PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 14, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So how did you enjoy the garden?
ROGER FEDERER: Hey, Murphy. Yeah, it was great. You were
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was better than I expected,
honestly. I thought crowds really got into it. Pete
played great. I think the level was really good, and in
the end the match turned to be his.
Really, everything went perfectly fine, and, yeah, we'll
do it again, of course.
Q. Roger, there was implication that one of the
so-called bloggers that basically you sort of eased off
to get it into a third set, and that Sampras really
cannot compete with you anymore. Is there anything to
that, or is that guy just making up stuff?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's such a quick surface, you
know. We don't usually play on this kind of quick
surfaces, so for me to break Pete -- he's not going to
serve many double faults -- so I have to come up with a
good passing shot or a good return.
It's hard to keep that up on a regular basis. His second
serve is so good, as well. I really thought I had a
chance towards the end of the second set and sort of
missed it, and maybe could have hit one passing shot
instead of chipping it. That was it.
And then in the tiebreaker he served out of his mind. I
thought I was in the control in the beginning of the
third, and all of a sudden he was up with a break. It
was goes very quick against him, and could tell why he
was such a phenomenal player, because he could take
everything away from you.
Q. How much of a relief was it to actually find out
what was going on healthwise?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. It wasn't a shock at first,
when I found out what it was. It was, okay, fine. Let's
find out what that exactly means, you know. Because the
news I got first was I had mono. I go, Okay, what does
that mean? It's going to take two more days or two more
months, you know, I don't know.
They did more tests and they said actually I went
through a very strong mono. Only later did they tell me
I had it all over and fixed. This was when I was quite
relieved. It was just good to know it was something
other than food poisoning. I was always joking around in
Australia saying I never ate chicken and at the said it
came from chicken.
I think I had food poisoning and mono at the Australian
Open. I was sick prior to that before Christmas, and it
wasn't normal. I got sick three times in such a short
period of time after not having been sick for like eight
Q. I know sometimes you've had some health problems
in the desert. How do you feel this upcoming tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel good, you know, to be honest. This
tournament has worked out well for me over the last few
years, winning here three titles a row and playing some
of my best tennis here really. Had some great finals
here, big matches, and I always enjoy playing here.
Surface really suits my game. Slice stays low, the kick
goes up, the ball travels quickly through the air.
I can really move well on this surface, so it's a bit of
a surprise obviously last year that I lost in the first
round. Canas played a good match, and hopefully I can
bounce back this year, especially after I've been
through the last few weeks and months. It just would be
nice to be back on the winning road.
Q. I know you had heat stroke a couple years ago
after this tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: That was the last time I was sick. I
recovered in time for Miami.
Q. Do you feel 100 percent now?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, as well as I can feel, yes. What
is 100 percent? I don't know. I think to feel 100 I need
to have more matches under my belt, so I will only be
able to answer that, really, hopefully in a few days'
time when I played a couple of matches.
But at the moment, practice, everything's perfect and
feeling fine after, you know, long trip from Dubai, New
And I'm really hitting the ball well, so I'm very happy
with the level of play at the moment.
Q. So many years ago Pete Sampras sat in the same
chair and he told us he feels that he has one more Grand
Slam in him, and that's when he afterwards broke the
record. What do you feel? How many Grand Slams do you
ROGER FEDERER: Left in me?
ROGER FEDERER: A lot. (Laughter.) That's how I feel,
anyway. I mean, I've got plenty of years left and a lot
of motivation and energy. Trying to you know, bounce
back from the Australian Open, as well. It's a big thing
It's exciting with the new players coming up. They've
been announced a long time ago, and finally they're
making their move. It's an interesting time. With Rafa
still there, you know, he's an unbelievable player. It's
good times in tennis right now, I think.
Q. What do you do for fun here in the desert? And
what do you think about Gavin Rossdale's new record?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've only just arrived. Have to be
a little bit professional and actually spend some time
on the practice courts and getting myself back in shape.
Slept a lot. But my parents are here. Spend maybe some
time with them. Maybe play golf if I get a chance.
Looks like pretty much down to business for me this
week, because I really want to get back on the winning
Yeah, love Gavin's record. You heard it. It's very nice.
I think he did a good job.
Q. For a kids' publication, what would you tell young
fans is your favorite part of being a professional in
your career? What do you enjoy the most?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe being a role model, being admired
by little kids, people trying to imitate you, people
coming up to you telling you how great you are. It's a
nice feeling to have, and I try to fill that role as
good as I can.
The traveling can be tough sometimes, but it's something
that's very rewarding, because meeting so many different
people, cultures, languages. It's very interesting to
travel at such a young age. I think it's really the nice
part about being a tennis player.
Q. Andy Roddick has announced he's decided not to
play in the Olympics. Different players have got
different responses to that question as to where it lies
in their list of priorities. Where does it lie in your
ROGER FEDERER: For me, it's a big priority of the year.
I've based -- the tour actually bases its entire
schedule around the Olympics Games, as you know. I
follow that scheme, and actually have -- want to play in
the Olympics, obviously, and I'm going to be there.
I had two great experiences, but I completely understand
Andy's choice, I think, and everybody should. He's
already played it once. I'm a bit surprised, in the way.
I still think he would have a great chance to still get
a medal or win even the Olympic Games, that he would not
play for that reason. But it's his choice. The US Open,
for him, seems to be the biggest thing for him to focus
on, so I completely understand his choice.
Q. That was essentially my question. I'm just
curious, how do you think the rest or most pros on tour
in terms of prestige feel about the Olympics compared
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think really every tournament at
the highest level is becoming more and more important to
the players, because they realize that you're going to
be judged on the Grand Slams you win and No. 1s and all
The Australian Open, everybody goes there now; whereas
maybe in the '80s maybe some players didn't go. The
Olympics is a new thing, you know, to tennis. That's one
of the reasons I understand decisions like Andy's. I
think if he would be part of the Olympic Games every
hundred years I think everybody would go today, but
because actually it's normally amateurs who go and we're
professionals, for some it's just not the thing to do.
And maybe they feel you have once had the experience you
don't want to go back.
But maybe in 50 years' time, top guys playing there,
it's also become one of the big tournaments to win. For
me it is already, but maybe some players and some fans
need more convincing that the Olympics it big for
Q. Djokovic says the pressure is always on you
because you're No. 1. Here and in Miami, it's Rafa and
Djokovic defending titles. Do you think it's a little
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I would guess so, but I don't know
if you concentrate too much on what you're going to
defend from last year. You come in and try your best,
and everybody's coming here trying to win the title. I'm
no different, so for this reason, I don't know, the
pressure is on and off.
I have my own issues coming from sickness, and I'm just
trying to sort of play well again. For them it's
different, because they have maybe their own tough draw
and maybe they're together in one section. I don't know.
But I don't think it's a particular pressure because I
lost early last year and they won. I don't see it this
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, most pressure, where do you
feel that you're at at this point in this tournament, 1
ROGER FEDERER: I don't feel much pressure, like I can't
walk anymore, you know (Laughter.) I mean, I'm always
very relaxed. It doesn't matter if it's before finals or
before a first round, every match is difficult. I feel
more at ease maybe in second, third or in the quarters
just because I know now the circumstances, the courts.
So the danger is always there before first-round match,
and you just want to get through that point.
But, no, the pressure you only feel on break points, you
know, when you're down and you're trying to come back.
This is when you feel it. Otherwise, you know, on a
regular basis it's not there.
Q. Rafa has closed the gap on you in the rankings.
Can you talk about the race for No. 1? Seems to be more
exciting than the last few years, it appears.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, there's obviously somebody
who's going to have a chance. Obviously my lead is not
as big as it used to be like a few years ago when it
was, I don't know, four Grand Slams apart.
So this time around it's closer, you know, but he's got
many, many points coming up to defend, so he's
definitely got, you know, sort of a tougher schedule
ahead of himself, you know; whereas I always think,
especially now in these two tournaments, I have a lot to
Djokovic is, I think it looks like at the moment, he's
going to get his chance at the No. 1 position at one
stage if he keeps it up. And then again, he's also got
semifinals of Grand Slams coming his way.
So to become No. 1 in the world you need to win the big
ones, and you can't just hope for a guy to win or lose.
He's played very consistently well, and I always said,
If one guy deserves it, it's Nadal after me, because
he's been so, so consistent at No. 2 for so long.
Q. You come into this with a rare losing streak on
the tour, yet you have a lot to gain from the next two
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, the focus is really trying
to start playing some matches again. I mean, on purpose
I did not play much, because I know the schedule. The
really important one is coming up for me. Indian Wells
until the US Open, I'm going to be playing every second
week at least, if not back to back, and this is really
where my focus is at the moment. Trying to stay healthy,
come back on tour and win matches again, and then
everything will happen by itself again.
So far I've been trying to get healthy, trying to
practice hard so I'm in shape. Only thing missing is
matches. I'm not focusing on the No. 1 position or
whatever. I just want to win matches again.
Q. You've done well in the past with the heat here.
Are you ready for this real windy times if the heat
doesn't pick up?
ROGER FEDERER: Heat is no problem for me. I mean, it's
dry. I never had a problem with dry heat, anyway.
Humidity, I worked hard on that by practicing at 115
degrees back in Dubai, so that shouldn't be a problem
The wind obviously is always a tough thing to deal with.
I just practiced before in the wind, and the problem is
more like the sand in your eyes than the wind itself.
But I love playing in the wind, because I used to hate
it. Winning in the wind and, you know, unnerving an
opponent is one of those beautiful things in tennis, I
So I don't mind if the wind is there, but we'll see what
happens the next few days.
Q. Your good friend Tiger Woods has 30 major titles
to your 12 Grand Slams. Wondering if he's given you a
friendly reminder that he's got four chances this year
to your three to add to that?
ROGER FEDERER: We didn't have that much time at The
Garden. It was nice that he came. I should mention in
the press that he's still got the chance to go for the
Grand Slam this year, and that's a fantastic thing. I
think he's playing as good as he's ever maybe played. I
wish him all the best. I wish he pulls away, you know.
That's how much I like him.
Q. You were saying it's a good time for tennis right
now, and with the Showdown sold out for the match at
Madison Square Garden, do you think tennis is
experiencing a rebirth of sorts in terms of popularity?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's announced itself
already a few years back maybe when people were
struggling to see maybe who was the No. 1 in the world.
We had many different Grand Slam champions. It was maybe
confusing for some. In Europe we had a problem with
tennis not being enough on TV, and then we had Andy and
James coming up who were playing very well. Now they won
Davis Cup for America, so that's always important, I
Now to have exhibitions selling out at Madison Square
Garden is something quite unique. We haven't had maybe
an exhibition that big since the Billie Jean King
exhibition. It's a huge moment, I think, and I hope we
can carry the momentum over. We have good characters in
the game at the moment. There's a lot of potential.
I'm still at the top, and so everybody is challenging.
Nadal has put his foot forward saying I'm ready to be
the next guy, as well. He's great for the game, so good
times, yeah, all over.
Q. Can you give us your reaction to hitting with the
writing on the net yesterday?
ROGER FEDERER: In practice, yeah, look, I'm no fan of
such exercises, you know. I think it plays with the
visual, you know, aspect of our game. The only way I
would see this working is if they put it through the TV,
sort of players don't see it, only the fans at home.
I just don't think it's good to play with the integrity
of the game. It's like same as one of those ideas was
the Round Robin. I think that was bad, as well.
Hawk-Eye, I mean, was it necessary? Probably not, but
it's a thing you can live with. Doesn't play too much
with it. I just don't think it's necessary to play --
try out so many different, new things. I don't think
tennis is that boring or that bad to have to put banners
and stuff all over the court.
Q. I just wondered, what's your golf like?
ROGER FEDERER: My golf? Could be good. I don't care that
Q. Are you good off the tee, good on the greens?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm good with the irons. But, yeah, look,
I don't care if I hit in the rough. I really don't. I
like the challenge to be in the rough, you know.
But I need some advice, you know. I definitely would
need some. Maybe not at the moment. I'll wait and watch
some more at the moment.
Q. What do you shoot? You have a handicap at all?
ROGER FEDERER: No handicap. I don't care about my
handicap. As long as I get through the 18 holes I'm
happy, and still have enough balls in the bag, you know.
Q. Are there measurable things you can improve in
your tennis, or is it just a matter of tinkering with
tiny little things in your game, or do you go on to the
practice court and say, This stroke or this shot, I
really need this now?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think Rafa definitely made me
improve my game, no doubt. I didn't like to accept it in
the very beginning when I started playing him, but he
had such a different style of play and unique way to
play me that I had to adjust some things in my game that
worked against him, for instance.
But I definitely think it's just about tweaking some
things here and there, choosing the right tactics
against certain players. I have the choice to play very
all around, that's a great thing. But that also includes
a lot of work on all different areas of my game. It's
not just enough to hit backhand crosscourt for four
hours. I also need to play my forehand and at the net
and at the serve, and I really like to come into net
more, play offensive, because I think that's something
where I have the biggest potential left in my game.
Q. You have had obviously over the years quite a run
with Hewitt, and things are not looking the best for him
at the moment as far as rankings are concerned. Do you
think he should be concerned with where his ranking is
ROGER FEDERER: Where is it?
Q. 24. He says he still has it in him to match it
with everybody else, and I'm sure players would agree
ROGER FEDERER: We do.
Q. Should he be concerned with where his ranking is?
It hasn't really turned around.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think he should be concerned,
because he's been No. 1 in the world. I think once you
were there you care about winning titles and being the
I think he would then adjust his schedule accordingly to
becoming No. 1 in the world, but that's not his focus
anymore. This is why the rankings are not a priority for
him. It's important for him to be seeded and getting
into tournaments. That's no question. I think he'd go
out No. 5 or 10 or 1 in the world than 24.
But I think he's a great player. I've had the best
battles with him, and I still think he's got the game to
do very, very well. So, no, he shouldn't be concerned at
all. We should be concerned that he's still there.
End of FastScripts