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AUSTRALIAN OPEN


January 21, 2013


Roger Federer


MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

R. FEDERER/M. Raonic
6‑4, 7‑6, 6‑2


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Very strong night for you serving.  How did you feel on that especially?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought I had a good night, like you mentioned.  Was focused on what I wanted to do and was able to come through.
Important obviously was first to focus on my own serve before even thinking about how to return Milos.¬† But did a good job tonight.¬† As the match went on, I started to feel better.¬† But that's kind of normal.¬† Like when you play a left‑hander again, you have to get used to that kind of speed or used to that spin.¬† As the match went on, I started to feel better.
The first set for me was key.  The second set he hung tough and pushed it to the breaker.  You never know what happens then.

Q.  Very few unforced errors.  How did you feel you were hitting the ball?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, obviously he was playing very aggressive and there were a lot of service winners from both sides, so there go ‑‑ a lot of points go by without being able to hit an unforced error.¬† That's why for me the stats are not that important.
I felt good out there.  I was moving well, had good anticipation and reaction today, which was key obviously on the return.  Like I said, in the third set I started to feel extremely good on the return.
I played well.¬† I think I played tactically well tonight and was able to keep the points short on my own service games, used the 1‑2 punch.¬† That was obviously also a good thing tonight.

Q.  Two young players in a row.  Very different games.  How do you compare their levels?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's totally different.  What I like about Milos, let's just say, he seems very committed and he seems like he has his team set up, travels every week with the same kind of guys.  I don't know if he's fiddling around with his racquets or anything, but at least you feel like he's focused on the matches and the practice.  The rest is sort of taken care of, which is the good thing, the business side, all the PR.  So I don't know how much he's involved in that.  But he seems like he's in a good place where he can just really focus on tennis.
Whereas I think Tomic still needs some time to figure out his team, figure out all the other things that are happening.  Obviously Milos has a bit of an advantage because he's been at the top now for some time.  This is where it's interesting to see what direction they go, where they practice, who they work with, so forth.
Yeah, totally different sort of characters it seems like as well.  Also in the game.  But both tall and strong and obviously with great potential.

Q.  How far away do you feel you are from your absolute best form from four or five years ago?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't even know when I played my very best, so...  You just try to play very good every match you come out and do, but it's hard because some matchups just don't allow you to play so well, some conditions don't allow you to do that.  And obviously very often you just don't play your best.
Most of the times you play good, you know.  When you play very good, that's rare.  So just have to try to have as many good days or great days as you can, and that's why I push hard in practice and keep myself in shape.  Tonight was a very solid night, so I'm very happy.  If I can maintain such a level of play, obviously I'm happy I give myself a chance of going deep in this tournament, which is obviously the goal.

Q.  If you had to pick one match so far in your career where you felt you played your best tennis, could you do that?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, it's totally different playing Lleyton than playing Raonic, so it's never goingto be ‑‑ you cannot ever compare.¬† But then, of course, you look at one of the biggest matches you've ever played in your life, maybe a final somewhere, and this is where you delivered against one of the best players in the world.¬† This is then where you can sort of judge yourself and say that this probably was, in terms of pressure and everything involved, from start to finish, one of the best matches I ever played.
Of those, I thankfully have a few of them, which is good.

Q.  When Djokovic came out against Harrison, he seemed to be proving a point.  Do you have the same kind of extra motivation to put them in their place, perhaps?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not so much.  Maybe five years ago.  Today I'm in a different place myself.  You know, I just try to go out there and play my best, regardless if they're young or not.
But I get a lift, as well, in terms of energy playing against those kind of guys.  But I don't try to hit harder or intimidate them because they've seen the big serves and they've seen the great movement around.  They know what it's all about.
Yeah, I don't play so much with the fear factor and all that stuff.  I really just try to beat them.  That's the only thing.

Q.  You said you stayed up to watch the Djokovic match last night.  Do you think that was a good idea because it finished late?  Take us through your thoughts as you were watching.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I went to dinner, watched during dinner.  We had TV there, which was good.  Finished dinner eventually.  Went to sleep, woke up, he was still playing.  No kidding (laughter).
Had treatment to do.¬† Wanted to watch the end.¬† I started doing treatment while he was playing.¬† Yeah, I mean, I think it's the right thing to do to finish a match like that.¬† I tried the same thing with Lleyton against Marcos years ago.¬† I bailed out when Lleyton was up 5‑1 in the fourth, and it still ended up going five sets.¬† I can't believe I went to bed.
Anyway, that was my lesson not going to bed anymore in a match.
Obviously I was disappointed and sad for Stan.  Told him that, as well.  I think he did so well.  I hope it sends a big message to all the players, the fans.  His reaction, he showed after being up so much in the first two sets, to end up losing the second and still come back and push Novak to the brink of losing, I mean, that was tough.
That's what I like to see.  I've seen Stan play this well before.  So for me it's not a big shock.  Now it's just a matter of keeping that up and taking the positive out of this and not be deflated about it.  I think that's a key right now for Stan.

Q.  Obviously with the challenges, you got some of them right.  Were you lucky?  Have you been eating carrots?
ROGER FEDERER:  Look, you get lucky and unlucky.  Sometimes you get tough calls from linesmen maybe on the other side of the court.  You just go with your feeling.  Sometimes it's also the way the opponent then plays the shot, what's the score.
Sometimes you just get unlucky, especially if you get burnt early or lured into those challenges early in the set, you start losing them.  I don't want to say you lose your confidence, but you can't challenge as much.  The winning/losing ratio on the challenges isn't important.  At the end of sets, some players just burn them because you can't carry them over in the next set.
I don't think I'm that good on the challenges.  When you're in the lead, you usually only challenge when you're sure.  When you're down, you challenge because you have to.

Q.  Sometimes people say when you're playing games with the ball kids, you're obviously sort of getting up to a little bit of...
ROGER FEDERER:  I really enjoyed it out there tonight.  It's obviously a privilege playing on center court here in Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena.  Obviously the game with the ball boy, sort of a thank you to them, a memory to me that I was a ball boy, too, for a few years when I was younger.
I loved it, you know.  These guys catch the ball almost better than any ballboys and girls out there.
I love it.  The crowd seemed to get into it.  We clean up the court quicker that way.  We get on with playing tennis, not just sort of toweling off and shooting balls the whole time.

Q.  Jerzy Janowicz has broken into the top 30.  What do you think about his tennis skills?
ROGER FEDERER:  Seems a very good player.  Obviously I've never seen him play live.  Only saw a little bit on TV that week in Paris; otherwise I've never seen him play before.  So still got some work to do to sort of see him play a bit.
But he seems, again, another guy with a big serve, a big forehand, who is powerful.  It was a great story last year for him to break through at the later stages of the season and beat so many good players along the way.  It was impressive.
Obviously gives him great confidence, and that's the kind of stories we need from time to time in tennis, that a guy breaks through and beats the top guys.

Q.  Can you reflect at all on the 35 straight Grand Slam quarterfinals.
ROGER FEDERER:  Obviously times have changed, you know.  Conditions have slowed down.  That gives you an opportunity to maybe be more consistent in all four majors, which before we had the clay court specialists, the fast court players.
Maybe I'm taking away things from me a little bit, from myself.  But I truly believe things are a bit easier to play more consistent today.
But then, of course, you have to stay injury‑free.¬† Whatever happens in a five‑setter, if things don't go well physically for you, you'll pay the price, cash sort of to speak, and then you'll drop out of the tournament.¬† So many times, even if I did have problems, I did find a way to come through and survive and go deep in the tournament, often even win it.
I don't know if the quarterfinals is big or the semis actually.  That was actually a huge one as well when I had the semifinal streak going.
I'm happy to be in another one.  I didn't actually think about it once when I was on court.  I was thinking about it before the Tomic match, for some reason.  But obviously does it drive me?  I don't know; I'm not sure.  It's a nice record to have.  Obviously as it's ongoing, you try to keep working at it.

Q.  Regarding big muscles, we saw Djokovic ripping his shirt.  What goes through your mind when you see a guy do this?  Could you do this?
ROGER FEDERER:  That's exactly what I won't do.  Other guys do other things.  I'm happy that we're not all the same.
I'm definitely not going to do that, especially with my little left arm.  It would be a bit embarrassing to do that (laughter).

Q.  You're the only guy going into the quarterfinals at the moment who hasn't dropped a service game.  Any thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, especially early on in the season, not having played any tournaments before, this is obviously a great thing I have going.
But I go into matches expecting to be broken.  The more you talk about it, the more so you're going to be broken.  So I'm just happy to drop that subject and sort of move on (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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