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November 20, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please open it up for questions for Roger Federer.

Q. I understand you lost, but do you have a feeling inside yourself that you won in some way this match?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really, no. I feel like I've had a great year and a great tournament. Disappointment is always there, because I don't lose very often, you know. I still get that feeling. It's good like this. I mean, I came much closer than I ever thought, you know, I would come to this tournament victory. But, you know, it was unfortunate in the end. I cannot believe myself I came back in the fifth, but somehow I did. Yeah, there's sort of also pride in there, you know, of course, because three weeks ago I was still on crutches. Now to be back playing at the best level, I'm very happy about that.

Q. You clearly still thought you could win the match because you came back in the way you did. But how difficult was it to maintain that belief, because having lost ten games in a row, you must have felt that it was going to end in horrible circumstances?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know how many games I lost in a row at that point, but I knew I needed a good start into the fifth set or the fourth set, but I couldn't because I was just not physically good enough prepared for this event. But I knew that from the start. I knew that if I wanted to win this match today, I would need some straight sets or four sets. In the end, I almost made it in five, though. But somehow, you know, those first two sets took too long, you know, took too much out of me. I couldn't push up for my serves in the end anymore. That caused me that bad start in the fifth set, too. Yeah, like I said before, he gave me a little chance in the fifth set to come back. He got a little nervous, obviously. I almost turned it around. So that would have been some incredible comeback (smiling).

Q. Does instinct almost take over when you're 4-Love down in a fifth set? Are you just playing on pure instinct rather? Your legs aren't doing exactly what you want them to do, perhaps your brain's not either. You're almost going through the motions. Is that the way it was in the fifth, did you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was like this from the middle of the third set when I really started to feel like I'm really struggling here. I hoped to get off a good start in the fourth. You know, from then on it was really difficult for me, you know. It was hard, you know. I had the feeling I was giving him much more possibilities to play his game, and obviously him knowing maybe I'm not at 100%, he's going to use that anyhow. Obviously before the match he knew I wasn't at 100% either because of my foot. So there's many things going against me, you know, in the fifth set. I thought it's going to be over in five minutes' time at 4-Love. But I came back. I was just trying to sort of make it harder for him to win. I was not even trying to win anymore in the end. But to give up, that was never an issue.

Q. I have two questions. The first is, today's match I think ended lots of record which you hold before, such as your 24 consecutive victory in the finals, 35 on the True, 44 on the hard court. How do you feel about it?

ROGER FEDERER: No problem, you know. I knew I was putting all those records on the line when I came here. So that it happened is sort of in a way almost normal. It's just a pity now that I was so close..

Q. Roger, I have to say it's a great comeback when you are down love-4 in the fifth set, but you eventually lost. Do you think you deserved the result? And can you just compare this final with the semifinal in Australian Open for you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I feel like the better guy won today, you know. He was better, way better, in the third and fourth and fifth. So he was better three out of two sets, I guess. I always say the winner deserves it more than the loser, even though I don't feel like a loser at all, because the season was so great. The match I played today and the whole tournament I played, you know, is for me still a great satisfaction. But he did well and deserves to win, no question about it.

Q. Can you compare this with the Australian Open.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the comeback was sort of similar. I was down-and-out, too, down-and-out Down Under. I don't know how in the world I turned that almost around, too. I wish I could really turn it around, not just be close. It hurts.

Q. In the third, fourth and fifth, what was your physical state exactly? Were you only tired or hurting? Did you feel pain?

ROGER FEDERER: No, pain. Not real pain. Real big, big fatigue. I mean, the foot, obviously, was never at 100% the whole tournament long, but that actually didn't bother me. I mean, still can move better than I did this whole week, I know that. So that was already a little problem for me. But then, you know, with the legs, that was what killed me because I couldn't push off, I couldn't stand the long rallies, I couldn't serve the way I wanted to. Really made things hard, you know. I had to shorten down the points, and obviously what he likes is to rally. So against other players maybe I would have had a better chance. But, you know, he's so consistent that it's really hard. Plus he returns well, too.

Q. If it wasn't the Masters Cup final today but just a regular match from the ATP circuit, do you think you could have been able to play as well as you played today and to keep playing and not pull out for the game?

ROGER FEDERER: Say that again.

Q. Do you think you would have been able to play as well as you played today, or you think you would have pulled out from the game if it wasn't the Masters Cup final?

ROGER FEDERER: No, Roger Federer doesn't pull out. Otherwise he doesn't walk on court (smiling).

Q. Chinese question, okay?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I understand your Chinese, though (laughter).

Q. This year you played many tournaments. Many Masters withdrew. Is it because of the whole system you couldn't play your best in the final?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all. No, I don't think much is wrong with the system. That was unfortunate with the injury. You know, I missed Rome, you know, I was not feeling well before Rome. Obviously, the two Masters Series I missed, you know, at the end of the year came because of the injury I had. The other Masters Series I missed was Montreal where I wanted to give my feet a rest because I had been struggling with my feet since the match with Safin at the Australian Open. No, I was ready to play the full schedule, you know, but it was just unfortunate. I don't see nothing wrong, and this was just coincidence, a bad coincidence for this tournament. Obviously it was a hard blow, but in the end, like I said earlier in the week, I think the players will live up, who are here, to the expectations. I think the final showed that.

Q. Could you compare to this year and last year, which is good for you? Which is emotional?

ROGER FEDERER: Both years were fantastic. Totally different. I lost less matches this year, maybe one more or two. But I guess last year was better because three Grand Slams, one Masters Cup. I mean, can't hardly do any better than that. But, again, this year was just incredible because I was in so many streaks, hardly ever lost a match. I mean, at times felt invincible, you know. That is a very hard feeling to get, I think.

Q. When we're asked as we will be many times to review your season on our various programs, we'll talk about Wimbledon and the US Open particularly, but is there a less obvious win maybe that you consider to be a particular achievement of this year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, this week. For me, this is I think one of my greatest results under the circumstances, because I am very proud and happy that it turned out the way it did. I wish I could have gone two points further, but that's how it goes. But seriously, I didn't really believe I could come so far here after the injury, so this is on the human side a very big, big tournament for me.

Q. With your fitness being a little lacking at the moment, does that mean that there will be less time for holidays and more work will be required throughout December before you get to Doha?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, the schedule is staying the same. I've got to make sure I keep doing my rehab, also on vacation, make sure I strengthen that foot so I can really start the season without any problems, you know. I've had one a twisted ankle, the other a torn ligament, and that was there for a few months, you know. So I just hope next year's no problem. But I'll go on probably a two- to three-week vacation, come back maybe early, mid December, start practicing again. I'm going to probably have two weeks, then I go nice and early to Doha to make sure I'm ready.

Q. When will you meet up with Tony?


Q. Not until then?


Q. You do set yourself extraordinarily high standards. You always have done. At the start of last year you talked about Wimbledon and retaining your No. 1 status as being the two most important things for you. I know it's probably not the perfect time to think about it, but in terms of looking at 2006, do you have personal objectives at the moment that you'd like to share with us?

ROGER FEDERER: You mean my goals?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's pretty much the same. Obviously, I think as long as I am No. 1, you know, No. 1 is going to be a huge priority for me, try to maintain that ranking. Of course, you know, it always starts with the Aussie Open, and that always gives you sort of a clue how the season's going to be. The last two Australian Opens were both fantastic. After that, I continued to play well. Wimbledon, will, my whole career, stay a big, huge goal. Maybe hopefully I can give myself another chance at the French Open, you know. So I think those are my three goals. But other than that, you know, I still have plenty of things I would like to achieve, you know. Something similar to this season, or something similar to last season. And if it doesn't go that way, you know, that's okay, too.

Q. My question is I notice that you and your team pay more attention to the business plans in China. What's the plan in the future? Compared with the American and the European market, would you like to make the Chinese market as the biggest market in the future? And what would you like to say to the fans in China? Thanks.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, to the fans, I would like to say thank you for coming out and supporting me, especially in the finals, was fantastic. You know, one of the great crowds, you know, I've gone through. With the business side, I just enjoy coming to Asia. I enjoy spending time with them and together. Unfortunately, we don't have many great, huge tournaments here in this part of the world. But now having the Masters Cup here, I better make sure I'm playing well to make the Masters at the end of the year. But until maybe a couple years ago, I never really came to Asia because I really preferred the indoors in Europe. Now I might play one or two always before the indoor season. But definitely I enjoy playing here. The market is a huge one so there's opportunities. That's the same for Europe and America, too.

Q. Just a question about actually the crowd, the public today which were pushing you very hard in the fifth set. What was your feeling at this moment? Do you think it was something you ever experienced before, to have such a huge crowd pushing you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I've had that before (smiling). What comes to my mind straight away is the French Open against Nadal. I remember them screaming my name, too. That was almost a little bit more impressive than tonight, but tonight was very nice, too. Seems like they do it when I'm starting to lose, which is nice. You know, they don't want to see me go down all the way but they like to see me struggle (smiling). I definitely feel if they scream my name the way they did, gives you an extra boost and extra motivation to maybe really believe in your chance.

Q. Most of the time you have very tough matches or close matches against David Nalbandian. Do you think that he has something on his game that is very difficult for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess so, yeah. He's beat me six times, so he definitely -- he is a tough competitor and opponent for me. He used to be tougher, not as tough anymore. Even though today was really hard for me, you know, the way I played him at the US Open, I definitely felt like I've got him figured out. That was a good feeling to have, even though I lost today. I think I should have won after being up two sets to love. That doesn't happen every day, I lose matches like this. But he definitely always puts in a good fight. Our matches have always been close, yeah.

End of FastScripts….

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