Roger Federer Interview - Miami, Apr 1

Posted on April 2, 2008

R. FEDERER/J. Acasuso

7­6, 6­2

An interview with: ROGER FEDERER

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously pretty good serving day, would you say?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's always nice when you feel well from the beginning on your serve. Again, it was quite some wind on the court again, not as much from the side but more from the behind.
You could really serve well from one end and have to be really careful on the other end, you know, because you had a big advantage sort of in the baseline rallies. It was key for me to serve well, especially in the beginning and, you know, it was a good serving day today. I was very happy with it.

Q. Once you pulled out the tiebreak, seemed like he just went away. Does that happen often? Seems like it does. Do you sense that from the opponents sometimes?
ROGER FEDERER: I played a good game to break, you know, hit a very good return to go up Love­15, and sort of from there everything's a bit easier. But I think maybe his serve started to let him down a little bit where he really saved himself the entire first set.
I think he served quite a few break points he had, and then also he had already started to leave in the tiebreaker, you know, his serve. His serve he served double fault. I think I was serving better than him today, which is key.

Q. Out of all the sort of outdoor hard court places you play, how do the conditions here suit you? There's wind and the humidity. How does this rate as a place to play for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was successful as a junior already back in '98. Winning the Orange Bowl here. Obviously the climate was a little bit different, maybe not as humid. I always struggled in the humidity when I was younger. I also struggled in the wind actually, and in America in general.
So it wasn't a place where I made a breakthrough very easy until one day I won every tournament there was to win in America. (laughter.)
The wind started to really become sort of something I enjoyed, you know, playing in. The challenge of, you know, choosing the right tactics, as my footwork and, you know, technique are better and better.
I think I really enjoy the challenge and the humidity. I started to not to enjoy but got used to once I started to really do these tough practice sessions in the summer in Dubai for the last three years. Ever since I've never had a problem again in the heat.

Q. If you win this tournament, will you sort of silence those people who began to doubt you a bit after your recent setbacks and problems, or do you think you've done that already?
ROGER FEDERER: Umm, I don't know. I mean, you guys are writing the stuff, and some people always talk a little bit too quickly. Some guys, you know, are nicer to me. I can't control that.
But for me it was really a matter of getting back on tour, playing matches, and hopefully playing well. I think I did well under the circumstances I was under.
I mean, I can hardly rate really the Australian Open too much because of what I went through, you know. I can't even tell how my game really was. Now I feel like I'm playing well. You can tell, as well, I'm moving well and playing well and serving well. That's what it comes down to for me.
All these matches are a grind. If you look back you always probably thought I won every match 6­2, 6­3. It wasn't like that. I had many matches I came through in a close way, and that's what made me the best player for so long, is winning those big points over and over again.
That's what I wasn't able to do against Murray and wasn't able to do against Djokovic, and you'll always get matches like this. Then right away it looks like you're not on top of your game. A lot of those matches I just couldn't pull it off.

Q. If there's one thing that's important playing in the wind, what is it? Is it patience? What aspect is important playing in the wind?
ROGER FEDERER: I think you've got to be able to keep your calm, you know, patience, in a way. I think you've got to have good footwork and be strong mentally of choosing the right shot at the right time but. You can play great but play wrong in the wind and you'll have no chance, you know. So I think you have to really have to play smart in the wind.

Q. There's going to be a three­set final this year. How do you feel about that? There are mixed reviews.
ROGER FEDERER: This is a subject to talk about, you know. Because I'm a fan of the best­of­five­set finals. But then if you look at the long run of every tournament, we've had many problems throughout the last few seasons where we play a five setter here and guys then pull out the next week.
It's happened especially in back­to­back tournaments in Rome and Hamburg, maybe Toronto and Cincinnati before where they didn't always have five­set finals. But another tournament gets hurt under those circumstances.
I understand for the live audience it's not good. For us, the players, we'd also like to play five sets. But if you have to back it up with tournament after tournament, it is better for the players and for other tournaments if you have the best­of­three finals.
So there's good and bad in this story, and I think it's fair that every tournament of the Masters Series level has the same format in terms of how the finals should be played. They're best­of­three unfortunately, and that's the way we have to play it here in Miami, as well.

Q. You've been in the U.S. now for three weeks. When you come here, is there anything culturally, whether it's like silly reality TV or Final Four, something more weighty that you get into when you come to the United States?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess following the political race a little bit. First time I'm really into it to some degree.
I was following it more actually when I was in Switzerland and not playing. Now, in America, sort of, I don't know, it's almost too much of it, you know. I'm not following the Final Four, but I love coming to America, you know. I really enjoy this place. People are really friendly. Yeah, it's a place I like to visit.

Q. You don't have to, you know, pick a candidate, but from your perspective, what do you make of the political race from where you sit?
ROGER FEDERER: Just very interesting. You know, for me it's hard to compare, because until now I didn't really follow it. Four years ago I don't remember being really into it, you know. So this is the first year, and so I just want to see how it really works. I couldn't believe that it takes that long, you know. (laughter.)
There's so much talk about it for like a year in advance, which is tough for the president, it seems. But, look, it's the way it is. People are really into it. Seems like the younger generation is more into it. I think that's key to this race.

Q. Since you bring up politics...
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't bring it up. (laughter.)

Q. If I may, let me ask you about the Olympics and Tibet. There are a handful of athletes from various places if various sports from around the world who said they will protest in various ways because of the situation in Tibet.

Q. Boycotting the opening ceremonies, wearing ribbons perhaps, that kind of thing. Is that something that you would think about doing, along those lines?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not so far. I don't think I will. Honestly, I don't know enough about the situation. I don't know how much we athletes should be involved in this, you know.
That's why we'll see how it goes. I've been asked this question for the first time like a month ago, and didn't hear anything about it.
I hope it's not going to have any effect on the Games, because it should be a celebration of sport and not using it for political reasons, you know. We'll see how it goes. I definitely will go, and I hope everything will be all right.

Q. Do you have any concerns about the air quality in Beijing? American runners are saying...
ROGER FEDERER: Not really, to be honest with you. We are holding a tournament there many, many years in Beijing. Never heard of any problems. I think I heard they're going to try their very best to keep the air as clean as possible. I know it will be tough, but I have no reasons to be nervous for that.

Q. You may have Andy Roddick again in the next round. Are you ever wondering the law of averages will catch up to you with him?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's beaten me before, but I have a definitely a very, very good record against him. Toughest places to play against him is always in America. I've had some close ones here with him over the years.
A guy I always enjoy playing against, we have a lot of respect for each other. I think it will be a great matchup for this tournament if he were to play in the next round.

Q. When you had mono, did you ever think of Mario Ancic and the fact he missed like six months?
ROGER FEDERER: For some reason I didn't think of him, no, because it was over before it started for me. I heard I had it, and two weeks later they said it was gone.

Q. Did it surprise you it was so short?
ROGER FEDERER: No, because it can be over very quickly. Apparently I already had it back in 2006, hints of it, but...
Yeah, so it's in the past.

Q. Just go back to the Olympics real quick. For most sports I think the Olympics are probably the pinnacle of the sport. In tennis, where do you think winning a gold medal would rank? I mean, is that Slam­level achievement or Masters Series? Where do you think that ranks as far as tennis is concerned?
ROGER FEDERER: Depends on what you've won so far. So for me, it's very big because I've won three of the four majors. I've won the Masters Cup. Definitely I think it's bigger than a Masters Series and here for instance. Masters Cup is obviously very special because you only have the top 8. But for me, it ranks on a Grand Slam level, to be honest. I really do.

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