Short interview after the match:
DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS MEN
February 22, 2011
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
R. FEDERER/S. Devvarman
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Good way to get into the tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, like I said on the court, I think it's always pretty tough starting here in Dubai. The ball flies quite a bit. Either you come from the indoors, and then it's obviously completely different. Even me who's practiced here so many times and been here a week now, you almost feel like you're rusty but you're not. You know, when the ball has a lot topspin and you don't quite catch it right, it flies out two feet meters. It can take away your confidence. It's tricky.
I've had some tough ones over the years here actually in the early round. That's why I don't judge my first rounds too harshly or whatever. It's about coming through and giving yourself a second chance the next day and then kind of move on in the draw.
Then if you're in the quarters or the semis, this is when I expect myself to play much better. But early on it's really about hopefully playing the right way and moving on in the draw.
Q. Were you surprised by the amount of fight he put up?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, first rounds, honestly, I always expect tough matches. Not that I expect easier ones in the quarters, because usually the opponents are stronger. But, look, I've never played him before, so the last thing I was going to do was underestimate him.
He's a good player. He's been in the finals of Johannesburg which I guess also flies quite a bit. I think it's a pretty quick court as well. And then from what I've heard, and as he showed tonight, I think a faster court actually suits his game quite a bit. You know, it gives him a little bit more on his serve. He counter-punches well, so if he goes through the ball it has more pace on it and so forth.
That's why I knew I had to be careful. He had once chance in the second set to go a break ahead. Those are the little opportunities, if he starts taking them, the match can take a different turn. But I was able to avoid it and in the end play a solid match.
Q. Seemed like 2-2 was the key. Could have got up 3-1 there, right?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I had my chances earlier too. I could have probably been out of that match also a bit earlier. I had quite a few break chances that I didn't make.
So all in all, I think the result is fair. I was able to play aggressive and serve well when I had to, and it was a decent match.
Q. Overall between playing nighttime and daytime, do you have a presence?
ROGER FEDERER: Here?
ROGER FEDERER: I always used to like playing at night, you know. But then again, day is just as friendly, too. I like playing day. I guess at night you get a bit more electrifying crowds. And especially here in this part of the world, daytime is not really show time. It's usually at night. That's why I'm happy to play whenever is primetime in whatever country it is.
Obviously I think as a top player or professional player, you have to be able to play in the wind, play at night, play during the day, play on clay, play on grass. You have to be able to do it all. So after so many years, honestly, whatever is the primetime I guess is the best time.
Q. Living here, do you watch other sports? Did you come and watch Tiger playing golf a week or so ago?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I missed him, but I went there once when Gillette launched with Thierry Henry as well and stuff.
Honestly, I don't go and watch too many other sports when I'm here. I like to just stay calm in the flat and the tennis courts and, you know, go to the malls or go to the restaurants and spend some time with the kids at swimming pools, parks, and so forth. So honestly I don't do a whole lot when I'm here.
But then I have many friends always coming by, and I obviously spend a lot of time with those. That's kind of fun at well.
Q. In some ways, does it feel like playing at home?
ROGER FEDERER: Um you know, Switzerland is my home and it will always be, and this is where I'm going to grow old. So Switzerland for me is obviously the place.
Honestly, I really enjoy being here. It works really well during the hardcourt season from like - when is it - beginning of the American summer until sort of about this time around. Then we go on clay and grass and stuff and I'm in Europe more often.
But I'm happy I chose Dubai as a base, a practice base or as a going-through place for me to the rest of world. It's a good location. I don't regret it, of course.
Q. How did it occur in the first place?
ROGER FEDERER: Here?
ROGER FEDERER: Came on vacation I think back in 2004. And then when I came on the way back from Bangkok when I beat Roddick, I think, in the finals there, I came through Dubai. Met up with Tony Roche for a practice session, sort of an undercover operation. (Smiling.) I thought it was a direct flight for him, and let's meet here and do a few days together.
I remember it was brutally hot, I think like 39 degrees every day. Had a good time practicing. You know, it was peace and quiet and I kind of enjoyed it here. I think I came back one more time for vacation and practiced some more. I was like, You know, I think this works well for practice and leisure.
The next thing I knew, I had an apartment. It all happened quite quickly, to be honest. You know, it was funny how it all worked out.
Q. Can you comment on the situation Asian's men's tennis compared to seven, eight years ago? Are they getting more and are they getting better?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, I have to think back what happened seven years ago. But, I mean, I guess at the very top we used to have Srichaphan, you know, so that was obviously good for Asia.
But obviously there are many countries in the continent of Asia, and that's why you hope there's a few of each country. I think it's been somewhat up and down in some countries because the depth has not quite what France or Spain or America has where you always have a few guys around.
Maybe still in this part of the world you have maybe one, or maybe max two. I think that's -- I don't want to say that's the problem, but that's like smaller countries in Europe. We have that problem because maybe not too many rivalries with other sports or just not enough talent maybe.
But I think it's getting there on the women's side in China now. There are other things coming along in other countries with more tournaments. I've tried to promote tennis in this region of the world as much as I could by opening Centre Court, Shanghai, Qizhong, and go to play XOs as well with Sampras at the end of a long, grueling season and so forth. So I really try hard. Whenever there is usually Asian tournaments I ry to play them as well, like Abu Dhabi, Qatar, here in Dubai as well.
I think it's important that the top guys come around here. It's also understandable that some can't. At least top guys now usually play a full schedule from January to November and don't miss out on any seasons, like the American summer or the Asian swing.
I think it's kind of working well now on the men's tour, to be honest.
Q. What sets this tournament apart from most of the others, if there is anything?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, in regard to the award tonight or just in general?
Q. Just generally. You've come here so many times.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, I think at the end of the day every tournament has its own charm. You know, it's mean to have a ranking saying like this is better than the other. I'm sure some are run very professionally. I mean, I'm sure every tournament's worked on throughout the year to make it perfect for one week; it's a pretty tough job.
I speak obviously to many of the tournaments directors. The players and kind of the tournament directors, we go hand in hand , you know, because we somewhat need each other to make it all work for media and fans and so forth.
But, look, here I think they work extremely hard. They're very well-organized, professional. I think it has a nice feeling as well of it being a tennis club. I'm a member here. They gave me an honorary membership when I beat Connors' record here I remember still on center court.
I think it has a nice charm to it here. And I think over the years, really now the fans that flock to the stadium are quite excited that tennis is here. I think I that's another nice thing that speaks for Dubai. Then they usually always have a good field. They make a lot players come here.
Over the years, it's become one the most prestigious tournaments to win. I'm happy to see it grow like that.
End of FastScripts