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August 11, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/F. Niemeyer
7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel out there, first match back since Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: I felt good, you know. It's always nice to be back on the match courts, you know, after spending so much time on the practice courts.
I was happy with my performance today. It was a tough match, because Fred was serving really well and made it hard to get any kind of rhythm because I was serving well myself.
It was a good first match, and I'm pleased I'm through.

Q. Can you take us through the process of deciding to play here rather than waiting for an extra week to come back?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it was -- it all depended on Mirka, if she wanted to make the trip or not, and obviously if the babies were going to be ready to do it or not. It really all depended on that.
That's why I kind of mentioned it to her like one week before the event starts here, and I went from day to day, and at the end we said, all right, I think everything looks all right. And like this, we going to be anyway then together for a long time in North America. That's what she wanted. That's what I wanted. That's why we decided to do it that way.

Q. This was probably the last match for Frederic in Montreal. Tell us about your relationship, what you think about him as a player and a person?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we know each other since I guess 11 years, because we played each other in, I think it was in '97 or '98 in the Swiss Satellite in front of -- you know, like I said on court like in front of two people, and other guys were playing next to us. The atmosphere was rather cold because it was a Winter Satellite in Switzerland and there was a ton of snow outside.
Next thing you know, 11 years later we're playing in front of a packed house here in Montreal. It's a long time coming for both of us. A lot has happened since, but we kind of always, when we saw each other on tour, we always tried to maybe hit together or at least have a chat together.
I always had a lot of news also from the Swiss players of how he was doing, and he's a very nice man. Of course, it's always sad when you leave the game, but he seems at peace with himself by doing this big step. I can only wish him the best.

Q. Obviously after a few weeks off there is some rust you have to shake off. How much of what you did out there tonight was rust and how much of it, if any, was adjusting to your new routine, your new lifestyle? Was there any part of that into it? Did you have to make some adjustments, some changes?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, in the beginning after, let's say, five, six weeks of not having played a match, because you play practice matches but that's not the same, you're just a little bit slow sometimes, your reaction on the return.
Maybe your shoulder is a little bit slower as well, you know, after having only played practice matches.
But, you know, today all in all, I thought it was okay. I wish I could have gotten more balls back on the return, but then that is again due to him serving well and mixing it up well.
But, you know, once there is not much rhythm from the baseline, it's always kind of difficult, and then it comes down to a couple of points here and there and that's how this match was being played, as well, today.

Q. Off the court there was no change to your routine or anything? Life goes on as normal?
ROGER FEDERER: No, because, I mean, I got to be a little bit active to stay in shape and to be ready for the matches. Otherwise I'd rather stay home and do one week, you know, much less and spend time with the family.
But once I commit to playing a tournament, I have to do a few certain things to be in decent shape for a tournament. Mirka is great, you know. She handles it well. I think myself, too; quite laid back, you know, hands on. It seems it's working so far.

Q. You're not the only person who -- Rafa is also back on tour now after a few weeks off for very different reasons. His knee is of concern for everyone. Everyone is watching to see how he does. Gaƫl Monfils came in and his knee was iced. David Nalbandian is out with hip surgery. James Blake has a foot injury. How do you manage to stay so injury-free? Is there any special precaution that you take? You seem particularly good remaining injury-free.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, you'll always find injured players, you know. You can talk about the same thing in six months' time. You'll always find an injured player. Maybe I'm one of them; I hope not. I try to make sure I am not, you know.
I mean, I try to have as good a schedule as possible, you know. I mean, you have to play some certain tournaments which you're, in a way, obliged to play, but at the same time having vacation, having enough practice and doing the right things, you know, I think is key to a player's career.
I guess you need a little bit of luck, as well. If you're injured a lot when you're younger and you play on them instead of maybe taking that break because you have bad advice maybe early on, you know, you carry it through your entire career sometimes, and that then can be a hard thing.
I think Rafa has done actually pretty well considering how hard his game is and how many matches he's played for so many years. He hasn't gotten injured that many times. That's why I'm happy to see him back on tour.
He was only away from the game a little bit, but in tennis terms it's so much because our season never ends. It's from January to November. If you miss two months, it just seems like it's a lot, but it's actually not that much, and I hope now he can stay on tour and not get injured again.

Q. A year ago this time you had an uncommonly early exit from the tournament when it was in Toronto, and obviously what a difference a year makes. You have two Grand Slams under you're belt since then. A lot has changed, but what you sort of taught so many people way beyond the bounds of tennis is about persevering in the way of criticism, doubt, difficulties. And I'm just wondering if you can comment a bit on how you might do that, what you hold on to? Because that is a real lesson for everyone in and out of the sport.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I definitely had to weather the storm, you know, to some degree. We're not talking about me dropping outside of the top 100 or anything. It was like going from 1 to 2 and that seemed like a disaster for some. (laughter.)
For me, that was still okay, because I was still -- you try to hang on to a few things. My thing was trying to hang on to the results in the Grand Slams, and there I reached always semifinals or better. That's why, for me, there was no real need to panic. I was achieving still, you know, regular semis and finals of other events so it wasn't all that bad.
But considering what my, you know, what my goals are and where the media and fans see me, it was tough times, you know, because not only was I maybe not winning the tournaments again I used to, but I was losing to some of those close. Sometimes, like in Paris last year, you know, Rafa crushed me there. It's hard to bounce back from some of those losses.
I'm a strong believer, you know, in that things turn around if you do the right things, and I'm happy -- you know, I got back in shape, you know, after the back problem, after the mono and everything. It was a tough one-and-a-half years, but, you know, I hung in there, and as it shows, it pays off.
It's been an amazing summer because I've had like a full career in like three months. It's been quite something.

Q. How much do you look forward to a tournament like this right now at this stage of the career you're in? How hard is it to get motivated to come out here to Montreal, for instance? Although it is a Masters event, is it still hard to get motivated with everything you've achieved?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. For me, I don't want to say this is like a small tournament, but I got so much pressure everywhere I go that sometimes it's just nicer to play those one-week events, not just the Grand Slams, because those -- Paris and Wimbledon back to back, if you reach finals in both, you know, it swallows six to eight weeks, because you prepare for Paris. Then you prepare for Wimbledon, and then Wimbledon is over and you have the after-effects and you go through three months where you're only playing Grand Slam tennis and it takes a lot out of you.
That's why it's important to take a break. But then when I've had enough of a break and I've practiced a lot, then I'm happy again to go back on tour. It doesn't matter what tournament it is, because I always find something I like about the tournament, and the stadium here for instance is great. People are very friendly and very welcoming. That definitely helps for me choosing, for instance, to come to this event.

End of FastScripts

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