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March 1, 2014

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/T. Berdych
3‑6, 6‑4, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  A set down and a break down.  How did you turn it around?  Terrific end.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I don't know.  It's like one of those things you just kind of hope it turns for the better.  At that point you're just telling yourself to serve well, give yourself maybe a few good opening points on Tomas' serve, and then you hope the points play out the way they need to be played out at that very moment, because it's basically in his hands.  If he serves well, it's difficult, or the margins are extremely slim at that point.
So once you do get back, it's important to not to then relax and think, oh, the hardest part is done, it's only about the beginning actually.
So I was happy I was able to use momentum, win that second set, and then it was a tough opening set in the third, you know, wasting the Love‑40 game on Tomas' first service game.¬† Then saving breakpoints myself.¬† I mean, anything could have happened there.
Things definitely went my way out here tonight, but, you know, I have had a lot tougher matches in the last one‑and‑a‑half years, so this is nice to get a lucky break again.

Q.  Why was it so tough?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I think I started well, you know.  Just normal, solid.  I don't think Tomas played a great game to get broken in the first set, and then after that, my serve, you know, didn't help me.
I think the game I got broken I might have made one serve, if that, on the first serve.  He returned well on the second.  You know, I was still looking for my rhythm on the serve, and it's been a bit of the case this whole week it's been like this.
So that's something I maybe have to clean up a little bit, but then again, you know, the ball comes to you on this court, and then if you strike it well it's just hard to get rhythm.
I was struggling with half volleys, I was struggling with my forehand, and then it's just ‑‑everything happens very, very quickly, and you can really forget about trying to look for rhythm in these conditions against Berdych, and that's what makes it hard then for quite a long time.
So I was looking for better serving, actually, because I think that's what let me down the most in the beginning, got me down in the match, of course, being broken three times in what, five, six service games.  It's just not something you can normally do against a top guy.

Q.  When was the last time you remember playing two matches like this where you had to fight back to back, fight to get that win?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I have had a lot in recent times.  Some of them were in Basel, I remember, if you look at the scores there.  I think it was against Pospisil.  Dimitrov was difficult.  There was another one there, as well.  And then at the end I lost against Del Potro and kind of kept on going that way for a while.  So I have had a lot of sort of ups and downs.
Then in Australia and Brisbane I was serving way better again, more solid.  Just this week it was one of those weeks.
Honestly I think this is how you win your first title again after a while, and then hopefully from here on it's easier, you know, especially closing out.  It's easier entering the easier matches, because it is a finals.  There is a lot of pressure.  Sometimes I have been disappointed with my play when it really mattered.
Today and yesterday I was able to deliver when I had to.  Same against Stepanek in the third when things got tough there against me as well.  I was able to come up with the goods.  It's one of those tournaments I kind of need this way right now.

Q.  You trained extremely well this year compared to last year.  What role does your racquet play now, the good results you have had?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I mean, look, I played well with my old racquet for years, you know.¬† So I always know I can go back to that one just in case, you know.¬† It's a good‑just‑in‑case racquet, I must say (smiling).
I trained a lot with the new racquet, you know.  It was a switch I wanted to do for a long time.  I tried a few, tried a racquet in Hamburg and Gstaad last year, but just felt it was a good one but wasn't quite what I liked the most.  It just felt totally different to what I was playing with before.
This one is in between, and I like the changes Wilson was able to come up with.  I'm happy that the results are paying off, especially in quick succession.  I have only just switched, and here I am, already got to the finals in Brisbane, semis at the Australian Open, won my Davis Cup match, and now here I am with a trophy.
So now it's not in the back of my mind anymore, Is this racquet good or not?  I was convinced in the practice, but then you hope that the results are going to follow and they did.
I think it has somewhat to do with it, but it's like a puzzle.  You need the hard work, you need the coaching staff.  You need your, you know, your family, my wife, everybody who makes it possible for me to still be playing.

Q.  You played attacking tennis this week so successfully, presumably because the courts are fast.  How much do you hope the other courts speed up a bit?
ROGER FEDERER:  I just think it's good to have variety.  The worse thing that can happen is if everything is fast or everything is slow.  I think it's just important that we have some that are faster and some that are slower.
We do have clay, grass.¬† Grass has slowed down in a big way in the last sort of 10 years, so I think that's all we should make sure we have is that the fast‑court players who like that kind of frustrating play, big serving, serve your way out of trouble kind of thing, that you're able to do that, and not that you have to go through ten‑shot rallies every single time when it's a big point.
It's nice to see that players can do that, but I think overall I think it just becomes a little bit predictable or boring, and for that reason I think it's important to have good variety.

Q.  Is it perhaps more the case that yesterday you showed your tennis is getting to where you want it to be but tonight mentally you're in a good place too?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, and physically, too.  It's been a tough week.  It's a lot of tennis in short succession.  Of course it's been the same for everybody.  I have a lot of tennis in my body over the years.  I'm happy that I can do these weeks, you know.
I played a lot of tennis already this year, and I feel like it's a very good stretch for me right now.  Of course it's never easy to back it up and play exactly the same way you did against a certain player.  I learned that lesson hard when I beat Sampras at Wimbledon.  I remember I went into the American summer and I was like, Okay, play like when you played against Pete.
It's just not the same when you're playing that clay‑courter who is way back and it's a slower court, and you're trying to serve and volley and you realize ‑‑and it's windy and it's different.¬† It's just not going to happen.¬† So you always have to readjust.
That's what I felt like out there.  Man, I was missing shots out there like I was totally out of sorts, and conditions were as good as they could have been.  It's like that was a mental win for me tonight.

Q.¬† Just looking ahead, I believe last year it was perceived that you were too inactive in a stretch coming up, and therefore ‑‑

Q.  As in not playing, not playing in competitions, Australia coming up, over in the States.  And therefore you weren't match hardened enough for that stretch and it had an effect on the rest of the season maybe.
ROGER FEDERER:  I disagree.  I can explain if you want me to.

Q.  Is that a valid assessment?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, it's not.

Q.  No, it's not.  Okay.  And are you happy with this year's schedule in that regard?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, when you win you don't have to talk schedule.  It's like Stan winning the Australian Open.  He can pull out till whenever he wants to at this point.  You make 2,000 points, it's so much points that you have a cushion for a long, long time.  Actually then you can just do whatever you feel like.
So that's what winning tournaments does.  Winning solves everything, you know, for that reason.  When you don't win, I don't want to say you panic, but you usually start readjusting your schedule.
I have never really done that, to be quite honest.¬† I believe in the long‑term plan.¬† And I announced earlier I was not going to play Miami, and at the end I couldn't play Miami anyway if I wanted to because I was injured.
The injury, it took me three weeks probably, and out of those seven weeks I was looking forward to taking two weeks off and then training for five weeks basically, and I could only train for like two weeks.  So actually, instead of coming out of the training block strong and fit like a fiddle, I came out like, you know, halfway.
That's why my results were mediocre.  I think they were okay.  I mean, I did play the finals in Rome and quarters in Paris, won Halle.  It was okay, but I realized I'm missing training, I'm missing things, my confidence is not there.
So the rest I took, I had to take it at the end, and I believe my results would have been different could I have trained 100 percent, because then many things happened with my mind, I lost confidence in my movement.  The back issue didn't quite go away really ever through that entire stretch.
But I did decide to play Hamburg and Gstaad, added that to the schedule, but then got hurt again in Hamburg, should not have finished the tournament there, should not have played Gstaad, but I was like, I'm already here.  It's not crazy bad, but it's bad enough that I shouldn't be playing but I want to play.
And then from then on I just had to take a clear decision that I will just not play when I feel this way anymore in the future.  That's the promise I made to myself.

Q.  Don't take it the wrong way, but my colleagues did mention that you're coming back.  Does Roger Federer think that he's coming back as a 2.0 or are we seeing the rise of a Roger Federer as dominating world tennis again?
ROGER FEDERER:  Who knows?  I'm just happy that I'm healthy again and that I can focus on tactics and not focus on am I feeling all right, you know, when I wake up tomorrow or am I going to feel better tomorrow, that kind of stuff.
I went through that weeks and months, like every day I hoped there was going to be a little improvement.  I only started to feel that improvement halfway through sort of the US Open maybe, so it was a long time.  I was fighting it, you know, all the way from Indian Wells really.
So it was a long stretch through a couple of Grand Slams and a few Masters 1000s.  So in that sense, yes, I could come back from like an injury.  Like Murray's is like a comeback but it's not a comeback as such because I didn't fall out of the top 100 or anything like that.
If you look at it, I had an okay, consistent season last years.¬† I didn't win many tournaments, you know, but still, you know, I gave myself chances and, you know, I fought my way through and I played while I was injured.¬† Always a dangerous thing to do, but I think I can ‑‑I know when it's too dangerous and when it's not.
For that reason, I'm just happy that now it's clear, I don't have to think of it, and I can just play tennis.  When you can play that way, you're more free, you have an open mind.  That's when usually you are more successful but not always.
That's why you have to take them when you can, and this week I did.  I'm very happy.

Q.  Can you talk a little about Tomas, you know, how difficult is it to put away a loss, like two days, how long does it generally take for a top player?  How good can he be this year?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think it depends on your character.  I think he's quite relaxed, to be honest.  That's kind of how I experience him away from the tennis courts.  You know, in the player lounge if I see him around and stuff, he's always easygoing.
So for me I think he's going to get over it quickly.  He might actually take away the positives from this.  That's what I hope for him.  He just won Rotterdam, played the semis at the Australian Open.  The last thing you need to do right now is to get down on yourself, because he's actually in a very good stretch right now and he's about to make a push into the top 4.
So for him I hope he will play well in Indian Wells and Miami.  I believe he can upset the best players and hopefully continue his run.  That's what I would tell him if I would be his coach, but I'm not.  We'll see how he takes it (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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