important time. I'm feeling fit and healthy, which is always key as well after a very difficult schedule this year for us players.
For this reason I'm really pleased actually from where I've come from at the beginning of the this season to where I am today. It's actually very good.

Q. You mentioned the Olympics. How do you think this tournament is going to prepare you for the Olympics in a couple weeks?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously Olympics is, again, a whole different tournament, you know. It's just so different because it's only every four years. You know, you're part of that whole Olympic experience, which is quite different for us players.
You know, we're used to the hotel feeling and then come to the courts and always see the same people. At the Olympic Games it's just a huge tournament and we're just one of the sports. So it obviously changes a little bit in the mindset.
Nevertheless, I think it's -- you know, anyway, for me - I can only speak for myself - it's as important like a Grand Slam. I hope that this will prepare me well. If it doesn't, you know, I'll still have enough practice ahead of the Olympics.

Q. That's how you view it though, as a Grand Slam, that type of an event?
ROGER FEDERER: For me it is because I've already won 12 Grand Slams. I mean, another Grand Slam here or there doesn't make that much of a difference. It's nice to get them, but the Olympic Games is something I have never been able to get. Didn't get that many chances obviously because it's only once every four years.
But it's definitely something, you know, representing Switzerland, you know, being the flag bearer in 2004, all these things make it a very special event for me.

Q. Do you feel really fortunate to be on top of your game when the Olympics are coming up like this?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was No. 1 in the world four years ago already. Missed that chance. You know, I had a tough draw. Davydenko first and lost to Berdych in a close match.
I hope this year it goes better, you know. But, no, I mean, I'm happy I'm one of the guys with the best chance to win. I'm happy it's on hard court, which is one of annoy best surfaces. So it's all good.

Q. You won Wimbledon five times in a row. The sixth year you lost to Nadal. Have you gained any perspective on that, and how do you plan to come back?
ROGER FEDERER: Come back? I don't know. I mean, look, wait a year and then try again next year for Wimbledon. No, I mean, like I said, it's a tough schedule this year for us.
You know, it's not easy. We only had two weeks in between Wimbledon and Toronto, and normally it's four to five weeks. You feel that.
Instead of having maybe two weeks practice and two weeks off you have one week off and four days practice kind of thing. Just makes it that much more difficult.
But I'm feeling good, you know, with where my mind is. I think even though it hurt a lot in the moment itself, it was the hardest loss I've ever had and maybe th hardest one I'll ever have in my career, you know, being so close in such a thriller match in a Grand Slam final.
And then to lose it's hard, whereas the year before I got the five-setter against Rafa. So that makes up for it a little bit. Who knows. But I thought it was a great match and I think it was great for tennis. Many people were talking about it, like you said, and I think that's a very positive thing.
I hope that tennis will grow from here on. I always say I think tennis is in great shape right now with our rivalry and many new guys coming up and Andy and Blake and all these guys still around, Safin and Hewitt, you name it, Ferrero.
So I just think it's a really good time for tennis right now.

Q. You mentioned rivalry is good for the game and the sport. Can you put the rivalry with Nadal in more of personal context, how you view it when you he's a potential on the other side of the net?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think ours is particularly intriguing because we have such different characters and different styles, you know, like what maybe Borg and McEnroe had in a way.
But then they only played a handful of times almost and we played twenty times, you know. It's not like it's not going to happen anymore. We have the feeling it's going to happen for another twenty times.
That's why I think we're right in the prime of this rivalry. On top of that, he was able to beat me more often that I've beaten him even though I'm No. 1 for so long.
I think all these things make it that much more intriguing. Of course we're not American or German or whatever in a big market. Of course Rafa from Spain is big, you know, but I've gone beyond just being a Swiss. I think now also with me winning the US Open so many times and being so successful in the States, I think it's just posed to be one of the great rivalries.

Q. With Nadal being in this field and him really emerging this year, how would you rate your chances of winning your third title this year in Cincy?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, this has been actually kind of a tough tournament for me. I lost early or I won the it. There was no quarters or semifinals or finals for me here. It's either make or break. Look, I try to play well here.
In the beginning I've always struggled early on just because the surface is way more quick than last week, for instance, or maybe even than Wimbledon.
It's just hard to control the ball here. If flies a lot more and it's the beginning of the hard court season. So it's difficult, but I feel good.
I mean, the focus is on Rafa right now, you know, because he's all the way on the other side of the draw since over four years. So this is nothing new.
He's been playing great and he's on an unbelievable winning streak since, I don't know, since Hamburg he hasn't lost. So it's great to see that, you know, but this is hard court again. A different tournament.
It's hard to always keep on winning, but what he's doing is definitely terrific.

Q. Obviously being No. 1 is something that's important to you. Is there any added pressure for you this week with Rafa kind of creeping up on you in the standings?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know if it's more pressure than at Wimbledon, you know. There's always pressure when I go out on court. I expect myself to win the match, win the tournament. The fans, you know, the tournaments, the sponsors.
I've had it for four and a half, five years now, you know, so it's nothing new just now that maybe new No. 1 position looks a bit more in danger than in the past.
All I can do is I have to look at the big picture and try to play well and prepare well and not go crazy over it. I know there's more talk about it the last couple weeks and months. That's okay. Rafa deserves the credit, because first he had to defend his No. 2 ranking against Djokovic in Hamburg.
Since then he's been on a winning streak. But if he would've lost that semifinal he would No. 3 in the world, which now looks crazy, right? So I think it's interesting, you know, but I don't feel extra pressure in any way honestly. I just try to get on a roll on hard courts and then hopefully be in great shape for the Olympics.

Q. What is it that attracts you to this specific tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio every year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's got a good week in the calendar, you know. I mean, that's something where Cincinnati gets all the players from as well, you know.
But they try hard to make it a good event for the players. You see all of them show up here. I think also the crowds are great here all the time. When we play, day and night sessions are always pretty much sold out, so that's also very nice for us players to see. Obviously makes us want to come back.

Q. Because the Olympics fall in the middle of things, do you adjust your preparation physically and/or mentally at this time of year when you know that that's on the horizon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've adjusted my entire season around the Olympic Games because I knew I was not going to have the holiday and practice I was going to get as usual after Wimbledon. Except if I was going to miss Toronto and Cincinnati, then I would have had obviously three more weeks off.
I didn't want to do that, so that's one of the reasons why I didn't play much in the beginning of the season, you know. People were really questioning why I was doing that. I said, There's always a plan behind what I do.
Because I was sick in the beginning of the year, then I had to work harder to get back and feel good again. So that took actually more energy out of me, and that's why the last couple months have been very draining for me and the season has become very long.
But at the same time, I'm happy I didn't play at the beginning of the season a whole a lot more, because I tried to save myself through this entire tough period where I have to travel like crazy, you know. It takes its toll on you, and I'm happy I'm still feeling fresh actually.
It's not like I'm feeling under the water or just completely drained. I feel good, and I hope it's going to stay this way for hopefully another month or so.

Q. I know you're all about tennis while you're here, but does this tournament do anything to help you relax? Are there some side things that make this good for you in terms of your mind and taking it well and reinvigorating yourself at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I like sometimes a little bit more quiet tournament. After Wimbledon there was a very quite tournament to go to in Germany to play as well. I consider Hamburg also a little bit more quite just because the city is more laid back and everything. The same thing here.
It's going to be crazy enough the next couple weeks. Sometimes it's good to actually get away from the big cities and go to the movies and so something else a little bit, go to the coffee shop, just taking it more easy than, you know, always this hassle. So that is one of the reasons this is a good event for us.

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