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March 14, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/T. Bellucci
3‑6, 6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Did that feel slightly like yesterday's match in a different way, losing the first set, breaking to start the second?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I mean, look, that was different obviously because it was much more, you know, decided at the baseline really instead of the serve and return.
I really struggled to make the transition.  I was quite surprised, but at the end I found a way, and, you know, dug deep and came through.  It's really important.  At the end of the day, these are the wins that sort of almost feel better, to be quite honest, because when you're playing great, it's simple, it's easy, right?
But when it's not going your way and things are difficult, that's kind of the good wins.

Q.  Can you talk about the experience of playing when you're feeling slightly ill?  What goes first?  Is it the legs?  Is it the decision‑making?  Is it the movement?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I guess it depends on what player you are, first of all, and secondly on who you play, what court you play on, and what illness you have, right?
So it has a lot of effect on everything.  Obviously the concentration is always on elsewhere.  You're not focusing really on the tactics a whole lot.  You're just focusing on managing point for point and going through.
I mean, today I could think about many different things already.  I'm feeling a whole lot better, and I hope with the day off I will be at 100%.  But it's been a difficult week.  I've hardly practiced.  I've only played matches.
I think today in a baseline match it kind of showed a bit.

Q.  Also when you really needed it 4‑All, Love‑30 I think, three, maybe four first serves in a row.  That's the weapon coming through when you most need it.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, but I think it's the confidence.  I had two poor service games in the first set, and after that I was able to pick it up and not give him that many chances anymore.
That was a crucial moment, because I had 4‑3, 15‑30 myself the game before that, and I just kind of just stopped.  I have to come through this with my serving and not with my baseline game just because I was making too many errors at that point.
I guess that's confidence, really, putting me through tonight.

Q.  You've won a number of tournaments in your career being a little bit sick.  Can you remember winning tournaments being a little bit under the weather?
ROGER FEDERER:  Um, don't remember now exactly which one, but I have very often been hurt, you know, in one particular match during a tournament, and then you end up somehow coming through.
You come out the other side and you feel a whole lot better.  Next thing you know, you've forgot about it.  That's happened many, many times.
Sicknesses, I'm not so sure.  I haven't been sick that often.  So it's unusual, but I know I can play with a lot of problems.  My game still allows me to play actually pretty good tennis regardless.

Q.  Can you just speak to both the possibilities for the next round even though we don't know yet?
ROGER FEDERER:  Remind me?

Q.  Del Potro or Istomin.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, Juan Martin, I know him really well now.  I have played him often in the last year now.  I think we've played three times already.
He's really coming back very strong, and he's gonna be clearly, my opinion, in the top 10 at the end of the year, if not a whole lot higher.
Now, I don't know how much is gonna help him or me the slow conditions here at Indian Wells if we were to play against each other, because Dubai was extremely quick.
It's gonna be something‑‑ you know, gonna present a different challenge to me.  But I remember him playing well here in the past, and it's gonna be a tough matchup, you know.
Istomin, I've only played him once before in Cincinnati.  That was a quick court, and I think he gave up a seven games.  So there's not a whole lot I know about him, even though very friendly with him.
I think he's really improved as well over the last couple years now.  He's become much more athletic and he can really take it to you and he has a great serve and wonderful backhand.
So both of them pretty similar, actually:  big ball‑striker from the baseline with a big serve.  So you have to take it to them and play aggressive, you know, yourself.

Q.  You said you're feeling a lot better now.  Did you ever consider withdrawing from Indian Wells in previous days?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, the night was rough before my first‑round match, and I was thinking, I don't know how I'm gonna do this.  But I woke up and I felt a little bit better.
That went and I didn't feel good in the afternoon again.  One hour before the match I started to feel better again.  At that point I always knew I was going to go out on court and give it a try, at least.
I knew I had a day off after that, after the first‑round match.  That really gave me, you know, the belief that I could do it, you know.
I wasn't as sick as the rest of my family, so I was just really worried I was gonna get even more, you know, worse sickness.  But I got maybe a bit lucky.  It's taken some time to for me to get better, to be honest.  I thought I would see quicker improvements, but still hurting a bit.
But at least I don't have sort of massive headache and aches and pains anymore.  That's all gone now.

Q.  Can you actually recall a tournament when so many people seem to have gone down with something that no one quite knows what it is?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, maybe here a few years ago.  There was something going on, as well.
No, but not this magnitude, no.  This has been pretty significant, absolutely.

Q.  Have you taken any special precautions, done anything differently, not eaten something...
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, look, I don't think I got or the family got this thing from here like all the rest of the players, because our symptoms are completely different.
So I think ours came from just the travel going from cold to warm, cold to warm, and with the time change I think that's what really got us.
Precautions, no.  I mean, just, yeah, nothing really, to be honest.  We just tried to get better.
I think as I was hearing that people were getting sick we were already sick, so, yeah.  Things happened fairly quickly when I got here.

Q.  With the sickness, all the precautions athletes have to take on what's allowed and what's not allowed with the drug situation, how careful do you have to be, and is it a case if you can't take like full strength medication to get better really fast because of all these restrictions?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, honestly it's quite tough, actually.  You know, I'm super worried always, because every different Olympic committee, you know, doesn't guarantee for the other.  And if you take something here, Switzerland doesn't guarantee for that potentially.
All these things are potentially, you know, difficult for us, and that's where I always take a bit less than what I should.
But, I mean, sometimes you're feeling so bad that you have to trust doctors.  You check it and you do this, but‑‑ you know, I'd like to check everything two or three times, but sometimes you just don't have the time to do that.
But obviously you always make sure, because the last thing you want is that you make a mistake and, you know, something happens, especially when you're not feeling really well.
In emergency cases ‑ I would say this one wasn't ‑ so I had a bit of time, you know, to see what I was gonna have.  But it is very difficult, I think, for us, the players, and that's why you want to have your sort of medication always with you so you know where it came from.

Q.  Maria Sharapova once said or recently said that one of the things she was looking forward to when she retires is being able to go to the drugstore, the pharmacy, and just get whatever she wants, so to speak.
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm not looking forward to that.  That means I'm sick.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Does that ring true to you?  It's something you just have to pay attention to?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, but look, I have been sick so rarely that it's ‑‑ considering with all the flying and the people we meet and the different food we eat and all that stuff and fatigue level we go through sometimes, I'm surprised, you know, we're not more sick, you know, all of us, all the players, to a degree.
That's why I understand what she's saying, you know.  But these are the rules of the game.  And look, if you're sick for two more days, you know, it's not a big issue, actually, as long as you're not out for the count for a long, long time, right?

Q.  Going back to today's match, were you surprised at the level that Bellucci was able to play for so long during the match?  He sustained a very high level of play?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think he's a high quality player and he has a great base of shots, you know.  He has very good backhand.  He's got a dangerous forehand with a lot of spin; he's a lefty and his serve is unusual.
So it took me some time getting used to all of that game.  I think he took advantage of that in the first set, and really, you know, put me under pressure in the third.  I think he did well tonight.  He's a good player.  I knew that going in.
He's obviously had also sort of a funny way of getting into this third or fourth round.  He deserves it.  He's a great player.  And for me, it was difficult out there out there.  I'm really relieved I came through, but I was impressed by his play.

Q.  There are a lot of big forehands in the game.  Where do you rank Del Potro's, and what's so deadly about it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, he hits it big on the run and he can hit it big from almost anywhere, really, especially when he has time.  You always want to put him on the run, but when he's on the run he becomes dangerous, too.
So there are two ways.  He doesn't roll it too much.  He likes to hit his ‑‑ sort of slap it hard and flat.  So obviously sometimes he doesn't get the angle, you know, he's looking for.
But just the sheer power, it's difficult to counter that.  But I can absorb pace pretty well, so maybe that's why the matchup for me is not the worst one.
But overall, also, you know, his backhand works really well with his forehand.  I think that's most important with his game.  And, yeah, it's incredible how actually well he moves for a big guy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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