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March 14, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/V. Hanescu
6-3, 6-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it a good evening?
ROGER FEDERER: Tonight? Yes, it was. I was happy with the way I played, you know. Not having played for so long, I thought it was a good match overall. Missed maybe some of the clutch serving when I really needed it. Let's say 30-All, deuce I couldn't really get that one perfect serve I was sometimes looking for, you know, but that's something that happens.
I think Victor did well to hang in there, because I was all over him for at least a set and a half and I could have made a difference really early in the match, and I didn't. So I mean his credit.
Didn't play the best of tiebreaker, but still had a small chance. Remained calm in the third, and I played good tennis.

Q. What were your thoughts watching the video on the big screen and just reliving sort of everything you've done?
ROGER FEDERER: You mean the Grand Slam moments and stuff. Yeah, it's nice, you know. I've seen the video before. It was the 15, so this was the first time I saw the 16.
Of course, also receiving those awards is always a nice thing. Like I said on the court, you know, those are things, you know, that got voted for by other people, especially fellow players or fans, it's something that's very touching.
Then on top of the that, the video was nice, you know, sitting there, sharing the moment with the fans, watching it, as well at the same time, it's emotional, you know.
So it was nice, you know. But the Grand Slam, thank God, is only one part of my career, and the ATP Tour is another one. That's why I'm happy to be here at Indian Wells and trying to win my first Masters 1000 of the season.

Q. Speaking of good feelings, you must have to feel great. You came up with the idea for Hit for Haiti, and now, if I have it right, it's somewhere approaching $2 million in funds, something huge.

Q. And then again last night was, or Friday night was pretty interesting with Andre doing a lot of talking and then Pete, the imitation and Andre sort of taking some jibes at Pete. What were your thoughts about what happened out there?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, obviously it was a great moment for tennis, you know, having so many legends in the game or also former legends, you know, sort of out there mixing it together, you know. Not only the guys but, also the women, and I think it was a great night, you know.
I'm very thankful of course to Larry Ellison for making this work, and then also to donate and create so much money for people who need so much more than we, you know, do, we need.
But I thought it was still a fun night. I think that for me is clear. There was definitely an awkward moment, a bit of a heated moment. It's a bit unfortunate, but that stuff kind of happens.
It's a pity if that's what grabs the limelight and not the event itself, you know. Because for me it was it was a dream to play with Pete, and I'm sure Rafa, as well. He's never even met Pete before.
So to be out there with Andre and Pete was obviously fantastic. That's kind of what I remember, of course.

Q. When that moment happened, do you think to yourself, I've got to do something here to turn things around? Because the tension between Pete and Andre was pretty severe.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, severe, I mean, you can call it whatever you want. I don't think it was that crazy bad, but it was a bit awkward because you didn't know, was it just fun, was it not fun? What was it, you know?
Sure, you try to loosen up the moment, because for us to play tennis with microphones on is not something we're used to, so... (laughter.)
Yeah, I mean, I couldn't even talk to Pete after that, you know, because we were having the microphones on. We have the microphones on, so you're sitting there and you're thinking, what now? I can't say. I wish we wouldn't play with the microphones on, to be quite honest.
I think the idea should be on the side, sort of changing sides we could maybe say something. But the whole time to have the microphone right there it's kind of tricky and dangerous at times, I think as we saw the other night.
But, yeah, I tried to help with the situation. And now being a father, I thought maybe we have to give both guys like a timeout or something. (laughter.)
We didn't have to go that far. They weren't that bad, so it was okay.

Q. Did it bring home to you what a special relationship you have with Rafa? Because your predecessors, the guys that have gotten in that situation haven't always been as friendly as you two are.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, every rivalry is very different, you know. Thank God they are, otherwise it would be boring again, you know.
And obviously we're not from the same country, so that changes many dynamics in a rivalry. Then again, we're not the same age, so that changes again.
So obviously he came up and always had very big respect for me, and me the same for any player out on tour. So that was, I think -- that gave it a good start for both of us, you know.
Then we played on so many occasions and on so many tough and heated moments we came out on top, and you know, I think we respected each other immensely and actually almost appreciated the other guy for being there and pushing, you know, you to become a better player, and I guess at times even a better person, you know.
So I think we've lived many, many incredible moments together on a tennis court, and I think we're thankful to each other in this regard.

Q. Is it hard for you with Larry Ellison, with what happened a month ago in Valencia?
ROGER FEDERER: The beginning was?

Q. With Larry Ellison, with what happened in Valencia, for you to be friendly with him?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no problems.

Q. Have you talked about it at all?
ROGER FEDERER: I did, yeah. Yeah. Sure, I wish we still had the America's Cup in Switzerland, you know, because it was a heroic effort, you know, years ago when he got it away from New Zealand.
And I know Ernesto Bertarelli really very well, obviously, so you could think it could be a bit awkward. But not at all. I'm happy I get along well with both of them. At the end of the day it's sports, so let's be cool about that.

Q. Coming back to tonight's match, he played very close to the baseline, and a lot of the rallies were very aggressive. Was it unusual and did that throw you off at all?
ROGER FEDERER: No. That's how he played in Australia. I've played him on numerous occasions. He always really sticks to the baseline and he doesn't like to move backwards. He half volleys a lot of shots, so it's hard to sometimes if you -- like tonight at certain times -- harder to start varying your game. It always comes back very quick and always the same.
I think that's what he did well today. All of a sudden he wasn't missing that much. He's dangerous with his backhand. And as he stands deep into the court, you know, you don't have much time to create the rallies.
That's why he's a dangerous player. He's tall, too, so he's strong. He's got some feel. He's a tough player.

Q. He was going toe to toe with you hitting well from the baseline. You win the first game of the third set. First point of the second game he tried the dropshot. It seemed like a poor choice. He made a few poor choices on the dropshots. What do you think when a guy does that against you?
ROGER FEDERER: It's tough to hit dropshots when obviously the other guy stands on the baseline. And I do the same like he does, you know, so that's why I didn't hit hardly any dropshots today, except maybe once or twice I was in a perfect position.
But then you have other guys who they return differently, and there is many more opportunities to hit dropshots. I think for him it was important for him at the time to keep the rallies short, stay unpredictable. That was part of it. It wasn't more like him thinking he was in the best position to hit a dropshot.
It was more of an overall strategy that he had. He did the same in Australia. He had a breakpoint, for instance. He liked to hit a dropshot to just kind of completely mix it up and do something different. You know, it's tricky.
Because at the net there, there's always -- sometimes you feel like a 50/50% chance to win the point or lose it. It's sometimes good to bring the other guy in.

Q. You had a lot of three-set matches in your life, and you've won most of them. Is that about you or is that about them saying, Hey, I beat Roger a set; I'm happy? Does it make them lose the third, or is it all about you and you're changing your pattern?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean I think in -- look, I don't know. It's hard to explain. I think you just try to, you know, stick with what has been working well in the match, and try to change what didn't work so well.
Then obviously it's a mental and sometimes a physical battle in these best-of-three-set matches we play. But obviously momentum swings can be huge, you know, in these type of matches.
So I mean, I don't know, I just try to give it all I have. And if, you know, you lose a set, it's not a problem, you know, because you still have a little bit of room to play with, you know.
But it's bad, you know, losing the second one and then going into the third. You feel momentum is on his side, and let's not get down on yourself. It's hard to stay positive, you know.

Q. Just talk about your mutual respect with Nadal. Tennis is an individual sport, and obviously you're playing for yourself, but can you get outside of that? And with someone like Rafa, having the injuries he's had at a young age, do you get concerned for the game when you see that kind of thing happening, or are you just sort of still in your little world and don't get really bothered about stuff like that?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, sure I do care. And I pay attention to things like that, otherwise I wouldn't ask him how are you doing after not seeing him for five weeks. It's not just like the classic, Hey, what's up? It's like, How are you really doing? Because it's important that a guy like Rafa stays in the game.
I must say he's hung in there pretty good actually considering, because years ago people were saying, He's not going to last. He's going to have really issues. I mean, this is not the break he's had.
I've played one more match than him, the final of the Australian Open. And since we've both been resting or been away because we had to.
So that, to me, is not a real injury break, you know. It's really when you cannot go on the tennis court anymore for three to six months. This is when it gets tough, you know.
He's obviously a player who needs to play and needs to practice, and I think he's done really well to hang in there, you know. He's doing all the necessary things to stay healthy. I mean, I see him all the time taping and stuff and stretching and doing necessary work. It's hard. It's a grind, you know.
He loves the sport, you know, a lot.

Q. At 23, did you feel beat up at all?
ROGER FEDERER: 23? Sure, you have times you feel tired. Part of our sport, you know. You ask -- every guy has something small going on, you know. It's just that guys don't choose to talk about it.

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