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August 29, 2011

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/S. Giraldo
6-4, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is it like to start off your US Open with a three-set night win?
ROGER FEDERER: Couldn't be better. I'm happy. It was a great atmosphere, great ovation when I walked out. I really enjoyed it.
It's always one of those moments I guess you train for, right, is to get maybe on the first night at the US Open, or hopefully down the stretch a night session match in the biggest stadium we have in tennis. Great crowds. Then you hopefully try to put on a good show.
I was able to play a good match today, so obviously I'm pleased. It could have been swifter, maybe, but overall I'm very happy.

Q. How are the conditions for you versus Cincinnati and Montréal?
ROGER FEDERER: It's definitely slower. Obviously, night sessions always maybe play a touch slower than the day clearly. I really have the feeling conditions are slower this year than last year here at the Open.
So it takes I think some getting used to. You're not getting as many free points maybe with your serve. Maybe that was part of the inconsistent play I had early on in the first couple of sets.
As the match went on, I think I started to get more solid and better, and that's a good feeling to have. But the ball really gets used after a while, I have to say. I was quite surprised.

Q. Would you prefer it over the course of the tournament for you if it were faster, or is it just a matter of adjusting to how you play to whatever condition you find?
ROGER FEDERER: Clearly you're adjusting. You have to a little bit. But it's not crazy slower than Montréal and Cincinnati.
The issue for me more is maybe did they make a mistake? Maybe they did paint the court a bit too rough. It's just unfortunate I think that maybe all the slams are too equal. I think they should feel very different to the Australian Open, and now I don't feel it really does.
The night session just feels like you can take huge cuts at the ball, you can run everything down. It's great for tennis, but I'm not sure if it's really what the game needs. The game needs different, you know, speed at slams and so forth. I don't feel we quite have that at the moment, you know, especially if the US Open is getting slower.
That's my only concern I have. But still it's going to be a great tournament. We'll see amazing points. It's going to be super-athletic, which I think is fun. So it's all good.

Q. You attacked the net a lot tonight. Is that a tactic that you'll keep doing, bearing in mind the speed of the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I actually think when it's a little slower you actually do have more opportunities to actually move in. Sometimes when it's fast, you hit a ball that's decently hit, you get decent length on it, it's hard to attack that ball because it skids through.
You have to be first careful before you can take a huge cut at the ball, which in these conditions is a bit different. You can actually play some angles, you can drop it short, come in, finish up there.
I mean, I did take a conscious decision of trying to play aggressive today, take it to Giraldo because I know he's more of a clay-court than a hard-court player.
That plan worked out. I'm pleased about that.

Q. Not all players like to play the night session because of the lights, the noise, all the things going on around the court. Why are you so successful?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know, I guess. Why am I successful? I guess because I'm a pretty good player and I'm usually the favorite when I go into these matches, so I expect myself to win. I should win these matches, thank God, and I more often do than don't.
I guess, you know, when you have some success, you actually start enjoying different types of atmospheres: loud, you know, crazy, to very proper and never applauding on a mistake like you have in Japan. Then you go to England where they know exactly what is a good shot and what is a bad shot. Then you go to Switzerland where it's also very proper again.
So I like that, you know, difference we have. Music played on the change of ends. They're showing all sorts of stuff on the big screens; whereas in other places it's just complete silence. So I like that change.
Here, this is a huge tournament which I like a lot and have had such amazing success that obviously every year I will come back here to New York I'll feel that it's a place that's very special to me and where I usually do actually play my very best tennis.

Q. Does it make any difference to know when you play night session all eyes are on you?
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. They can't wander around to different courts and say, Okay, on Court 2 we have this going on; Louis Armstrong we have that happening. No avoiding that limelight. You do feel that pressure as well. When you miss a stupid volley, you go like, Yeah, everybody saw it. I'm a bit of an idiot here right now. Better don't miss that next time because on TV everybody's watching, in the stadium everybody saw it.
So you do feel that pressure. Yes, you do. That's why I think Giraldo did well tonight. Also you're thinking about me, but think of the other guy who is playing a top guy in that stadium. It's also not that easy. Surely he can swing freely, there's nothing to lose, but also he does feel that big stage.

Q. Tennis is such a mental sport. Do you ever put yourself in the opponent's shoes?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I'm more the guy who is like, They have nothing to lose. They're going to be swinging freely. I have the pressure. If I win, it's normal. If I lose, it's huge news.
So people who say like it's much, much better for me, I'm not always sure it's that way. Same with Novak. People now can swing freely against him or against Rafa for that matter.
But at the end of the day, I still prefer to be the favorite just because, yeah, that pressure is better for me.

Q. How does it change your daily preparation when you know you have a 10:00 start instead of an afternoon start?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, we're used to it, you know. Let's say you're scheduled at 11 a.m. and it rains all day and keep you here because you're the first match. You eat three times, you warm up four times.
At the end, you walk on at 11:00 p.m. You're sick and tired of playing cards, seeing the same faces. All you want to do is go home and come back tomorrow, but they don't let you.
That can be tough. I think in tennis we're used to playing that waiting game. It's what we do since a young age. I think maybe for other sports, if they always know they play at 4 p.m., if they just have to play at noon, it completely throws your schedule off.
For us, we have no schedule, and that's why we actually are okay with playing at 10:00 p.m., whatever, 2:00 a.m. if it has to be. We adjust accordingly. I just hope I don't have to go to bed at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., because then my schedule is a bit screwed up.
But I don't think it will be that bad. I'll do massage, eat, all that stuff tonight. I will have to sleep in tomorrow and then half the day is gone. We'll see how it goes.

Q. You tied Andre Agassi for number of career match wins at Grand Slam tournaments.
ROGER FEDERER: Today was that day? I didn't know that.

Q. I've heard you say in the past about various things, that you don't play for records. When you hear your name associated with some things like that now, only one player has won more Grand Slam matches than you in the Open era.
ROGER FEDERER: Who would that be?

Q. Agassi. Do you take satisfaction or pride in those kinds of things at all?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, a little bit maybe. I know he didn't go to Australia for 10 years, so there you go. Maybe there are another 40 matches there.
Look, I don't know. I mean, I think it's a great record to have, sure. But I'm happy I'm winning a lot on the biggest stages. Slams are not the only stage. Clearly not.
I enjoy every tournament I play. It's nice to be successful here. Sure, I do enjoy that. It's true, I've played many slams in a row already. I'm healthy. It's just another way of saying, Roger, you've been doing many right things throughout your career. It gives me good satisfaction and points me in the right direction, I think.

Q. You're playing Dudi Sela next. What do you expect from that match? Are you surprised to be playing him instead of Bellucci?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought it could be a tricky match for Bellucci. I don't think he had the best summer. I think he skipped the clay court season to play more on hard courts. His ranking dropped and he's not seeded, and the next thing you know it's mentally not the same tournament for him anymore. Now he's just battling to win proper sets. He looked pretty down when I was watching a bit of the match in the fourth and the fifth sets.
Sela was better at the end. I guess Bellucci is pretty disappointed. I thought I was going to play Bellucci, to be honest. He was right there.
Dudi Sela is a good player. Good matches in the past. He's a talented little guy really. He really works well with his height. That's why you have to be, you know, careful that you don't underestimate a player like that because he is very talented. I just have to make sure I come up with a strong, clean game, and hopefully I'll come through.
But I'm looking forward to that match. It's going to be more tactics and maneuvering each other around, which I like.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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