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January 23, 2009

Roger Federer


6-3, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Today Marat and Fabrice played probably the last matches here. Can you assess who they are in the tennis, what they represent?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I hope Marat will not. He told you. He's pretty sure about it.

Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: That's disappointing. I love playing the guy. It's not like it's the end, right? I'm making it sound like he's not going to ever play tennis again.
Anyway, I love playing against the guy. He brings something different to the tennis world with his character, the way he is on the court and the way he is off the court. He's larger than life.
Yeah, I respect him for what a competitor he is. I hope it's not the last one tonight. If it were to be the last one at the Australian Open, I think we both kind of feel good about having played each other at the highest level. We tried to come with a good match.
On Fabrice, I guess he's one of those magicians that's going to leave the game. It's unfortunate, but I think his time is coming too. His game is not very easy to play at this stage. Players are getting stronger and faster and more powerful. He doesn't have that much of possibilities from the baseline, but still makes it work.
It's incredible effort what he has been able to do over all the years. There again, I was fortunate enough to learn things from him, because he's quite a tricky player to play against. He teaches you how to treat a tennis ball. You know, not to go crazy about it.
Marat can write a song about playing Fabrice. I'm happy I understood how to play Fabrice, because it's a tricky way to play against him. It was great. There again, I hope I'll get a chance to play him again.

Q. When the time comes for you to make a similar decision, do you think you'll announce it at the start of the year? Or do you think when you've played your last match you'll just say, That was that?
ROGER FEDERER: That's a tough call. I guess saying it one year in advance it's kind of tough, too. Everywhere you go they make a big deal about it. Is that what you want? Okay, that's fine. That's is what you choose to do.
If you just say, like Agassi, for instance, he did it at Wimbledon, right? The US Open it was all done. It's a shorter period. Maybe less pressure to play, and then that's it.
But people just do it also last match, this is my last tournament. Bang, that's it. I don't know what type of guy I am. I'm not thinking about it. Obviously I don't know what's going to happen. Yeah, a year seems a long time to me.

Q. To beat him in straight sets you must feel pretty good.
ROGER FEDERER: I thought it was a good match for me. I played well from the start. I didn't give him a whole a lot. I don't think I have to save breakpoint, which I guess is great against such a good returner like Marat can be.
I understand that I didn't play Marat in his prime. Still, there was moments where he did play very well for like, I would say, maybe in the third set I think he played great.
He just couldn't keep it up for the entire three sets. So he kind of missed too much in the first two. I took advantage of that. For me, it was a rock solid match. I came up with some good shots when I had to, and one them was the match point. I'm very happy about it.

Q. How much better are you feeling this year than last year at this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Just feel better overall. I'm more secure and I know with where my game is at. Physically and mentally I'm fresh, whereas last year I came in kind of tired. This year around I was just come out of a rough five-setter. This time it's different.
It doesn't mean anything. I have to take match by match, and next round is, again, tough as hell. I played him last year in the fourth round. It was a really dangerous match. I played him at the Olympics and he's a great ball-striker.

Q. Could you put a percentage on how much better you're feeling?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. You choose. I don't care.

Q. You make it look so easy sometimes on the court. Winning in three sets, do you think it acts as a bit of a warning to the rest of the field left at the Australian Open?
ROGER FEDERER: It's not really my goal, to be honest. I'm trying to win the matches, come through to the semifinals, and then hopefully win the tournament. That's my goal. Sending out massages? What's that good for? Doesn't make you win the tournament.
But, sure, I mean, it's nice winning in straight sets and it's nice beating great players like Marat in straight sets. It just makes you feel better and more confident for the next match. That's the only really benefit I see.

Q. Did you think your opponent feels the fact that you're confident with a straight-sets win?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, I'm playing smart at the moment. I'm making it tough on my opponents. That's what it's about for me. I come up with an occasional great shot that hopefully makes a difference. That's what I got to rely on.

Q. Did it make a difference playing in the evening session and saving your energy instead of playing out in the hot sun?
ROGER FEDERER: That's what we build for is to play in the tough heat. That's what why I go to Dubai and practice at 45 degrees in the summertime. This is not a problem, 40 degrees.
I like playing in the daytime because of the wind, the heat. Makes it all a bit more difficult for the mind. This is where I'm very strong, so I know this actually suits my game.
Yeah, I mean, look, day or night I have to take it. Usually night is going to make the decision here because the finals is played at night.

Q. Speaking to your new role as players' leader, player council, what are your thoughts on the fact that, again, there were horrible crowd scenes outside today?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it's disappointing. Terribly disappointing. Tennis is a game of a lot of fairness. You know, we treat each other well on the court, the players. Fans are always very polite. You don't applaud bad shots, only good shots. That's the way tennis is.
Fans, 99.9% of the time, are always great. Then you have some people who carry it outside of the tennis courts, lose their minds. It's unfortunate.
It's not what's supposed to happen. I think we set an example as players, and the fans should follow. I know it's only a small amount of people doing it, but it kind of disrupts the tournament. This tournament works so hard all year long to make up a good event. I call it the "Happy Slam." Then you come here and you see these scenes. They don't deserve it, this tournament. It's disappointing. I think the tournament will get over it.

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