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January 14, 2014

Roger Federer


6‑4, 6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Much obviously today has been made of the conditions.  How would you describe them and how it affected your play, if any, today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought it was very dry, just hot, you know, stinging sort of sun.
I guess also it depends on who you play, if you're playing a big server, clearly faster conditions.  If you're getting into rallies, I guess you'll feel the heat a bit more.
Depending on where you come from it has a bigger effect on you, this type of heat, than maybe humid heat.  So it's very personal, and it can become just a very mental thing, you know, and you just can't accept that it's hot.
Just deal with it, because it's the same for both.  That's basically it.

Q.  You spoke before the tournament about how hard you trained in the offseason.  Does that help you if the weather stays like this to cope well?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I didn't practice in 40 degree heat because that's hard to find, you know, around the world.  I did that after the US Open.  In Dubai we had 42, 43, so that was warm then.
But like I said, it's just a mental thing.  If you've trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there's no reason.
If you can't deal with it, you throw in the towel.  But that's for me.

Q.  Were you surprised at how well your opponent played today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I didn't know him that well, so I was open for, you know, high‑risk tennis from his side or just getting used to it.  I don't quite know what his go‑to serve is or his go‑to, his favorite shot.
Clearly you speak to guys, but then I think he plays different against me than he would play against a lefty or plays different to me than against me a double‑handed backhand.  That's one of the reasons he stood out on the ad side to serve.
Especially in the beginning.  He hung tough for the first set and a half until I got the break in the second set.  That's usually how it is, you know.
Conditions were playing pretty quick, so we didn't have much rhythm, much rallies.  I kept missing some opportunities, which made it harder on me, because I think I could have been in a more comfortable lead early.
I think he did also well to stay in the match because and in most of the games, because he did serve well when he needed to.

Q.  You're always quoted figures about records and what have, but 57 consecutive slams.  They seem to mount up, don't they?  And here you are again looking as fit as ever.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, look, I said it beforehand, this record is only really is real since maybe 20 years because not everybody used to go to all the majors.  Agassi missed the Australian Open I think 10 times, and, you know, Borg only played twice.
I think it's only a thing players do since maybe 20 years ago to go to all the slams.  By virtue of that slams have gotten more important over the years.
But I love my Masters 1000s, I love m5 500s and 250 tournaments.  Clearly that's a record in a way I guess I'm proud of in some ways, because there's no shortcuts in Grand Slams because of the best of five‑set situation.  You know, two weeks and it's spread out throughout the year, so you have to stay injury‑free and be healthy.
I showed that for, I don't know, what is that, 13 years?  13 years?

Q.  Another record which I think you have is that you've won the ATP Edberg Award For Sportsmanship I believe more than anyone.  What does that award mean to you, and how cool is it having that guy as your coach now?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, a bit weird, and I think I won it more than he did (Laughter.)  That's my favorite thing about the award.
No, but I'm joking.  Obviously he was a role model for me growing up, the way he conducted himself on the court, away from the court, in the press room.  I learned a lot from him, and it's nice to have him in my corner and be able to just speak to him and be inspired by, you know, what he says about the game today and about how it used to be for him maybe, telling me stories.
Just to spend time together for me is a big deal.  I hope it's going to be a successful partnership as we move along.

Q.  You never seem to be a guy who looks at his coach that much.  Is that going to change that much with Stefan?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I realize after a set I didn't look up once yet.  I better check if he's actually sitting there.  I did see them.  He was wearing sunglasses.  Okay, he is there.
No, I don't look up much.  I stopped doing that way back when because just I said you just can't be dependent on these entire looks all the time.  Being coached from the sidelines, that's not how I grew up.
I feel like it's like in school, you know, you do your work.  At home, you get ready for the test, and then the test, you don't cheat and you try to do your best score.
I see it the same way in tennis.  Clearly, you know, when I did look up, I, you know, it's nice seeing him sitting there.  Even if he wouldn't be my coach it would be nice.  Plus he's in my corner, it's great.

Q.  Between now and your next match with Stefan Edberg, do you sit and have a long chat with him?  What sort of things...
ROGER FEDERER:  We will probably go to dinner tonight and just see who else joins in, and then we will just watch some matches, you know.  I think he wants to see quite a few matches live, as well.  Because he's seen a lot on TV but, live is a different animal.
So he's going to do a bit of that.  Tomorrow we will just go through the motions in practice and discuss my future opponent.  You know, just spend time, three of us, with Severin Luthi, my coach, as well.  That's what's on the planning front right now.

Q.  From your perspective, should the roof be closed on Rod Laver when the heat gets this bad?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I think it should always stay open, honestly.  That's my opinion.

Q.  With the game plan your opponent enforced, obviously something a lot of people have watched about you, going high on the backhand.  Is it something you have worked on?
ROGER FEDERER:  Sorry, the beginning?

Q.  His game plan.  He hit your...
ROGER FEDERER:  My opponent, you mean?

Q.  Yeah.  He hit your high backhand quite often.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, that's a decision he made.  I mean, it worked out pretty well.  It also keeps first‑serve percentage high and all that stuff.
But then again, you know, always changing based on your opponent is also not always what you want to do.  You want to play with your strength.
I'm not sure if he plays like that every single game, but of course he was taking more chances against me than against other players which made him more dangerous.  But can he maintain that throughout three sets or an entire season?
It was same thing with Tomic last year.  He really went for his shots.  I thought it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up.  He went back to chipping and just making the shots, and he had not a great season after that, which was disappointing.
It's about being able to do it every single game or as much as you can, and be consistent there.  But for me, clearly I have worked on my weaknesses.  But I believe and also, you know, improving my strength, because at the end of the day that's where I get my free points and that's how I win points usually is my strength.

Q.  Earlier you were saying that sometimes when you looked up at important people, celebrities, you felt ‑‑
ROGER FEDERER:  Celebrities is the wrong word.  Let's make it legends of the game or friends, yes.

Q.  You sort of felt a kind of pressure on yourself to perform.  I mean, so many people have seen you, Royals, fashion editors, Tiger, other sports personalities.  Was there a person you looked up to when you looked up you felt a particular pressure to perform?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  Like I mentioned, usually used to be family and friends back home.  Always felt strange when they were all sitting there.  Normally you'd be sitting at dinner tables or coffee shops, and here you are now playing in front of them.  It just felt awkward.
Then it was, you know, when legends of the game came out to watch you play:  Bjørn Borg, Rod Laver, Stefan, Becker.  You saw them around and you're like, Ah, these are the ones I used to look up.  I want to make it extra special and I feel like I have to impress them or play a bit out of my‑‑ you know, just come up with something that they might think is, wow.
And then you realize it's actually better to win the match than win a few "wow" shots, so you go back to basics.  That's kind of where it's hit me the most usually, when those kind of people have sat in the stadium.
Today I'm a bit more laid back about it, thankfully.

Q.  How do you feel setting out for a new Grand Slam campaign this year?
ROGER FEDERER:  Feel good.  I'm excited.  I'm not thinking about Wimbledon or US Open so much, even though those were my last two slams which didn't go well for me.
I think also the way I entered this tournament now is very different.  So it's in the past, you know, and the past you can't change anyway.  I'm looking into the future to ‑‑I have worked hard, put in the hard work, so from that standpoint there's no regrets right there.
I feel good, and it's about‑‑ for me, I want to show ‑‑ prove to myself that I can bring it every match.  I'm really excited.  It's a tough draw, but I'm open for it and I'm ready to go.
I'm happy I managed to beat the heat easily today, and I've entered the tournament, which is most important, first week as a whole.  Hopefully I can move on from there.

Q.  Are you pleased with how you played today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it was okay.  It was not much rhythm out there.  It was a matter of getting the job done and not getting broken.
So it was a solid match from start to finish, yeah.  Could have maybe won a few more break points here and there, but who cares now?

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