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November 20, 2011

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Tsonga
6‑2, 2‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How did you turn it around?  You lost control of the match at the end of the second set.  How did you get back into it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I thought I wasn't playing that poorly.  You know, I thought it was a good first set.  Even the second set was fine.  The second break, I shouldn't get that one.  The first one, I kind of gave it to him a bit.  I think I was up 30‑Love.  Fought back to 30‑All.  Ended up hitting two forehand errors, which usually don't do.  That's maybe due to pressure first match, different conditions, wrong shot selection.
But he did well to serve bigger and better as the match went on.  Once he got the upper hand in the second set, he started to swing more freely and got more dangerous.
With me, it was just trying to stay calm, trying to wait for my chance, trying to create chances when he was not serving as well as he did at times.  I was going to take those chances and hopefully come through with the victory, which it all came that way, exactly the way I hoped it to be.

Q.  Obviously it's difficult against Tsonga when he's playing the way he did.  How did you keep your cool during the tough third set?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, you just try to stay calm, you know.  Absolutely it's not always in your control when you play Jo.  That's the beauty of it.  I kind of enjoy that to some degree.
But I think also partially because it was a first‑round match, I think that's maybe why we saw some ups and downs from both players.  But that's kind of normal.  That's why I'm actually pretty happy that I was able to come through today.

Q.  What's the key to return Tsonga's serve and how would you rate your returning game in general in 2011?
ROGER FEDERER:  My returning?

Q.  Yes.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I think when Jo's serving well‑ and I played him in the first tournament of the year in Doha when he was just coming back, I already thought he was mixing up his serve really well, you know.  Just good slides, good kicks, obviously great power.  Once he gets it going, he starts off every game with a great serve.  And from then on, it seems like he's taking all the right decisions.
It's really hard to get into any sort of rhythm against him from the baseline because he's a very good 1‑2 puncher as well, which he proved over four and a half sets against me at Wimbledon.  I think that makes him particularly hard to return sometimes.
Today I had flashes of that match because I didn't have much of a chance for a while on his serve.  You just try your best.
Overall I think I've been trying to do different things this year on my returning, at times a bit more offensive, sometimes a bit more, you know, sort of normal the way I return.  But recently I've played well.  Always depends which surface you play, which player, depends on how you return.  Obviously every player has a certain return style, and mine is obviously completely different because I'm one‑handed than all of the rest of the top‑10 players.

Q.  How do you see the court conditions here versus last year and Bercy?  Right after Bercy, did you take one day off or did you go directly to practice the next day?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, no, I took two days off, Monday, Tuesday, arrived back here on Wednesday, started practicing again.  So I had two days off completely.  I mean, completely is exaggerated.  I'm still busy in Switzerland.  But in terms of fitness or tennis, I didn't do anything for two days.
This year it just feels faster, London, for some reason because we're coming from a slower Paris.  Whereas last year Paris was lightning, so you felt this was slow.  I still think I'm wrapping my mind around the new conditions, still kind of getting used to it.
I'm not sure if there's a bit more bounce this year to last year.  We'll see how it all plays out.  But I think that could be the case a little bit this year.

Q.  We don't see Pierre Paganini at many of your events.  Are you working a little bit more on the physical side perhaps at the moment, different drills, anything new?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, nothing different.  He's supposed to leave today, but his flight got canceled because of the fog maybe.  I don't know.  He wants to leave this place again.  I was like, What are you doing?  He actually wanted to leave yesterday.  Stay for one more day, which he did.
No, he does maybe come to, let's just say, six events a year.  Then occasionally if I'm in a Grand Slam final, like Paris, he would maybe show up for that.
When he feels there's no more to do during a tournament because it's all tournament rhythm, matches, rest, all that stuff, for him there's no point to stay here and he goes, does other things.
Works really well.  He likes to stay away from the limelight.  It's kind of good this way for both of us.

Q.  Like you said, one of the reasons you play fantastic now is you take the Asian swing off and it let your body rest.  Your fans in China are worried that it will become even harder to get you playing Shanghai because you found a successful formula.
ROGER FEDERER:  Uhm, I don't know.  I don't think I'm playing great tennis just now because of me missing Shanghai.  I don't see it that way.
It's definitely helped me and it was necessary because I was hurting a lot after the US Open and Davis Cup.  I was having pains in my body which needed some rest.
Also looking ahead of next year, because it's an Olympic year next year, I just felt like I needed some time off.  I also do have a family.  I do have so many other things going on that sometimes I just need to get away from it all.
I've had a very busy year.  I've played a lot of matches again.  So that was the reason.  This hopefully is not a trend for the Asian swing because I care too much about the Asian market and the Asian tournaments.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the completely different mindset, especially at the beginning of this event.  It's so different from the rest, that you can lose, not be out of the tournament, which is very different.
ROGER FEDERER:  It is different.  Even today at one stage, when I was down a break, I was like, Okay, so what's the calculation behind this now?  I'm like, C'mon, just play tennis.  Don't worry if you lose a set 6‑2, 6‑4, 7‑6, you know, if it comes to that, that means it's craziness and you're just unlucky.
You try your best, go with it.  Obviously I'm very experienced when it comes to round‑robin play here at the World Tour Finals.  It definitely has a different feel to it because you do know you're going to be here regardless, and that in a way, it feels like you have a safety net, but you actually don't.  It can be misleading.
Honestly, by now I know how to handle it mentally and the whole deal.

Q.  How do you rate the O2 here as a venue?  Perhaps your favorite in the whole year?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's very nice.  To pick it my absolute favorite would be unfair towards all the other great arenas and places I play tennis at.  But this is definitely up there.  It's electrifying, it's entertainment.  It's got that myth around having also musicians here during the year.  I feel like it's an arena where you'll be proud one day to have played here, I find.
I think it's nice that it's a win‑win situation for both, for the city, for the players, for the arena.  So it's all good news all around.  I've really enjoyed my time all these years at the O2.

Q.  What did Thierry Henry think of your performance?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I think he was happy.  He wasn't crying when I came into the locker room (smiling).
We're good friends.  He's just happy to come and see me play once in a while.  We missed each other in New York even though we were both there.  So it was nice again to catch up with him.
He's a nice and friendly guy.  Look, I'm sure he hopes that I win.  But it's more about seeing each other really.

            FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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