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January 22, 2012

Roger Federer


6‑4, 6‑2, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Was it much easier than you expected or different or what?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, pretty much as expected.  I mean, I played him before, so it wasn't like I played him for the very first time.
But obviously I knew that points were going to be played differently than the match he played with Dolgopolov.  So I figured he was going to play a bit for aggressive, that it was going to be a tough match, which it was, I thought.
Maybe the score suggested differently, but I thought we had a lot of long games, tough points, and I thought he did actually really well.

Q.  Do you think that the first set was going to be an imperative?  Most objective people thought that perhaps if he won the first set it might be a very tight match.  But as it turned out, you winning the first ‑ just to lift the nervous a little bit?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I guess you always say that in a best‑of‑five set match has sort of that cushion, right?  But then again, he's come through a lot of the matches where he lost the first set and ended up winning them.
So it doesn't always tell the whole story, but you figure against the top guys usually it's really important.  I didn't see it that way, to be honest, because I've seen him come back too many times.
For me it was just important to play point for point, you know, be very consistent of what I tried to do out there, and, you know, just play my game really, which I was able to do.
At the end, you know, he might have let go a little bit, but I was really able to always keep the pressure on him and kept serving well and kept him on the run.
So it was a good match for me.

Q.  Do you feel like your game lifted after the first set, or do you feel like Tomic kind of...
ROGER FEDERER:  I thought I started to play better.  I started to return better for sure.  In the beginning I was getting a few free points here and there.  I was still looking for the rhythm a bit, because I guess I didn't have sort of rhythm matches up until now.
The first match the guy just went for it every single time, forehand, backhand, or serve.  Second round I didn't play.  Third round I played Karlovic who keeps on coming, you know, has one of the biggest serves in the game.
So it was obviously going to be a completely different matchup with longer rallies.  That's why I'm really pleased to have come through, because it wasn't easy.  That's where maybe in the beginning I was still, you know, trying to find sort of the right balance between when to slice, when to play aggressive.
As the match went on, I started to understand when and how I wanted to do it.  You know, then I was able to pull the trigger and actually then I start to play really well as the match went on.

Q.  Are you playing well enough to win this thing again?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, this was my first match, real match sort of from the baseline where I had to work extremely hard where it wasn't just reacting.  I could act, as well, because, you know, Tomic kind of lets you play a little bit.
I'm happy with how I'm feeling, so it's important to rest up well and then, you know, attack again in the court.  It's going to be tough against Del Potro.  I don't look beyond that because he's coming up strong.  He had a good has year and he played all the top guys again in the last year and pushed us all.
So I figure six months later since I played him in Cincinnati he's going to be a better player.  He's got massive potential, and he'll be part of the top 10 for probably a long time.

Q.  In what you've seen of Bernard in two matches, how do you rate his potential for the future?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, very good.  I think he's proved his point.  Obviously now it's about keeping that up time and time again, day in, day out, you know, when he's not only just maybe playing on center court, but also on the smaller courts.  You have to go through those times, as well.
Yeah, and then find your way on center court, and then when everybody expects it again from you that you deliver.  So far he's handled it really well.  He's improved a lot since last year, he's, improved a lot since Davis Cup in Sydney.
It can only be expected in some ways, but sometimes people want too much too soon.  But I think he's really had a really difficult draw here, and he's made the most of it, in my opinion.
I think he's had a wonderful tournament, and I think there's much more that's gonna come the Australian way, I would say.

Q.  On that same theme, it has been a very exciting week for the Australians, both with Tomic and Hewitt.  The new hope is gone now it's just Lleyton.  How would you describe the run he's one, particularly at this tournament with all the injuries and challenges, and now the big challenge that lies ahead of him for tomorrow night.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I was happy for Lleyton.  I fist pumped when he won yesterday.  I was very happy for him.
Look, I've had too many tough battles with him, so in some ways you're happy that you don't have to face him but you can watch him battle and know for the other guy how it feels and how he can make you feel.
I was really happy for him, because he hasn't gotten a fair chance to prove still how good he is.  Some judge him on his ranking, which is obviously not telling the truth.
I think he's been playing really well still the last two years.  Just didn't get enough matches and never really got on a roll because he was always interrupted the whole time.
So I was really happy, because like Tomic as well, he's had a really difficult draw.  The first guy, Stebe, played amazing as well, and I thought Lleyton did so well to come through.
I was just really happy from then on that he's won another two matches in a great way.  Now, you know, there's nothing to lose, which is nice for him, as well.  I'm sure he's going to do well against Djokovic.

Q.  Will you be watching?
ROGER FEDERER:  I assume they're playing tomorrow night.  Yeah, I hope I can watch it, yes.

Q.  Could you reflect a little on when you were 19?  I think that was the year you beat Pete at Wimbledon.  Just being at the levels perhaps that Switzerland didn't expect but you expected, and when we saw you, the world expected.  How have you coped with that and how you plotted your course from there on?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, it's funny.  When you're 19 you have nothing to lose, you feel like.  But then you feel an immense pressure, just the constant pounding of knocking on the door from everybody saying, When are you going to make the breakthrough?
Well, not everybodyis Michael Chang or Boris Becker or Lleyton Hewitt who just breaks through at 16, 17, and then you're done with the breakthrough and now you're established.  It's just not so simple.
Some need to work harder.  Some need to work longer.  I think I was one of those guys who kind of had to understand my own game, and then eventually when my fitness and my mind was all sort of coming together, this was when I was able to play my best.
That 2001 period against Pete was exactly that time.  I took a major decision a few months earlier to be quiet on the court, and it worked well for me.  I played the quarters at the he French and then quarters at Wimbledon beating Pete.  And then I finished the year 23, I think.
So I had a really good year, and, you know, breakpoints, nothing to lose, just go for it.  And then at times you get super frustrated and you can't play your ball into the court just because I was very still up and down mentally, you know.
I think all the youngsters we're seeing today are much more solid.  I'm amazed actually how strong Rafa and Murray and Djokovic and Tomic and all these guys are.  Also Raonic.  It's pretty impressive, I have to say.

Q.  14 years ago you played your first match in Gstaad, and next match will be your No. 1000.
ROGER FEDERER:  That's what I'm hearing.

Q.  Do you mind to tell us something about all those 1000 matches now?  (Laughter.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I don't think so.  I want to go back.
But I don't know.  It's been a lot of matches, and I remember some very vividly.  Some I've started to forget, which I guess is a good sign.  I'm taking it that way.
Yeah, I have had some tough losses over the years, but I've also had some of the most incredible feelings out there.  I never thought as a kid I would ever cry after I won matches, because I always used to cry after I lost every single match when I was sort of from 8 to basically 15.
It was always emotional because I always tried my best, and whenever I lost for me it was tragic.  So the first time I was able to sort of‑‑ I cried after I have won a match, I was like, What the hell is happening to me?  I can't believe I care so much about this sport which I love so much.  It came as a surprise.
But then I had so much success and I could relive those memories.  It was really nice, and that I'm still fit and healthy and eager to play and hungry.  It's great.
Obviously for me it's just another match, but I know it's special in some ways.  I will try to make the best of it, I guess.

Q.  What has been the worst moment of all?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I don't see as one standing out.  I went through some tough moments as well where I was frustrated and I didn't like it as much.  But, I don't know.  I always stay positive.  I'm a very positive person.
I found a way, and sure, sometimes you're extremely sad, you know, like when I lost here against Lleyton in Davis Cup or whatever it is.  You know, where I just feel like, God, I should have won and you end up losing.
It was tough moments maybe for, you know, an hour or a couple of days potentially, but life goes on and you get a second chance, which is good in tennis.

Q.  What do you remember of your first title in Milan?  Won your first ATP title in Milan.  What do you remember of that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I didn't come in thinking I was going to win the title, but I knew I was playing well indoors.  I was really close against Rosset earlier I think in Marseilles.  I lost 7‑6 in the third, which is obviously very, again, emotional, because it was against a fellow Swiss.  He was like my bigger brother.  He kind of taught me how things worked on tour besides my coach and so forth.
So it was very awkward in a way playing him in the finals.  Back then everybody was serving and volleying indoors.  There was not much you could do sometimes.  Almost won and then ended up losing.
I think my second finals was in Basel.  I played amazing against Enqvist and ended up losing that, too.
So I though, Oh, God.  Here we go.  I'm never going to win a tournament.
And then when I won Milan, obviously I was extremely relieved and just very happy.  I played great.  I think I beat Kafelnikov in the semis and Boutter in the finals.  It was a big moment for me.
My family drove down from Switzerland.  I don't remember if we celebrated or not, because I think they left right away afterwards.  But my closest friends and family were very happy for me.

Q.  Two years ago you played Del Potro.  It was 6‑3, 6‑3, 6‑Love.
ROGER FEDERER:  Three years ago.

Q.  What do you foresee now?  Do you think you won't repeat that score?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I won't.  I can guarantee you that.  I think it's going to be a good match.  Look, I think he's coming back awfully strong again.
I was sad to see that he was out for so long after his amazing year in 2009, I guess it was, and I thought he had a chance in 2010 to sort of make a run for world No. 1.  Injury came and things obviously changed, and now he's had to have a great year to get back in the top 15, I think, and now he's making his move to the top 10.
It's nice is to see him back.  He's a good guy.  I'm looking forward to the match.  I think it's going to be a tough one.  He really came through convincingly in the last two especially.  And, yeah, we know the firepower.
I played him in Cincinnati six months ago.  It was super fast.  It's going to be different.  We'll have many more rallies, so for me, a chance to mix it up, but I have to stay aggressive myself, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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