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BNP PARIBAS OPEN


March 18, 2012


Roger Federer


INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

R. FEDERER/J. Isner
7‑6, 6‑3


THE MODERATOR:  With this victory, Roger wins his 19th ATP Masters 1000 title tying Rafa Nadal.

Q.  Congratulations.
ROGER FEDERER:  Thank you.

Q.  On a personal level, when legends like Anna come here to be with you at a tournament like in, Gwen and other ones, what does this mean to you on a personal level as friends?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it's just nice to see friends around, you know.  Doesn't matter if they're famous or not.  It's nice occasionally meeting, you know, other great athletes or other great musicians or actors or whatever it is.
It's just nice when they come around and, you know, they appreciate tennis.

Q.  I know this tournament you have been battling illness.  How bad was that illness?  How many times, if it was more than once, did you consider pulling out of the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER:  Um, maybe one hour at one point just in the morning.  I woke up once and I really just didn't feel well.  I wasn't considering pulling out, but I was just sort of thinking, hmm, if this is getting any worse I'm very close of pulling out.
But, you know, I made the whole trip, and I was always gonna go on court.  As long as I could walk I would go on court.  I didn't have it as bad as the rest of the family, which is good.
One hour before the match I started to feel a bit better, which was very important, because for all afternoon I wasn't feeling great.
So those first three days through sort of the Kudla match, next day, and even still the Raonic match, I was really struggling.  After that, I started to recover.  But it took some time.  I was also not feeling great for five days overall, and definitely got lucky at the beginning of the tournament, I guess.

Q.  How much more rewarding does that make this title?  You not only had this illness, but a tough draw.  You played three very tough opponents back to back to back.  Is that rewarding for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  I was trying not to get any worse, you know, because everyone around me was not feeling good.  That made it difficult.  I just tried to stay in the tournament.  And like you said, I had a couple of tough matches with Raonic and Bellucci, and looking ahead I knew it was going to be an extremely difficult weekend ahead of me.
Honestly, I never looked one match ahead of me.  I thought Del Poe pro was going to be extremely difficult.  Once I got through that one, I only thought of the Nadal match.
So for me maybe mentally because of what happened it was a bit of an easier tournament.  I played with an attitude maybe of, Well, I can only win here.  You know, I don't favor myself because I have not felt great.  It would be a surprise to come through.
That's how it feels now.  I was able to come through, and so convincingly at the end is amazing.  I've really played amazing these last three matches in particular.  Yeah, I couldn't be more happy.  They were really great wins.

Q.  How big of a result is this?  Obviously a win here you're happy with it, but you were pretty excited on court when it was all over.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, naturally.  I mean, I love winning tennis tournaments, especially, you know, when you put in all the hard work and the sacrifice of playing a lot of matches, you know, before this, making sure I get some momentum and confidence going.
Then when it all pays off after a bit of a scare early on in the week and you get the title, and, you know, the emotions are going, it's a wonderful feeling.  I remember the days when I won three years in a row here, and, you know, I enjoyed myself over here.
So it's been a long time since I have been this successful here, even though I have had some really good matches here in the past.
But it's nice taking it all the way and getting victories.¬† I was just really happy, and, you know‑‑ not relieved because I was just, yeah, extremely proud of my performance this week.

Q.  Was the first set tiebreak one that they drew up in the textbooks?  It seemed like a lot of mini breaks going backwards and forwards.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, look, I mean, I don't think we both played our best tiebreak, but I don't think we played bad either.  I think I played a good set overall to put myself in a good position when the tiebreaker came around.
I think it's kind of what, to me, stuck out in this whole tiebreaker.  I picked up some good returns and, you know, was able to play aggressive.  I tried; I pushed; I forced the issue.  Sometimes I maybe overplayed maybe a bit.  But, you know, he did also well.
He's always gonna be in there, you know, with a shot with that kind of a serve.¬† Thank God at times maybe he didn't hit the big one at 140‑something down the T.¬† Even though it returnable, it makes it a bit more difficult.
But when I needed and when I had to I picked up some good returns today.  Which is obviously the key for victory today.

Q.  You obviously had a tough setback in NewYork, but since then you have been on a really incredible run.  Could you talk about that run?  Do you think in any way it's been a little bit under the radar screen, has not been quite appreciated?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I don't read you guys' stuff all the time, you know.  (Smiling.)
I think I have been playing extremely well since the French Open, actually.  But people aren't giving me enough credit sometimes for how great that tournament was because I didn't win it.
Same thing at Wimbledon.  I thought I played really well there, too.  I was really in a good position there to do something extraordinary there, as well.  Same thing happened at the US Open.
So it was a tough spell for me, and important to stay calm and keep on working hard and maybe take minor adjustments and hopefully, you know, luck will turn on my side.
It's amazing that it's all come around so nicely in the indoor season at the end of the year starting in Basel.  I have won six out of eight.  It's pretty extraordinary.
It was difficult after the US Open to fly all the way down to Sydney to play Davis Cup, arriving on the Wednesday and playing on Friday.¬† But that's stuff, you know, I was like willing to do to try to get, you know, my back‑‑ my head back around.¬† I did really well, so I'm very happy.

Q.  Are you playing better than ever?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I think I had a great run the last three matches, and obviously the last sort of, I don't know, six months it's been, I guess.  It's been really good.
Before that was great, too.  I'm just happy that I'm feeling healthy and happy and willing to play.  Just enjoying life, really.  I think I'm playing extremely well.  If it's the best of my life, I'll never know.  We'll all never know.

Q.  I know you have answered this probably many times over the years, but what is unique about what you do to maintain that health and that form when other players around you don't seem to be able to stay healthy and don't seem to be able to maintain?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, at the moment I think most of the top guys are pretty healthy.  We had some shock injuries with Del Potro and Davydenko and some other ones from time to time.
But overall, as brutal as the game is, it's actually somewhat healthy.  We only see minor injuries.  Normally we don't see anything that takes too long, to be quite honest.
It's actually‑‑ considering, it's pretty good.¬† What do I know?¬† I mean, I have definitely been fortunate throughout my career.¬† I have taken a lot of bad decisions.¬† You try to not take them later on again.
So I think my experience has helped me out.  And then you obviously manage your life a bit different when you have family, too, you know, when you're feeling great and you're practicing well and you're playing a lot of matches.
But then you also never want to overdo it.  I do it in blocks.  For me that works well.  Other players do it completely different.  There is no written rule to it, because every player is very different.

Q.  You talked yesterday I think about the way that people often judge things too much in the short term.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.

Q.  Could you speak a little bit more to that?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Not really.¬† There's not much to say.¬† Yeah, I think you should look more at the bigger picture sometimes, what's happened in a three‑year period sometimes or one‑year period and not just a one‑month period.
Because I do have short‑term goals, but I also have long‑term goals.¬† Depends on where you're coming from and who you've played sometimes.¬† Doesn't tell the whole story, you know.
There are sometimes places and matches where both played well.  There's not only one playing well and one playing poor every time like I hear the comments sometimes.

Q.  What were the conditions like today?  Was yesterday in the Nadal match worse or today worse than that?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, today was better.  Yesterday was tougher.  There was a brutal breeze at times I think particularly midway through the second set.
Today was consistently blowing and was a cold win wind that made this tough rain delay and also a bit of a drizzle going on.
It was tough to play, too, but I think both John and myself managed it well.  We were both pretty relaxed out there, to be honest, for finals.
You know, we asked each other‑‑ I asked him when he wanted to play and if he wanted to go back into the locker room.¬† So the umpire had an easy time, I guess, with both of us, that we were all on the same page at all times.
That was nice, actually, to see that sort of fair play in the finals like that.

Q.  You played quite a lot during the month of February this year.  Normally you don't do that.  Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that now you're playing some very good tennis?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Sure, absolutely.¬† I mean, I think in the past I have taken, you know, a lot of time off‑‑ or not.¬† I mean, a couple of weeks off after Australia, and then again you start again in Dubai and you go to Indian Wells.
For me it made a lot of sense in terms of traveling, because you should not underestimate how much traveling we do, how often we do play with jet lag.  It's not always the healthiest thing in the world, so you also have to look at those things.
This year I decided I wanted to play a bit more, see how it goes.  If things went great, you know, I knew I could be on a great run coming into Indian Wells and Miami.  That's exactly what happened.  I'm a bit surprised it's all gone that well.
I'm happy I have been holding up because it's been a lot of tennis and definitely looking forward to a break soon.  But I will push for one more in Miami, and then I'll probably have to take a week off or so and then I will manage my schedule all the way through to the French Open.

Q.  What's your estimation of where John is now?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think he's playing really well.  I think he's a great player.  I thought he was always gonna be top 10 from the first time I played him, to be honest.
I'm happy he's made that move up.¬† I assume he's top 10 after this.¬† You know, he's a threat on all the surfaces‑‑ I mean, like most of the top guys.
But he can really bring, you know, that serve and his game.  He can, you know, do it in a way that it works everywhere really.  That's going to make him extremely difficult to play.  He's not a guy you want to see early on in the draw.  Now that's not gonna happen for us in the future a whole lot more because we will probably see him in the quarters from now on, which I guess in some ways is a good thing.
I think he's gonna be, yeah, in the top 10, top 20, if not higher, for a long period of time.

Q.¬† You talked about credit earlier.¬† Why is it people have such short memories?¬† Everything you have done, is it more just that you're kind of at the mercy of your own r√©sum√©, or do you also think, too, that people just simply have short‑term memory when it comes to what you do?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No, I think it's more the age that people always talk about right now.¬† So I think that's most‑‑ that stands out to me.¬† Some don't understand how you can play tennis at 30 years old, which is shocking to me, because normally that's still when you're young enough to play some of your best tennis.
I think I'm showing that since I turned 30 in August last year.  That's basically where my run began.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what people say a whole lot, because I care about the fans and I care about, you know, that I can do the pressers relaxed like I am now.
The press understands it and I understand the criticism at times, but sometimes it goes a bit too far.  I have also got that no problem, but it's just unfortunate that it's also portrayed that way for fans, I guess.

Q.  With everything you have done, do you have any specific motivation outside of competition?  Are you trying to get back to No. 1?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I guess that's a long, long‑term goal.¬† I said it loud and clear that it's not right now a goal for me in the short‑term, because I can't be world No. 1 because Novak has played amazing these last 12 months.
You know, just because I have been on a great run doesn't mean he hasn't.¬† So we're all aware of that.¬† And, you know, he might go, you know, and do another run or someone else might come up and go ‑‑ like Rafa might go on his clay court run again, and then all things become very difficult as well for me to get to world No. 1.
So right now that's not even on top of my, you know, my head.  I'm just happy how well things are going, and I try to use that momentum to win more tennis matches and enjoy myself even more and enjoy maybe more positive press conferences, which is nice.  (Laughter.)

Q.  When you dominated this tournament when you won three in a row, it looked like the fourth and the fifth would be foregone conclusions, but it's been a couple years.  Are you surprised it took this long to get number four?  And maybe reflecting back, why has it taken a relative amount of time to get this fourth one, because you were so good in those three?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I honestly don't remember how it went for me.  When was the last time I won, '06?  I don't remember '07, '08, '09, to be honest, who I lost to.  I remember Baghdatis.  I remember Novak last year.  Before that, I'm not sure.
So I don't know what the reasons were.  I came close one year, I guess, and I think I played the semis potentially.
So, I mean, look, there's always stuff that happens, and then a year goes by and a lot is different.  Maybe you're coming in with a different type of momentum, more doubts.  You're playing okay, but it's just not just good enough to get through.  Another player is hot.
So, I mean, look, what surprises me is that I've actually won this again after all this time, and particularly this year where I was struggling and hurting a lot at the beginning of the year.
So, I mean, this tournament victory couldn't come at a better time, I guess, in my career.  It's a big tournament.  First Masters 1000 of the season.  I won the last one of last year too, so sort of on a winning streak, I guess, of the Masters 1000 tour.
Two now, and it's really wonderful winning these big‑time events on the ATP Tour.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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