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March 3, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/A. Murray
7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What made the difference tonight?
ROGER FEDERER:  Couple of the big points, I guess.  I mean, he had chances first in the first set.  I have a feeling if he breaks me there I'm probably not going to come back, even though I had sort of half chances in the first couple service games of Andy.  30‑All I think twice and second serves and a volley I should have made to get break point.
But the match was close I think in both sets.  I just gave myself more opportunities than Andy did overall.  I felt really good out there tonight.  You know, I felt calm knowing what I wanted to do.  I think the surface, I used it to my advantage, which in the last year's finals I couldn't or didn't.  I think that was a big thing tonight as well.
Maybe Andy didn't serve his very best tonight, but maybe that comes through my good returning.  I don't know.  I anticipated well.  Overall I think I played a really good match on my service games all week.  I didn't have many hiccups except make the one and got the break maybe shouldn't have.  Andy did well to hang in there and make it difficult for me there.

Q.  Were you worried when he broke back?
ROGER FEDERER:  I guess normally I would be, but tonight for some reason I was calm.  I know what a great return player Andy is, and I knew this was going to be the most difficult match because he is the best return player in the game.
I knew he was probably going to break me, so I kind of I don't want to say expected it, but I took it easily and said, At least I had the break.  At least it's back even.  I just have to make sure I stay ahead of him; I did.
Then I kind of broke him nicely at 4‑all.  So it was a big 15, 20 minutes right there.  I'm happy I had a great forehand on match point.  It was a good feeling.

Q.  How confident are you now after winning five of the last seven ATP events?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's great.  There is no substitute to confidence.  I've played great.  It's not just that I've taken my chances.  I really thought I played a good tournament here.  I played a great tournament in Rotterdam.
I knew how big that match was for me against Davydenko when I was down 4‑all, Love‑40 in the third or down 6‑3, 3‑1 over there.  I could go still and run if I weren't able to beat Davydenko in that semis.
Also the end of last year was exceptional, so it's nice to also win a tournament outdoors now.  That gives me hope that I can carry it over to Indian Wells and Miami.
But, yeah, I'm just, again, like I said, this tournament is really tough.  Eight of the top ten players were here.  I didn't drop a set.  To win the tournament this way, it's very, very nice.  Clearly.

Q.  Through that stretch what's been the key for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, health clearly has to be there with the amount of matches I've played, because I've played a full schedule.  I played a lot of tennis.  I think the six weeks I took off after Davis Cup and the US Open was necessary if I wanted to play that much and that successful.
So that was a good decision.  Obviously I'm still sad I didn't go Shanghai last year because it's such a wonderful tournament.  In hindsight, maybe it was the right thing to do.  I played great in Australia as well.  Obviously Davis Cup was tough.
I think I was just confident.  I was playing aggressive.  I was focused.  I didn't doubt my ability.  I'm defending much better than maybe I was in the middle of last year where I felt like I couldn't come out of tough defensive positions anymore.  I was able to sort of turn it around.
It started midway through the French Open and then through Wimbledon, even though I ended up losing.  But I felt like my game was very good.  That's proved I was heading in the right direction.  Now just have to keep it up.

Q.  There are not too many tournaments where you've been in the final seven times.  What does that mean?
ROGER FEDERER:  It's nice.  Look, obviously the more you play the more chances you can give yourself.  This has been one of the tournaments I had a rocky start to Dubai.  I was criticized for not giving the best effort when I lost toe Rainier Schuettler here year ago.  That was tough for me because I was in the second round in singles and doubles.
So for people to question me was not very nice.  I know the last two games weren't beautiful, but, you know, it's a quick court and quickly can look in a way that you're not interested.  Rainier was better in that match.
For me to then come back the following year and win the tournament and win so often now is a beautiful thing.  Yeah, it's definitely got a special place in my heart, this tournament here.

Q.  You can obviously play in different ways and you're a versatile player.  Do you feel over the years you've become a more assertive player and that's the difference?
ROGER FEDERER:  Assertive?

Q.  Aggressive.
ROGER FEDERER:  Looking back how I played Sampras in 2001, I was serve and volleying most of the time on first serves.  So I definitely played more aggressive when was younger just because I didn't believe in my ability from the baseline against the likes of Agassi, Ferrer, Nalbandian, you name it.
So for me, that was a big, big step into the very top of the ranking, I would say, to actually improve my baseline game.  Then I couldn't believe how great I became from the baseline.  Then obviously at times, because it was working so well, I just maintained that.
And then down the stretch you start adjusting certain things like playing a bit more aggressive.  And this court allows that, too.  I took advantage of it, like I mentioned.
Against Andy I knew I had to stay aggressive.  But not overly.  You don't want to overhit.  I think I found the right balance out there tonight.

Q.  We heard yesterday that you refused to play an exhibition against Rafa in Spain in July.  What were the reasons for saying no?
ROGER FEDERER:  I didn't refuse.  Don't place words in my mouth.  I'm not saying you are, but I don't want that word going around Spain.  I was excited about the idea.  I mentioned dates I could do it.  It was difficult to find the right dates.
I don't know the latest actually.  It might still happen.  Might not.  May be Rafa will do it with a different player.
But I have a busy schedule, and I think they were looking at a date between Wimbledon and the Olympics.  I just felt it was a tough date, the one he gave me, so I don't know what exactly he is.
But maybe we've stopped talk or we're still talking.  I'll see him in a few days and who knows if we'll all of a sudden have a solution or not.

Q.  This title could be better if you win against Djokovic?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, no.  This is perfect.  This is great.  Any title is a good one, I'll tell you that.
Yeah, I have a losing record against Murray, I do believe, and not against Novak.  So I've actually struggled more against Murray in the past.  So maybe this victory I don't want say means more to me, but it's a beautiful victory.
I haven't won here in five years.  In tennis you only have to beat whoever is across the net from you.  Murray did play much better than Novak in that semis, so I played the best other player in the draw.
I'm very happy with my win this week, in particular against Murray tonight.

Q.  Talk about the atmosphere out there tonight.
ROGER FEDERER:  Special.  Yeah, I mean, coming out Mexican Wave going on, then chanting when I held for 4‑4, singing my name.  Obviously I'm sure also some were singing Andy's name, but to hear my name resonate throughout the stadium was great.
I tell you, it gives you goose bumps.  It's great motivation to play well.  That's why I played so well this week, and particularly in the final.  Does give you a lift and that belief to keep going for your shot, and then risk pays off.
It's been a great week.  Now I look forward to playing at Madison Square Garden, which is like a special prize on top of it.  I play Roddick over there.  Got to leave tonight and I play Monday.  A lot of stuff coming my way right now, but so much easier when you do win titles.

Q.  Grand Slams, the Olympics, what would be your goals for this year?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, right now it's playing, enjoying Madison Square Garden, playing well in Indian Wells‑Miami, and then obviously there is a whole big change coming up to clay, back to Europe, all of that.
And then obviously I always said it's a big trip coming up from the French all the way through Wimbledon, the Olympics Games, and the US Open.  Going to be a lot of points to be distributed and a lot of prestige that you're going to be on your best‑‑ I don't want to say best behavior ‑‑ but best game in that particular time.  It's one highlight after another.
That's hopefully where I can pick up a few titles.  Then again, I know how difficult it is.  It's also about enjoying all these highlights.  We have a very lucky tour that we do have many tournaments in places around the world that mean a lot to me personally, like here, for instance.
It's not just always about Wimbledon and other tournaments.  As much as I do love those places, they're only four tournaments out of the year.  I do play 20, so it's a minority.
But I know how big those are.  I love every tournament in the year I play.  I've just had a great stretch.  It's about keeping up the good work and hopefully playing even better tennis, or at least maintaining this level of playing.

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