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January 23, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was that closer than you would have liked?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, after the start, yes. But in the end, doesn't matter, does it? No, I'm happy the way I played tonight. Like I explained on the court, you know, I thought first two sets was perfect tennis, and after that I think he played really good. I never really got a chance, you know, except early in the third. I think if I get a break there, obviously the match could be over in no time. A pity I couldn't close it out in three, but I'm happy the way I played in the end, and that was a good feeling to have.

Q. How nerve-wracking was it when he came back?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was never really too nervous, to be honest. I just tried to focus on my own service games, you know, because he was the guy who had to react and do the whole work, you know. So I was up two-sets-to-love so I was never really close of losing this match. I mean, he would need 25 points in a row in the end, so that's still a long way to go. I just thought, you know, if I can get one break, that would totally change the match and change the momentum. That's exactly what I got in the fifth set.

Q. You were hitting the ball really crisply, then started to have so many miss-hits. What do you attribute that to?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, his game really. I mean, he changed things up a little bit, you know. Well, he had to. I guess, you know, like I said, momentum shifted. And I was then just struggling a little bit from the baseline, you know, because once you lose to -- start to lose those points, you know, in the long rallies from the baseline against him, it makes it tough. He was hitting the ball better. I was just a guy who was been missing earlier than he was. That was the opposite in the first two sets. It was a pity especially after the great set, the second set I played to again lose a third set. But, again, it's okay. I'm really happy to have also won a five-setter again after I think quite some time. So this has really given me confidence.

Q. Do you perceive it as part of the building process to winning a Grand Slam title, or is there a bit of an escape tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I wouldn't call it an escape tonight. Like I said, I thought I was pretty much in control of the match. But, you know, I haven't had too many five-setters, you know, in the last couple of years. Makes it -- it's a different atmosphere with the crowd, you know, getting into it in the fifth set and stuff. It's not something I'm really used to. This is maybe why I'm so happy tonight.

Q. You had a little bit of a shot after the match at some analysis of your recent dominance of the game. Are you glad that you got that off your chest? You're happy you had a close game. We're happy you had a close game.

ROGER FEDERER: Everybody's happy, yeah. It is a little bit like this. You guys struggling to find good questions, you know, when I'm winning my matches straight sets, you know. It's all about, How about that shot, this shot, so on and so on. I'm happy to answer questions about fighting, too, physically being tough and being nervous and stuff. That's okay to for me for a change, too. But in the end, doesn't -- this is not the match here. The match is out on the court, and this is what matters.

Q. You happy you got it off your chest?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I wish it would have been straight sets anyhow (smiling).

Q. What about your next opponent? Your thoughts on him?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we've played on several occasions. I think I've never lost against him. We've had some tough matches, though, in the past. He's definitely on a high right now. He's got some -- played good in Shanghai, played good at the end of the season, especially at the French Open, too. So I think that will be a tough match, especially with five sets. I don't think he'll have a problem bouncing back from the match today against Hrbaty. I expect a tough match, tough baseline rallies. I'm the guy who's got to dictate and play my game, obviously. I'm not really too worried about the match because I feel like I'm playing really well. I guess if I can play good tennis, I'm looking good. But, again, it's a tough opponent coming up, so it's not going to get any easier.

Q. Do you have a preference, if you have a five-set match, here we are at 1:15 in the morning, does it make it that much more difficult than if it were a five-set match in the middle of the day?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously, depends the heat. Obviously takes more out of you, the humidity I think than this heat here where it's rather dry. But then again, you know, the match was pretty short for a five-setter because of the 6-Love set and so on. We never went to tiebreak or anything. It was a quick five-setter I call this. But, again, the rhythm is totally different when you finish at 1:30 in the morning. I hope I play late again, you know, the following match so I can keep that rhythm of, you know, going to bed late and then obviously sleeping in. So we'll see about that.

Q. You don't even seem in a hurry. You're signing autographs, I notice.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, three autographs (smiling). I'm also cutting them down a little bit. So let's hurry up here, okay. We all got to go to bed and sleep.

End of FastScripts….

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