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January 19, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Two easy wins to start the championship. Can we assess your form to this stage?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I feel it's very good. I'm very pleased the way I'm playing. I had the feeling both players were trying to come to the net as much as possible. Didn't really want to rally too much from the baseline. That's not going to happen in the next match either. That was maybe good preparation.

Q. How important is it to save energy in these early rounds by winning as quickly as possible?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it might come down to, you know, this one match where you're going to be tangled up in the fifth set and you need some reserves. I definitely feel like, you know, if I keep on playing the way I am, not losing too much energy out on the court, you know, I can -- maybe it's going to pay back eventually. Again, if I lose in straight sets, didn't really matter, did it? I prefer obviously always to win in straight sets. When I feel like I can, I'll try, you know, as hard as I can. So for this reason I'm very pleased with my first two matches here.

Q. Like last year, you continue to play excellent tennis. Do you think you can actually get any better than what you are now?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, no, I think I can definitely improve little things. You know, I can maybe still improve my returning game, you know, my serving, my volleying. There's still potential left. But, again, I'm very pleased the way I'm playing. There's not really a need, you know, to change the game. Maybe further down the road, you know, in my career in a couple years, you know, when I'm maybe not that fast any more around the court, then maybe it would be good to maybe come to the net a little bit more often. I feel I can play this game for many years to come because I feel like I don't use too much energy out on the court because I play very relaxed.

Q. Do you think it's possible to win all four slams this year? If so, what would it mean to you to be able to do that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, all the guys who are in the draw, you know, have a shot at it that are still in. I'm not really occupied with that. It's already hard enough to win the Australian Open. I've only done it once. I'd like to do that first twice, and then we can see if the Grand Slam is possible. It's not really an objective for me this year.

Q. James Blake said the courts were verging on dangerous yesterday. Do you think they could be quicker?

ROGER FEDERER: Dangerous or quicker?

Q. The speed of the courts.

ROGER FEDERER: I said in my last press conference, I think it's the same as last year. So if that's good or bad, I don't know. I definitely believe the courts could be a little bit quicker for a hard court event. US Open is quicker than this. Again, I like to use the spin, too. If you play it flat, it also skids through. If you slice it, it stays low. In a way, it is a fairer surface, you know. It is just very hard on your body, because of the Rebound Ace. Especially when it's hot like today, the court gets extremely hot. That is something other surfaces don't really do, like the US Open for instance.

Q. The forecast is for hotter weather over the weekend. You can see the court becoming a little more dangerous.

ROGER FEDERER: No, no, no. I didn't say "dangerous." I never had an issue on the Rebound Ace. It's definitely tough on your body, but not dangerous. I consider that too much. No, I feel like, you know, when it's really nice and warm, hot like maybe the next few days, the conditions are pretty quick. Night session's always a little bit slower. Yeah, I don't think we'll see many more injuries. It was unfortunate for the one girl yesterday. That looked terrible. I mean, great effort to still finish the match, I think.

Q. If you had a chance to be playing captain of the Swiss Davis Cup team, like Ivan Ljubicic is with Croatia, would you do it?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I wouldn't do it.

Q. Can you explain why?

ROGER FEDERER: Got to focus on my own career, don't I? If you're the playing captain, you've got to play every single tie. Well, I just feel like I'm still too young to be playing captain. So is Ivan, I have the feeling. Temporary, you do everything for your country, I think. I'm also looking forward that the Croatians reach a good agreement with the Davis Cup situation after their great success last year. We had many, many problems in our team. I spoke to Ivan a little bit, you know, about it. He can learn from us (smiling). The Swiss know what I'm talking about.

Q. Etienne de Villiers has taken over the responsibility of chairman and CEO of the ATP. If you were locked in a room with him, you wanted to discuss some of the things that you thought needed to be done to improve the game, I know it's a very long question, would there be two or three things that you think are vital for the game to improve, for the players?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, my first concern is sort of get some players together and talk to each other, talk to Etienne or to guys at the ATP, sort of talk together. Not only alone all the time. I mean, I have my point of views, but they might not always be the best for the game. Not that I'm egoistic or anything. I believe the guys should get together more often and talk. We can always discuss, you know, scheduling, balls, here and this. But you have to take things a little bigger and further. What's the plan for the next five, ten years, 20 years? Obviously, they're not around any more, but I still believe the players who are around right now, they should also give back to their game. I think we're all trying, but we got to all work together, the ATP, the ITF, maybe WTA, too. I don't know. I just believe, you know, with the guys we have in the game today, there's a big opportunity. I said that already two years ago. I think two, three years' time from now, when even more players have more Grand Slams, we have even more stars in the game, it will be a very interesting period for the game.

Q. Perhaps a return to a players body that really has muscle and can determine its own fate or certainly have a say in the fate of the game?


Q. It's very important, you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I think the players have to give the ATP power to go out there and tell them what the players think. Sometimes, at the moment how it is, I have the feeling every player is sort of fighting just to win their match, but we're not really fighting for something for the good of the game. Tennis is just sometimes a sport where you stay in your own camp, where before players would hang out together. That's not really the case any more so often. It still exists, but...

End of FastScripts….

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