Interview with Jim Courier:
Q. How close do you think the match was for you? You had all the right answers at the right times. How close to the perfect match was it for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought it was a good match overall. I thought the intensity was good. We had tough rallies. The crowds were great. So I really enjoyed myself out there.
Obviously, the result is something I was hoping for, but not sure going into it. So I'm just really pleased that the outcome is what I was hoping for. I'm happy also with my playing. I thought I played really good today. That's obviously important looking ahead.
Q. Certain shots or points that surprised even you?
ROGER FEDERER: By him?
Q. By yourself?
ROGER FEDERER: By myself? No. I've seen and felt myself playing before so many times that I feel I didn't come up with a shot that I never hit before in my life. But we had some great ones and I had to be able to bring the whole repertoire, I guess, to the court today, defense and offense, which I enjoy. Then when you do win those kind of matches, it's a good feeling afterwards.
Q. Has he improved since you played him last?
ROGER FEDERER: I played him Cincinnati last time around. That was a quick court, best of three sets. Over in a hurry really. I got off to a good start in that match, as well. Then it's over quickly.
I mean, I would think so. He's obviously played today's match very differently than he did play the last couple matches I played against him. Yes, I would think so. He has improved. Obviously he played me so different that it's hard to judge because I've never seen him play offensive tennis against me in the past. So now it's just a matter for him to keep it up. That's the proof he's the much improved player.
But it's only over time that you're going to see. He's had a great run now. I hope he knows what he needs to do the next few months, weeks, and years ahead. Isn't always a two month tour. You know, we play 10, 11 months of the year, it's bring it every single day.
He seemed like a very good player today to me, you know. So you would definitely expect him to rise in the rankings, get better draws as we go forward, plays more consistent, gets more confident. That's how you make your move, really.
Q. He's raised eyebrows about what he thinks his potential is. How important do you think it is for a tennis player to be humble at his stage?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't read much. I didn't hear much, to be honest. I think it's important to be confident, but obviously you respect the game and you respect, yeah, the other players. I think he has a lot of respect for me.
But I'm only one guy out of hundreds out there, so it's important to respect all of us because we make each other better players, all of us. So we should be thankful to that.
And I think in our sport, like maybe in golf and stuff, you usually do talk nicer about the opponents, about the other players, than maybe in other sports like boxing, for instance (smiling). Okay, that's an extreme example. I'm just saying we usually are pretty humble. It's just the way we are.
Because at the end of the day we are very friendly with each other in the locker rooms, in the restaurants. We go for dinner away from the courts, stay in touch. It's a nice tour to be on. I don't know what he said, but I'm saying when you're younger you don't quite see that. You always see the opponent on the court. Then you judge him just the way he acts on court. That's the way I did it as well when I was younger.
I changed my attitude around, as well, over the years.
Q. He says you always had encouraging words for him. Why do you do that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I didn't say that much. But it's true. Patrick Rafter asked me in Sydney, was it last year, I don't know anymore, two years ago, when I played him in Davis Cup, after the tie was over, it was obviously an incredible the situation was unbelievable. We had to come back the next day for six points with Lleyton and Stan. Pat asked me if I couldn't give any advice to Bernard.
He asked Bernard to come. I just spoke to Bernard to come for five or ten minutes. I gave him what I thought he should improve on. Things didn't go better for him after that. But maybe deep down he does listen and does want to improve.
But, look, I'm not a coach. I'm just a player out there who feels his weight of shot and potential. It's nice he listens to me. But it's important he listens to his team and does the best for himself and for his country.
Q. Are you seeing some results from your little pep talk?
ROGER FEDERER: No, that was some time ago. That didn't help back then.
Q. Are you seeing it now?
ROGER FEDERER: I think he's improved as a whole. Obviously one more year on tour is going to make you improve as a player, mentally, physically, all these things.
Yeah, it's going to be an interesting year again. I like to watch the younger players how they create their team, how they handle wins, losses, the press. There's a lot of pressure as well on the younger guys. I enjoy seeing them face all that.
Q. Raonic next.
ROGER FEDERER: I've had some tough matches with him in the past. All of them went the distance. Some of them I should have lost, maybe one or two.
Indian Wells, I felt like I was more in control than the other two. In Madrid I was in a lot of trouble. Halle was extremely close.
We'll see this time around how it's going to be. He's obviously got one of the best serves in the game. Up and coming. So you always feel, especially after an off season like the one we've just had, he's maybe improved again a few things or he's worked on a few things.
So you would expect maybe some more unexpected stuff that he didn't do last time around. We'll see how it goes. I'm excited about the match anyhow.
Q. We've been asking some of the other players about their impression of Lance Armstrong. Love to get your impressions as well.
ROGER FEDERER: Love to get everybody's impressions. What a sad story.
Look, I mean, I don't know what to say. It just really saddens me to see that someone did this for such a long time. Obviously he's hurt his sport in a big way, even though he helped it in the beginning.
But now the burden they live under, all other sports maybe as well. I'm an active athlete right now, and it's not fun times really to be in sports to a degree. I guess all I needed to see was the first few minutes of the interview and then I knew what was the deal, and the rest I don't really care.
It's just very saddening, really, this story, to be honest.
Q. Have you ever met him?
ROGER FEDERER: No.
Q. Back to tennis.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy to talk about tennis (smiling).
Q. Can you perhaps talk a little bit about Luke and what he's been doing for you in practice?
ROGER FEDERER: We had a good practice when I got to Australia, maybe the second or third practice in. Yeah, it was good. He's a nice guy. I think he plays well. We stayed in touch through the coaches. He was happy to warm me up, hit with me on the off days.
When you find a guy you're comfortable with, he's a nice guy, it's nice to stay with the same guy, although I like hitting with juniors the second week, although we're not there yet. He's a nice guy. I think he's got some potential, as well.
I think like Bernard, the work ethic, the day in, day out grind, wanting to improve badly, that needs to come through big time for these guys now. I hope they'll do that.