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January 3, 2011

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Happy New Year.
ROGER FEDERER: Same to you.

Q. A year ago you came here after perhaps the most fantastic season that you've ever had. This time you come having had a good finish to the season with a new coach. To what extent do these things give you a different vision of what you want to achieve in 2011, and does it mean that you have a different plan on how to go about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the last -- what has it been? Really sort of eight seasons have all been so good, you know. Better than I ever hoped them to be, that every time you come out of the season and you're excited about the new season because you can't get enough of the success and the life you're living and the dreams you're able to chase.
So then if you finish first, second, or third, it doesn't really change much because I still had amazing highlights last year. Like you say, a new coach joined my team, which again also made it exciting coming up with maybe new winning ways and those kind of things.
And obviously today I enjoy myself maybe more than even when I came on tour, so the success is only one part or a small part of how I approach the next season, because I pretty much always work in the long term, I guess, you know, and that's why when the new season starts, you know, everything sort of gets put back to zero, the points and those sorts of things.
For me now, that break was rather short. I think it might have been a good thing, because I've been playing really well at the end, and I hope I can carry it over, still no surface change, so I hope I can kind of bring my momentum over to 2011 and I can expect myself to play good tennis again.

Q. What emphasis has Paul Annacone had? Has he brought a considerable change in the way you look at things, or has he just tweaked things? What has his influence been?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's just nice talking to someone who maybe came in more from the outside, because with Severin we have been working more on the inside. He knew me so well since a very long time, obviously, and then being Davis Cup captain and traveling me for 30-plus weeks for many years. I think that's very interesting for us to all work together.
But obviously Paul came from the outside and maybe has always seen things in my game he could never really tell me because we haven't been working together. I don't just go up to coaches and just ask them for free advice, you know. It's just not the way I go about things.
I think it was very exciting for both of us to start working. Some always feel like the impact needs to happen immediately, which maybe it kind of did, I don't know, but also the surface change to the hard courts definitely helped. I think there's good harmony in the team, which was obviously key for me to be able to play well. I'm a very easygoing guy.
My team is great, and we all get along really well. I think Paul integrated extremely well into the team, and it makes it fun to come up with new ways trying to beat an opponent and maybe showed me also some ways that I didn't know you could beat the opponent that way or show me some weaknesses of opponents that maybe are not so visible that he's seen, and those I'm able to exploit now a bit more maybe.

Q. Do you actually see a longer offseason in the coming years? We haven't seen a long offseason. Do you see it happening the next year or the year after that?
ROGER FEDERER: A longer offseason?

Q. Offseason, yes.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, like you said, we have a longer offseason starting in two years. We have two more weeks in the offseason. I know it's not two months, but I'm not sure if that would be the right thing as well to do. I think we try to do our best to accommodate the players, the fans, the media, and then obviously especially also the tournaments.
We work sort of hand in hand, you know, on the ATP board level and we try to come up with the best possible ways. It's not always easy, because you have to imagine, like a tower, you move one thing on the bottom, the whole thing rattles through.
It's a tough thing, but I'm very happy to be part of the process. So I can give my input, not only to just start to criticize through media because I have the power of the microphone, so if there is someone to blame as well as myself and I am trying to listen to all the players and all the tournaments what we all need, and sometimes we need to make compromises.
But sure, it will be great to have a huge, long offseason, but I think also the tour works extremely well the way it is. It's been successful. We haven't seen a crazy amount of injuries. In tennis or in professional sports, you always see some injuries. I mean, there is just no denying that professional sports is hard on the body, and after many years on tour and mistakes you've made yourself sometimes, you can't avoid injuries, and that's why I think the schedule is fine as it is right now.

Q. What makes for a good offseason? Four weeks? Three weeks?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I guess something between six weeks and eight weeks is a good thing so you can maybe go on vacation for one, two, three weeks, depending on how much you want, because I'm told that inflammations, for instance, take about three to four weeks to heal.
So that's a good thing, you know, if you can get over that, and then on top of that, practice again for two, three weeks. That's why I'm saying six to eight weeks kind of makes it work. Four weeks is obviously very short because you barely get a week of rest and then you have to, you know, start working out again.
It's also just getting away from the daily, you know, sort of stress, meeting a lot of people, all the travel we do, to be able to maybe stay in one place for over a month, that's the kind of things, you know, we're trying to push for. It's all happened so we're very happy.

Q. Of course there is a rivalry with Rafa, but how do you consider the field of the other players this year?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't understand the beginning.

Q. You have this rivalry with Rafael Nadal, but I would like you to tell about the other players and the rivalry with the other players.
ROGER FEDERER: My rivalry with the others? Well, I think it's a big pity last year that Davydenko failed away with an injury. Del Potro, the same thing, and González also had one, for instance, and Tommy Haas also had a major injury. So there are some big players missing at the very top.
I felt like if Del Potro and Davydenko could have played a full season, they would have had a chance early on in the season also to battle for world No. 1. Because of injury, they couldn't do that. I think this year is very interesting because Davydenko, we know he's fit and healthy again. He's been playing for a little bit.
Del Potro is going to be very interesting to follow. The other guys, of course, I hope come back and find their form that they had before. And then the usual suspects, we all know them. They can play very well. They can win Grand Slams, and obviously Rafa, going for his fourth Grand Slam in a row, is obviously huge news and makes him the favorite for the Australian Open, really.
I think it's interesting times right now in tennis, and I'm excited playing against all those guys.

Q. My question is what are your impressions about Qatar having one the 2022 football World Cup?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I have been coming here for many years. I spent a lot of time in the Middle East for practice reasons, and also actually been here in Qatar once in February when the tournament was not held, just to come over here and practice and change a bit of a venue, you know, experience a different, you know, way of life a little bit, I guess, just to change it up a bit of the normal routine I had.
I had a wonderful time here. Also have some friends here, which makes this stay obviously more comfortable. Obviously the 2022 news, getting the World Cup, is obviously massive. This is not just some small tournament. This is major league of, you know, sporting events we have around the world.
That's why I think this country should be very proud of all the hard work, you know, the committee has put in. I'm sure it's gonna be a wonderful World Cup.

Q. What does Qatar Open represent to you at this very stage right now?
ROGER FEDERER: It's the beginning of the season, big test to see sort of where your form is at, even though right now this year I kind of feel like I know where I am already, but I'd like to prove to myself that I can now win back-to-back-to-back matches a little bit, that I'm mentally in the right state, taking the right decisions early on in the season so I'll be confident for the remainder of the season and just enjoy myself here.
Like I said, I like this place, and I've always enjoyed coming here. That's why I've been coming here the last few seasons again. Yeah, really looking forward to the tournament starting tomorrow.

Q. Is it Rafa's face that makes you giggle, or is it the expression that he puts on? We enjoyed you on YouTube.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I think it was more just the moment, because we were told it was going to take five minutes and I knew exactly it was never gonna take five minutes. You know, it's just not that simple.
You can't place us two in the room and then just think it's all gonna work out. It's not something we usually do. We usually hit forehands and backhands. We don't do little movies like that.
That's why I just kind of felt it coming, and then obviously sitting there with the camera looking at us and then the people behind all wanted it to work perfectly, I just knew that something had to give. And I was the first one to crack down laughing. From then on, I couldn't stop.

Q. He didn't do something deliberately?
ROGER FEDERER: No, nothing at all. We just tried our best, and we couldn't make it work. So that's why it was fun.

End of FastScripts

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