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August 12, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Llodra
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Nice to play some old-school tennis again today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it is fun playing that kind of a style once in a while. Again, I kind of miss it, obviously. Having come through the rankings, you know, back in '98, '99, 2000, I was facing many of those kind of players, especially on the faster courts indoors. You had many more of the clay courters purely playing on clay or slow hardcourt, and hardcourt specialists on the grass and the indoors and the faster hardcourts, and then sometimes they would mix up, and today that's not the case anymore. Everything is much more open for everybody to play on all the surfaces, and it's a different kind of tennis today. But it was fun playing against Michael today. I thought he played well.

Q. Has anyone ever asked for your shirt after a match before? When was the last time you were on the receiving end of an underhanded serve?
ROGER FEDERER: It's the first time I got an underarm serve; third time somebody asked me for the shirt.
He said there was no chance to get a round, that he needed one for his kids. So it's like, Okay, no problem. I've known him 16 years, and he's older one year, so I couldn't say no.

Q. You know, I noticed maybe more than the past when you're ahead in the games you're starting to try and shorten the points, serve and volley. Is it something you focused on, or was it something that you've added with Paul Annacone or...
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think today again is one of those kind of matches, short rallies were always going to happen. This is how it was used to be played. You rather hit a volley than a passing shot.
And he's a good volleyer, a good athlete at the net, and that's why you want to try to move forward early on in the point, because otherwise if you play just one shot a bit passive, he'll be the one making the move, and then you have to come up with maybe a passing shot on the run.
That is not something you want to do. So I think that was obviously one of the reasons why I played offensive today.

Q. Who else asked you for your shirt, and did you give it to them?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. No problem. Whoever asks, I give it, you know. It was not on the court. The guy one time, it was in the elevator coming back -- well, in the elevator coming back from the match. (Laughter.)

Q. It was another player?
ROGER FEDERER: It was another player in Bangkok. Yeah, it was fun. He was a Brazilian.

Q. Can you explain exactly how your association with Paul Annacone came to be? Who approached who? Did you speak with Pete or Tim to get their insider info on what he's like as a coach?
ROGER FEDERER: Spoke to Tim about it. Been in touch with Paul for many years, really, because he was always very friendly with our team through obviously work with Henman and Pete before that, so always got along well.
I contacted him after -- we had contact a year ago already, but it's really only this year now that sort of the LTA thing is phasing out that I thought it was the right moment to approach him. That's kind of how it went.

Q. I watched you practice a little bit in Miami this year, and you were with Severin and hitting with Dlouhy, I think. You were just having a great time. You were...
ROGER FEDERER: I like tennis, you know. (Laughter.)

Q. Looked like you like tennis. Today there were some points of levity, also. You kind of framed one shot and turned around and laughed. How important is that attitude for you throughout your career? How does it help you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's important in the long run, you know, that -- I mean, in practice, anyway, I'm obviously much more laid back than in the match, because in the match a point here or there can have huge momentum swing and you end up losing the match.
I'd rather be focused and be around for many matches than, you know, play the clown and be only here for one match.
It's always a fine line to know how much can you really laugh, how much can you have fun. But today, I know my opponent so well and having a lot of fun points, I think it was really a possibility to have more fun out there.
In the practice, I always have it. It's important regardless if you're playing well at tournaments or not that the practice, you always, you know, enjoy it, because if you don't enjoy those anymore, then the whole grind becomes really tough.
That's never happened to me, and that's why I'm happy to be here.

Q. Speaking of shirts, your choice of color has been generating a lot of buzz for some reason. Do you get to choose what you wear, or does Nike choose to put both you and Rafa in pink this week?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it was a coincidence that we're both in pink. I didn't even know he was going to be playing in pink, because we kind of decide the colors we are going to play probably over a year ahead.
I don't know where my head was when I chose pink, but I like it, you know (laughter). Honestly I've gotten a lot of praise for it, you know.
People apparently like it, you know. So that's a good thing. It's only for, unfortunately or luckily, only for two tournaments because I'm going to be changing again for the Open, and I thought it was going to be something fun for the summer. That's kind of how it goes.
No, I have a huge impact and input on what I'm going to wear. One time I think I was supposed to wear something yellow. I forgot that I said yes to it. I asked them if I couldn't just change it and play in the old shirt, so that's happened before.
Now I'm much more on top of it from my side, especially, knowing when the deadlines are and when to choose the colors and if it's a shirt or a T-shirt. We work very closely with Nike. It's a lot of fun, and they're great.

Q. You talked about having a fun match and some kind of fun shots. One that jumped out to me, it was like a half volley in the game that you won -- you went up 4-3. Do you know the shot I'm talking about? It was a half volley over the net and it kind of spun back and looked like it hit your opponent in the face almost with -- there was so much spin on it.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't remember it.

Q. You don't remember the shot? It was a good shot.
ROGER FEDERER: Anyway, it was a good one? Perfect.
No, but like you say, I think there were some good ones out there, some unusual shots, you know, like the lob, the passing shots, the little flick stuff. You have to come up with -- I remember that's how I played the whole time, coming up, and then I had to improve so much on my baseline game because all the guys leading the rankings sort of like Ferrero and Nalbandian and Hewitt and Safin and Roddick even, I mean, they were all playing from the baseline.
This is when I realized I also have to be more patient and not just approach on anything, because they were not coming in anymore. You have to maneuver the opponents around a bit more and be smart about it. So it was a really fun match. I enjoyed it.

Q. What are you looking to change -- I guess your next opponent, Tomas Berdych, you lost to him the last few times out.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I definitely have to go back, and, you know, think what didn't go so well against him and what did work well. He's definitely on the run right now, so hope to stop him a bit. He played great in Paris, at Wimbledon, and also, he beat me in Miami in a tough three-setter where I had match point, so that was a bit of a pity, obviously.
So I hope to learn from those mistakes and come up with a good game plan tomorrow.

Q. You talked about how the game has changed in terms of the style. Llodra, you used to see a lot more of those guys. What about the depth? You see at an event like this, you don't have a Tsonga or Del Potro, and Roddick is not here, and yet there seems to be match after match -- the depth, do you notice a change over the past decade?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what I see is that guys are serving harder in general, you know. Everybody's clocking the 200 quite comfortably today. Before, 200 used to be a big serve. Today it's kind of the norm.
Second serves, you know, we used to have a lot of guys serving 130s, 150s before. Now everybody is around 150, 160, 170, and that kind of neutralizes the point a bit more from the start.
I think also guys maybe return a bit better but then again maybe don't volley as well, so there's not much of those pressure plays like we used to have. Match is played on a couple shots here and there like we see indoors or on grass sometimes. Those you had much more in any surface, you know.
So I don't know if it's harder or not, but I definitely think the depth is big. Guys are hitting the ball bigger than ever. I think the string has been a huge change in how the guys are playing these days. Before, I remember you could hit hard and long. Today you can even hit hard and short cross, which is incredible, you know, the angles we can get when we hit the ball.
And I think that's been the biggest change is that you can just go from hitting long to hitting short cross all of a sudden with the same amount the space, and that's something that was not possible with sort of the all-gut string before when I was coming up.

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