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April 16, 2014

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/R. Stepanek
6‑1, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  52 minutes.  Pretty good first match for you.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  A bit surprised how well it went.  Then again, it's hard to serve through the opponent.  I was able to get a lot of returns back into play.  On clay, when you have the upper hand from the baseline, it's kind of hard to get out of it.
I think that's kind of how it was for Radek today.  I had a good start to both sets, then I was solid on my own service games.  The next thing you know, you're in the lead and you can hit freely.
It was clearly a good match to start my claycourt campaign.

Q.  I do not know if it's true or not, but apparently your tennis scheduling depends on some possible birth in the next month.  Is that true?  You may go to Rome or Paris depending on that, or it has nothing to do with that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, we got to see what's going to happen.  I mean, there's no date there that is going to be for sure or not.  So we're just waiting.
But, yeah.

Q.  Will it change?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, of course.  It's a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife.  Of course, I've played enough tennis matches.  Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn't change anything for me.
As we don't know when it's going to be yet, I'm happy playing at the moment.

Q.  Would that include a Grand Slam if it happened then?  You'd pull out?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, let's talk about it when it would happen.  At the moment we hope it's not going to be that way.  If it is, that's what it is, you know.

Q.  Can you talk about your next Czech opponent, Rosol.
ROGER FEDERER:  Rosol, surprising the way he came through.  But then again we know he can play good tennis.  He's dangerous.  He takes big cuts at the ball.  On clay, on a slower surface, sometimes you get more chances to hit the ball big.
I think playing Stepanek, who also plays flat and tries to play aggressive, puts him in at least the same, you know, frame of mind for playing against Rosol now next.
I didn't see his matches here, unfortunately.  I think at this point, early in the clay court season, I just have to focus on my own game, make sure I play solid and tough, use the sliding to the advantage that I can.  Otherwise, you know, kind of remind yourself that it is, after all, a tennis match, and you have to try to come forward to close at the net and not wait for mistakes by the opponent.
You can do that sometimes on the clay, but I'm still figuring that out as we start the claycourt season.

Q.  One question that is even more difficult to answer.  In six months you have to play Davis Cup against Italy.  Can you elaborate a bit what that means that you're back in the Davis Cup, if there is any expectation bigger in Switzerland because of that?
ROGER FEDERER:  You say what?

Q.  If you play Italy, what that means for you.
ROGER FEDERER:  Clearly we're excited that Italy won so we get a chance to play at home.  It's big for the fans and the Federation, clearly, being able to make more money.  They pay a lot of money over the years for trips.  Like now they're playing Fed Cup in Brazil.  It's good for them.
Especially back‑to‑back ties in Switzerland, it clearly is going to have a bit more euphoria around the tie and the competition.
We're happy we were able to win against Kazakhstan.  It was a big relief at the end.  Clearly playing at home, being able to choose the place and the surface, I think favors us even more against Italy now.  But we're aware that every tie has to be played.
At this point, like I said after the Sunday in Geneva against Kazakhstan, I hope we're both going to be healthy and give ourselves the best chance to win.
It's always an interesting tie.  I've played Italy twice before in my career, in Neuchetal and in Genoa.  It's always been good ties, friendly ties.
I think this one is going to be more special because there's going to be much more on the line this time around.

Q.  Place and surface, could be Basel on grass?
ROGER FEDERER:  No (laughter).  I tell you the answer, I don't think it's going to happen.  But you never know.
I think it's going to be more or less indoors.  That's my feeling.  It's just safer.  If outdoors would have been an unbelievable advantage for us, then we would pick outdoors.  Otherwise September in Switzerland is a bit of a gamble.
Most likely we'll go back to indoors.  It's just a feeling I have.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  Why did you add this tournament to your schedule?  How was it for the first match on clay?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, you are automatically entered into the Masters 1000s, but I waited because I didn't want people to buy tickets counting on my presence if I was not going to come.  I wanted to be honest with the spectators.
Also I know here it is easier to expect a wild card.  I wanted to wait also after playing so much tennis to make sure I wouldn't have any physical problems before I made the final decision.
I'm happy I'm here now.  I arrived on Monday only, which is a bit late, but I needed time home after traveling so much.  I wanted to stay away from the media.
This week I want to focus on tennis.

Q.  So the transition to clay was not a problem?
ROGER FEDERER:  I believe nowadays we no longer have this transition as we had before.  Everybody knows how to play from the baseline.  It's more or less the same than on hard courts except for the sliding.
But many players are able to play well on clay now.  We have more and more smaller countries, like Finland, Serbia, which play more on clay.  Also European countries do well on clay.  Before it was more the U.S. and Australia with grass and hard courts.
So it's different now.  The only little difference is the sliding and the bounces.  You just have to learn how to use the sliding to your advantage.  Otherwise the timing of the game is more or less the same.

Q.  You are now at your best level physically again.  Did you think you could play that well?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's a very good result today.  I played solid.  As soon as this season started, I was able to win against the best players.  So after that period where I had a new racquet and a pain in my back, I'm very happy now that I'm doing well.  But, of course, I also expect this from myself.  So I'm just trying to keep up that rhythm.
I feel free physically and in my mind.  I'm eager to play, I'm eager to practice.  I want to play good points.  I'm no longer afraid that the rally will last too long.  This was getting in the way of my game last year, whereas now I can really enjoy myself.

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