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August 31, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/D. Britton
6-1, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Roger today became the first player to win $50 million in prize money, just to let you know.
ROGER FEDERER: No need to write about that. (Laughter.)

Q. Off to a very good start. How did you feel out there today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, obviously always happy to win matches at Grand Slams or any tournament, so it was a good start to the tournament for me. I didn't drop a set, and, you know, tricky match for me. Playing a guy who's got absolutely nothing to lose obviously.
I'm here as a five-time defending champion, so it makes it a bit tricky. He did play I think really well. He had some very good spells, and I had to make sure from my side that I stayed with him and come back, because I was down a break in the second and in the third. So it was good to still get through in three sets.

Q. He used the word "scarey" when describing what it's like to be out there playing you. We've talked in this room many times about the aura you've had in the past. Last year there was a lot of conversation about, you know, perhaps maybe you've lost a little bit of that. Do you feel like, you know, it's back and you know, I mean, that aura with other players? If you can describe where your head is about that right now.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think with the success I've had, you know, I think especially young players right now, they'll always be in sort of awe maybe of great players. These guys start to be like 10 years younger than me and followed my generation, you know. They were 10 years old, and I was, you know, playing maybe my best and stuff.
So it's like -- it's interesting now, with a new generation coming up and almost idolizing some players. Some maybe me, I don't know, because that's what happened with me. All of a sudden I was in front of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon and I couldn't believe it, you know.
I think, especially if you admire a player, it doesn't matter if he's lost first round, you know, many times or he's won many times the last year or so. It's what he's achieved and what you think of that player.
And then plus obviously the biggest stadium in the world, you're always going to be nervous. Sure, I think I think with the top guys, if you beat them on a regular basis and you're very successful, I think then you can maybe build an aura again, that's for sure.

Q. You were just talking about young players, but what do you think the young Roger Federer who was trying to win the Orange Bowl and trying to somehow figure out the pro tour and get a rhythm, the young boy, what do you think he would think of Roger Federer today with all your records, all your accomplishments, your fame? What do you think his thoughts would be on Roger today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I've come a long way. I didn't ever expect to be this successful. I knew I had something special in me, more talent that other players. Maybe the belief, you know, that I could play at a very high level on any given day.
But I knew I had many problems of showing that day in and day out, because I struggled a lot in practice. So I think where I've come, it's absolutely amazing. Yeah, I mean, if my career to end today, you know, I'm a happy man. I achieved everything I could ever ask for, really.

Q. What is that belief today? You've spoken a lot about the importance of belief to your success every time you step on the court. How would you describe that belief that you have right now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I always had it as a little boy. I always knew I could be, you know, a great player. I always knew I could beat the other guy across the net, even though things didn't look very good. Then later on, you know, it sort of changes because you've proven yourself, you've had success.
But then it's just belief that you can do it day in, day out. You can show it against the best in the world. You can show it in any stadium around the world. All those things, it's just important to have belief.
It varies, it changes, you know, throughout your career, but you've going to make sure that it stays with you, because otherwise you start questioning yourself. This is then when you take decisions on the tennis court which are not the best.

Q. Is your belief now the greatest that it's been?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think so, no. I've had times where I think I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I was going to do, and probably gonna win, as well. So not really, no.

Q. We know you're a student of history. The question is: You don't hear the name Bill Tilden mentioned a lot these days, but a lot of tennis historians contend he's the greatest of all time. What would winning this tournament and tying his record of six consecutive championships mean to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, it's amazing. That's what I'm here for, trying to equal Bill Tilden's record. But I've never met Bill Tilden. Never saw him play, so it's hard to kind of relate to him in any way, you know, except through records.
Yeah, I mean, it's fantastic to be sort of, you know, compared to someone who played such a long time ago, I guess. My generation, or the people I looked up, you know, came much later than Bill Tilden. So it's hard for me to saying about that, really.

Q. Along with your knowledge of history and tennis, do you think your spot in history improved with Rafael Nadal coming along and giving you another champion to challenge you?
ROGER FEDERER: Potentially. I think this is stuff you can talk about when my career is over, really. This is when you analyze, okay, you know, how much did Rafa Nadal help to my career and how much did I help his career? I think it was great, a great rivalry we've had so far. I definitely think it increased popularity in the game.
For my own career, I don't know. I can't answer this. I think this is to be seen when both our playing days are over.

Q. Now that you've won 15 and you got the one that was missing, the French Open, do you have to invent reasons now to win?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't get that.

Q. Now that you've won 15 and you've got the French, do you have to now invent reasons in your mind to win? And what will be those reasons?
ROGER FEDERER: Try to win again and again. That's what it is. I like being the winner of any tournament in the world. That's why when I enter: I try to win it.
If I don't, okay. I walk away. I know tennis is not everything, so it's not a problem. But if I enjoy playing tennis, why should I stop just because I've beaten the all-time Grand Slam record? That's not what tennis is all about.
I don't think if you ask all the other 100 players in the draw, that their goal is to win 16 Grand Slams now. That's not the goal here. It's trying to enjoy, having a great career, and being the best maybe in your country.
You can set different types of goals. Mine are at a very, very high level. That's just the difference.

Q. How has your training regimen changed since you've become a dad? And if so, how?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a whole lot yet, to be quite honest. They're only five weeks old. It's not like they're five years old yet.

Q. You have to give Mirka more attention these days now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I did before. (laughter.) That's part of the deal, you know. I like spending time with her, and that doesn't change. We had a great relationship beforehand. Now it's the same, you know. There's just two babies involved, as well. We're trying to do our best. It's a lot of fun. When I go back to the hotel.
Yeah, I mean, I'll see how it goes the next few months and years.

Q. Your game, the results you've attained, can you talk a bit more about the process, what it means to you being a champion?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't get it.

Q. I just want to know what it means to you to be a champion beyond just the numbers. We talk about all these numbers all the time. Things you pride yourself on throughout the years of being a great player.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think for me was also I gave a good image for the game of tennis. Because for a very long time I was No. 1 in the world and became Laureus Sports Award champion. I was compared to other greats in other sports.
I think it's great if I was part of making the game more popular. That was something I was -- I'm not proud of, because I don't know the impact it really had. But I think it's nice to have maybe a face in the game, and we've had that, you know, with Rafa, myself at the top, you know, in a very good way, I think.
That's something. Then obviously trying to be a good role model for kids. I think that's obviously something I've always wanted to be, that I can make maybe more juniors play tennis, that they enjoy it, that they understand tennis is a fair game, it's a great game to play.
Then I hear that I'm people's favorite player or they love me. For whatever reason it is, it's just nice to hear. So those things I'm very proud of.

Q. A question about serving, not necessarily germane to today's match, but when you're on those rare occasions when you're struggling with your serve, can you figure it out within the match, between the matches, or is it really something that is for the nontournament...
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think it depends on how you're feeling. Sometimes you have a back problem, chest problem, shoulder problem. Then sometimes your serve is up and down. It can be up and down during the match, it can be up and down during a tournament, or it can be up and down throughout a year.
Once your serve is sort of doing well and your body is fine, I think you just sometimes go through maybe a set where you don't serve very well. But I think it's always important that your second serve is good, you know. No matter if your first serve goes out, you know, you have a very solid second serve. That's why you actually can go after more on your first serve, because you know you have -- you're backed up by a good second serve.
That's why -- one of the reasons I can also go for aces, because I feel like I have a very reliable second serve and I can still mix it up actually a lot. Sometimes when things go bad on the serve during a match, it's hard to change them. You try to find what it is, if it's the toss, is it the wind? Is it, you know, the swing? Are you going too fast in the beginning?
But then you're asking yourself many questions, and the next thing you know you're not focusing about playing the baseline points anymore. You're just trying to serve well. It's not a good approach to have. That's why then you just almost say, You know, what? I'll just serve and hopefully it's going to work out for me, you know, in the long run of the match.
But sometimes it doesn't. Then you lose, you leave, and you try to fix it.

End of FastScripts

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