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February 25, 2013

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M. Jaziri
5‑7, 6‑0, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Did that seem a bit like deja vu, sort of struggling a bit at the beginning of this tournament and coming through?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  I mean, I had rocky starts here to the tournament here in previous years.  And, you know, I played somewhat fast so there was not much rhythm out there.
I think we were both not playing really well in the beginning.  We were both missing a lot of first serves, or him in particular.  I think because I couldn't take advantage, I went from not so good to really not so good, and then he got better naturally, which I was hoping to do, as well.
Then he played better at the back end of the set.  Then, for me, was important to sort of react and make sure I don't panic.  But, of course, you know, your mind starts to wander, especially in a match where there is hardly any rallies.  He's going for broke on every return.  All you're trying to do is get into some rallies, and you're missing a lot yourself.
I mean, it was a difficult match for me out here tonight, but I'm happy I found a way and probably got a day off now so I can work a little bit on the game, just maybe the pressure is off a little bit, and then automatically will play a lot better the second round.

Q.  Is there often a balance to be struck to wanting to play freely at the beginning and playing pragmatic so you survive?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think especially on a quick court.  That's where I think quick courts are interesting, you know.  That sometimes doesn't matter how good you play.  It's all in the hand of the guy who's serving, you know.
It was windy out there a little bit, so the more you're trying to play safe, sometimes the worse it gets, the more predictable you come, and the harder it is to go for it.  That's why it's almost better to start out hitting the ball, going for it a bit, and you can always then backtrack a little bit.
But it's not so easy in the first round just to come out firing, you know.  That's why you want to play consistent and sort of aggressive to conservative locations.  But I was trying to do it and couldn't do it.
I mean, he did well, as well, you know, at the end.  He came up with some good stuff when he had to.

Q.  You said yesterday you expected a tricky encounter because you had never played him.  What was it about his game and what did you change in the second and third that made the difference?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I just think I got the better rhythm then from the baseline.  I started to return much better.  I was really starting to miss a lot of routine second‑serve returns, which is so important, you know, to just get into a good position off the return.  Then you can go for it a bit more.  You gain confidence, as well, on your own serve.
If you're only playing rallies on your own service games, that makes it somewhat difficult.  Plus I don't know exactly his patterns on the serve or from the baseline, if he prefers his backhand down the line or inside out.
Of course, I have some idea, but because the court is quick, there is a lot of sort of natural just adapting to the ball he receives.
So there is not much pattern out there.  That makes it difficult just to know what to expect, and in the process you become a bit, you know, hesitant and then things become really tricky.

Q.  Is there any part of his game that's impressed you?  He's coming back from injury and hasn't played in three months.  Did you know that going in?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I heard he didn't play a match yet this year.  I think that also played on my mind, you know, knowing that he has this huge knee brace, tape, not having played this year.
Yeah.  Gotta win, right?  (Smiling.)  That makes things kinda worse, you know.  It's not like the first time I feel that way, but I think that's what the first time here in Dubai always has done to me, put a lot of pressure on me.
I really want to do well at this event.  I think he's got some nice shots and has some good variety when his slice, as well, of course.  And you could definitely see he was struggling, too, in some ways with his serve and also in the beginning early on, the nerves maybe just getting into the match.
But he strikes his forehand nicely, you know.  Our points were so short this time.  I would have to see more of him playing on a slower surface.

Q.  We see players have different opinions with regards to whether a tough match is good for them in terms of the tournament.  Where do you feel with respect to that?  And specifically with these events, are you happy you had a tough first‑up match?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, ones like these I don't mind.  It wasn't physical at all.  Like I said, the rallies were fast.  Wasn't too long of a match.
Okay, it's three sets, but the second set was only six games.  That could be 3‑All in another set.  I think it was ‑‑it was good in terms of nerves, you know, getting out there and having to survive difficult moments, 1‑All break point down second serve I think it was, and, you know, moments like this where you're just not feeling quite right but you get it done.
Then all of a sudden you feel like now you're in the tournament, you're watching some other matches, and you play a different style opponent next time around.  Who knows?  I might know him much better.  I don't even know who I play.
I think this match I think is obviously helpful at this stage, early season, you're happy with any win.  Doesn't matter how it comes along.

Q.  Can you put your present player council hat on and explain why this tournament has won best tournament at this level nine times out of the last ten years?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it's hard for me without being biased.  I haven't been to many of the other 500s, the American tournaments or South American tournaments.  You know, I really only know the ones I have played over the last few years, you know.
Every tournament has its charm, so that's where it's very difficult, you know, to choose a particular tournament.
So obviously this is only a 32 draw, so there's only a select few players that vote.  But I think the ones who come here really enjoy it, you know.  I think they feel like they're really well taken care of.  The tournament is well run.  You have a lot of practice possibilities.  They seem to extend always the site, you know.  I think players like to see there is always an investment in terms of trying to get a bit better or more attention to detail.
You name it.  You see expansions.  That means you care about the players and you're not just happy, you know, making money every year.
I think here in Dubai we have seen that.  The money sort of comes back to the players, which is really nice, and the fans and the media, everybody involved.
I think those are the reasons, really.  And it's a tournament that's grown a lot, and it's ‑‑yeah, it's very prestigious now as well.  I think that also helps the case.

Q.  Can I just have a follow‑up question after that?  Shanghai won the ATP 1000 award for four years in a row.  So what makes things with Shanghai stand out from other Masters tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I guess the Shanghai has an advantage in that they hosted the World Tour Finals, Masters Cup.  So they obviously built this stadium from scratch and made it, you know, amazing, you know.  So for each player, they were thinking of the thousands and thousands of fans that could come to the stadium.
They thought of all the players, somehow the individual locker rooms, the food is really good.  The only little downside they have is somewhat far away from the city, you know, but they make up with it with great transportation.
Again, a very player friendly tournament.  Beautiful center court.  One of the nicest ones we have on tour.  I think they learned by doing and hosting the world‑class event, Tennis Masters Cup, for so long.  So they know how it's done.
Now that the other players are coming in, it's no problem for them.  Then again, you have enough courts to work with and just seems like it's a really happy tournament, you know.  They deserve it.

Q.  A Nadal question.  A couple weeks ago in South America he said more doping tests, more transparency, but he also evidently in Spanish said something like not only should there be more tests but they should be revealing the results on a rolling basis every week, who was tested, what happened.  Do you think that's a logical idea?
ROGER FEDERER:  Sure.  I mean, I don't think people care about tests.  Nothing came up.  I mean, it's a relief every time you hear about it that your test was fine, you know.  (Smiling.)
I think we only care about that one test that wasn't fine.  Sure, I mean, it's an idea.  I'm for transparency.  I'm for aggressive tests, and I have always been like that.  For me, it's just important that we make sure that the integrity of the game is, you know, kept where it's supposed to be and that the tour and everybody, the players, everybody, has to agree and that we should be trying to do that.
I think there is a big sense of urgency that we make sure that our sport stays as clean as possible.  It's very important.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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