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Federer: "Fear Is Always There From The First Rounds"

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Roger Federer is approaching his opening match against Vasek Pospisil with extra caution, following Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s first-round exit Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open.

“That's not very good for me, either, when I see that happening,” said Federer, who finished runner-up to Tsonga on Sunday at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

“From that standpoint, the fear is always there from the first rounds regardless of how you approach a tournament. But a lot of things have happened in the last year for me, and I'm happy that most of it has been really positive for me.”

Federer has experienced a big turnaround since his last visit to Cincinnati. In 2013, tinkering with a new racquet and struggling with back issues, he began his Emirates Airline US Open Series campaign here – following an upset loss in his Gstaad opener a few weeks earlier.

“When I came here, expectations were very, very low,” said Federer. “I was just hoping to win a match. And this year, it's pretty much the same, other than I feel so much better, so much more confident.”

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On Wednesday, he will look to become the first player to record 300 match wins at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level when he faces Pospisil. The Canadian saved three match points against Radek Stepanek on Tuesday, and will be looking to defeat Federer for the first time in their third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

“Because I've played last week, I'm just hoping to get through the first round just because I know how hard it is to transition with sort of a day-and-a-half of practice and then having to play a difficult best-of-three set match,” said Federer.  “Of course if I do win that first round, I have higher hopes to going really deep into the tournament and even winning it.” 

Federer is contesting the Western & Southern Open for a 14th time, tying Tommy Haas and Pete Sampras for second-most appearances behind Michael Chang’s 16. The World No. 3, who celebrated his 33rd birthday last Friday, already holds the record for most titles in tournament history with five.

“I really don't play for any of those longevity records, to be honest,” he said. “I play because I love to play. I still believe I can still achieve a lot.

“But of course the talk is interesting and some things I didn't even know about:  Like last Sunday when you make a finals again and it's your 120th, trying to win your 80th, those are cool numbers which clearly extra-motivate you.”

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