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March 16, 2014

Roger Federer


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
3‑6, 6‑3, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Talk about getting that break there in the third set and the getting to the tiebreaker.
ROGER FEDERER:テつ No, I think I played a good game to break back.テつ Got the first serve returns back, and then played well from the baseline.
I think I was playing with the wind at that moment, as well.テつ A bit more wind coming from my side, which made it more difficult for him maybe to serve it out.
It would have been easier for me to get on the offensive, you know, in the rallies.テつ And then the same thing switched around in the breaker.テつ He then played the first six points with the wind.テつ He used‑‑ took advantage of that, and, you know, maybe against the wind that's when you have to get those easy points and those service winners I couldn't get and he couldn't get.
So it was an interesting end to the match, no doubt.テつ But I think he played well, you know.テつ At the end he made sure he kept the ball in play and I might have made a few too many errors when it really mattered.
But, you know, I think he made a crucial sort of 20 minutes, half and hour midway through the second set and third set where things could have gone either way.
But credit to him for toughening it out and winning that second set and getting the breaker in the third.

Q.テつ Given all the moments that you had last year, does it sort of make handling losses easier?テつ Does it not seem such a big deal when you know you're fit and healthy and playing well?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Yeah, depends from which angle you look at it.テつ You could be very disappointed after a match like that because, you know, you put in a lot of hard work, and walking away without the trophy being a few points from victory is tough.テつ But it's how it is, you know.
I have been on that side, you know, many times, but I have been on the winners' side more often.テつ Maybe that softens the blow a little bit.
Like you say, if you see the angle that last year was difficult, especially this time around last year in Indian Wells, that I'm able to turn it all around now and I'm really playing nice tennis.
You know, that's also what I said out on the court.テつ And I truly believe that, playing good tennis, and then it's maybe sometimes a little easier to lose this way.
Because I really did believe I was playing good tennis, was a solid match, you know.テつ It was good also movement‑wise.テつ My serve was around.テつ You know, it was overall good performance.
I'm actually very happy with the tournament.

Q.テつ What did you tell yourself when Novak was serving for the match at 5‑4 that helped you break him?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Well, I think important was actually to stay with him whenever I got the break, because normally then Novak has a tendency to sort of just run away with it, or you have tendency to maybe play a little bit more too freely and make mistakes or too passive, and then he takes big cuts at the ball.
But I was able to just keep the pressure on Novak and show him that if he slips up, I will be there and I will make it a very competitive match in the end for him.
That's exactly what happened.テつ So I think it came more from there than actually the game itself.テつ Even though I did explain I think I was with the wind, which was a little bit helpful, as well.

Q.テつ Rafa went down pretty early in the tournament.テつ Murray lost to Raonic; Stan lost.テつ All the talk was, it's sort of a dawning of a new day; the locker room is changing.テつ Yet what happened in the end?テつ Two champions, two old champions emerge.テつ What's your thought about the state of the game in that context?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I think it's good.テつ You know, it's good the way it is.テつ It's unfortunate we had a few injuries around.テつ Del Po, Ferrer now.テつ I mean, Murray is coming back.テつ He's not injured anymore, which is good.テつ He's been playing a lot of tennis this year, the most of any player, which is slightly surprising, you know, knowing that he has had back surgery.
That's his way of dealing with it right now is playing a lot.テつ And maybe ‑ who knows ‑ maybe he will slow down a bit on the clay or eventually he will figure things out.
But, you know, I think I'm not going to analyze every single young player that's coming up, you know.テつ But definitely, you know, thanks to their higher seedings now getting deeper in tournaments automatically now, and now it's just a question, can they upset once in a while the big guys and, you know, not lose against lower‑ranked players, which is always inevitably going to happen.テつ Is always a tough thing to avoid happening.
But consistency is what it's about now for them, you know, just going deep.テつ I think obviously Novak and Rafa and all these guys won't have a stranglehold at the top.テつ I'm moving up that direction, as well.テつ That's very encouraging for me as well personally.テつ I'm just happy I'm playing well again.

Q.テつ But a new age hasn't exactly arrived?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Well, you guys know best, so don't ask me.テつ (Smiling).

Q.テつ You're the man now.
ROGER FEDERER:テつ But you guys make your own opinions ‑ very quickly sometimes.

Q.テつ You were very complimentary about the tournament, but what do the kids and Mirka like to do around them?テつ What do they like around Indian Wells?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ It's like blue skies every day.テつ When you're a parent it's a whole lot easier when you're not fighting the rain.テつ That's our point.テつ It's that indoor/outdoor feeling, which is great.
You know, you can go for ‑‑ just go outside and go do anything.テつ Catch up with other kids, you know, jump in the pool the whole time, that kind of thing.テつ Draw with chalk on the ground, you name it.
I'm not going to explain how to do that.テつ I'm trying hard myself already.テつ We enjoy it here.

Q.テつ Can I ask you about Miami?テつ What are your thoughts right now?テつ Are you going to go back home or are you going to skip it?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ No, I mean, normally I'll go.テつ I'm going to leave tonight to Miami, and then I will see how I feel over there.テつ But I will definitely go to that direction and have an event as well over there, so most likely, yes, I will play.

Q.テつ I know it's not your goal or your focus, but what do you think it might mean for you later this year if you're able to get back to No. 1 in the rankings?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ That would be a big deal.テつ But being No. 4 or 3, that's not a big deal.テつ It might help the seedings, you know, and how do you say, the draws, but other than that, just right now, to think too far ahead will be a mistake.
A few weeks ago, months ago, a few people said I couldn't play tennis anymore.テつ So for me, I need to focus on my own game, my own routines, hard work, make sure I keep a good schedule for myself, for my family, and, you know, enjoy it.
But at the same time, that fire, wanting to win, is important, and right now I have that.テつ I think have a really good balance right now.

Q.テつ Did you feel how much that crowd was for you?テつ Did you feel that?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Yeah, I did.テつ It was very nice.テつ It was special, no doubt about it.テつ I really enjoy it, because I don't expect it in any way.テつ I feel like I'm humble enough to understand that they might be here just for the tournament, just for tennis, just for the opponent.テつ It doesn't matter.
If they do show up and they do support me, that's gold.テつ It's beautiful.テつ So I really enjoy it.

Q.テつ You were just saying about all those people that pretty much discounted you the way you were playing, etcetera.テつ In one sense, do you think they are eating humble pie now, or does that not really matter to you?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ To me, it doesn't matter.テつ I mean, I understand it's a quick‑moving sport.テつ You win a match, it's all good again.テつ You lose a match, it's all bad.
Problem is everybody loses except one guy every week.テつ It's very easy.テつ It's served on a platter for the press.
I understand that.テつ I'm not talking ‑‑I can look at each of you guys in the eye, each of you guys, but it happens very quickly.
Some people after a while have a hard time analyzing it correctly and properly because you're caught in this fast‑speed train, which is not always the case.テつ You have to look at the overall case, what's been happening, what are the reasons for maybe not playing so well, or for playing well.
You don't just forget how to play tennis, you know.テつ Age is just a number.テつ It's nothing more, really.テつ That's how I see it, anyway.

Q.テつ From your comments yesterday, it seemed pretty clear that you had a really tough year last year physically.テつ What was your level of confidence that your body was going to come back so you're able to do the things you are doing now?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I knew if I was going to feel well again that success would return, or I would be more successful than at certain times last year, which sometimes is not very hard to do.
But then the question is, Are you going to get back to that level?
There maybe I had some doubts at certain times.テつ But overall, I knew that it can't be that I will feel this way forever.テつ It wasn't that kind of an injury.
So it was just important to stay patient and wait.テつ That's the most difficult thing to do.テつ I haven't had it very often in my career.テつ That's why it was somewhat new for me.

Q.テつ You mentioned that you were surprised about how fast you felt you got back into rhythm given that you made it to the final, even though you didn't win but thinking of what's coming.テつ Are you content with that, you know, level?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Yeah, very happy.テつ I think I'm playing really good tennis.テつ I'm moving well.テつ Serving well, consistently well, you know.
So many things are working.テつ I'm just surprised that I'm able to keep it up week for week now.テつ I expected myself to have a breakthrough tournament, but then maybe a couple of early exits.テつ Who knows, maybe that's all upon me, I don't know (smiling).
But overall I'm just happy I'm playing consistent tennis and I'm going deep in tournaments and I'm giving myself chances to win.テつ So clearly would have been amazing to win here and win back‑to‑back tournaments with Dubai.
But I got very, very close, so it's encouraging for Miami and for the rest of the season, no doubt.

Q.テつ There is a local kid who has hit with you.テつ Would you mind talking a little bit about him and your thoughts about him.
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I mean, look, honestly when I'm hitting like that it's just like focusing, just get the warmup out of the way.テつ I appreciate that they are around, they want to hit with me, but it's hard for me to overanalyze someone's game just from hitting in the middle and just playing with me for that short time.
But he seemed very much upbeat, loving tennis, excited, which is always good to see.テつ Do I want to hit with someone who is like, Do I really have to do this?テつ It all happens, you know.
It's sometimes hard to get out of bed and go play tennis.テつ This guy definitely wasn't one of those guys.

Q.テつ The other day you suggested maybe three out of five sets here for the final.テつ Did you feel like that today, that you would like it to be three out of five?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Look, that is a different match.テつ We were all there knowing three sets, but if you know it's going to be five sets you have a different mindset.テつ Maybe it's a different pace overall to the match.
It's different preparation and all that.テつ I just think we need to get some maybe more best‑of‑five‑set matches back into the ATP events.テつ Definitely think we should have it at the World Tour Finals.テつ Maybe at the Masters 1000.テつ I don't know if 500 or 250s can have it again.
That's how I came about.テつ I played best of five sometimes at 250s and 500s, and some matches I guess are more memorable.テつ I understand we went the other way, so more players can play more tournaments and more fans can see those best players because a five‑setter clearly at the wrong time can either injure you or make you extremely tired or just you run the risk of being burnt out.
So that's why you have to do it at the right times and be fair which tournament gets it and which one doesn't.テつ So maybe that's going to be a negotiation, a debate.テつ I don't know what it's going to be.
So I think it will be nice to have a few more best‑of‑five‑set matches on the tour.

Q.テつ At what time in your career do you think you were playing your best tennis?テつ How did your level now compare with that?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I mean, I don't know.テつ Maybe the times when I wasn't losing hardly, you know, four, five matches a year.テつ I guess I was playing my best then, but I still do hope today maybe I'm a better player just out of hard work, out of experience, and all these things.
But confidence is a funny thing, you know.テつ Confidence, you go for shots maybe you wouldn't go for otherwise.
That's the thing.テつ Some guys are maybe, you know, working on right now as we speak on the practice courts are hoping for a tournament to come around even though they are scared to lose early, but then eventually all of a sudden you end up winning the tournament.
Confidence is sometimes everything, and I have gone through those phases where I just felt like, you know, that forehand is going to land in the corner.テつ It's not going to go out.テつ That way you clearly win matches.

Q.テつ You're feeling that now?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ A little bit, yeah.テつ Somewhat similar, yeah.テつ Not quite.

Q.テつ When you play a guy like this, played him so many times, you have seen everything he can do, does that bring more strategy and tactics into a match or less or does it come back just to execution?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Good question.テつ I don't know.テつ Huh.

Q.テつ When you go into a match like this...
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I think it's maybe almost a little less.テつ Sounds weird, but against a guy you have never played against, you know, you've got a lot of info.テつ You try to figure it out.テつ If things don't go well and if they do go well, you just play the way it's been working.
Against a guy like Novak or Rafa who I know exactly what's going to happen if you hit hard into the forehand what happens if you hit slow into the forehand, the same thing.テつ You just know what's going to happen.
So, yeah, I don't know.テつ Seems like this is more simple when you know the guy.

Q.テつ You said maybe proving people wrong, after the US Open there were a few people saying it was sad to see you losing fourth round maybe not playing your best and that you should retire because it was unfortunate to see you after you had been so good for so long.テつ Did you take anything from that?テつ Do you enjoy proving people wrong?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I'm not that guy.テつ I'm not that guy.テつ I don't like to take revenge and prove and all that stuff.テつ I do that for myself and for my team and for my country and for my fans.テつ The press, I get along well.テつ I don't mind.テつ They have a job to write stuff, and I understand that.
That's why you can't take it too personal, you know.テつ Important just I know why am I in this situation.テつ Why am I explaining a first‑round loss, a second‑round loss, a third‑round loss, a fourth round loss, and that I don't get influenced by you guys maybe.
I don't come in here thinking ‑‑actually, I know what's wrong, and I walk out and I think, I'm actually terrible.テつ That can happen too, because I just spent too much time here.
So you can get influenced way too much, believe it or not, and that's where I think the experience for me helps today.テつ But clearly it is nicer going into press, Yeah, that forehand was great.テつ Wasn't that a good shot against Dolgopolov?
It's much more upbeat people coming to you saying, Well played.テつ Well done for Dubai.テつ Just more happy surroundings; whereas if you're explaining yourself all the time in the press and nobody is coming up to you saying, Well played, it's a different vibe out there.
That's why you can't have it ‑‑ allow it to break you or influence you in who you are, and that's why I think you need to have a strong character.

Q.テつ Is that something you have always had, that ability?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ Pretty much.テつ I used to get influenced more back in the day, like everybody would, just because I just felt not understood sometimes from the press.
That's more because people didn't know me or they thought they did and they didn't, so then they write different things that you actually said; whereas today I think we kind of know each other a little bit.

Q.テつ One thing Novak said yesterday was that he uses part of his team to analyze his opponents's game.テつ How much data do you have when you're going into a match, or do you simply play by feel?テつ How much do you use all the statistics in data that's out there now?
ROGER FEDERER:テつ I don't use it too much.テつ I mean, Novak relies on his team; I rely on Severin and Stefan, basically.テつ And then the rest needs to be feel.テつ You can get carried away with all the statistics and all these things you hear.テつ You have to play more down the line, more like this.
And next thing you're going down the line on the worst shot.テつ So it's really that complicated sometimes.テつ Sometimes it's easier to simplify things and just go with the feel.
That's kind of how I played this week.テつ I was in touch with my team, but I really just let it flow.テつ I think that's usually when I played my best tennis was just some very important little input, some reminders, and a lot of that has to be feel, as well.

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