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March 16, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/I. Karlovic
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. With a couple of games under your belt now, are you beginning to feel like things are moving in the right direction, getting a sense of touch and everything coming neatly into place?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's tough to say. I mean, I don't think I've had an awful lot of rhythm in the last two matches, you know.
Even in the first round, you know, there was quite a bit of serving going on. I don't think I had to face break point yet, you know, in the first two matches.
So that's always a good thing. That kind of keeps you a bit relaxed. But, no, I think I'm seeing the ball okay. My baseline game, I can't really judge it. You know, in practice I feel okay, you know.
But I think tomorrow against González, I think -- or the next day, I think I'll have more answers to that.

Q. A little different outcome than in Cincinnati. What was the difference in dealing with his serve?
ROGER FEDERER: No difference, really. I didn't get broken in Cincinnati, either. I basically beat him 7-6, 6-3 as well, but I just lost the breaker and then I found myself in a breaker in the third.
I think I had two chances on his second serve. Messed it up twice, and I was sent home packing. So it goes pretty quickly against Karlovic. He's a tough opponent to play against, you know. I think he's good for the lower-ranked players to play against just because you'll always have a chance.
For the top guys, it's worse, because we -- you know, it also just depends on a few shots. It's a tough match to play against him. I'm actually pretty happy with the head-to-head I had with him.

Q. Could you focus on the serve itself, not defending the serve but the stroke itself? Who has the toughest serve you've ever faced in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I played Pete and Goran and Andy and Karlovic now, but I still really believe Karlovic has that extra height and bounce and angle.
I don't know if -- probably second serve isn't at good as Pete's, you know, just because he could clutch serve it when he had to over and over again, you know.
But Ivo, his first serve is untouchable, even if you take the right side sometimes. I would think his serve, he's got the best serve. Andy has probably got one of the best serves overall, and Pete has the best serve under pressure.

Q. This is despite the ability of Pete to have such a great variety of placement and great disguise on his serve, even still, Karlovic is just...
ROGER FEDERER: I would think so, yeah, just because he's so much taller than Pete, and, you know, he's got more height. The whole thing just goes for him, you know.
You know, the serve always has a lot to do as well how you back it up. If you just stop the rally after one shot -- look, I mean, me and Rafa, we're not getting broken very often. That doesn't mean we have a great serve, it means we have a great baseline game, too.
I guess it's always a combination of things, and Pete had obviously has all that, whereas Ivo maybe lacks a bit of the baseline game.

Q. When you played those hard-serving Croats, Ljubicic, Karlovic and Ancic and Cilic, do you make any adjustment in your game if so? And if not, is there any difference between them?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, Ivo is different from the rest just because he plays so different and he's so much taller than everybody else, except sort of Isner, and he doesn't serve as big as Ivo does.
With Ivo, you try to get the ball back. If you get the ball back, it's a success on the serve, but then you have to hope you can win the point somehow or he misses a few shots.
So it's a game of luck on the return. Ancic and Ljubicic are more the classier players just with the big serves, you know, so you'll always get your rhythm, even against them.
But against Ivo there is just never really a rhythm, so it kind of makes it hard like that.

Q. When you began that match the court was partially in shadow. When you finished it was full in shadow. Does that make it more difficult to pick up his serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, the thing is, when the sun is like from the side like this or you have sometimes in small tournaments terrible lighting just from the one end, for instance, obviously the ball is lit from the one end from the sun and the other is in the shadow so the ball looks half the size.
So you don't really see the ball, as well. You kind of shank the ball quite often. It made it really difficult in the beginning to see the ball.

Q. Your record in tiebreakers is phenomenal. Psychologically, do you think in a tiebreaker you get stronger psychologically and your opponent gets weaker, or both?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, I'm not sure. I mean, I just kind of hope it's going to go my way. (laughter.)
There's not really a whole lot of confidence in a breaker, you know. You just hope you serve well, hope you pick the right shots. You know, you kind of create the momentum I think throughout the set for the breaker, you know, when the tiebreaker comes around that you take the right decisions.
By then, obviously you have, you know, rhythm and, you know, how good the opponent plays that way. So maybe I can put everything together very quickly. I'm a great decision-maker. Especially maybe in breakers when the pressure is on I can stay cool. Maybe that's paid off over the last couple years. I don't know.

Q. If I'm correct, you're playing a lighter schedule this year, is that right, in terms of number of tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER: Am I? I'm not sure. Depends. Season is not over yet.

Q. Right. But you're starting Rome for the clay court season; is that right?

Q. Looks like you're playing a lighter schedule. How much of that is a nod to try to stay fresh for the big events or a nod to your age and how your body is holding up? What are the decisions going into that?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's got maybe a lot to do with last year. Last year I went through, you know, rough times, you know, with my sickness, with my injury at the end of the year, with the Olympic Games, not having that extra rest that I usually have.
I think those kind of make it more difficult for me. I mean, making Monaco a must-play event, you know, those kind of things make it a bit easier for myself. And then wanting to rest my back now at the beginning of the season, now all of a sudden it looks like I'm playing a lighter schedule.
I think I was just catching up with some time to heal my back, to work again, and just get away from it all, you know, because I was working extremely hard last year to get back in shape, you know. I think it takes its toll.
I played plenty towards the end with Madrid, Basel, Paris, the US Open. I played great. I think traveling to China back and forth is not to be underestimated. I think all of that, I think I needed a rest.
On the clay, I just didn't want to overdo it this year. I've done it in the past, only playing two events leading into Paris. Other years I've played three. Last year I played four. They all kind of worked for my preparation for Paris.
I just figure like this year we'll do it this way, next year maybe I'll do it again differently. I went from one moment to the next. It was not that much thought behind it, to be honest.

Q. When your back acted up keeping you out of Davis Cup, was that quite a disappointment? You might have won the Davis Cup this year.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you don't just play and then you win. Davis Cup needs a bit more than that. I felt sad, you know. I felt bad towards Stan, obviously. After the Olympics I told him I was going to play, also the fans who bought a ticket then couldn't change it.
But at the end of the day, I mean, it's not Federer against the States, it's Switzerland against America. I think that's what some people forget, you know. But obviously I understand the situation, that is when I don't play usually we kind of lose, you know.
So it's unfortunate, but, yeah, it was one of the tougher decisions in my career, because I was criticized at times in Switzerland for some reason. But I think most of them do understand at the end, you know, that I always look at the big picture and I'm always very open and honest with my process, you know, the way I see it.
So hopefully in the future I'll get a chance to win Davis Cup.

End of FastScripts

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