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January 27, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looking forward to the final, what pleased you most about your game tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the third and fourth set were excellent. So I'm happy after the tough start I thought I had, you know, getting used to conditions that sort of finally I got it right in the end - not just for that match, but I guess also for looking ahead.

Q. Has that been a part of the process of this tournament, just trying to slowly get it right, each and every time being pushed a little bit harder?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe it was good to be pushed so much by Tommy and Nikolay. Like I said, I didn't think I played too bad up until now. I'm really happy to be back in the finals. This is what my hope was, you know, at the beginning of the tournament because, like I said, you know, it's a long road to make it here. So now that I'm in the finals, feeling good also physically after a couple of tough matches, it's a good feeling. Now I'm excited, you know, even though I haven't thought about the match yet.

Q. When do you start thinking about the match?

ROGER FEDERER: I guess on the day of the final. No, no, I guess tomorrow night or so.

Q. What will you do in between times?

ROGER FEDERER: Come for a light hit tomorrow, you know, just keep the rhythm going. Maybe, you know, if I think there's a few things to work on, you know, with Tony, I'll do that tomorrow. But I guess there's not much I can change now (smiling). I got to be happy the way I'm playing now and, you know, just try to play well. You know, just, again, sleep plenty and recuperate as much as I can to maybe get some vital energy, you know, for, who knows, maybe a tough match.

Q. You're very popular here. How do you think the crowd will be on Sunday night?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, fair. Really, I believe, you know, the Australians are very, very fair when it comes to sportsmanship. They love the sport here, so I expect a fair match.

Q. How much do your emotions fluctuate during a difficult match?

ROGER FEDERER: Rather nervous, actually, going into this match. I don't know why, but that's okay. Just had sort of a strange feeling going into this match. Not a negative one, but just like a big excitement because I knew, you know, I'm so close for maybe another Grand Slam. You know, I work so hard, you know, to get there and then to lose in the semis would be sort of a big disappointment. So maybe I was a little bit worried about the disappointment, who knows. But once, you know, I got that first break, I was very relieved. So I think that was maybe the moment I've been waiting for for the entire tournament, to really get nervous. That was the moment.

Q. How do you feel about the scheduling where he gets an extra day of rest?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I would have had last year, so I know what it means. I don't think it makes much difference now. If I would have had an incredible tough five-setter tonight, you know, I guess then I would be a little bit against it, you know. But the way it is right now, it's okay.

Q. How much do you think Marcos has improved since the last time you played him?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, in two weeks he's improved incredibly. I beat him in Doha (smiling). Seriously, I mean, I think we're all surprised he got so far because, like I said on court, you know, there's other very talented youngsters who I thought will make the break before him. But he proved us all wrong, you know. But, again, he beat quality players and he totally deserves to be in the final, you know. Maybe he's changed something in his game - I don't think so - because time is just too short. But, you know, definitely helps me that I've played him already once this year, so I know what to expect.

Q. Nobody knows exactly how it will feel to play his first Grand Slam final. You remember yours, your first? What were the emotions you went through before? Were you more pumped up? Were you more worried to lose badly or whatever?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I went into my Grand Slam final being sort of a favorite against Philippoussis, I thought, because of the great semis I played against Roddick back in 2003 in Wimbledon. So I guess that is already different circumstances: he's not going to be the favorite. So if that's going to change anything, I don't know. I think he's relaxed enough not to get too worried about all this stuff, it seems. So I expect him to play a good match. That's what I have to expect. But I just have to make sure my performance is good and make it as hard as possible for him to win. So that's what I'm concerned about.

Q. Looked to some of us like you may have another gear left in you. Do you feel there's another gear left in you?

ROGER FEDERER: I hope there's another gear, seriously. I don't know. I think the way I'm playing now, it's a good level. We'll see if it's going to be enough.

Q. Roger, do you believe write about you?

ROGER FEDERER: You hope I do or you hope I don't?

Q. What do you think about Tommy Haas' assessment that Courier had his tongue up your bottom?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was seriously a little surprised. I don't hear him when I'm playing because he's commentating. I don't have earphones on, you know, and listening to what he says. Afterwards, I only speak to him briefly on the court, you know. I guess it's his job, you know, to commentate. And if he commentates nice about me, I mean, obviously I think that's nice. But, seriously, I don't think that was -- there is an issue, you know, between them. They're good friends. So I was a little surprised, but that one will be forgotten very quickly. That was in the heat of the moment.

Q. What do you think the press is saying about you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, they've been coming to understand who I am, what kind of a person I am. It's made things easier for all of us, you know, so we don't have to fight each other all on a daily basis. I've kept it good for me, too, by winning a lot, you know, not giving them too much firepower. So I'll keep it this way as long as I can, you know. No, but it's been all right, you know. I think being No. 1 for such a long time, you go around and ask people what they think, then you go to experts, and then you go to former players, and then you go to rivals, then you go to all the players. All of a sudden all of them are giving a lot of compliments, you know. It's very nice to hear, you know, but I think they don't really mean much now anymore, you know, sometimes because I always got to keep on performing and performing. That's what really I am thinking about when I go out on the court. And with my team, we think about the next match, not about what I still have to achieve to be a legend or a great, whatever. I have a long way to go, I know that.

Q. There's a common expression, "It's lonely at the top." Is it?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't know. No, not really, no. To be honest, no.

Q. How was the meeting with Laver?

ROGER FEDERER: It was nice. Yeah, I mean, I really enjoyed it. Tony was there, too, so it was very relaxed. It's just nice, you know, to sort of - I've spoken to him - get a feel for what kind of a person he is. I was positive, surprised obviously. Not that I had a bad, you know, feeling about him or anything, you know. He was really what I expected, you know, a great person, great man. Like I said, it was a great honor to meet him. I hope it's gonna be many more times, you know. Hopefully in Indian Wells maybe again. He's going to be there hopefully.

Q. Was the conversation purely tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it was more about how he's doing, where he's at. Same with me. So not purely about tennis, no.

Q. Did he say something you will always remember, some phrase?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, just more the moment I think which will be remembered for me.

End of FastScripts….

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