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March 13, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Raonic
6‑7, 6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  He went into that match with a reputation of being maybe the next big thing.  How did you view him after playing him?
ROGER FEDERER:  Um, I thought he did well.  I mean, I thought obviously he's got an amazing serve, you know that he can basically rely on at all times.  With that power and size, that's something that will sort of never go away, and it will make him a threat for the years to come, clearly.
I think from now on just this is sort of I think almost a normal performance that he put in tonight.  Does he occasionally still benefit maybe from being the unknown?  Potentially, yes.
But at the same time, if you do know him, how are you going to count the serve?  It's always going to be a hard thing.  That's why I think he'll install himself very easily and nicely in the top 30, and then make his move up the rankings.  I was impressed.  You know, he played great and made it hard for me by winning that first set tiebreaker.  He kept himself in the match till the very end, and obviously put a lot of pressure on me.

Q.  Did you start returning better?  Because you sort of worked out some sort of way to handle that serve, or how did you look at it from your return?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I guess just also then finally being on the court with him for over 40 minutes, I guess, gave me a chance to see it, how it works, and what is his favorite serve, what is his pattern, how does he use it.
Um, I was getting to the ball often in the beginning, but just not making the plays, you know.  That was hurting me early on.
Then I was able to improve, and once I got that going maybe his serving also just dropped a tiny bit and gave me more opportunities on his second serves.
So that was a big second set for me to get momentum, particularly the first break of the second set.  So I think the longer I stayed out there the better I started feeling.  Then, again, the surface is quite slow, and I think anywhere else we play will be a tiny bit faster.

Q.  Where would you rank his serve among all the big servers you've played in your career?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I can't judge his serve on one particular match.  He first has to prove himself time and time again.  He hit a ton of aces, I think the most aces of this season than anybody.  But I'm sure it's probably gonna be top 10 of all time at one point.
But, yeah, he's still got some ways to go.  Let's don't forget how many great servers we've seen in the game in the past.

Q.  You are under the weather and your family was under the weather on Sunday.  How are things going now?
ROGER FEDERER:  Slow improvements.  I'm still not 100%, so I'm happy that, you know, I did play the tournament and I got kind of what I hoped for.  It was a good, sort of a good match with Kudla, you know.  Gave myself a chance there and played actually really good under the circumstances.
I was surprised with a day off and playing Raonic who I knew was going to keep the points short.  It's kind of what I was hoping for.  Now I'm sort of in the tournament and actually feel a bit better.
Still not 100%, but looking forward to be playing a match tomorrow I think it is already again.

Q.  Does this year have any added significance for you?  Because in so many of the past years you have been the guy who has been hunted, and maybe it's shifted a bit this year and you're more the hunter.
ROGER FEDERER:  The question in the beginning was?  If I...

Q.  Does this year take on any added significance for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not at all.  I'm going in with a great streak again.  I've obviously come here once into Indian Wells with a 40‑match winning streak or more and I think I lost the first round.
So I think I have been in strange, nice, difficult situations over the years.  Ever since I guess, you know, you've been world No. 1, that thing never kind of goes completely.  You always have high expectations, and you hope to make it to the last four and then hopefully play your best on the weekend, you know.
So that's never gonna change.  But then every tournament you enter you do hope not to lose in the first round and try to make your move early on, find some momentum.  That's kind of what I've been able to do, even though I have not been focusing on the big picture at all.
For me it was just first just entering the tournament and hopefully getting through one round, and then we'll see how it goes, if it's gonna get better, my health or not.  I feel like it's definitely getting better, and that's a good thing.
So I can't even focus on trying to win and who is the favorite and who is not.  I have to focus on trying to get better day by day really.

Q.  John Isner is obviously taller and quite a bit more experienced than Milos, but would you take a moment and compare their serves, please.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I think you can have great momentum, Milos, when he starts to get going.  He has great accuracy, and can serve obviously all four corners again and really make you feel uncomfortable.  With his one‑two punch he does a really good job, and also he plays with a bit more spin, let's say, than Isner does, particularly from the baseline.
So that makes it just a bit different, you know.  But he's a great athlete.  It shows.  You know, he uses his second serve really well, as well.  He doesn't maybe serve as big as John, but he uses the kick and slice and big second serves in good ways.  4.
So it's a different type of serve, but I think a very effective one, as well.

Q.  Can you think of other matches like this when you played the young guy coming up?  Is there sort of an approach or something or something you are trying to do or something you have been doing or you can use when you play this kind of guy for the first time?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not a whole lot, to be honest, just because he's a player that obviously relies a lot on his serve.  So you're just trying to counter that, really.
If you give me maybe as young of a guy but maybe who plays from the baseline, then maybe you try something different.  You try to really break his rhythm.  I can do that with my slice and with my play.
But here it was more just about trying to come through somehow, because I didn't know exactly how good Milos was or not.  I got the answer early on that he was very good, and it's kind of what I expected.  You hope he's maybe not that good.  (Laughter.)
So you're in a tough spot all of a sudden, which I was after the first set.  But I'm looking forward to playing him many more times.  It's exciting.  He has a big game and the crowd seems to enjoy it as well, which was fun out there tonight.

Q.  How do you see the next round, which is coming up quickly?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think I'm playing Bellucci because Davydenko pulled out early.  I heard that this morning.
I have never played Bellucci before, even though he's been on the tour for many years now, as well.  Obviously it's a quick turn of events to go from night session to day session, from a righty to a lefty, from a baseliner ‑‑ from a big server to a baseliner.
I'm looking forward to that kind of a challenge.  It's different.  I hope to feel better again tomorrow so I will be able to last through long rallies.  I haven't seen him play at all actually lately, but I know he's chosen to play more of a hard court schedule the last year or so instead of just playing on clay when he could.
So I think it's going to make him more difficult tomorrow.

Q.  Have you heard about the comments that Mikhail Llodra made, was fined for, and what are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I didn't.  I only heard about a fine.  I don't know what happened.

Q.  Milos seems to handle the pressure of the big moments fairly well so far.  I wonder if your experience played a major factor tonight or a minor factor?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I guess my experience helped me to stay calm and just weather the storm.  If that's experience, I guess that's what it is, you know.  Maybe if I would be younger I'd be more panicky about him hitting aces left and right and making me feel uncomfortable.
I have been there so many times before against some of the all‑time great servers that it was obviously not going to happen tonight.  I just hoped to stay calm.  Even though I was down a set, I don't think I was, you know, playing poorly.  I might have missed one running forehand in the breaker, and that was about it.  That cost me the set.  That's just how it goes sometimes.
I think my experience in this regard helped me a bit, but overall I think I just played a good match.  My confidence got me through as well playing so many matches as of late.  I think that was maybe the difference tonight.

Q.  Were you okay when you left the court?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, no, I was just drinking so much and not sweating.  I don't know.  This is when, I don't know, I guess when you go to the toilet.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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