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January 19, 2009

Roger Federer


6-1, 7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How difficult was it tonight? You played with him four times. You were 7-6, 7-6 in Monte-Carlo. In Dubai a fight. How was tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: It was a close match. I think it could have gotten easier or could have gotten tougher, you know. I think the second set was kind of a close set, you know, which was the key to win.
He had many chances, you know, so it was good for me to erase those. I thought I actually served okay. I was pretty happy with my game. I had to get used to playing at night again. Just struggled with my rhythm early on in the match, in the first game, then also in the second game, new balls, I couldn't control them as much.
All in all, I thought it was a good match. Seppi hits a good ball. It's tough to play against him.

Q. You said something important on the court today, that you watched the sunset. That kind of mental relief made you seem more hungry in the tournament. You look different but in a good way.
ROGER FEDERER: I do take vacation every year, two weeks, two and a half weeks, where I go on vacation to the beach and take it easy. I've been doing it for the last six or seven years now. I always take at least two weeks. We had a nice time again after the exhibitions in Macau and Kuala Lumpur. It was needed. The season was long and tough. But it was a good one. I finished strong at the Olympics, at the US Open.
I like to just get away from everything, get away from people, just be alone for a while with my girlfriend. We had a lovely time. Then you're also hungry again to practice. You're happy to come back on tour.
That's always what I look for when I have a schedule, is that I enjoy the tournaments but then also I enjoy being away so that I'm happy to be back again, have new stories, happy to talk to guys, happy to meet the fans, sign autographs like crazy, go out on court and leave it all out there. I like to have these extreme ways.

Q. What happened last year was different. After this mental rest, we have the Roger Federer that was in 2004, '5, '6, or am I wrong?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe I'm a bit more relaxed. The times when you're No. 1 in the world, you put your head down, you try to win as many tournaments as possible. Maybe sometimes you forget to enjoy it as much as you can because everything happens so quickly.
At the same time it's a nice time to be No. 1 in the world, having everybody talking about you. But I'm getting older. I'm enjoying myself more. I still love the traveling. I love competing out on center court like tonight. Those are good feelings.
Maybe just today or the last six months of last year, as well, after having a tough year, sometimes you can show more because you've been through a tough time. I show maybe a bit more emotions, a bit more happiness, which maybe people didn't see before.

Q. Seppi had 10 breakpoints during the match. Do you think he's fragile in those moments, afraid to do something, less aggressive, or it's you that became more aggressive?
ROGER FEDERER: You know how it is, you have days where you make five of five, then you have days you make zero of 10. You have to try to play in a dangerous way or a controlled aggression, and sometimes you also need a bit of luck. One time he was lucky to serve a breakpoint, a net cord. Sometimes these things need to fall your way.
I think the first breakpoint of the match, he should have made that one, or the second one where he had an easy backhand approach shot, missed it into the net cross-court. This is where it already started. You have to go way back. Number six, seven, eight are not getting easier as you already missed six or seven.
The thing is, when you miss so many, it becomes a tendency, you keep on doing it. He was struggling with his forehand on the breakpoints. It was good for me. I was trying to look for that. I was playing tough. I was trying not to make any unforced errors, and it worked on those points.

Q. When you called the Hawk-Eye, did you feel the ball was out?
ROGER FEDERER: The set point?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: I was laughing because I actually made quite a great shot myself to pass him actually. I was kind of happy. Either way I was kind of happy that I didn't touch the ball or anything. If I had to replay the point, I kind of deserved it as well. I think it was good for me that it was out. That was obvious.

Q. Moya and Ferrero, former No. 1 players, lost today in the first round. Does that surprise you? Can you imagine where they find the motivation to keep going and playing?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm disappointed seeing them losing because they're great guys, great tennis players. Seeing them lose is not so much fun, to be honest. I practiced with Ferrero on Friday, my day off in Kooyong. He was playing great.
Maybe in matches like this you can maybe tell they grew up on clay. In their best time, their confidence, they would win such matches. With little play, maybe not being high seeded anymore, with a few doubts, maybe getting older, you know, hard courts, it is tough for them in the long run. That's when maybe came out a little bit today.
Santoro is a tough customer. Korolev is a guy that takes a lot of chances. It's hard to say. But it's definitely not the end. I hope they will bounce back and come back storming.

Q. You mentioned Korolev. That's going to be a tough matchup next time.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I've never played against him. I was obviously expecting Carlos to come through in some ways. I've seen him play a little bit, Korolev. He's aggressive off the baseline. Definitely brought up on a fast court. I guess grew up in Russia, the States.
Yeah, it tells the way he plays. I have to be careful. He takes big shots at the ball. I have to make sure I maneuver him around and serve well. We'll see.

Q. Do you feel like it's kind of a match that really got you into the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was a good match, sure. In Doha the same thing. We had long rallies. Had to really battle hard. I had to run a lot today. Put in also an effort on the defensive side to stay in the rallies because it's hard to find sometimes the weak spot in Seppi's game, forehand or backhand. He makes you run a lot. I thought he was serving much better today than he did, for instance, in Doha. I returned him really easily there. Today I really thought he was hitting his spots really well. That kind of made it a bit more tough today.

Q. You had a particularly good stretch the last five games of the first set. What does it feel like whenever you get in a zone like that?
ROGER FEDERER: The thing is, everything happens very quickly. Of course, your service games, you're just serving well, you're in control. But it's nice to get the returns back, put the pressure on. Then when you have an easy forehand, you put it away. When you have tough shots, you don't give anything away. You stay in the rally. You may hit the other guy a tough shot. You can just create pressure by doing this.
Of course, it's a great feeling, seeing the other guy struggling to hold serve and you're comfortable, you're easy, everything you're trying to do is working. It actually gave me a lot of confidence. It was good to start off the tournament like this.

Q. Do you get back to South Africa these days, either privately or for the foundation?
ROGER FEDERER: Planning a trip probably the end of this year. I'm looking forward to that. The last time I've been there has been a few years now. So, yeah, at the end of this year I'll be there.

Q. Do you still have a plot of land?
ROGER FEDERER: That's long since gone. Trying to sell it since a while.

Q. Do you feel more confident now than before you won the US Open last year?
ROGER FEDERER: Before the tournament or after?

Q. Right now. Do you feel more confident than when you won the US Open last year, before you won the US Open last year?
ROGER FEDERER: Before the US Open?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I feel better today just because I've had a decent preparation. Wimbledon is long gone. I guess the Olympic match against Blake kind of hurt in the singles. Even though I was playing well, I couldn't really win a tournament on hard court all season long until the US Open came around. I was just struggling a little bit with my timing. I felt that in the preparation. But was kind of in good spirits because of the Olympic gold in doubles.
This time around I felt great during Kooyong. I had good preparation, feel well. I should feel better this time around than before the Open.

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