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February 26, 2011

Roger Federer


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, missed match for me, really. Started bad and then kind of got into the match, but things are over in a hurry sometimes in best-of-three-set tennis.
I must have felt like Davydenko felt in Doha. You know, you never really get into the match. If you do, you have no cushion. You just feel like even though you might be in the lead or get yourself together, it's still never safe.
No, look, I think Novak played well. Obviously disappointing end as well to the match. I guess you can't win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It's a pity, but, look, Novak played great.

Q. Has his serve improved a lot in the last year, would you say?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, he's always been serving okay, you know. He's had definitely ups and downs. I mean, he's never going to serve like Roddick, like me neither. You know, we just have different assets. We can place the ball well and mix it up well. He does a good job of that as well. I've always been surprised how well he does against Rafa with his serve.
But maybe also different players suit him better. He goes through phases where he serves better, and then times where it's harder to serve. Conditions obviously vary as well.
I always felt like his serve was okay. He had sometimes I think was double faulting a bit more often than other times, but that kind of happens, too.

Q. You talked a couple days ago about the difficulty of controlling the ball in these conditions. A few flew tonight, didn't they?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess I definitely didn't do them out of nowhere. I definitely made those errors because Novak was pushing or I just felt I had to do a bit more than normal.
But, still, you know, maybe we all struggled throughout the week. Maybe also Novak, you know, a return here, a backhand here on breakpoint he also missed that floats away from us.
So like I said, it's always tough conditions here. Maybe even though you make the semis or the finals, maybe you're never quite comfortable. I think those are the conditions, and I think we both did well considering. It was, yeah, a good start to the match today, and that kind of carried him through.

Q. Usually what do you do before playing the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, usually I always have pretty much the same routine. You know, I get to the courts rather early so I'll have enough time to shower, to eat, have time to tape up my ankles and warm up the right way so I don't get injured or anything, so nothing stupid happens. Sometimes catch up with some friends at the court or family.

Q. Playing cards?
ROGER FEDERER: Sometimes. Not every week. Depending on where I am.

Q. Today?
ROGER FEDERER: Today for instance.

Q. Did you win at cards?
ROGER FEDERER: I also lost. Bad day all around. (Smiling.)

Q. What's the inclination now? Is it to take a little bit of time off to reflect, or is it to get out to the States as quickly as possible and prepare for the hardcourt season?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, few days off, few days preparation, and then fly over to the west coast and get ready over there. Not that much time. There is enough time to sort of relax from having played five days in a row again. That can be tricky and tough sometimes after having not played for, what was it, three weeks.
Thank God my first couple of the matches weren't brutal physically, so I didn't take away too much muscle pain from it. That's why I actually ended up playing the tournament feeling actually fine, which I'm happy about.
I won't need as much rest maybe as predicted after having played five days in a row. No, I'll get ready and get or the west coast and get ready over there.

Q. The relationship with Paul, you've spoken on the phone here, or has Severin done it all?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, when Severin is with me I speak with Paul on the phone; when Paul is with me I speak with Severin on the phone.

Q. Has Paul been able to watch the matches in the U.S.?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, he has seen them. Yeah, I mean, sometimes obviously time change is a factor, but he doesn't care too much. He gets up whenever it's needed. Communication has been good between the three of us. They also talked when they had to. I'm happy with the harmony in the team.

Q. When you start a match and you play the first two or three games and get broken, do you feel is it going to be a bad one or...
ROGER FEDERER: Not necessarily a bad one, but maybe a tough one. Even though I expect a tough one also at 0-0 or 2-All in the first set. You definitely feel like Novak is a good frontrunner and things are going to get harder. He's got more chances on my serve to just go for broke a bit more, and I have to make sure I stay with him. So momentum changes early then.
It's a pity I wasn't able to hang on a bit longer, and especially in the second set to push him a bit more. What happened to Gasquet last night happened to me today. You know, all of a sudden just things happen really quickly here on these kind of surfaces, this kind of surface.
Yeah, I knew it was going to be a tough match regardless if I got broken or not the first game.

Q. You obviously dominated him in the latter half of the year last year, and then lost to him in Australia and here. Do you take anything away from that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we've had it kind of come and go in spells a bit against each other. I definitely feel he's playing well. I thought he was already playing well at the end of last year. We had a couple real close ones. This one has been one of the rather disappointing matches for me against him.
You know, I can't play great every time either. So it's been a tough one, but I'm not too disappointed. It's another final for me. I tried tonight. Just didn't really happen for me tonight.
But it's better than the last few years here in Dubai. I didn't play many matches here the last few years. So this is big going into Indian Wells and Miami with a bit more tennis and confidence really.

Q. Are there aspects of your game that you intend to work on specifically when you get to the States?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I feel like I need more practice, you know, just a little bit here and there. I mean, it's going to be different conditions again. It's going to be flying but it's going to be slower.
So it's going to be a challenge to balance those two things in Indian Wells. And then Miami is going to be really slow. They've really slowed down conditions there drastically over the years, I thought. And with the humidity the ball doesn't fly as much.
But I really feel like I need some good practice. Just a lot of hitting, exercises, then maybe also some more points. Even though I feel like I've played enough tennis here in terms of points. But I do feel like the game needs a bit of practice. I haven't had that much after all.
End of the season was sort last year, and then obviously I needed more of a thorough rest after the Australian Open so I last until Wimbledon and so forth.
So hopefully I get some good practice in.

Q. If you look at it long-term, do you think it's going to be between you and Djokovic and Rafa? Is it going to be like three people fighting for the top?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, what can I tell you? At the moment it looks like it, but Soderling hasn't been playing bad himself if you look at his win/loss record this year; Murray was in the finals again at the Australian Open, so he's obviously in the conversation.
After that, you have guys tearing apart a few of the clay court tournaments in other parts of world. So I think the top 5 players have played really well the last six months. Someone always has to win one tournament. At the end of the day, we've been able to share those a little bit to be honest.
So I don't feel it's a three-horse race right now. Rafa still is the favorite. He's won three of the four slams. Novak maybe has not lost a match yet this season, but the season is still really short. I've been playing well. Murray has been playing well.
I mean, I don't know. I think we'll know more sort of after Wimbledon. But I don't expect any crazy changes at the top. They've all been around for a while and know how it works. We'll see how it goes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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