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August 11, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/D. Tursunov
6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Would you say the second set, it looked like you had a real bounce in your legs, confidence, fully restored. Is that the best set you've played since the Wimbledon final in the brief hard court season?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I thought I played a very good first set against Gilles Simon, where I won 6-2 actually. You know, I was feeling good, playing aggressive and everything.
This was another good set. You know, it's different conditions here. It's pretty quick. Obviously there's also a lot in Dmitry's power, how he wants to keep the score going, because he can serve so well.
I think I played well, you know, hit some great winners, got some good balls back. I really thought, you know, I was playing very solid. That's really what I was expecting from myself today. I'm really happy with the result because I knew the danger against Dmitry.

Q. What is it like to play in this humidity or pollution, the conditions in general? How would you describe that?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it is pretty humid, comparing it to other places we play during the year. There's not many places - if any - that are that humid. I don't think today was the hottest day out there. You know, in the preparation week, I thought we had some days that were way more difficult than today.
But it's something that I used to struggle with actually, you know, humidity. Actually, I remember one of the matches I played against Guillermo CaƱas back in Canada way back, five, six years ago, maybe six years ago in Toronto. I remember it was brutally hot and I couldn't handle the humidity. That was one of the reasons I wanted to go and practice in Dubai, you know. So we have 45 degrees, a lot of humidity.
Ever since I started doing that, I don't have a problem any more in it, which is key, you know. Because in Switzerland, we don't get heat like this. It's something you better get used to because, especially in the States or in Australia, it can get very hot.
Well taken care of, fit and everything, so today it was not a problem at all.

Q. When you lose a match like you lost to Simon and Karlovic, very close, do you start to just not trust yourself quite so much on the really big points? I'm thinking of the 10th game of the first set where you missed a couple forehands where you normally would have made them.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don't think the problem maybe is on big points. It's just a matter of losing some matches where I feel like I shouldn't of lost. And then sometimes it plays a trick in your mind where you think maybe you're not playing that well actually, but it's actually not the case.
So it's a matter of keeping yourself in a positive mindset. I think it's more than anything else, you know. It's not really on the big points because I don't think you lose those kind of matches maybe on big points.
Maybe Karlovic a little bit more because it's always tight. I mean, you can always win or lose against Karlovic because of that serve. He'll always put you in that position where it's dangerous. That's why you can't overrate a match like that.
But against Simon, I was playing well. I had the match under control. I should have never lost. But, you know, he did well and dug deep. He was, you know, on a roll, winning Indianapolis the week before and everything. He was my first match on hard courts, you know, for a long time.
So, I mean, the positive part is, you know, I got more practice out of those next few days, which maybe usually I would play matches. So that's the positive part. The negative part is maybe that you start to doubt yourself just a touch, even though I felt like I was playing well, moving well. It's just maybe for me a matter of just getting, you know, a bit more time on the hard courts, which I think I did now since I played that first match in Toronto.

Q. You talk about the humidity. What about the pollution as a separate issue? There's been a lot of discussion about it here. How much concern about it did you have coming in? Has it affected your preparation at all?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, one day maybe, I don't know, I think it was just really, really hot, you know. Maybe that first shock of jetlag and heat and the whole combination, maybe being a bit tired, getting used to different conditions. I think I felt it a little bit.
But then, honestly, when I'm out there, I don't feel, you know, a pollution problem. I think it's more humidity than anything else for us, the players. That's my personal opinion.

Q. I thought I read somewhere that the ranking officially changes with the 11th. I could be mistaken. My question is, in the time that you spent with Pete Sampras last fall on tour, I was wondering if the subject ever came up about when a player who has had tremendous success in winning Grand Slams gets to that point in their career where the ranking becomes less important than the winning of the big events, and therefore the focus shifts, whether it's which tournaments you play, maybe even skipping the way Pete skipped a couple of Frenches. Did you ever discuss that with him or if you've played it around in your head a little bit?
ROGER FEDERER: We didn't speak a lot about rankings in any way. I just think more about, you know, being at the top for a long time. I mean, at the top doesn't mean No. 1 in the world. It can mean deep into Grand Slams, you know, being in the top five, top 10 for, whatever, 10 years, 15 years, just be up there and having a shot at Grand Slams. I think that's what we talked about more, you know, in general, just how difficult it is, but how great it is at the same time.
And I always knew -- I mean, you can't keep your ranking forever. If ever that were to happen, I think you have to, you know, sort of have a different, maybe, approach, see what's the next step. Is it does it come down to the majors? Is it do you want to chase it again? I mean, I know myself, I'm sure my goal is, to try to get No. 1 ranking back, you know, I need to play well again. I need to win the big matches. That's what I'm looking at at the moment.
I always said that every tournament counts for me that I enter. But, obviously, it's not a secret that I base my schedule around trying to have the best preparation for the Grand Slams because this is where the focus is, the biggest, you know, on me. This is where I really want to try to do best.
But this year has been difficult for everybody, having a proper schedule, because we've been forced to play certain tournaments in some ways. I'm not criticizing. It's just a fact. With the Olympic Games, everything shifted. It made it really hard for us to have proper preparations. That's maybe one of the reasons some players play better, some players play worse. And I think next year you can control your schedule much more again yourself, which I think is going to be key for next year.

Q. Since the Wimbledon final in particular, have you at all at any time sat down and questioned whether you have any sort of the fundamental things wrong, like the number of tournaments you play, the way you train, your coaching, that sort of thing? Or do you feel those things are all basically right?
ROGER FEDERER: I've always been doing it. I mean, no matter if I was, you know -- I mean, I've been No. 1 for so long, that obviously this is really when I was most professional, you know. I mean, in the beginning you try to find what works best for you. And once I found that, I think back maybe 2003, 2004, you know, I first just started to do what I did best, play tennis and, you know, have a proper schedule, try to be injury-free.
But I think then once sort of 2004 and '5 came around, I think I always tried to look for new ways to improve, you know. Had a coach. You know, didn't have a coach in '04, that kind of thing. I always look for new ways to improve physically, because mentally, it wasn't a problem any more.
So for me, it was more physically and just, you know, playing. I mean, one of the reasons I started working with Tony Roche was trying to improve my volleys, which I did then.
So I always -- those moments where I sat down with my team and discussed, How can I get better? It's not really something that's gonna change. But the day will come that I will definitely want to sit down and say, What are my next steps, my next goals? What can I improve? You know, because I always think you have to question yourself, no matter if it's good or bad.
What I don't like to do is, sometimes because you don't play so well, is freak out and have, like, you know, emergency meetings. That's not going to happen because, thank God, I was actually doing it already for the last basically three or four years already, which I think was a good thing.

Q. This is your third time to participate in the Olympics. Why do you always come to the Olympics? There's no prize involved and little scores for the ranking and it will affect your other tournaments.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean -- okay, I agree. But at the same time, you know, in some ways it's such a nice change to the regular tour we play in, first of all. But then also, being part of the biggest sort of sports event, you know, in the world. Now that tennis is finally, you know, accepted by the Olympic Committee, you know, it's something I wish to sort of, you know, move it forward, you know, in a way.
I guess when I speak to some players now, who didn't used to play the Olympics back in maybe '96, 2000, you name it, I know that some of them have regrets that they didn't play it, seeing how big the Olympics has become, you know, in tennis and how important tennis has become to the Olympics really.
I hope that, you know, by my -- with my presence, and also, let's say, Rafa's presence, you know, Roddick's presence, Hewitt's presence in the past years, I think that's only gonna make it more important for the future generation, as well. So I think that's one of the reasons I play.
But then also having the chance to represent my country is the second one. Third, just sort of living the dream, as well, being part of the Olympic Village, the Olympic spirit. Just being here is something that is quite unique, especially after spending an incredible couple of weeks in Sydney, which for me will always stay in my memories as one of the greatest sports experiences I ever had. It was, for me, clear that I would never want to miss an Olympic Games ever again if I would have the chance to compete in them.

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