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January 17, 2013

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Davydenko
6‑3, 6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  One of the most unusual gifts you were given after Wimbledon, the cow Juliette.  How's she doing now?
ROGER FEDERER:  She's not around anymore.  That was a long time.  You're living in the past.  She's long gone.  I think her daughter's gone, too.  So way behind.

Q.  Can you talk about your match coming up with Bernard Tomic.  How much of a different player do you think he is from the last time you played him?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I mean, look, it's obviously the beginning of the season so you don't know how guys work in the off‑season, where they've done it, who they've done it with, all that stuff.¬† Obviously, it's still early in the season.
But of course it sets a trend, you know, to something, something good usually if you do start well.  It gives you some momentum.
Yeah, I guess he's learned a lot in the last year.  It's been, you know, a year of a younger player on tour.  I went through the same sort of thing, you know, ups and downs, playing on the big courts, playing on the smaller courts, playing against all the different opponents for the first time.  So it's tricky.
It's nice he's been able to turn it around after a tough end of the year last year.  It seems he's playing well.  Obviously a difficult matchup in terms of early in the tournament.  But I've got to be ready, so I'm looking forward to the match.

Q.  Is there any area in particular that you think he's improved to have the current winning streak?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I think he's playing maybe overall consistent, whatever that might be.  It's really in the details.  It's hard to pinpoint one thing.
But I think when you're younger, you have a tendency to improve really quickly.  Then it's just hard to maintain that, you know.  That's why I think it's really exciting being younger, you know, and feeling it as well.  I don't want to say week by week.  At this point now he's been on tour for a few years.  In matches, every match you play you learn something.  He's already past that point a little bit.
But, yeah, I would think he does everything a little bit better, otherwise he wouldn't have won a tournament.  And I haven't seen that much, quite honestly, so it's hard for me to comment.

Q.¬† When you have a head‑to‑head that goes back 10 years with a player, do you become conscious of things you can do now that you couldn't do 10 years ago?
ROGER FEDERER:  Against him in particular or... 

Q.  Or against other players.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, obviously life on the tour has changed a lot personally for me and on the court as well.  I'm much more experienced today.  I know what I can expect from myself in terms of my level of play early on.
Sometimes you just feel you're going to come into this match and play awful, this matchup's horrible.  You know, I know what to expect from myself.  I'm much stronger today physically clearly so I can always rely on that as well, extend the rallies, don't have to be worried about that.  Whereas in the past people knew or thought if you go past two hours on clay against Federer, he'll not get better from that point on, he'll get weaker.
That's something I wanted to work on and have it where people thought the other way, I was going to get stronger after two hours.  The longer the match went, it's going to be in my favor.  That's the mindset you have to have in practice, and that's when I went to work and that's why I'm the player I am today.

Q.  Do you feel stronger now?
ROGER FEDERER:  I would hope I'm a better player today.  But obviously things have changed around a lot:  strings, racquets, court speed, opponents.  Obviously, I came through in an era where I had to base my game against Sampras, Agassi, those kind of guys, and not the roadrunners.  They came at the same time with me.
Courts were faster then.  It was more absorbing, the pace and creating something with it.  Now it's much different, much easier to find angles.  So over time I had to adjust my game a little bit.  I'm happy I was able to and find a way and be successful for a long period of time.

Q.  Other players talk about the video preparation they do before an opponent comes along.  What sort of video preparation do you do?
ROGER FEDERER:  I used to do a bit more when I was young.  I had more time.  Now I don't do it so much anymore.  Obviously eventually you know pretty much what to expect.  I'm a big believer in playing with your own strength instead of always focusing on just your opponent, what does he do good, what does he do bad.
In a heartbeat you know exactly what your opponent can do.  It's just a matter of compressing it all together when it's really important and then be confident in your own playing.
At the end of the day, you have a lot to say as well out there.

Q.  Bernard has been a little bit of a divisive character in Australia; whereas you've always had support on Rod Laver in Australia.  Does that help you going into a match against the last Australian in the draw?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't think it matters whether he's the last Australian or 10 more.  I think there's always excitement about Aussies playing here.  I played him here last year.  The crowd was great.  I played him in Davis Cup.  Crowds were fair there, too.  I expect something similar.
If it's not, if it's totally for him, that's fine too.  I'm always excited when the crowd gets into it.  So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the match.  I'm sure it's going to be a lot of attention, hopefully a lot of TV viewers as well.
Hopefully we're going to live up to the expectations and live up to the match.  Hopefully it's not going to be a bad match.  I don't want that to happen.

Q.  Do you hope to intimidate with your aura to young boys when they come through?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, maybe the first time you play them.  I think Davis Cup was the first time.  He took a set off me there.  He wasn't too impressed.  There's certain characters and certain players that have an easier time to play against good players.
I was one of those as well.  In '98, I didn't believe I was going to beating Agassi in Basel, but I believed I maybe could hang with him for a bit, and I did.  I won five games.  Then six months later I beat Moya in Marseille, and he was 4 in the world and two months later he was No. 1 in the world.  I was also a big believer I could win.  Then there's other players who are much more overwhelmed by an occasion like that.
To me, he seems to be more of a guy that likes to be on center court, playing against the top guys, feels like he belongs there.  I think it's going to be make it easier for him to play me.

Q.  You said out on the court that physically you felt you could have more of an advantage over him.  How do you use that?  Sort of move him around the court, your power of shot?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Look, I have so much more experience than him.¬† Last year I reached my thousandth match on tour.¬† That's what I meant.¬† I know how hard a five‑setter can be.¬† I know how intense a night session can be and all these things.
Whatever that means, length of rally, length of match, intensity, I've been there.  That could potentially help me, but it could also not help me.
We'll see how it goes.  But he's done a really nice job today, for instance, in the heat.  He's already played at night, so you see that as well.  I don't have a big advantage in this regard.  I don't see it as an advantage actually.

Q.  To the previous point about players being ready to play big players, I looked back at Tomic's prematch interview last year and he sounded like a kid totally in fear.  This year he's playing mind games in the media, saying Davydenko might beat him.  That's perhaps him thinking he's a peer of yours now.  Is there a danger of him getting ahead of himself?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think he's also been lured into it, to be honest.
So at the end of the day, you got to wait for the match.  All the talk around it.  I don't read the press, so I don't know it's going to affect me.  I don't know if he's going to wake up in the morning, first thing in the morning, and go to the coffee shop and read the paper.
I used to be like that when I was a lot younger, and I stopped doing it a long time ago.  It has a big effect on you if you care what people write about you and think of you.
I think it's important to be confident to a degree, you know.  It seems he has that.  Now obviously we both have to live up to a big match, big hype, and then we can talk about it afterwards, you know.
Right now I'm still at the beginning of the season.  He's obviously played a bit more.  So he knows more so where he is with his game.  So it's an interesting matchup right now I think for both of us.

Q.  He said his serve has changed, that it was so much better.  Does that make it harder to break him?
ROGER FEDERER:  I would think so.  Plus with his confidence, you know, that is also going to help him in the bigger moments to stay more calm.  Who knows.
Then again, you just have to bring it time and time again.  Some guys return some serves better than others.  I hope I return his good.  Last year I did.
I have a feeling this surface is just a tiny bit faster.  That may help all of us feeling like we're serving better.  But then again, maybe he is serving better.  That may be the case for him.  He's done a nice job of holding his serve, putting pressure on the return.  I'll find out many, many things in a few days.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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