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28/05/2012 16:33 CEST - INTERVISTE

R. Federer - 28.05.2012


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Q. So how do the tournament start and how do you feel about today's match?
ROGER FEDERER: They're never easy, those first rounds, you know. Last thing you want is to go down a set or getting in a tough situation, but I was able to stay ahead in the first set, had bits of ups and downs on my serve.
But overall I'm happy I'm through. That's what I look at in the end. Sometimes you have to come through when you're not playing your very best. I missed a few too many shots, but I was always in the lead and could afford to do those.
So I'm happy with today's match.

Q. Not a question about the match, but about Davis Cup. Can you say something about competing in Amsterdam against The Netherlands already? I know it's a long time...
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like you said, it's a long way away. I haven't announced anything yet. Obviously I'm very happy it's not so far away place. It's closer to Europe.
I don't know yet when I'm going to make up my mind. But right now obviously the focus is on the French and Wimbledon and all those things.
I hope I can play. I mean, that's the goal.

Q. You seem to generate lots of power and speed with the racquet. Is it just pure technique or the weight of the racquet in the frame have anything to do with it?
ROGER FEDERER: I think I've always had good racquet head speed, and then obviously players play different kind of racquet and different strings that maybe enhances that. Great racquet head speed, also makes it sometimes hard to control the ball. You have to pick the right options at the right time.
Today I was sometimes taking the wrong decisions, and that then creates errors. Some of those can go far out, but I don't care how far out they go. As long as they're out, they're out. Doesn't matter how far.
I was hitting the ball okay. I was hitting particularly a lot with my forehand today. He was going there often, which is unusual because usually players go into my backhand. It was a bit unusual match. You know, my racquet allows me to play with a lot of feel, and, well, I have the power naturally and for me it works very well. I'm very happy with my situation.

Q. How do you feel about court conditions? Quick balls? Somebody said that heavy balls.
ROGER FEDERER: I think they're heavy. I think the balls are heavy. I think they're slower than last year.
Conditions here are always faster during the day. Courts are on the harder side, especially when it's with good weather like today. Feels like it's faster.
I feel the balls are not the fastest ones. I just think that also is just taking some adjustments to that, because the ball is different here again than the last six, seven weeks for us.
I think that also maybe takes some getting used to, which is normal. That's why I'm happy to be through to the second round, having more information on how actually the court and the balls play here.

Q. You have obviously set many records in your career. Today you tied Connors for most victories in Grand Slam matches. Is that anything special for you, or there are so many records that you don't care anymore?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think that's a big one, because that was longevity. And it's been around for Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time, and was around for 20 years, you know.
This is my 13th or 14th French Open, as well. It all started back in '99 against Rafter, and I have hardly missed any Grand Slams, basically, even though the streak only starts in Australia for me, because I did play Paris, Wimbledon in the main draw, but then played quallies and was first out at the US Open, I didn't qualify.
So, look, I obviously love the big tournaments. I have been so successful for such a long time and to already tie that record, 30 years old is pretty incredible, so I'm very happy.

Q. You have an incredible streak against German players. I think it was the 48th victory in a row. What makes the German players so comfortable for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I have good records against many players, thank God. I was on a winning streak against Americans for a while, too. But this is stuff I didn't even know about, to be quite honest.
Yeah, I don't know. I guess it's just maybe a particular matchup against certain players, and then I guess most of the time I was the favorite, too. So I lived up to expectations and was able to come through. And today in particular I was the favorite to, so I expect myself to win.
But German players usually are talented like the French players, too, and always give you a good match, and that's why I'm happy I won today.

Q. I want to ask an Olympics question. You haven't won a singles gold medal there. Do you consider that the biggest hole on your résumé, or do you value the doubles gold that you won the same as you would a singles gold medal? And just another question on the Olympics of whether the pressure there, if you could maybe compare the pressure at an Olympics, something that only comes around every four years, to pressure at a Grand Slam, which is a different kind of event but you do have four in a year.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's definitely different pressure. Hard to explain what it is. You're obviously aware that you're not going to get a shot next year.
But, then again, you know, it's so different because the form is best of three, early on, too, so you feel like you have a bad five minutes and that could be it. That's kind of what cost me against Berdych in Athens, against Blake in Beijing. And then next thing, you know, you're out of both tournaments, and I think I was seeded 1 or 2 in either one of them.
So I've always enjoyed it. I don't feel like missing the Olympic gold is a hole for me. To me it's a big, big bonus that tennis is in the Olympics and that we do have an opportunity to play.
Obviously I'm very happy to, you know, represent Switzerland there. I did way too good back in 2000, didn't do so well in Athens, and then Beijing actually was really close to make a medal in the singles, should have, I think, personal opinion, and then in doubles I got the gold.
So I feel very relaxed going into the Olympics. I don't feel like this is a must win for me or anything like that. That's the way I want to feel. I probably would feel a bit more pressure if I wouldn't have won Olympic gold in doubles in Beijing.

Q. We seem to be getting more and more matches on the first Sunday here. Wondered what you feel about this tournament becoming more of a 15 day entity and whether that makes sense for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I think 14 days is plenty. I don't think 15 is necessary. I'm happy I had to play Monday, not Sunday. That was my opinion.
THE MODERATOR: French questions, please.

Q. 233 victories. You equal Jimmy Connors' record. What does it mean to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's a huge record, me making it. I had not realized. I did not know beforehand. Thank you for not asking me the question before the match, because it would have added pressure on me.
But I'm very happy, because Jimmy Connors was a huge champion, still is. So it's a great pleasure.
All these tournaments I played in Grand Slam, played in a row, it ended up paying back with such a big record.

Q. Do you remember your first victory in Grand Slam?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I should, shouldn't I? Um, let me see. Okay. I can't remember. I know it was in Australia, but I can't remember who I was playing.

Q. Michael Chang.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, was it? Well, that was a beautiful victory, then.

Q. Have you met Jimmy Connors?
ROGER FEDERER: He was coach to Roddick for a long time.

Q. Did you talk about longevity, length of a career, with him?
ROGER FEDERER: With him? No. He didn't talk to me much when he was working with Roddick. He was quite distant at that time, which is a bit weird, because I got on very well with Roddick. But I think he respects me very much. I had many interviews with him for Tennis Channel, and we saw each other in the changing room.
Well, I talked to him. He is much closer to Nadal than to me. Maybe that's the reason.

Q. Do you think it was easier for him in his days to have that many victories in Grand Slams?
ROGER FEDERER: No idea, honestly. I can't tell you. It was before my time.
He won the US Open on three different surfaces, and that was incredible. I can't say it's easy. I would say it's quite difficult.

Q. The kiss with Jean Gachassin, was it something surprising?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, I'm used to it. They do that in France and also in other countries.

Q. So was Jean Gachassin used to that?

Q. We're talking about longevity. It's your 52nd Grand Slam this year, and the 50th in a row. These are so huge figures. Do you get the feeling you lived many different lives?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, when you look at the tournaments like this and you step back, you realize you have been playing for quite a long time.
I remember playing against Rafter, I was playing differently at that time.
Now I walk on the court and a lot has changed. I have more confidence, and people come to see me playing.
When I started, I loved playing against those famous players I used to see on TV. Now I'm playing against younger players, a new generation. It's also very nice.
It's great I didn't suffer that many injuries over these years. And I always had fun playing tennis.

Q. I have a question in literature.
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe I won't answer. (Smiling.)

Q. Maybe you will, because there is this book that was just published in France. Maybe I can give it to you. I wanted to know if you were aware of it, if you had signed off?
ROGER FEDERER: I can't give any authorization to writers, and I can't sign off a book. Anyone can write a book. I can't do anything against that.
So I have not coauthored this book. I heard about the title. I don't know who the author is. I don't know what the book says. I don't know what there is in the book. I don't think I will read it. But maybe you can tell me the story.

Q. I won't tell you the story, but I'm happy to give you the book.
ROGER FEDERER: Did you write it?

Q. No, I didn't.

Q. You've equaled a new record. Amongst all records that exist, which is the record you would still like to put under your belt now, if there's still one of interest to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the absolute title, that's Connors. 109 victories in a row, I'm at 74 now. Is it possible for me to equal Connors' title? 110, that would be a round figure. That would be incredible. But that's a dream. I go year after year, and we'll see.

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