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March 14, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Gicquel
7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Roger, the late news about your first one coming soon, I'd like to know what kind of thoughts is that bringing to your life and your career about closure and on motivating you to - maybe hopefully a child will see you playing?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, like I think in a way I always had the dream that once I became No. 1 in the world that if I have a child I hope I have it early enough so he can see me playing, you know. So this is very exciting, you know.
I think it's not going to really disturb my mindset on tennis a whole lot, you know. I've always made sure that my schedule is, you know, get away from tennis a little bit and then come back when I'm ready to play again.
That's why I didn't play for the last five to six weeks. I think it's going to be pretty much the same. I don't really have to adjust a whole lot.
If it does something to me, I think it's going to motivate me to play for a long time.

Q. Now that it's match tested, how does your back feel?
ROGER FEDERER: It was okay. I was happy, you know. A bit rusty maybe, you know, coming back from not having played. But it was okay. You know, I'm happy I've won. That's always most important.

Q. You brought tennis up to a real high level, and historically when players get there, they brought everybody else up to a high level. Now you've got to make another jump. Do you see it that way?
ROGER FEDERER: Umm, well, to some degree, you know. I'm proud of how long I've been able to stay at the top, you know, and maybe inspire maybe the young ones in the future and the ones that probably played towards the end of my career.
Many of them, to them I'll probably be their hero, you know, like Pete was to me or Rios, players like that.
I don't know if I really have to like make a major jump, you know. I just think keep on working hard, you know. I think once you've been at the top for so long it's about being able to stay there, and I think that's what I was doing.
With Rafa the last few matches, for instance, it's been down to a few points here and there, you know. That makes a difference of winning a Slam or not winning a Slam. So I think I just have to make sure next time I play him I get those couple of points, you know.
Other than that, I'm pretty happy how I bounced back from my sickness last year.

Q. How would you say the game has changed over the past four or five years to today? What is the biggest thing you've noticed that's different now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I can only speak from when I arrived on the tour. I had the feeling that not all the players were serving great. You know, everybody had some sort of a weakness in their game. Maybe it was, you know, they had a massive forehand, but then had a weak backhand. You know, had a great serve and a great forehand, but, again, terrible backhand.
You know, there was always a place you could go to, or someone had a weak second serve. You know, quite a few players, a weak serves. Funny techniques. Today you don't see that. Everybody can sit a good serve, good forehand and backhand. Doesn't matter if you don't volley that well, because you only come in when you have to just to finish off, and usually that's just a overhead.
I think that's changed the most. I think that came along with the change of strings. I think that kind of changed it quite a bit. You know, we have more pace now, we have more angle, whereas before we were making sure we hit it flat and hard and attacked down the line.
Today I think the crosscourt is as good as a approach as down the line is, whereas those kind of things have changed a lot, I think.

Q. With that said, were you a little surprise by Marc's serve today? He seemed to serve very, very well.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I knew he had a great first serve, great form, great serve, especially first serve. He places it well, you know, close to the lines. He was consistent, and I knew what was expected today, and that's exactly what happened.

Q. How badly did you need that time off after Australia? I remember you said that the end of the year, the time off at the end of the year you didn't feel it was really enough. Did you really need that break? Can you talk about that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it wasn't sufficient for me anyhow, because you've got to look back. I had to put in an incredible effort to get back to my level after being sick at the beginning of last year.
And then it was the Olympic Games being, you know, in 2008, that didn't help either. I needed more of a break and more, you know practice. So I thought that even when I take a rest, you know, my back was killing me at the end of last year. I just had to take a rest, and this was the time to do it, because Davis Cup was my goal to win this year.
I was going to play the first round. That being said, I announced that I was going to play sort of at the US Open time I remember. I didn't have a back problem back then yet. So I shuffled my whole schedule around and I decided not to play Dubai and Davis Cup. I feel better now.

Q. Two part question: One, when is the baby due? And two, do you kind of feel emotionally you're entering a new stage in your life, because new father is a pretty big thing, big anticipation?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I mean, I'm completely excited, you know, but I've been thinking about something like this happening for the last two or three years.
So for me, this is not a massive shock. But when it does, you know, happen, you know, your girlfriend-wife is pregnant, definitely changes your mindset. You know, all of a sudden you're hoping everything goes well, whereas before you're just joking about it. From this respect, I'm excited that, you know, baby comes out healthy and everything goes okay.
Other than that, it's just happiness. And everybody around me, all the people I talk to, everybody is like, Wow, it's such great news, you know. It's a nice time.
And, yeah, baby is due in summer.

Q. Did you say summer?
ROGER FEDERER: Summer is a big word, yeah. I'm not going to say any more.

Q. Do you feel that you and Andy and Novak and Rafa have separated yourself from the rest of the field?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, last few months or couple of years, maybe. You know, but Andy just sort of made his big breakthrough last year when he, what was it, finals of the Open? He's only been around at the very top, you know, for almost a year now.
Novak has been around for maybe two, two-and-a-half years. Rafa and me have been around much, much longer. But I think we've definitely been the faces of the game for the last, you know, many years now.
We've been the ones always also in the finals of the Slams, so I think that definitely we have been better than the rest, you know. But I still think behind there's dangerous players, and I think especially the bunch sort of from -- I don't know, I mean, the rankings change all the time in tennis -- but from like 8 to 30, you know, they're all dangerous. They're all as good. It just depends on who got, you know, sort of a breakthrough tournament throughout the year.
So I think maybe it's a little bit easier to get into the top 10, but it's super hard to get into the top 4, so I think that's what's kind of happening right now.

Q. One of the most shocking news stories I saw in Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago was how in Switzerland Farasi, the baby hippo, beat you as Swiss of the Year, and I can't imagine how that happened. I was wondering if you had any comments about that?
ROGER FEDERER: I only heard about the hippo like a day ago. (laughter.) I never heard of the story, but at least the hippo is from Basel, right? I can take that loss. That's okay. (laughter.)

Q. You've got doubles tomorrow. Going against the Bryans. Any thought about the doubles tomorrow against the Bryans?
ROGER FEDERER: We're on a roll. I haven't lost like in seven months in doubles. My partner is going to be a problem. He hasn't won this year yet. I got to pull him up and hopefully make him play well.
But, no, we beat them at the Olympics. I beat them at the Olympics with Stan. But I beat the Bryans I think here before in Indian Wells. Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun.

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