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Roger Federer Interview
Sony Ericsson Open - Miami, Fl., U.S.A.
March 26, 2011
R. FEDERER/R. Stepanek 6 3, 6 3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Thanks to Greg Sharko here, we know...
ROGER FEDERER: What has he dug up again?
Q. Bottom of the first page, you have tied someone named Pete Sampras for career match victories: 762.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, in total. Okay.
Q. I know you reach these milestones all the time. When a name like Sampras is attached to it, does it make an impression on you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess so. Look, sure, yes, it's nice tying Pete, but he could have played for many more years. He could still win some matches on tour now if he wanted to.
Yeah, it's a funny stat, but it shows how long I have been around already, how much I've won, you know, all around the world and all the different surfaces, and that I have played whatever, over 10, 12 solid seasons, you know.
I've never missed big chunks of seasons. That's how you end up with so many wins, I guess.
Q. You have about 500 wins to go to catch No. 1, Jimmy Connors.
ROGER FEDERER: There you go. I have a long way to go. I felt that wasn't the pinnacle quite yet.
Q. Jimmy played until he was 38.
ROGER FEDERER: There you go. Almost 10 years left.
Q. Not a difficult match. Radek is obviously a tough player to play because he's kind of old school.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I always thought it was interesting playing against him. Um, you always gotta play pretty smart against him in terms of the way you play with pace and spin, because he can absorb pace pretty well.
If you play the wrong way, he can really, you know, play very dangerous. Then when his serve is working and his whole game towards playing forward is working, you can really start doubting yourself in the way you play, the way you return, the way you serve. The whole thing was up to him.
I was able to stay out of that. I was able to played solid and keep him moving and serving at a high first serve percentage, which was the goal as well today.
So all in all, I'm really pleased, because I always know the dangers of Radek.
Q. Are the courts playing slower than Indian Wells? Seems like not a lot of winner, cold winners lately.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I don't know. I feel that both are pretty slow, to be quite honest. It's hard to put balls away, like you say. You have to really set it up perfectly.
It reminds me slightly to clay in terms of how you can construct points. The big serve maybe has a bit more you know, on clay it just gives you a bit more and then you can do the one two punch, one two three punch at times more than on clay.
Other than that, you have to really create the way you play the points. Yeah, I wish it was a bit faster, but it is what it is. It's also a surface I can play my best tennis on, so we'll see how it goes.
Q. You have Juan Monaco next. Can you talk about him and the matchup?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think we've only played once before in Hamburg. That was in 2007, not that long ago, but still long enough ago in a second, third round to me to almost be a blur.
Not much I can take out of that match. But I've seen him play for multiple years, and he is a good player, nice backhands, good intensity. He's gonna be playing in front of a South American crowd for sure, so it's going to be a different type of a match.
I'm not sure if I play at night or during the day. That's going to have an impact, as well, on how the match will be played.
Bit of a surprise he lost last week. He was able to come through a tough one, which is gonna help him game, I'm sure. I'm ready for a tough challenge.
Q. I know it's looking far ahead, but you are in the same half as Nadal. Is it strange to be penned against him possibly in the semifinal as opposed to a final?
ROGER FEDERER: It's happened before, so it's not something that's for the very first time. That's how it is when someone is ranked not in the top 2. That can happen.
But then it's still far away so far away that you don't really concentrate on playing him quite yet, you know.
The top four guys or top five guys have been so good, especially, you know, with Djokovic, Murray, myself, and Rafa, that it didn't matter almost if you're 1, 2, 3, or 4, you knew that the semifinal opponent, if all the seeds were coming through, was going to be extremely tough.
That doesn't change with Rafa. It's just that maybe for the fans it's unusual to see us so close or closer in the draw. Happened I think in Cincinnati last year, but then he lost to Baghdatis. It's happened in the tennis Masters Cup back in Shanghai twice where we played in the semis.
That's how it is. I mean, I love to play against him, so we'll see how it goes.
Q. Your outfit today was a little different. It was not as colorful and no collar on the shirt. Is that a new look?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, changing colors again for the clay, so it's just like last year I played in orange here. This is just the way Nike works here in Miami. It's only a one off tournament.
Yeah it's a bit different. I like to change and mix it up from a shirt with a collar to T shirts at times, because that's how I kind of came up in the tour level, as well. I had all different styles and colors always, and I'd like to keep that going. I like the freshness of mixing it up a bit.
I don't know, I hope fans like it; and if they don't, then the French clay court season is coming up shortly. (Laughter.) But I like it, so it's all good. I approved it like one and a half years ago, so it's fine. It's really nice.
Q. As an athlete gets older, I'm wondering what your thoughts are, what maybe is the most difficult to maintain? Concentration? Nerve? Actual athletic ability?
ROGER FEDERER: Hmm. I'm not sure. Depends, I guess, where you find yourself, what you have achieved, all those things, I guess, all play a role. If you're battling to make it into the main draws or you're playing on smaller courts... Are you playing on stadium courts? Are you a great player? What are you, you know?
In my situation, I guess, you know, as much as I love the traveling, it gets hard after, you know, 12 years doing it. I find ways to really enjoy myself, and I know how lucky I am to be traveling to the best places in the world kind of thing.
And if I still wanted to go to see different places that I haven't seen, I can also do that because I'm never too far from visiting new places. So that's why I feel very fortunate for the traveling.
To be motivated for practice, that's much easier today than it's been when I was coming up where I struggled really badly as a junior. Day in, day out I had really good days, but then I had shockers, as well. I remember here in Miami having a few when it was windy on the outside courts I couldn't get up for it.
That's changed, and now every time I go out onto the practice courts I know why I'm out there, what I can improve, what I'm trying to work on, and all those things. I don't know I have many more friends and family traveling these days with me, so I think the tour is more enjoyable, even though I'm learning less because when you're young you suck up everything and it's quite different.
So now I have here, I don't know, 10 friends and families here, and so it's never boring. It's a lot of fun. I don't feel lonely in any way. It's nice. I feel it's nicer now.
Q. You still practice? You don't have to push yourself to go out and practice some days? You like to do it?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I wake up tired in the mornings, but then, you know, that's 10 minutes, and then off you go. So that's basically never have I booked a practice, especially offseason, and said, You know what? Today I just don't feel like practicing at all.
If I don't feel like practicing, it's probably more I'm taking a rest for the physical strain I've gone through already. So it's more smart than anything else.
But I always stay true to my plan I put in place the day before. Yeah, I'm not the kind of guy who wakes up and says, How much today? It's already all decided beforehand.
Q. What about with the media? Now that you have all the attention because you're not No. 1 anymore, does it feel different?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, there's empty seats now these days. (Laughter.)
But I'm still here. I told the ATP, you know, Why every match? Why every day? Why so much? So I don't feel a difference, to be honest. I'm still answering questions. It's exactly the same.
You're probably not at every press conference, but I'm doing many of them, and but they're okay. You know, I wish we could mix that up a bit more, make it a bit different and bit more exciting for both ends.
But that's the way it is and it's become. I can take pleasure out of them, as well, so it's all okay.
Q. How would you prefer to deal with the media?
ROGER FEDERER: Just, you know, different. Sometimes instead of always doing the classic press conference maybe throwing in the occasional round tables. Maybe after a routine match where, you know, the headline's maybe are on someone else, not have me do a press conference but maybe have me do more when there was more happening. Play it more by ear.
But then I understand, you know, you have international press and they need something maybe every other day from a particular player they're traveling for.
So it's hard, but I don't know if it's ever gonna change because it's become a routine now for everybody.