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March 21, 2014

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/I. Karlovic
6‑4, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you talk about your serve today, first and second, and how dominant it was?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I think I was able to play a very clean match on my service games throughout, make sure I had a lot of first serves in, make sure I stayed aggressive from the baseline, had an opportunity.
I think it worked really well, hardly any unforced errors, I was playing with margin, was able to move Ivo around, and I was able to maintain that throughout the match, which was key.
Like this I could focus a bit on returning while then holding serve, which is important against Ivo.

Q.  What was your decision with respect to returning when you won the toss against a big server?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, against him it almost doesn't matter so much because he is an extreme case of big a server.  It's so hard to get into the rhythm against him that it doesn't matter if you're actually going to return or serve first, in my opinion.
It worked well today because I got the early break right away.  That relaxed me for the rest of the first set clearly, but still he hung around, and, you know, stayed in the match.
Tiebreakers, as we know, can go either way, especially against servers of the caliber of Ivo.  I'm very relieved and happy to be through.

Q.  Have you done that before many times, particularly against him, choosing to receive when you won the toss?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I go with the flow.  I'm not the guy who always receives or always serves first, so I mix it up.
Today I just felt like, you know, let him go first and see how it goes.  You know, so it was a bit of luck, as well there I guess that I got ‑‑that I broke him first game, because I think he was up 40‑15, too.

Q.  There is a lot of talk in the U.S., especially this time of year, about the state of American tennis.  Coming from a small country and you have developed such great players like yourself and Stan, what do you think the recipe is for Patrick McEnroe, head of our U.S. tennis, and maybe what we should be doing to try to reestablish American tennis the way we were maybe back in the 1980s or '90s, or is that even possible?  Because back in those days there were 10 or 15 countries playing tennis, and now there are hundreds of countries playing tennis.  What are your thoughts about that?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's maybe a little more difficult than what it used to be.  I feel most important is the work ethic and making sure that the kids you are training with understand that it's not just the coach's job to motivate them or, you know, that if you win a junior tournament you're actually great.
You're far away from it.  You have to keep working hard, you know.  I think that's maybe something that other countries might be doing really well.  We have the same problems in our country, you know, even though we have produced Stan and great players.
Many did it by themselves as well without a federation sometimes.  Typical example, I came through the federation and worked hard there and had great coaching, and then eventually realized myself what it took to make it through.
Because you can't have like the parents and the coaches make you feel good all the time.  You have to make sacrifices.  I left home at 14 years old, stopped school at 16, and went on tour.
Had a hard time understanding what hard work was, but eventually I figured it out, thankfully, early enough.  But I think that is the key at the end.
If the kids don't understand and don't want to put in the hard work, not talking about just hanging around the courts and playing for four hours a day ‑ it's about working well and quality ‑ they will never get anywhere.  It's just very simple.

Q.  So do you believe that the academy system is the future, or do you think it's going to go back...
ROGER FEDERER:  Anything is the future.  I mean, the federation needs to be strong.  Player needs to have good coaching, a good place, and then ‑‑ that can be academies.  It doesn't matter.
You can also do it all by yourself.  What the Williams sisters did or Hingis did all works.  We see it.  So tennis, that's the beauty of it:  there is actually no perfect route to becoming world No. 1.

Q.  Offcourt question for you.  I spoke with the hair stylist at the pop up salon here, and he apparently knows exactly what he would do with your hair if you were to cut it.
ROGER FEDERER:  That's good to know.

Q.  I'm curious, does it make you laugh, this fascination that people seem to have with your hair and how much they care?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know what they say about my hair (smiling).  People are crazy in general about hair (smiling).  Keeps on changing.  Weather makes your hair go crazy with the humidity.  Everybody hates it.  So it goes curly.  Some then love the curls; some don't.  It's a bit too much sometimes.
I've actually got in the habit of just going to hairdressers just like that, because sometimes in Switzerland it's not so simple because I'm busy so I do it on the road.
But on the road where do you go?  I remember I have gone down the street at some hotel in a country and my hair was super short.  I'm like, Oh, my God.

Q.  Last year?
ROGER FEDERER:  That was last year.  And then in hindsight I was happy I did it.  It was fresh, it was new, and you let it grow then a little bit.
But with my hairstyle I feel like I need to go a lot, which is a bit annoying.  So sometimes I just ‑‑I don't have the time and energy to go.
But it's about almost time again, in my opinion.  We will see what happens.

Q.  You have a taker.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, but what is he going to do?  Like som Mohawk? (Laughing.)

Q.  What is it like to play Ivo?  What is it like to play a guy that tall with that serve?
ROGER FEDERER:  Physically it's super easy.  There are no long rallies.  It's just like more penalty shootout like in soccer.  I don't want to say you pick sides, but it's about quick reaction, not getting frustrated and feeling that the returner is the one who has got less pressure.
I quite like it.  I enjoy it.  It's just uncomfortable at times when it comes to the crunch of the sets and you have break points and you know like this is probably your only chance in the set or you know that probably next four or five games you won't see any more break points, or even for the rest of the match.
So it just can be quite difficult or overwhelming.  But if you're in the right mindset mentally, it can also be enjoyable.  That's how I approach the match, anyway.

Q.  What do you enjoy most about this venue, the Sony Open, this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I have always enjoyed coming here.  Used to stay at South Beach when I was younger and just enjoyed that atmosphere.
I have moved away from there since, but I kind of, you know, I know the place.  I came here when I was 14 for the first time.  It was like the first massive trip I did as a kid for tennis.  I came here with other guys from Switzerland, with the coaches, and stayed here for like a month.
I also played up, you know, at Eddie Herr's tournament and then West Palm Beach, and so I have been around Florida a little bit.
And then I went on a South American trip as well eventually then a little later.
I have always enjoyed coming here.  I always enjoyed coming here, except last year.  And I know Miami a little bit.  You know, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach, Brickell.
So I kind of get around a bit.  It's always enjoyable coming back.  Latin America has really taken over this tournament from the fan side, which is quite nice.
It's a different atmosphere.  It's something we don't have so often because I don't play in South America so often, but it's really heartfelt and I feel very emotional, which is nice for a change.  I like the change of atmospheres, and this one we feel in a big way.

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