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Roland Garros: Roger Federer, May 26, 2008

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Roland Garros
at Paris, France

Monday, May 26, 2008

Interview with Roger Federer

Q. Obviously the first round is always tough. Glad to get through. You didn't have too many difficulties, did you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, but it's hard, you know. The first round of the Slams, there's always a lot of pressure. He's an up‑and‑coming player who's got good a serve and big shots. Not going to win the French Open right away, but on the day you don't know what's going to happen.

That's why it's sort of a nerve‑wracking first set. Once I got settled I played a little bit more better. I was able to create myself a few opportunities against his serve, which was sort of good, and I thought the match was fine, you know.

Gives me a few days now again to practice, and hopefully I can play a bit better the next match.

Q. On the Suzanne Lenglen Court, was that a bit of a change and maybe you weren't expecting it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't know till sort of while I was practicing yesterday if I was going to play next day or not, which I thought was quite late to find out when to start a first round of a Slam.

That's what happened when you want to play your first round over three days, especially starting on Sunday. But I was happy to be able to play today, to be honest. Langlen or Chatrier for me, it's not much of a difference.

I actually practiced on Suzanne Lenglen the first day when I got here, so I knew how it felt. The match was good, so I'm happy.

Q. If you include your pretournament preparations, the events you've played and now your first match, would you say you're where you want to be?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, I would think so. I mean, I got through with my first round, which is sometimes a difficult match in a tournament. So that's out of the way.

I've played well all clay court season long. Didn't have many hiccups really, and I have plenty of matches. That was my goal as well, you know. By playing Estoril, I was hoping to get that before Paris.

Now it's just a matter of sort of getting used to the conditions. Practice is one thing, but getting through the matches is the other thing. I felt that today the atmosphere is different, the court is full, the pressure is there. It's just not sometimes as easy to play this way like in practice, you know.

That's why I'm sort of relieved getting through the first one, and I think from now on it should get a little bit easy.

THE MODERATOR: French questions, please?

Q. Happy with your win and happy to be back in Paris?

ROGER FEDERER: Of course. I always enjoy playing in Paris. It's a superb city, and I had good successes in Paris, except at Paris' Bercy tournament. But at Roland Garros, the crowd is very nice, so it's good pleasure for me to be here in Paris.

Q. There's an Italian player, Bolelli. You know him. Do you think that he's a talented player? Do you think he's skillful player? Is he any different of a player or...

ROGER FEDERER: He has ‑‑ he's very relaxed, and ‑‑ but he has a one‑handed backhand. He's a skillful player, a talented player, he moves well, and I think he's has grown up on this surface.

I practiced with him two or three years ago and I noticed that he was very skillful, but at that time I wondered whether he would do it mentally.

But I think that he can play against very good players. Clay is his best surface, so I'm not surprised. I don't know which ranking he will get in the top 10, top 20, top 30. I don't know exactly, but he plays well. I don't know how old is he, but he plays well.

Q. We've just learned that Richard Gasquet will withdraw from the tournament. A knee injury. Roddick has withdrawn. Tsonga, Tommy Haas, they have all withdrawn. Nadal criticized the schedule, and they are disturbed that maybe some players are injured because of a busy schedule. What do you think of the schedule? What do you think of his busy schedule? Any criticism?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know why he injured himself. I mean, I don't know. Maybe he fell. It has nothing to do with the schedule. Nothing to do with the schedule.

Tsonga got injured a little bit earlier. It's not good for the clay court season, but it is true that ‑‑ it's not a topic for me. It is true a lot of tournaments on clay, but that's not the issue here at Roland Garros.

I know that before coming to Roland Garros, I mean, there are some tournaments, and this is the schedule. This is the calendar. There are some players who are injured, but it is not a contact sport.

I think that if we were to do away with contact sport, I can tell you there would be many players who would be injured. Anyway, we know how many tournaments we have to play. It's important to play the Grand Slam tournaments, the most important tournaments, and the Davis Cup. So if you're injured, you don't play. I mean, that's the way it is.

It is true that from time to time you are not lucky. I can tell you that Tsonga and Gasquet were unlucky. And Gasquet and Tsonga, maybe they wouldn't be able to play at Wimbledon. Andy Murray was injured last year and he couldn't play Wimbledon.

So you have to take care about that.

Q. Are you going to play against Montanes or Kristof Vliegen. Vliegen is one of your friends. I mean, you played against him in 2004 in the first round and you defeated him.

ROGER FEDERER: He's a nice guy, and we hit it off. I will play against him as part of a Davis Cup, and I think Vliegen had a good match against Gasquet. I played against him a few years ago and it was a very good match for me, but he was very nervous.

It was on center court, so I made the most of it. It is true that we have fun together when talking about this match, because he felt uncomfortable.

Q. What about this win? I mean, is this win up to your expectations? Basically, you want to play only three sets because you don't want to play much time on the court, do you?

ROGER FEDERER: I started playing today, but if I were to play five sets, I mean, that's not a problem, because I've been practicing very hard. I'm not afraid of playing five sets. And if you're afraid of playing five sets you rush things away, especially in the first set.

So I try to deliver good matches, and I knew that I had to play today against a dangerous player. He's a different player. I'll bet Montanes is a very difficult opponent, in fact. I'm very happy to have won the match today against Mr. Querrey.

Q. What can you tell us about Stanislas Wawrinka? He's now among the top 10 players. Are you surprised about it? Is it normal to you? Is it logical development?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, when you're in the top 10 ranking, I mean, there is no such thing as logic. I mean, you can say that you want to be in the top 10, but making it into the top 10 is very difficult.

There are many tennis players on the ballot, so it's not easy to be among the top ten players, as people say.

And we know that Stanislas Wawrinka has worked very hard. I can tell you that he's also skillful, but he has lived up to his expectations. Last year it was unfortunate and he was injured. Last year, he stagnated, so to speak. He didn't make progress.

For him, it was just a matter of time, and now at Roland Garros this year he will be able to play well. I can tell you that in the past he had a difficult draw here at Roland Garros, so I hope that he will produce a good performance.

So at the end of the day, I'm not surprised. I mean, basically, if you get two good results, you can be in the top ten, because I, Rafa, and Djokovic are head of the pack.

But I can tell you that Stan has seized this opportunity, but he will have to confirm he's a different player in different tournaments. But I can tell you it will be more easier for him because he is serene. It's a very good period for Stan, and I am very happy for him.


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