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January 21, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/E. Korolev
6-2, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Another good win today. You must be feeling good with yourself.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was a nice match. I was happy the way I played. I knew it was going kind of difficult because he takes a lot of risks. Yeah, I'm happy the way I came up with a good game plan.

Q. Nice to see the chipping and charging.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, occasionally I like to do that. Yeah, I tried to mix it up a bit today, you know. I don't know, just tried to hit with him, and it worked out well today. It was nice.

Q. Is playing Marat still a very exciting prospect?
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. It's going to be a nice match for sure. We have a history. We have played a few times. We've played in Majors before and played some good matches before. Played in Davis Cup before.
So yeah, we go way back. Him, of course, being a former No. 1, same for me, former Grand Slam champion, it's an intriguing matchup. Back when he was really at his very best -- we had different personalities growing up. I sort of chilled out and he kept on going.
It was just always, I thought, a good matchup. So I was actually happy.
I think it was last year at Wimbledon I played him. We had a good match there. Yeah, I expect it to be tougher here on the hard courts, which should suit his game more.

Q. Do you have a preference whether it's a day or night match?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. You know, I don't think the guys are going to have a problem with the heat. I think he has a great five-set record. He's tough and never has any really physical problems. I have no preferences.

Q. Still seems a bit strange when you said "former champion like me."
ROGER FEDERER: Former No. 1 I said.

Q. Former No. 1. Does that seem a little bit strange?
ROGER FEDERER: For both of us. I didn't say former champion. I said former Grand Slam champion and former No. 1.

Q. I misspoke.

Q. Does that still seem a little bit strange, to use the word "former"?
ROGER FEDERER: That's the way it is. It's a fact, right? I was a very proud man for a long time and still today about the record. Today Rafa deserves it because he's hung in there for a long time. He could have lost his No. 2 position for a long time against Djokovic, so he deserves it. It's fine.

Q. Did you catch any of his match last night?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I was at dinner. But I'm not surprised.

Q. Do you have any thought about the changes the ATP made this year about the schedule and points system?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, what do you want me to say? What do you want to hear? Good or bad. Nobody changes rankings, so that's been okay. Would have been good to change a few spots here and there.
No, it's all right the way it is. We've had better and worse times.

Q. What do you think of Ivan's sudden departure from the ATP board?
ROGER FEDERER: I was involved in the whole process, so I was, of course, disappointed. Ivan is a close friend of mine, and I know how tough the decision was to make. I still hoped he was going to continue. But at the same time, he's still an active player and wants to give it one last shot until the end of his career. Everybody completely respects that. It's not end of the world.

Q. What about his suggestion that you would be an ideal replacement?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, maybe not tomorrow. Maybe at some stage. I never thought about it, really. Of course it's nice that he thinks of me, that's for sure.

Q. Have you talked here with Etienne's replacement? And if so, any first impressions?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. He came to Dubai. I met him in December, and he also saw Rafa and Novak before he got appointed, sort of get the definite okay. Everybody met him, the top 3 guys.
I met him here again, yes, and I have a good impression. He's a smart man, smart and honest. I think a guy who can do an excellent job for the ATP.

Q. Were you concerned that he wasn't European?
ROGER FEDERER: That was Rafa's concern. I figured, let's get a good man. Doesn't matter where he's from. I guess that's why it was important for Rafa to meet him before, because I knew Adam from Nike.
So for me it was important that Rafa got to meet him and got a good feeling about it. If Rafa maybe wouldn't have agreed 100% chances would have been slimmer for him. I'm not sure.
I think Rafa was comfortable with the decision, and he also then realized it was just important to get the right man and not an American or European. At the end of the day that doesn't matter.

Q. Does he need a second in command that knows more about the professional game of tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the question was at some stage also do we a appoint someone who's already in the game, who know a lot about tennis and has maybe even played himself, or do we take somebody outside.
So there was a few guys left at the end. The best man basically made it in the end. But I think you learn quickly in tennis. I think he wants to learn a lot right now.
I think it's great we have a Grand Slam in the first week of the year. It's not like he's never been to a tennis tournament before. He's been into sports and he's been to tennis tournaments. I remember meeting him like five years ago here already.
He's been in the game a long time, so it's not like we get a complete stranger who's got no idea about the rules of tennis. That's not the guy we appointed here.

Q. Your opponent today, he kind of goes for every shot. So does that remind you of yourself maybe five years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe ten years ago. Five years ago I was a bit more -- I think a bit more easy already.

Q. Last year you said you created a monster. Do you feel like that monster is still there?
ROGER FEDERER: To some degree everybody still expects me to win every match. But, well, I mean, it went overboard there for a while already back in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Every match I played, when I lost a set it was incredible. It was kind of just a bit exaggerated from everybody.
People like that quote. You know, I like it too, because I'm happy I created that monster. I was very successful and still am, so I hope I can create it again.

End of FastScripts

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