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January 25, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/L. Hewitt
6-2, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does playing Lleyton bring out the best in you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, now it does. Used to not be the case. But we had some really good matches back when I lost, you know.
No, but I always think they're extremely tough. Physically and mentally very challenging. You know you're gonna be caught up in quite a tough match always against him.
Even though the scoreline predicts something else tonight, I had to really dig deep and come up with some amazing shots to beat him tonight.

Q. How did you rate the match tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Very high. Hardly made any unforced errors. If there were some, they were at moments I can live with. I was really able to press on the offensive, serve well when I had to, and I moved well as well. Overall I'm extremely happy.
Yeah, I'm very pleased with my performance tonight.

Q. How important was it for you to take the crowd out of the equation and get a good start early?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the crowd, I'm okay, you know, anywhere it goes really. I'm used to playing in tough conditions around the world, and also nice ones. I consider also crowd support for my opponent fine, too.
But I think the beginning of the match was just more important of giving a direction. I'm a great frontrunner, so I feel like if he gets the first set, it's gonna be a really close match; whereas if I win the first set, it's always gonna be hard for him.
We both started really well, and I was able to get the first crucial break. After that, it was tough for him.

Q. When you talk about being a frontrunner, when you have the first set under your belt, does your mindset change at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I mean, it's just maybe more comfortable being in the lead. You don't ask yourself any questions of, Do I need to change anything around, because what you've been doing has been working, so you keep that up and you can go for a bit more maybe.
I think that's what top guys do really well overall. If you look at it, I obviously have done it so many times I know exactly what I need to do. Also, when I'm down, I just try and react and stay with it.
I think this is where Lleyton is extremely tough. When things aren't going so well, he can fight back. You know, the scoreline predicts 6-2, 4-1, but you don't feel like it's that much. You feel like it's 3-2, 30-All all the time. It's just tight. That's how I felt out there tonight.

Q. Where do you rate your rivalry with Lleyton?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, it's probably a top 5, for sure for me. Obviously the one with Rafa is great. But for some reason, I like the ones who are my age as well: Roddick and Hewitt. I like playing against them, because I came through with Lleyton in the juniors.
Roddick I don't remember him that much back then, but we played on so many big occasions in big matches. Same as Lleyton. And we're the same age. I really like those matches a lot.

Q. You said tonight you thought Nikolay had improved his serve and that's what makes him more dangerous. How has he done that, and what makes him more dangerous on serve now?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he would not hit his first serve, and if he would he would, he would miss it and then he would serve a ton of double faults. That would obviously give him many more opportunities to break.
In Doha when I played him, he hit 27 out of 27 first serves into the court clocking them at around 190. So it's a bit a difference, you know. That makes it a bit more difficult to break.
Obviously he's one of the good return players we have in the game. He moves extremely well and makes it hard.
I'm in for a good match for sure. I obviously favor my chances in a best-of-five set match. We'll see how it goes.

Q. You've got the Grand Slam record, family, and heaps of money. What motivates you now?
ROGER FEDERER: Love for the game, like it's always been. There's always ways to motivate and challenge you. Never really been in it for the money anyway. It's always been my dream to play on the biggest stages around the world, especially Wimbledon.
I've lived through many more things than I ever thought I would, so I feel very fortunate. I'm looking forward to many more years hopefully on tour.

Q. You mentioned tonight you played some amazing shots. How often are you genuinely surprised by some of the shots you come up with?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, quite often. Even though I know I can play really good shots and come up with great backhands, forehands, serves and volleys, and stuff, when you can really produce them in the most important stages of a match it's so rewarding and such a good feeling that all the hard work you put in in the off-season is so like -- it's just a beautiful feeling, you know.
Then if you can start to hit a dropshot or dig in the corner and get the ball back that you think you would never get, but it's a match situation and the adrenaline is there and you just got that extra speed and you get the ball back and end up winning the point, it does still obviously surprise me even today.

Q. Lleyton was saying you're still pretty much the best in the game. What makes you so good, do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: You guys are the experts.

Q. We try to answer it all the time.
ROGER FEDERER: Right. I know. I don't know, I mean, like I said, I think the love for the game is very important, that I go through the daily grind and practice and matches with a very positive attitude, and how much I like to play it.
I think the variety of my shots. Like I said before, I can always change it up and surprise myself again. That makes it a lot of fun for me. Very challenging as well.
I can always adjust to any type of player. Maybe those are the reasons. I don't know. I think with the experience and the mental toughness and the physical capabilities I have, I think it's a very good combination obviously.

Q. Do you think the way you played tonight is the form that helped you get your last Grand Slam? Is it good enough?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I've played great at the US Open, too. I've been very happy with my performances at the Grand Slams for many, many years now.
I'm happy I can always elevate my game against the better-ranked players, especially champions like what Lleyton is.
So that's obviously a very good feeling. But we're only through to the quarterfinals already depending how you look at it. I hope I can go further, but I'm very happy with where my game is at right now. Looking forward to the next round.

Q. Are you getting enough sleep with the twins?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been fine. Otherwise I would let you know. Maybe you can give me a hand. It's been okay actually.

Q. A lot of players are intimidated when they go on the court against you. Can you tell us the last time you were intimidated going on to the court and how you get through that.
ROGER FEDERER: Sometimes -- I'm never intimidated. Not that that's good or bad. I'm just saying that sometimes you're nervous before a match and you don't know why that is. Tonight, for some reason, I was unsure if I was gonna be able to bring my best game.
I don't know why. I told myself I got to be aggressive and go after my shots, and hopefully it's gonna work and not be a disaster. You sit down two hours later and analyze the match, and you're the happiest person alive. It's weird how it goes sometimes.
Almost doesn't matter who or where you're playing. It's just a feeling I have inside of myself. Sometimes I feel very, very confident and I lose in straight sets.
Not something you can predict.

End of FastScripts

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