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February 24, 2011

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/S. Stakhovsky
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty routine, wasn't it?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, look, I thought it was a tough match, tougher than the last couple, just because the start of the match, obviously that was tricky, the first sort of three, four games, where it could be 3-Love for him, could be 2-1 for me, could be 3-1, 2-All, or whatever.
So of it important to stay with him there, and saved the a crucial breakpoints after being down a breakpoint and breaking back. And then sort of finding the rhythm, how to play him, how is he playing, how is he serving, is he coming in, is he staying back, what's his strengths, what are his weaknesses.
I knew obviously a lot beforehand, but it's not until you really face the shots you know exactly how heavy there are and so forth how does he return, does he stand in, does he stand back. So it was just a matter of trying to figure him out, and I thought actually I played a really good match for the remainder of the game.
You know, at the end, I'm obviously happy. It's been maybe a routine score, but, you know, I had to work for it tonight.

Q. When you say you knew a bit about him beforehand, is that because you watched him play or would it have been Severin telling you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, few things, Severin telling me things about him. I have practiced once with him in Doha two years ago, I think. Okay, it was only maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but...
So I've seen him play. And then you see him playing the occasional match on tour. It's not like he's been around only for a year. He's been around for a few years. So you get a chance to see him like that as well, and then Severin has seen him play a few matches. He went to watch the match with Gulbis last night.
And then Paul might have seen him as well the last couple of years. That's how you do it.

Q. Has Paul been in touch this week?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm always in touch with Paul when Severin's around, and I'm always in touch with Severin when Paul's around. So we do it hand in hand, and it seems to work really well.

Q. Do you appreciate a bit more of a challenge as the tournament progresses just to maybe build up match fitness?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess so. Look, I try not to waste any energy. Most important thing is to come through. Doesn't matter if it's three times 7-6 in a row to get to the semi. (Smiling.)
At the end of the day, you want to give yourself chances to win the trophy, and that's what I'm doing. I think I didn't have any let's say complete easy matches here. I've always had to be very focused.
I think this surface does it to you as well a little bit. You're never quite sure you're safe, because you even hit to serve quite well, you place it well, the other guy picks the right side, and it comes back really quickly.
It's not just a routine put your foot in position and guide it into the other corner. If you try to guide it you just try to push it and you don't quite contact it well, it's guaranteed an error. That's where it makes it really kind of complicated to play here.
That's why I think from the focus level I have to be really, really, you know, solid all match long, every point, otherwise it could be a shift in momentum. That's what you don't want on this sort of surface.

Q. You had a little bit of a fight-back in that second set. What happened there?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it was close, you know. I had chances earlier too; so did he. I think he deserved also to come back in that second set. You know, he had his chances, maybe just not -- maybe just put himself a little bit under too much pressure; maybe got unlucky with that one call as well.
Next thing you know, little things like this make a huge difference. Then we wouldn't be talking about a routine match. If it's 3-All, we wouldn't be sitting here. We would be playing a breaker maybe. (Laughing.)
So that's why I think when people see the matches they see how close the margins really are between the top guys, top 100, top 200, as you like. If you're sitting home, you see the scores, you think, Oh, another routine win for Federer. But that's not really way it is. It's always hard work.

Q. When you haven't seen someone play, like you've seen him, watched him, but not faced him, does it take a couple games to kind of...
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it does.

Q. That's what you were saying that earlier, that you hadn't played him.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it does take a little bit of time. Even though on your own serve you are controlling how things are going usually, except if you can't make a first serve and the other guy is returning well, then he obviously has a say.
But it's important to play solid on your service games , which I didn't quite do the first game, then next thing you know is you're struggling. You might not see the real opponent, because he's playing with a lead and taking more chances and playing you differently because of who you are and not playing just so much trying to win, but really trying to rush you and those kind of things.
That's why I think it's occasionally tricky for us top guys to play players like Stakhovsky.

Q. Your devotion to your sport is exemplary. I remember a couple years ago Indian Wells, I think it was, you came into press conference and said, I was just having a long chat and Tim Henman about playing golf. Like any Swiss, you grew up with a pair of skis on your feet. Andy Murray likes to play football. I just wondered at the moment, in this time of your career, can you play or indulge in other sports or whether it's all tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: No, to be quite honest, I do miss it now. I used to do it up until a few years ago. Last time I skied was in 2008 when I had mono. Came back after the Australian Open, went skiing, and next day I got ill again. So I was like, Okay, it's a sign for me. No more skiing. That's a pity, but okay, we'll do that.
Soccer I haven't played much either. I remember when I had the groin issue in Wimbledon. I don't know if you remember. Then I went to Gstaad and I really couldn't move well. I mean, I won the doubles with Safin and stuff. But I went to play soccer that whole week as well and couldn't move at the end. So it was just like so silly of me.
I did the same with squash as well.

Q. Golf?
ROGER FEDERER: I played a round of golf with my parents. It was my mom's birthday the other week here, and I went to play on the Emirates Golf Course. It was nice to do, but the same thing again. Next thing you know, your back hurts just a little bit.
You just don't want to do it, because my body is accustomed to play tennis right now. Honestly, I can wait for many more years until I can do all those sports really well. I actually do miss it to do all those things a bit more often.
I can play ping-pong. I can do that.

Q. Or cards?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I can play cards if that's a sport. But, no, those kind of things. It's a pity, but, look, I'll be able to enjoy them much more when I'm done, so...

Q. Did you meet with Tiger here two weeks ago?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Missed him by a day. It was a pity. Maybe in the States we'll see him. We'll see.

Q. I saw a very nice picture of you today sitting there during the break, and there's a very big Switzerland flag on your back. Which makes wonder, obviously tennis is individual sport, but to what extent you also feel you represent your country when you play tour events like here?
ROGER FEDERER: Very much so. Look, I'm very proud to have a great country behind me like Switzerland. They're very appreciative of what I do. Maybe takes a bit of time in Switzerland. We're not as euphoric as maybe the Latin countries and so forth.
But I've always had a great connection with the country. I don't only see playing Olympics and Davis Cup as playing for Switzerland. I feel like I'm representing Switzerland, you know, my whole life really. And especially with the fame I have, I try to portray Switzerland as good as I can.
I get many good compliments from fellow Swiss people who are very happy with the job I'm doing. I'm not doing any of it on purpose, but I just feel like it's important to be a good role model for kids and so forth, and, you know, be a good role model also for Switzerland when I'm abroad and such things.
Look, I'm very proud. I hope I can obviously play many more matches on the Swiss flag.

End of FastScripts

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