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Roger Federer Interview
March 13, 2011
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - BNP PARIBAS OPEN
R. FEDERER/I. Andreev
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was the first time you beat him without losing a set. Did it seem like it went a bit smoother for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I don't know about that, but I thought it was another tough match against him. Even though I felt always kind of in control in the first set, even though I was down 5-4, I felt I was in the match quickly against him, which maybe in the past wasn't always the case because he's got a lot of spin, and, you know, he's got a lot of pace.
So I was able to handle that better today, I thought. Had a good ten minutes where I was able to get up 7-5, 2-0, I think. And after the match [sic] he found his way into the match, and it really became competitive. I really thought it was a good end to the match on both sides.
I played a really good tiebreak, which obviously makes things better towards the end.
Q. Paul Annacone, is here and other tournaments Severin Luthi accompanies you. Sometimes Paul is referred to as your coach, but I have more of a sense you typically refer to him as joining your team rather than being "the coach." Could you clarify that?
ROGER FEDERER: They're both my coaches, so, yeah, that's about it. Not much more to add, I think. The more I start saying, the more it gets confusing. They're both my coaches, yes.
Q. In our research center, we find that you get 2.2 seconds between the hits, and a lot of players are getting leg injuries and ankles, knees, groin, and so on. Have you practiced changing directions softly, or what allows you to get away with not having some of the injuries some of the other players are having?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I don't know. I mean, I guess I got maybe luckier early on in my career without having any injuries where I couldn't do anything about it, you know. Then once I was smart enough to understand what good schedules is and the right rehab and prevention work, I guess, all these little things start to fall into place.
And then obviously my game is smooth, which helps me maybe to avoid all those tough shocks you get on the body. And then I became a really good mover, and not even necessarily by trying. It just was quite natural. But it was important to stay explosive and be able to push side to side explosively, and then if it looks even the better, that's great. But I honestly don't care how it looks, as long as it's effective, to be honest.
Q. Can you look ahead to the Chela match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, we haven't played that much lately. I remember I think playing him last year in Toronto. Is that correct? I think the first round. Which was a straight setter, but I think one of the sets was tough.
Yeah, I think he's really one of the good returning players we have in the game. He makes a lot of returns, he's good off the second serve, he gives himself a lot of room. He's a tall player, even though he doesn't have the biggest serve. So it's kind of misleading at times when you play him.
He makes you work hard out there, and he's the kind of guy I need to come out in the next match and put him away, play aggressive myself, and not let him dictate too much, which he can do.
So it's going to be a good match to play against. I think he also had to fight through a tough one today, so it will be interesting to see how he pulls up in the next match.
Q. No opponent is easy, but you have played so many tournaments, so many early rounds, do you ever have to play mind games with yourself, trying to get yourself motivated?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really, because I guess, you know, you arrive early usually to a tournament, and then you wait and wait and wait. You go through a lot of practice sessions, a lot of pretournament media, and, you know, sometimes sponsor appearances, as well.
At the end, you can't stop waiting for the match to actually happen. So that alone is motivating to know that you have a match coming up, and this is where it really matters on breakpoints and playing aggressive, you know, pulling the trigger in front of a full crowd instead of doing that in practice.
It's like, well, you don't know if you're going to do the same decision out in a pressure situation when the match is really happening, so that's why I always enjoy the real deal more than, you know, practice, even though it's important to practice and do the right things.
So motivation is always there if you like it or not. It's just how I am.
Q. Just following on the mind aspect, when you go out for a match, what's playing in your mind? What are you doing to yourself? Are you psyching yourself up? Is there an element of anger in there, or is it just focus? What is it?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm pretty much focused, but relaxed. You know, today I felt very confident going into the match for some reason. When I was on the golf cart driving to the tennis, to the center court, I was like, Yeah, I feel really good today. I hope it's not misleading.
So I was really trying to be positive in the way I wanted to play, how I wanted to start the match, and I felt like I a good mindset. But then to me it doesn't matter if I'm nervous, not nervous, confident, not confident. At the end of the day, for me really it shows how you start the match and how you finish the match, and all that before feelings I get don't matter too much.
You know, I prefer to be relaxed and then play a good match than being all nervous. And, you know, then after you still played a good match, but then you had to go through all of that is sometimes just stressful and can also take its toll out of you.
At the moment I feel good. Look, I have had a good last six months, and I guess it's given me a lot of confidence. I have always played a lot of matches. I'm not in a situation where I'm lacking matches like maybe last year at this time around, and I think that's why I'm playing well, too.
Q. How long have you been friends with Gavin and Gwen?
ROGER FEDERER: Six years maybe now?
Q. Very quick turnaround between Miami and Monte-Carlo, particularly if you go deep in Miami, so what was behind your quite late decision to enter Monte-Carlo?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess Monaco is always for me -- now that it's not a mandatory 1000 for us, it's always going to be one of those things I wait and see how things go.
I guess the last two, three years I always had to make sure how was I pulling up physically with my back. Lately I have been feeling really well, so that's why also I was able to commit to playing Davis Cup down the stretch and committed to playing Monaco.
And I guess at the end of the day you can always enter anywhere you want to with a wildcard, which I did in Monaco two years ago, I think it was. And I just felt it was the right thing to do and actually get some clay court, you know, matches early on -- hopefully matches, not just one, but we'll see how it goes.
I'm excited playing that tournament. It's really one of my favorites, but it's just early in the season and it's a tough turnaround from Indian Wells and Miami and having played on hard courts for six or seven months.
So that's where Monaco is tough, but I think I have been really successful there. Been three or four times in the finals, and always enjoy my time over there.
Q. With the string and racquet technology advancing so much, do you think it's getting harder and harder for guys to get to the very top with a one-handed backhand?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. It seems like to have a double-handed backhand has maybe a slight advantage. But if you look at the one-handers out there, there are some really good ones out there.
It gives you opportunities on different surfaces maybe to mix it up better. And, you know, maybe the reach is not the best with the double-handed, but then if you look at how Djokovic and Nadal and Murray stretch to their backhand, it's quite incredible.
So I don't know. I think slower conditions might favor a double-handed backhand, but then I'm not sure if that's the right thing I'm saying.
Honestly, (Smiling) time will tell, I guess. We'll see.
Q. If you could take anybody's shots, whose shots would you take? You're famous for your phenomenal forehand. What shot would you take from the other players?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I guess always a good serve is a good start, you know. Then you pick the obvious suspect, you know. The ones who are hitting aces and unreturnable serves and can clutch serve all day.
One of those guys, you know, one of the big guys, like John or Karlovic or Roddick and so forth. You know, guys who have proved themselves over a long period of time, of course. And also have variety.
And then, you know, backhands and forehands all come from the top players, really. If you look at the top 10, you know, I guess there's always someone who does a few things better than others.
Um, but then at the end of the day, you know, you're happy with what you've got, and that's what you've got to work with.
Then again, I don't know how much, how effective it would be, I don't know, Murray's backhand with my game, you know. My game needs my one-handed backhand, I feel, and I don't know how his game would work out with my forehand.
So we all get used to with what you have, and, you know, you know, your strengths and weaknesses. That's how you go along.