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January 18, 2014

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/T. Gabashvili
6‑2, 6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You're looking pretty good, getting through these matches quickly.  Do you think you have enough hit out going into the second week?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, time will tell.  I'm happy that from my side I'm winning my matches in straight sets.  It's been different conditions every match:  the heat first and the indoor match and now normal conditions today with a bit of wind.
So it's just good to get through and get a good feel out there and make sure if you've got a chance to win your matches easier to do so.
That's what I was able to do today, so I'm pleased.

Q.  You have played so many matches.  Does it make it harder sometimes to go out there and just do it all over again, go through the motions in the first week?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, no, not really.  I mean, you know, I don't play 30 events during the year, you know.  So I really get up for the ones that I am playing and I'm eager then to play.  Because if I don't have that motivation, then it's better not to play the tournament.  So I don't have those problems.
Of course you feel, you know, a bit, I don't know, a bit slower some days or you feel really excited some others.
But then again, all these feelings you have sometimes don't really tell the whole story, as well.  You know, sometimes you do just play better than worse.  But what you want to do is try to have those bad days happen as little as possible, and that you have the opportunity to play great on a few occasions throughout the year.  You hope you time it well so it happens when you really need it.

Q.  There was a story other day in a local paper about you being quite superstitious.  They wrote that you are obsessed with the number 8.  Is that true?  Do you have these kind of mental...
ROGER FEDERER:  No, no, I'm not superstitious at all.  8 is my favorite number, but obsessed would be a bit extreme.

Q.  That you always ask for eight towels?
ROGER FEDERER:  No (Laughter.)  Three.  Bad feng shui for me here.

Q.  Did you have any when you first started, when you first began playing?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not necessarily.  Probably some minor ones where you hope you can sit on the same side of the umpire's chair.
I guess it's more routines I have, you know, to make sure I'm on time for my matches, that I feel good so I don't feel ‑‑because when I was a junior I feel like I remember being dizzy sometimes for my matches just because maybe the warmup was too close to the match or was too far away or I didn't warm up properly or I ate at the wrong time.
You have a routine, but that, to me, is not superstition.

Q.  Coming into today's match against Gabashvili he was obviously going to come and try and hit you off the court.  Is it something you prepare for?  Do you do video analysis on other games prior to playing him to see what kind of game plan he's going to...
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not so much a video analyzation really.
Sometimes I do go back in time and I look at the matches I have played against certain opponents.  But this one, you know, is from 2007 in the first round, so I really didn't know that much.  I really wanted to focus more on how I was going to try to play.
I wasn't sure exactly how passive or how aggressive he was going to play.  I think he actually did a very good job of playing offensive tennis, you know.
Clearly you get carried away a bit or you play over your level at times, but I think he did actually a good job for a while in each set.  He actually hung around in the beginning of each set.  He didn't like get broken first up, so he was tough.
I had to work for it.  Once I got the lead, then I was able to stretch.  It only then, though.  It was an interesting match.  I had to, you know, defend much more than I had to in my previous match.
Of course it was a totally different opponent, but I think it was, you know, in a way a tricky match today.

Q.  You said on court that you were joking that it was nice to wake up not feeling like an old man.  Can you tell us a little bit about how bad it did get with your back?  How are you feeling now?
ROGER FEDERER:  I feel great.  Like I said, I wake up and I feel like I don't need like a hot bath or anything, you know.  One minute later you're like, Okay, if I needed to play tennis now I could.  So that's very positive, because I have heard of different stories or, you know, when you have really a lot of muscle pain or you're really hurt sometimes, in your worst days it takes you longer to feel somewhat normal.
Right now I feel very fresh and very good physically.  That's why I do a lot of prevention work.  You make sure you sleep enough and do all these things.  You eat healthy and so forth.  But it's been a good spell now.
Like I said, I didn't have any setbacks since Hamburg really, and that's very good looking forward.

Q.  With this result you equal Guillermo Vilas at the third position with the most wins on the tour.  What is the meaning for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it's great winning any match, really.  Yeah, Vilas was a great player with some unbelievable records as well, himself, and he played a lot of tennis for a long time.
I hope I can, you know, keep going and win more matches on tour.  Clearly it's nice, you know, being compared with some of the greatest players of all time sometimes.

Q.  It gets tough from here on in.  Is it fair to say this is the toughest draw you have seen for a long time, toughest mountain to climb?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I have had tough draws throughout my career.  Not every time, but I have played what, 60 slams and many tournaments, so I remember tough draws in early rounds.
Clearly now it's not how it used to be when there was only 16 seeds and I was the 32 seed.  Now with the 32 seeds it's a bit more predictable.  A lot more predictable actually.
That's one of the reasons I think I have always been able to go deep in slams, especially once I got‑‑ was able to be seeded.¬† I took advantage of that.
This is clearly, you know, a tough draw I have had, especially looking forward now.  But important now for me is just that I keep playing well and I don't go crazy of who I play now.
I know that Simon and Tsonga are going to be tough opponents, and it's just now up to me to bring it, you know, in the next match.

Q.  You share same agent with Juan Martin Del Potro.  Is there any change in the relationship with him?  Are you closer with him?  Do you talk more often with him?  How do you feel about his defeat here in the second round?  Are you surprised?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, of course I was surprised.  His ranking is much better than Bautista.  Of course that was a surprise for many.  That was an unbelievable night of tennis for many.  There were three or four matches simultaneously in the fifth set.
But for me, no, nothing changes in terms of our relationship.  It's always been very good, and continues to be this way.

Q.  Can you tell us what you see in Dimitrov?  He has also become a client of the agency.  What do you see in him, his potential?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I think he's a nice guy, number one.¬† We always enjoy, you know, chatting together and joking around a bit.¬† I like his game.¬† Clearly can relate to him, how he plays, because we both have a one‑handed backhand and we like to play sort of athletic tennis, you know, which is offensive.
For him it's just a question of like, you know, staying injury free right now, but training hard at the same time and playing in a lot of tournaments, just getting, you know, getting out there and, you know, sort of facing the music, you know, every other week.
I think this year is going to be very important for him to make a big step in the rankings.  Start knocking on the door of the top 10.  I think he has what it takes to move up, and clearly this match today with Raonic is very interesting, which many of the players are following in the locker room right now.

Q.  Speaking of your backhand, many people feel it's one of the great strokes, one of the most beautiful strokes in tennis history.  You always seem to have time, a lot of rhythm, a lot of balance.  Can you break it down for a minute?  What are the keys to your backhand and then how do you like to use it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, clearly it all starts with the footwork, you know.  Without footwork you aren't going to be able to hit a backhand or you're going to be stretched so much you're not going to be able to hit one.
You've just got to be able to react.¬† Important is to set yourself up that you have multiple options and you're most dangerous for your opponent.¬† I think it's important to not always hit it in the same spot so you ‑‑I mean, you can disguise it to some degree, but what you want to be able to do is show your opponent that you can hit it all so when it gets important he doesn't know where it's going to go.
Then with me, I can manage with a slice and then the topspin and the flat backhand.  I try to mix it up as much as I can.  But at the same time, I also need to be able to just make enough in a row just for consistency and also for my confidence.
So it's an interesting shot, and it's been one I have worked on a lot throughout my career.  And many have played throughout, which I'm very happy about.

Q.  Finally, Stefan has such a fabulous backhand.  Has he made any comments or helped you at all with that stroke?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I'm just, you know, staying aggressive with the footwork, you know, not sort of leaning back too much, not getting too passive on it, because you can have tendency to do that with a one‑handed backhand because you can bail out and go to the slice.
I know everybody can, but a double hander usually doesn't.  The one hander, it's so natural for us to play the slice that you almost have to tell yourself to always stay on the front foot and play aggressive.
On a quicker court like here it's definitely one thing you want to do.

Q.¬† Coming to the fourth round match against potentially Jo‑Wilfried Tsonga, knowing his game so well, does it make it easier to play him?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it's more predictable, you know, to a degree.  I mean, he clearly is going to surprise you just by shot making or whatever it is.
Today I didn't know if my opponent liked the inside‑out forehand more or the inside‑in forehand or more the backhand down the line or backhand crosscourt.
So sometimes I'm like, Okay, too late.¬† It was a winner.¬† With Jo‑Willy it's going to be different.¬† If he hits a winner, I know probably where he's going to go, what the percentage is.
But then again, because he hits it so well and so consistently, that's what makes it hard then, you know.  He's got a huge serve, which then is also is a huge part of the game which increases the pressure or not on your own service games.
He's a great mover.  So, I mean, you just know what to expect, which is good for better tennis for both players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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