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March 12, 2010
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Pancho Segura was here, and someone asked him, How long Federer can stay No. 1? And he said, Well, he's No. 1 now, but there's a hoard of other guys behind him and after him. Do you ever think about those guys?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, that's why I wasn't No. 1 here last year. Maybe I was. I lost my ranking maybe later. I don't even remember. I haven't lost my No. 1 ranking for nothing.
Obviously Rafa announced himself way back when, you know, and deserved No. 1. He went on an incredible run there, winning the Olympics. But I definitely think there's plenty of other guys right now who have the game also to either get to No. 1 or win multiple Grand Slams, you know.
But because there are so many, at the moment you don't see anybody, you know, dominating from that group yet, you know.
I still think Rafa and myself, we have the edge because we have won multiple, many Grand Slams, and it's going to be interesting to see how this year plays out, and then I think especially next year, too.
Q. Talk about tonight. You and Rafa are kind of known as your rivalries took over where Sampras and Agassi left off. Talk about having all four of you on the court at once.
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously very special for Rafa and myself. I don't know who Rafa looked up to when he was younger, but my heros were Becker and Edberg growing up; and then as they retired, Pete was the obvious choice. I loved watching him play, and I was lucky enough to play against him. I practiced with him this afternoon, and, you know, it feels very special to share the court with him. I've never played doubles with him.
This obviously is a big moment again in my career, and it's for a good cause, too. On top of that, double-, triple-win situation, any way you want to look at it.
And it's always exciting to playing against Andre. I've had some amazing matches with him also when I was coming through as the new world No. 1. I'm excited about tonight, you know. I'm sure Rafa feels the same.
Q. There was, of course, the great disaster in Haiti which you reacted to.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah.
Q. Another one in Chile and many of these disasters. Does that ever give you pause? Here we are in this beautiful world, so affluent, and we have such good fortune. Do you ever reflect on the lives of the tennis players and the setbacks that have occurred?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I know we live in a good world and in a lucky world, you know, where things are made quite easy, you know, for us, and we still sometimes tend to complain, you know, because -- for no reason.
I did a trip myself to. I went to Ethiopia on the 12th of February, and it's just a nice thing to do if you can help others, you know. Obviously I'm in this fortunate position that I can, you know, help in a big way, and I'm very happy to do so.
I think every human who has an opportunity should give maybe something back, you know. If it's time, if it's money, or if it's just inspiring others, I think it's really important. Because the majority of the world, you know, does live in poor conditions.
Q. And most meaningful moment, most poignant moment on your trip to Ethiopia? Was there one touching moment?
ROGER FEDERER: Getting there, kids singing when I was arriving, and excitement. Maybe not knowing who I am, but knowing that I am the guy who is helping them. It's something that that's very special and makes you want to help more, for sure.
Q. What were you actually doing?
ROGER FEDERER: On a field visit, going to see where my help has gone, you know, to see the classrooms, go see the teachers, speak to them. Because I support, you know, different projects in Africa, and one of them in Ethiopia.
So I decided to do a trip. It was great, you know. I hope I can do it more often. I've been doing it for a while.
Q. Do you think you'll be able to go to Haiti at some point?
ROGER FEDERER: Don't know about that. It's not planned anyway.
Q. On that Ethiopia trip, did any of the doctors ever suggest that maybe your lung problem could have come from that part of the world?
ROGER FEDERER: No. They said I wasn't there long enough for that to happen, and the doctors never suggested that. They say it's something that can happen like that maybe through a lot of traveling and so forth. So no, nobody said it was because of that trip.
Q. You're 100% now?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. That's how I feel now. I feel good again.
Q. Historically when somebody controls the game as long as you have, you've raised the level of play of all the other players. Do you feel now that you have to raise the level of your play a little bit more to stay ahead?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, sure. I think it's always been a goal for me as a player, as a person, to improve, you know. I go out there on the practice court trying to improve every day, so...
I think that is the same for every player out there. I'm no different. Just have to try to find new ways to either motivate you or inspire you or, you know, look at ways to beat the other guys.
You know, if it's maybe tactical or maybe it's your technique that's missing, if I look at my matches ten years ago, or even five years ago, I think I have a bit of a different technique today without maybe thinking about it too much.
But you tend to change as you become older, and it's not always to the positive, you know, but without realizing. So it's just really important to reanalyze your game and find new ways.
I've questioned myself in the best of times, so when it gets more difficult, it's easier to cope with those moments, too.
Q. Probably no one else has done more in the media over past years, and many different players have different views on the media. Some say, Hey, the media should be respected to tell the story, or others think we're a bunch of scoundrels.
ROGER FEDERER: What do you think I think?
Q. I don't want to say.
ROGER FEDERER: Exactly.
Q. Joking aside, could you take a moment and just reflect on the tennis media as you go around the world? What kind of job do you think the media does?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think you go through different phases. I mean, coming through the rankings and, you know, go from regional to national media and international and so forth, you go through different times.
In the beginning they don't know you, so they portray a picture of you which very often you tend to disagree on, you know, because, you know, you give your time, you try to explain yourself, and the next thing you know it's like they see who you are on the tennis court and then they think this is exactly how you are off the court, as well.
The image gets twisted, you know, sometimes. I can see that some people don't like that obviously. I try to also change things so they would actually start to understand me.
If you want to, how you say, if you want them to understand you in the proper way, you have to give them more time. Because if you don't speak to them they don't know you.
I said, Okay. I know I'm not going to be able to escape the media, and so let's be open and easy and honest with everybody. Because at the end of the day, I mean, you guys tell our story to the fan who's reading the paper or, you know, TV and whatever, and I just think that's important.
Maybe we can get more fans into the game and grow the game. So for me, that was always the way I looked at it. And I said, I don't want to be miserable coming to press conferences, because I can't escape them anyway. Might as well have some fun with it and make it interesting.
I think I've learned a lot how to handle the media, because it's -- you're in the spotlight all the time. You have to control yourself and be careful what you say, because everything can be twisted again.
I think I've done a pretty good job, so I'm happy. I'm still here.
Q. This may be absurd, but do you actually enjoy doing the media sometimes?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, at times I do. Not maybe the five minutes before I come in it's like, Here we go again.
But once I sit down, I actually do get some fun out of it.
Q. What are your feelings on this tournament, the unique atmosphere out here at Indian Wells?
ROGER FEDERER: I enjoy coming back here. That's why I have not missed it in a very long time. I've also been very successful here, so I like the surface and it can really play in my favor. Fans are great. They understand the game over here.
Myself, I feel fine. I mean, I hope I can continue some sort of good form from what I -- from the way I was playing in Australia. You know, there was never a guarantee, and I've had a long break now, but in practice I've been feeling okay.
But I definitely need matches to really be able to judge my game, and I'm excited to be a few days away from my first round.
Q. This is kind of the fifth Open or fifth Major/Master. You've won three already. Talk about the possibility of becoming a first ever four-time winner.
ROGER FEDERER: Here at Indian Wells? Sure, it's special. I don't know. It would be great -- it's not -- I'm sure I'm here to win the tournament, but the focus is more on let's try to win the first match, you know, and then go from there.
Like I said, I've had some amazing matches here, you know, in this city, on the center court. I think I always feel very good walking out on center court.
It just feels like I would play on this court the whole time. Dimensions are great, and the crowd also adds to it. So it would be very nice to win it for the fourth time. I was disappointed losing last year, losing in the semis, because I think I had a good enough game to win the tournament.
It would be nice winning the tournament again because I haven't done so in the last couple years.
Q. When did you feel you were back 100% health-wise, and when did you arrive here, your preparation for this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, jet lag is tough here, coming from Europe to the West Coast. It's a big one. It took me, yeah, at least a week to get accustomed to everything. That's why I arrive really early. I arrived here Thursday of last week already.
A few days ago I think I definitely felt like, you know what? I'm back to my normal self. Yesterday I practiced for four hours, so this is when I knew, okay, no problem. I'm ready to go, so now I can slow it down, enjoy tonight, and then hopefully start with a good match on Sunday.
Q. Last year when you were here you talked about the Grand Slam, how you thought it was possible to win in this era. How possible do you think it is for you this year to win it?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, it's not something I actually thought about after I won the Australian Open and the match point was over, that okay now I have to win the Grand Slam. It's the media who reminded me I have the opportunity to do so this year.
So that's why -- it's not something on the top of my list, you know, because I can't prepare in a different way just to win the Grand Slam, you know. It's something that's going to happen or not. I've been a few sets away of doing it, and that's, for me, almost good enough already, you know.
But I'll definitely give it another try. The preparation for clay will be perfect for the French Open. Wimbledon, it would be perfect if the French wasn't there, but I'm not going to do what Lendl did, because I've been able to win back-to-back French and Wimbledon, so I know I can do it again.
At the US Open, anyway, I'll be well-prepared, as well. I hope physically I'll hold up. Mentally it's not going to be a problem. It's an exciting year ahead of me.
Q. What would it mean to accomplish that, to be the first one since 1969 on the men's side?
ROGER FEDERER: Incredible, but I'm still so far off that it's all speculation, really.
End of FastScripts