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March 26, 2014

Roger Federer


3‑6, 7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Despite the outcome today, how do you feel about your tennis so far coming into the season?
ROGER FEDERER:  Good overall.  I mean, if I look at the big picture since the beginning of the year, I'm very pleased with how I'm playing.
So it's a good start to the season, no doubt.  So I want to keep it up now for Geneva when I play next week, and then clearly we will shift over to the clay finally after a long stretch on the hard courts.

Q.  Twice in the second set, Roger, you seemed to have it almost over the line, and he came back to win the game.  Do you blame yourself or do you credit him for those?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'd like to go after myself, really, because, I mean, one break can happen in the men's game.  Two times you feel like probably I messed up at least once out of the two times.
I think he got into both service games that when I had the break, I think he got me right away with Love‑15 points, and then 15‑30, and I was down right away.
But I just couldn't find my rhythm on the serve today, which was surprising, especially after how well I've played and served, especially this week, but I think it didn't take off the way it did during the daytime.  You could expect that, but then plus the temperature drop had something to do with that.
In the dark, for some reason, I just‑‑ you know, I haven't played many matches this year, or maybe lately.  Only one against Tommy Haas in Indian Wells and maybe the switch didn't work that well for me.
But still, you know, I had the set and a break, and then another break again, so it's a bit frustrating.  But I think Kei did well to stay with me and then, you know, not allow me to get that, you know‑‑ that I could hold my serve and then maybe feel comfortable.
He right away made me feel uncomfortable and stayed with me, so he was more consistent in the second and third, and those are the ones he won.  At the end it's his credit, of course, as well.

Q.  It seemed like you were in control of the match.  Did you feel that way?
ROGER FEDERER:  Somewhat.  Yeah, I mean, actually I think I had good moments midway through the first set.
So I thought there I was playing my best, and, you know, I knew what I was doing more or less.  But the thing is I could never really get my service games going.  On the return, I think, as the match went on, I think it was that Kei started to serve a bit better, which made it more difficult.
He had the upper hand from the baseline.  Then I guess, because of my serve, I started questioning a bit of my forehand, a bit of my backhand, what am I supposed to do.  Here I am now going over so many second serves, which I didn't have to do at all in the first three matches.
I guess it was just a bit of a shock for me, and I couldn't quite react to it, even though I started to feel better towards the end of the match again.  But he got the break when I served at the end of the match, and it was a great match point for him.  He hit a great backhand.  It was tough for me at the end.

Q.  Just wondering how much the whole conditions overall affected you, I guess, the wind and the serve.  I know the last few times you've lost here has been at night, and the lights in the stadium are a little different than a lot of places.
ROGER FEDERER:  It's just like a boxing ring, like a lot on the court and nothing around.
You're right.  Here in the night I have struggled in the past.  I don't know exactly what it is.  But I have played a lot of like frustrating matches like the ones I have played here tonight and also in previous years here in the night.
I don't think it comes down to that.  I think it just happens to be here, because usually I'm a good night player.  But definitely conditions changed drastically, you know, from day to night.
Really, I think the biggest problem today was that I couldn't get my serve going ever, especially the slider wide on the deuce was terrible today.  That's what's been working so well for me at this tournament.
I think if I would have hit that one better, and I was looking for it time and time again, I was missing it, and it was just ‑‑it was terribly frustrating.  But I tried.  I fought.  I think Kei did well at the end, you know.  He played aggressive and took it to me.  I wish him all the best.

Q.  How is your back with the cold?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, it's no problem.  I'm happy.  I don't have to wear like an undershirt like I had to last year almost all of last year, which I thought was good prevention.  But with that thing I felt trapped, you know, so I feel much more free if I don't wear an undershirt.
Today in the cold it was also a good test, I guess, for my back and my body.  It was no problem, even though I do feel very different now because it was quite cool out on the court.

Q.  Kei played a very long match yesterday.  Did you have the feeling he was kind of getting tired toward the end?
ROGER FEDERER:  We didn't have long rallies, you know, and it was quite cool.  I don't think it was a problem.
I said it before the match, I don't think actually the fitness at the end was going to play a whole big role, because if this would have been the best‑of‑five‑set match, I would have really thought it was a big advantage.  Like this, it might have been a slight advantage if we had had long rallies, but best of three is more of a sprint towards the finish line.  And especially with the day off tomorrow, he knew he could put everything out there, and he looked like he didn't play yesterday at all, so a credit to him for being so fit today.

Q.  Do you think after the second set he was going for your backhand a lot more?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, maybe.  I don't know.  I was very preoccupied with my own game, you know.
But Kei has a tendency to do that anyway.  He has a great backhand where he finds my backhand easily.  But, you know, if I'm solid on that side, I can mix it up.  You know, I find a way.
I think, there again, I go back to the serve.  If I go over a lot of second serve, clearly he's going to find my backhand much more and enter the points much more, not casually, but better, let's say.  I don't know.  I think the second set just got away from me, and then the third was a tough battle.

Q.  You were dialed in on the hard courts, so now do you look at going to Europe?  Is it something you're looking forward to doing, or do you wish you had more time here?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I like the changes, you know, of continents and surfaces and all that.
Yeah, I mean, one more now in the indoor hard courts, so that's going to be a slight adjustment now.
And this is the last jet lag we have to fight for five months or so, and then we come back to the East Coast, which is easy, and then we go back again after that.
So the next five, six months actually are going to be quite easy traveling‑wise for us.  The beginning is tough when we go to Australia and then West Coast and all of that; Dubai, as well, for me.
That's going to be something I will be looking forward to.  And then the clay is something I have always actually enjoyed, you know, throughout my career.  It's where I grew up playing on.  It's where I played most of my tennis in my career.
I always feel shorter and shorter every year, the clay court season, for some reason, because I don't play the clay after Wimbledon anymore like I used to.
Last year was a nice change with Hamburg and Gstaad.  I don't think I will do that again this year, but we will see what I'll be able to play and whatnot, depending on my wife.  And then clearly I'm going to look forward to just Europe in general.

Q.  Losing to him twice, is there anything you take from that when you face him again in the future?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I just have to tidy up my game, you know.  Same thing happened a little bit in Madrid.  I also struggled with my rhythm.
Okay, there I have more ‑‑not more of an excuse, but it's altitude and tougher to control the ball there.
Tonight was tough, as well, in some ways.  There was quite a gusty wind.  I think that was also a problem I made today.  It was like I was trying to figure out the wind too much, because it wasn't really blowing from one end all the time the same way, because it was these gusts.  I think for too long I tried to figure it out instead of just going out there and playing and hitting my shots.
I think Kei does really well controlling the ball.  He has great technique, especially on the backhand, very simple, very short back swings, so he does a really nice job of having good timing.
Then the forehand can be sometimes a bit off, but I think he does a good job, you know, with his feet.  He's a quick mover.  Same with the his serve.  I think he's done a good job using that to his advantage now.
I think he's serving better this year, and I see him moving up the rankings.  Clearly, I mean, with this tournament anyway but also in the future.  I predict he's going to be top 10 in a short while.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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