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March 11, 2013

Roger Federer


6‑3, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Is your back okay?  It seemed like you were clutching it a little bit at the end?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, at the end tweaked it a little bit.  But it's not the first time it's happened in my career, so, I don't know, I know how to deal with it.  I'm walking fine.  I have a day off tomorrow.  Everything is all right.

Q.  It's nothing to keep you out of playing your next match?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, you hope not.  I'd be surprised if it did, yes.

Q.  Question related to South Africa.  You obviously have a deep connection, 10 years of incredible work there, 50,000 kids.  My understanding was that you were seeking to connect somehow with president Mandela.
            If you had gotten in touch with him, aside from listening, what would you like to ask him and take from him?  What are your thoughts about his role?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think it's just more just paying respect and, you know, if he had the time and it was fine, you know, to meet me, just to spend time, you know.
I have nothing particular, you know, I need to ask him because he needs to talk about what he would feel comfortable with.  I don't like pushing people and getting stuff out from people that he hasn't said before.  That's not the goal in meeting someone of the stature of President Mandela.
I mean, it didn't happen, so I was obviously, you know, a little bit disappointed, you know, naturally.  But at the same time, I totally understand.  I'm sure he's met so many people already, and, you know, he's also not getting younger.
So it was something I thought of.  If it worked out, great; if it didn't, I would understand.
I still had a wonderful trip, you know, meeting friends and family down there.  Obviously going to see one of the many projects I support in Africa, you know, and one of the projects I support in South Africa, so it was very nice.

Q.  This morning there was an earthquake.  Did you feel it?  Where were you when it came through?  And also, have you ever been through one before?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, the one in NewYork I was in the car so I didn't feel it, and then here today was literally the first time I ever felt one.  For the first few seconds I wasn't sure what was happening.
I ran outside.  I was at the house and I didn't know how long it was going to last, if it was going to get worse from there, or if the worst was already past.
Thank God family wasn't in the house.  They were outside somewhere.  It was a very strange feeling to have, because you see the windows shaking and you look up and realize you're under a structure.  It was quite scary for a second there.

Q.  The weather is supposed to get quite warm over the next few days.  How do you go from playing in sort of comfortable conditions?  Do you change your approach to the match, or does it all just stay the same for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Stays pretty much the same.  I guess you make sure you hydrate even better, because already it's very dry here.  It's not like you're sweating like crazy, you know, so that's not a big worry for me.
The heat has never been a worry for me in the last sort of ten years of my playing career.  I always think it's nice.  Today was wonderful.  I don't know how hot it's going to get really, but I doubt it's going to be 120, so it's all okay.

Q.  Just going back to your back for a second, you took a longer time than normal to come your press conference.  Did you have treatment?  The back has in the past given you problems.  Is it something you won't know until very close to the match?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, no.  I mean, I finished the match, I did treatment, you know, just to make sure you do all the right things at the right time.
That's what you should do anyway all the time:  You should do treatment right after your matches and not go to press first.  You get in the habit.  You go to press first, get rid of that, even though it's not the right thing to do.
So I'm not too worried.  I have gone through it so many times where you feel a little tweak.  You might play next day; now this time around I have a day off, extra time.
Happened during Grand Slams, during tournaments, in practice.  So, you know, it's just something, you know, you learn to deal with.  And as long as I keep on playing, it's all right.  After this I also know I have a longer break to recover, so from that standpoint I'm not worried at all.

Q.  Is it the same kind of tweak you felt in the past?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, pretty much.

Q.  You have less tournaments in 2013.  Are you considering playing tournaments you haven't played before or haven't won before?
ROGER FEDERER:  I was thinking about it, what else I would like to do, you know, what tournaments I have not yet played before, to which tournaments I would like to return again, you know, after maybe not playing for many years.
So I'm not quite sure yet, because I have a pretty solid plan for this year what I want to do.  What I'm doing this year was a lot of practice and then the tournaments I am going to play, that I'm signed up for.  I have options then to choose what I want to do for next year.
Naturally all the 250s always have a tougher date.  They're either after slams, before slams, before or after Masters 1000s usually, which just makes it more tricky to play some.
You have to prioritize what is important to you.

Q.  Maybe Washington, D.C.?
ROGER FEDERER:  Never know.  I have played there in the past.  So that's what I said.  All of a sudden, that then will be a priority.  I don't know at this point.

Q.  Back to your back, do you have to deal with your back or look after your back more than other parts of your body?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  Well, ever since, what is it, four years ago?  I don't know how long exactly when I didn't play against Blake, was it, in Paris?
There things weren't good at all.  That was as extreme, I think, as it gets.  Ever since I have been doing a lot of back exercises, making sure I try everything I can to make sure it strengthened and less vulnerable to go bad, you know.
I have even had a bad back, you know, sometimes when I was younger just because I wasn't strong enough yet.  I think every player can talk about having had a bad back, you know.  I think almost every person has, you know.
So for me, it's been actually pretty good overall if I think about it, you know.  And if it hurts me for an evening or one‑and‑a‑half days or something and I can still play with the pain, that's okay, you know.
I hurt it in Wimbledon against Malisse and came out firing against Youzhny the next round.  So for me, you know, I just got to deal with it, you know.

Q.  Do you have to do anything extra, like hang upside down?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not at all.  I just literally do simple back exercises and sufficient treatment, and that's it.

Q.  The long break you're taking, A, is that absolutely set in stone what you're going to do?  And secondly, related to that, is that a kind of signal that the rankings are now sort of further down in your priority list?
ROGER FEDERER:  The first question was if...

Q.  Is it set in stone?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I mean, no schedule is set in stone.  That's the idea.  Most likely I'll follow through with it, but then, you know, if you'd lost here first round or you win the tournament here, I don't know if that changes my mindset for anything else.
I think it's always important to be mentally open, to reassess what you want to play if you have the urge to play, want to play.  You know, maybe that's the feeling I will have when I'll be at home, but I doubt it, because I'm really eager to be practicing really hard, you know.
That's something I have missed over the last sort of two years, I'd say, because I haven't been able to practice as much as I would have liked to.  That's why it's a priority.  That's why I wanted to do that.
And then the second question was?

Q.  Is it a signal maybe that the rankings are not as big a deal for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, if you play well, you know, you can then manage your schedule.  And as long as I play well, I know I'm always in a shot.  It's not like I'm way down in the rankings where I'm so far away from world No. 1.
But obviously if you play a little less you need to win the tournaments you were playing or you need to win the big ones, a couple of slams or, you know, many of the Masters 1000s, and all of this stuff.
As of now, I guess I can't become it, you know, any time soon ‑ next couple months ‑ so you focus on what's ahead.  That's what was my mindset as well this time around last year, even though I was in a position where maybe I possibly had a chance for world No. 1.
This time around the priorities are on the big buildup and coming back strong for Madrid or Rome.

Q.  What surface has been the most wearing on your body and your back specifically?  Do you agree with those that say the tour should look at having fewer hard court tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, the back I had in Wimbledon.  That wasn't a hard court.
I have had it in clay.  So for me I don't think it matters a lot.
Naturally, the hard court is the hardest surface out there.  There is no doubt about that.  It's obviously a long stretch from after Wimbledon all the way till now, I guess, we play on hard courts.
So there you wonder maybe sometimes if that's the right thing to do.  But the ones that want to go back on clay, they can after Wimbledon to extend that period.
They can go on clay in February if they want to.  You can do the buildup on clay at the end of the year, or at least a few weeks if you feel like that is better for your body.
So you have options, you know.  But, yeah, I mean, every surface is different and tough, but hard court is probably, you know, the hardest of all.

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