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June 25, 2011

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/D. Nalbandian
6-4, 6-2, 6-4


Q. Would you say you have been really tested since you arrived at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, yes. I thought today was a particularly good performance by my side, on my serve again. Just mentally, you know, having lost to him, you know, eight times before, you know, I knew that he could beat me a ninth time without any problem.
So that's also where the pressure is greater against a player like him because maybe he's not going to win the tournament, but he can knock you out of the tournament. That's a danger against a player like him.
I thought he was also playing a bit like myself, first-strike tennis. The rallies weren't that long, but when they were being played, I think the ball was being hit very hard and very clean by him, as we know.
I'm very happy with today's match. I think I played a great match.

Q. Were you worried at any stage?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, yes. I mean, first set when he broke back, second set maybe not so much, and then in the third, uhm, always if he would have gone up a break. But I was able to serve well.
Yeah, I mean, I've lost to him previously being up two sets to love, so I knew there was always danger till the very last point.

Q. What is there in your grass court arsenal that you've yet to use this week?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't served and volleyed a whole lot. I haven't been to the net much. I think if you hit it hard and clean, flat and long, it's hard to come in really. I think you're able to neutralize your opponent.
Today Nalbandian, that's the kind of stuff he does. It's kind of hard to find your way into your net if you don't follow after the return or the serve.
But important is that I'm moving well, I'm using basically everything of my arsenal, the slice, you know, the drive and so forth. I've been playing really well. I've gotten through the matches comfortably and that's very nice.

Q. You've not dropped a set yet.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it doesn't really matter. At the end of the day I know other people care more about that kind of stuff. As long as I find my way into the second week, like last year, too, right away, I'm happy.
I hope I can always step it up so when Monday comes around, now the tougher and tougher matches come in, even though today I thought was already very difficult.

Q. When you were in the middle of your five titles on the trot, I can remember you talking about the feeling of coming here, feeling like you owned the place, like it was your court. Does it still feel like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I never really felt it was that way. I don't think I ever said that. I always just feel very good here, around the grounds, on the court. Obviously the more you win, the more confidence you get.
Then again, I've learned my lesson early on in my career where I used to underestimate opponents because of the way they played, the way their techniques worked out, or just said against this guy, I can't lose on grass. Next thing you know, that's what happens.
This is where you have to be very, very, you know, sort of mentally strong. I think with the success I've had here, obviously I always come in with somewhat of a pressure. But, as well, I think this is where I'm able to shift up a couple gears on grass because it works to my strengths the way I can play here.

Q. Do you feel you have a gear or two to shift through still next week?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm very happy if I keep playing this way. So it's a matter of keeping it up and then, you know, adjusting to what's coming from the opponents.
They all play very differently. Nobody plays like Nalbandian. So I don't even know who I play next round. Still have to find out first.

Q. You may be tired of answering this question, but fans are really interested in comparing the generations. Rafa just said that he felt of the current generation, the top four were more solid, they did better both at reaching the finals at slams and the Masters, the smaller tournaments, that they did really well on all surfaces. Could you take that a little further and compare maybe the play of your generation compared to the Andre and Pete generation?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, what do you want me to say? Well, I think it's not fair to say that our generation is stronger. For many years many people said it's weaker just because there was only me and then there was only Rafa and me.
And now all of a sudden there's people talking about four. Now it's the best ever. This is where I disagree. It doesn't happen so quickly.
I remember when Pete and Andre and Becker and Edberg and McEnroe and all those guys were still around, and more even. I think it was very good already. Before that generation was also very strong. It's just a matter that Rafa and myself, we took a lot of the Grand Slams and we didn't allow anybody else to shine really. For that reason, all the other players didn't get the respect they deserve.
That's just to straighten that record a little bit.
Now I still feel 10, 20 years ago, I still think when they were doing something good, they were doing excellent. Like Pete's serve, I still think it will be one of the great serves in the game today if not the best one. Agassi maybe didn't have the serve, but he had the return that many players don't have today.
Maybe they had some other weaknesses in their games, but maybe they were able to eliminate those with their great strengths. This is maybe where today we're more overall because I guess we have to, because the conditions have slowed down, and that allows us to maybe win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back a bit more easier today than back in the day where you had grass court specialists, hard court specialists, indoor specialists, clay court specialists. Today everybody can play everywhere. That's the way the game has evolved and we're adjusting to it.

Q. What are you going to do on your day off tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: Same thing. Yeah, just go out and practice, you know, relax, feel good, take some treatment, sleep enough.

Q. How do you relax? Rafa said he's playing PlayStation and stuff like that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I spend time with my family. That's what I do. Run around with my kids, spend time with friends and family who are here. That's what I do.

Q. Talk a bit about the new generation of guys coming, the 21 and under set, Tomic, Dimitrov, Raonic. Who has impressed you maybe and why?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I still think they're all on the brink of doing great things. Some have won tournaments, like Raonic, and others haven't, but are showing clear signs of maturing, getting stronger, believing now, which they're supposed to.
But it's hard to break through it seems like at the moment. It's quite mental and physical these days.
Also Wawrinka is in that mix. He came to Dubai once and practiced with me, very happy to see him doing well but now he's injured. Tomic is still lower in the rankings, but seems like he's making a run.
It's good for tennis if new generations move in. Juniors are here also this week, the second week, coming in. When you're at Aorangi you see how well these guys are already hitting the ball.
The next generation is pushing through, too, which is going to make, for sure, the generation we've just been talking about, the 21-year-olds also, aware of that and wanting to improve. I think they're in a very interesting place.
I thought to some degree it was stressful for me being that age because everybody is expecting you to break through, and if you don't, people always ask you, What's wrong with you, man? I'm just trying, you know, learning. I'm playing against men, not boys anymore. It makes it a bit more difficult.
Interesting times in tennis right now. Like we say, at the top it's very strong. There's stuff possible in between, sort of in the middle, and there's young guys coming through. I'm happy I'm still around.

Q. After years of it seems like you've been winning everything, it's now 18 months not winning a Grand Slam, how much have you missed holding one of those trophies?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, I don't go through days thinking like, My God, I haven't won a Grand Slam in so long.
It hasn't been that long, to be honest. The pace on tour is really quick. It turns around fast. Like clay court's over, and grass, here we come. After grass season is over, you're happy to maybe take some vacation finally. Then you sort of prepare for hard court again for eight months.
I don't know. You don't, you know, cry over stuff like that. You guys bring it up and I answer the question; that's it. But I don't really, you know, get pulled down by it. Actually I think I get motivation by it.

Q. You're as hungry as ever to do it again?
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. I always have been. The day after my victory, the day after my final losses, I've been hungry. It doesn't come in phases. I'm always hungry. And that's a good thing.

Q. The under 21s are playing tonight.
ROGER FEDERER: I hope Switzerland wins.

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