PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 18, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Coming into this tournament you spoke about the need
to get matches under your belt. In some ways, would you have
preferred a tougher workout today?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Actually I enjoy matches like this,
really. I mean, for me, having a sensation like I had today
towards the end of the second set when you feel everything's
going your way, you've got his game perfectly figured out
and everything you're trying to do sort of works as well,
it's just a good feeling.
I think this is also what you want to do, then, is you want
to try to run over your opponent. Not give him a chance
anymore. I was really happy to break that often, and no
problems whatsoever on my own serve. It was a perfect match
really for me.
Q. In these baseline days, is it nice to play against a
player who plays the way he does?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, we have similar games, I
guess. One-handed backhand, we try to play aggressive from
the baseline. When you've got the edge, because maybe I'm a
bit smaller, bit more athletic, just have a tendencies to
get to more balls and be in a better position.
I thought I had the upper hand from the baseline actually
early on in the match, and that was key for me, knowing that
from the baseline there's no need to panic.
I served really beautifully today, I think, which was very
important for me to put the pressure on Nicolas. I was
surprised how well I returned his serve. I think he can
definitely serve better than that. He didn't really go for
the outright aces, which is good for me, because I got
really plenty of balls back into play and from the baseline
I was in control.
Q. You mentioned after the match the other day that you
just wanted to play conservatively. Were you trying to make
a point to push yourself and be more aggressive?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, different opponent, different day. I
mean, Garcia-Lopez was playing from the baseline, trying to
run around his backhand, you know. Playing with a lot of
spin and sort of also tends to like just move you around and
wait for a mistake.
With him it's a different. He's going to force the issue.
You are a going to see many more unforced errors from his
point, but maybe more offensive play from my side because we
both want to get to the net as quick as possible.
Look, I've always enjoyed playing against the Frenchmen.
They have good techniques, playing style, unbelievable shot
making. It sometimes tends to be to be a bit easier playing
against them. They make you better tennis than, for instance
the Spaniards, who are just going to throw the ball into
Q. What do you feel like you've accomplished in these
first couple matches going forward?
ROGER FEDERER: Accomplished a good feeling, I think. Just,
you know, overall excited being back, happy to be playing
well. I'm there where I wanted to be, in second or third
round for me.
Just feeling like I'm playing good tennis again, you know. I
feel like I did at the Australian Open after one of my first
couple of matches. But this time I'm more sure I'm over the
sickness, you know, whereas in Australia it was really quite
extreme. I couldn't really practice the way I wanted to
before the Australian Open.
This time it's very different. I don't know who I'm playing
yet so it's going to be exciting to see. I'm really looking
forward to the rest.
Q. Computer shows you and Rafa to be pretty close in
points, but do you feel he's close to you these days?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously, yes. I mean, he's been
playing great, you know. He's been playing consistent. He's
been playing more than me, so of course you have to expect
him to do well here again. I think this surface suits him.
After I lost here last year, I remember he was -- I was
thinking, Well, if Rafa doesn't win here something's wrong,
and he did. Didn't lose a set. I expect him to do similar
things here again this year.
He's very tough with this type of surface. Yeah, he's close,
but he has more points to defend in the next few weeks and
But that's not really my focus at the moment. For me it's to
do well here at Indian Wells and see how the points are
standing when we go into Miami.
Q. Do you think his hardcourt game has improved?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, he's improved it since the last few
years. The only problem is he seems to always run into a guy
who is on an incredible run. Sometimes it's Youzhny,
sometimes it was Berdych, and then it was Tsonga at the
Australian Open. Guys can take away time from him. He
struggles on hardcourt.
That's always gonna happen, but these guys need to step up
every time as well. It's not going to happen every week, and
Rafa is also going to be there to take it if these guys are
not there. This is why Rafa is so strong. He beat Roddick
last year, Djokovic last year here. He's proved it on grass,
how great a player he is on grass courts and hardcourts,
There's no need for him to improve anymore. He's there
Q. You come to the net quite a lot, but I doubt you'd
describe yourself in terms of a serve and volleyer in terms
of a Stefan Edberg or Pat Rafter of the past. Do you think
in this day and age it's possible to be out and out serve
and volleyer and compete at the very top of the game?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's possible, for sure. Yeah. The
conditions have become very slow with the balls and courts
and everything slowing down. But I think if you volley very
well, you know, like Edberg would have done in the past or
Pete or Rafter, Becker and these guys, you know, they're
such great athletes and so good at the net, you know, it's
-- I think you could put an incredible amount of pressure on
the baseline players today. You could take away the time
But it is hard, because maybe we return way better today and
pass much better because conditions are a bit slower and
because we -- everybody's practicing that way. But I would
be interested in my own game if I would just start serve and
volleying first, second serve and see where it would take me
in the ranking at the end of the year. It would be
interesting to see.
Q. Any plans to do that?
ROGER FEDERER: No plans at the moment, but you never know.
Q. You've done a great job over the years neutralizing
the strong shots, strokes of the opponents like Andy's serve
or Agassi's groundies. But is Rafa's forehand, particularly
on clay, the toughest stroke you've had to deal with?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, I'm not sure if it's just his
forehand, you know. Let's say it's more his movement than
anything else. His forehand and backhand seems is never
going to break down really, especially on clay.
I can't see people talking about him, that that being a
weakness. It's amazing what kind of pace he can get off the
backhand and how good his defense is off the backhand and
how good his slice has become. People underestimate his game
No, look, it's good. These guys are good stuff. We have seen
Agassi's groundies, and there's always somebody new that
comes up with something that challenges your game. Rafa, I
really think, is his intense movement on the court.
Q. Roger, how much better do you think you can get?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I have really a lot of
potential towards playing more aggressive, what we were just
talking about. I think the rest is sort of trying to
maintain good fitness, good defensive skill. My offensive
skills will always be very good, you know. Just having to
continue, you know, improving little things.
I think it's about details at this stage of my career, and
I'm not going to become a different player next year. I
don't want to. I'm really happy how I'm playing.
Q. How do you feel about Alinghi having to sail against
the catamaran now? Looks like there's a judgment now.
ROGER FEDERER: Haven't heard about it.
Q. They are going to have to sail against Oracle next
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I mean, whatever they want to do at
Oracle. I mean, I guess. It's a pity that it's decided in
court, you know. I hope the Swiss didn't do anything wrong,
because I think it should be played according to the rules.
But for us, anyway, for us Swiss it's been a very exciting
last year, you know holding the America's Cup, and hope it's
going to still stay fair and not become some upsurge sort of
Q. You've had some amazing streaks in tennis. Have you
been in contact with Tiger about his own winning streak?
ROGER FEDERER: I saw him at the Garden. He came to watch.
Sure, I congratulated him after his amazing victory last
weekend. He was fantastic. On a roll he is. I have a good
feeling for him this year, really.
End of FastScripts