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March 16, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Del Potro
6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.¬† You always not a big fan of Hawk‑Eye.¬† Do you think what happened today showed again the inconsistencies of...
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I mean, it happens.  I mean, I seen something worse happen here years ago between Murray and Ljubicic.  I mean, it's always gonna happen, stuff like that.
But, you know, back then with the bad calls sometimes you get these arguments, you know.  It was just different to see.  You know, there was a different momentum, something you kind of talk about sometimes.
I don't know, it just has more flare to it, you know, when you have these bad calls from time to time.  Now it's just straightforward; you move on.  There's a good call, bad call, the worst that can happen is you run out of challenges and the umpire then misses everything and the linespeople too.
But the chances of that happening are virtually impossible.  Yeah, I mean, it's fine what it is, you know.  But I liked it the way it was, and I'm fine with what it is today.

Q.  Do you feel like your game really lifted today after the last two matches, given the fact that you said you felt better, as well?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I did play well against Raonic and struggled against Bellucci.  So this was definitely a great match.  I sort of expected myself to come out and play a good match today after the struggle I had against Bellucci.
I don't usually struggle, you know, back to back days, so this was for me a really good match against a great player.  I'm happy I was happy to maintain the great streak I've got going against him this year.
Q.  On your serve, Del Potro was standing way behind the baseline.  Was that helpful to you today?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Um, well, he had a tendency to do that in the past.¬† Then lately he's moved up more, which I think, you know, you have to do just‑‑ it works against some players, maybe against 60, 70% of the guys, and then against certain other playing styles it doesn't work.
So I guess the base should be at the front, but you can always try it out on a slow court here.  It might work.  I've played him obviously at the French Open over five sets like that and he was way, way back.  Maybe even at the US Open.  I don't even remember.
So it sometimes works against some players.¬† Today it didn't work.¬† I think I served well eventually after a tough‑‑ you know, a bit of a struggle early on.
But, yeah, it definitely makes for different tennis when someone is standing so far back on the return.  You know, takes some getting used to, as well.

Q.  You have had so many matches with Rafa, hours and hours.  Hung out with him some off the court.  Over the years, either what have you learned the most or admired the most about him on court and off?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, he's got a great work ethic, and obviously he's one of the great players, you know, of all time.
I have had some great matches with him all around the world by now, you know.  So I hope I can play him here.
But at the same time, I have no preference, because I have had some great matches with Nalbandian, too.  We'll see who I'll play.

Q.  You've never played him here, which is kind of interesting.  You guys have played 27 times.  Can you evaluate how the conditions or this court, do you think, will play, if you end up playing him?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think this and Miami probably plays best for Rafa on hard court, you know, because it's very slow.  Miami can be windy, which I don't think he minds.  I mean, I don't mind that, either.
Just the slowness of the courts helps his play.  He has such great movement that obviously this is a court that, you know, works well for him.  I think also the results show he's been incredibly consistent here particularly here over the past years.
I don't know how consistent he's been in Miami, but he's been also very tough to beat over there.  That's why if I play him I would expect a difficult match.

Q.¬† What went through your head in thefirst set when they did have that Hawk‑Eye thing.¬† You were just bouncing the ball.¬† He was just letting you go whether it was a second serve, first serve, what have you.¬† What's going through your head while all that stuff is going on?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, nothing.  I'm just waiting.  (Laughter.)
Well, all of a sudden‑‑ it's happened before that Hawk‑Eye didn't work or‑‑ I mean, you know, crazy enough, when I played Rafa in Wimbledon, at 6‑All in the fifth Hawk‑Eye wasn't available anymore because of the light.
That was great for us to know, you know, for the players.  It wasn't such an important match.  Who cares?  (Laughter.)
Also, I was just waiting, and then for one split second I was like, Oop, maybe look at this thing is not going to work.
So I thought the ball was out.  Yeah, that was it, basically.  And then you just go with the call of the umpire and you sort of move on with it.

Q.  You have had some pretty amazing streaks going into tournaments, and you've also gone into Roland Garros with the possibility of winning four in a row a couple of times.  Looking ahead to Roland Garros and Djokovic, which kind of pressure is hardest, do you think:  having the streak that he had going in last year, or now the possibility of winning four in a row?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I guess it's similar but completely different.  I mean, it's hard to judge, I guess.  This one's gonna be a little easier maybe because of the pressure of last year.  He's been there.  He's had a massive thing going like he has this year going for him, so he'll come into this probably thinking, you know, I've had to face the music with everybody saying, Oh, you are gonna do it, you're not gonna do it, and the whole thing.  He managed it well I thought for a long, long period of time.
He never expected I don't think to win 40‑plus matches in a row.¬† Yeah, I mean, he's gonna have a great season again, so he will be coming to the French probably pretty confident, and all on his mind is trying to get his first French Open.¬† So it's gonna be tough on all of us.
It's not going to be an easy tournament to win because we know sort of Rafa owns that place.

Q.  You've talked about Wimbledon a lot, but when you first go to Paris and know that Roland Garros is coming, what are some of the things that go through your mind just before the tournament, and what does it mean to return to return to Paris and play Roland Garros?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's a great place for me personally.  I have amazing fans over there.  Not far away from Switzerland, so I have tons of friends coming over.
It's nice because the weather only gets better as sort of weeks go by.  Sometimes can you get unlucky and really play through a lot of rain through Monaco and all those tournaments all the way through to Rome, which happened to me one year.  You know, even at the French I played in the rain.
You can be a bit unlucky at times, but the French usually is really good.  Yeah, it's kinda, you are looking forward to that.  Right now my focus is completely somewhere else, not on the French Open.
Q.  There is a cliché that says clay is the slow surface on the circuit, but surfaces have become slower and slower through the years.  Is this cliché still available?  Are there surfaces that actually play at least as slow as clay?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm sure, yeah, absolutely.  This ain't a whole lot faster than clay, if not slower, you know.  Because on a nice day on clay the ball bounces a lot.  You have the bad bounces, and, yeah, you can serve big really on clay.
And then with the sliding, if you play it the right way, you can really make someone really uncomfortable.  Which here it's always great footwork, great grip on the court, and all that stuff.
From what I heard, the rallies are longer now on an average at Wimbledon and at the French Open, believe it or not.  There you go.  I think the balls and all this stuff have slowed down way too much, but it's where we're stuck with at the moment.
Q.  Why all the dropshots today?  Was that a commentary on Del Potro's speed?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, like we just mentioned before he returns from way back, so obviously he starts the point from way back there.  Obviously he's a big guy; bigger guys always maybe tend to move a bit slower than obviously the little quick guy.
I just wanted to see if it worked.  If it worked, do it a bit more often.  If it didn't, I would stop doing it.  Just for variation I guess you almost have to do it against Juan Martin at times.
But then again, I guess it depends on what kind of playing style you have.  For me it worked well today.  Not all the time.  Then you have then someone's tendency to overdo it as well, so you always have to pick the right time to do it.

Q.  Novak beat you four times on hard last year, but you beat him on clay.  Is he vulnerable on clay, would you say?  If so, why?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm not sure.  I mean, look, the guy is holding three Grand Slams right now.  He has this incredible run still going on, so he's tough to beat on any surface.  I don't know, you know, which surface I would prefer to play him on.  Maybe grass?
I don't think I have played him on grass before.  But, no, he's good overall, like all the top guys, really.  I mean, there is no sort of surface preference anymore, even though I probably believe that hard courts is his number one surface overall.

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