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November 19, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English or Chinese.

Q. You looked a little stunned at the end of that. Was it a little bit embarrassing or were you just very happy to win 6-Love, 6-Love?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, no, not really embarrassed. I would feel embarrassed losing 0-0, of course. But I know it's no fun for him, so wasn't a real contest today. For me, it was great. Didn't lose any energy. Definitely played better than the last couple of matches. I mean, I was looking for a very consistent, solid match, no lapses like I've had in the last couple of matches in the second set. Couldn't have been any more perfect today. Gives me great confidence for tomorrow, that's for sure.

Q. The people with all the computers say it's the first time you've ever won a match 6-Love, 6-Love, which we find a bit hard to believe. Is that true?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it is true. I've won a few matches 6-1, 6-1, or 0-1, and in Davis Cup I've had 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 I think it was against England. But 0-0, without losing a game, this never happened. Yeah, I think it's just nice to have, but no more than that.

Q. You mentioned the word "embarrassment" there. Detaching yourself from the match, which is hard to do, but from Gaston's point of view, do you think he should feel a bit embarrassed with himself, given the status of the tournament and the stage, the semifinal?

ROGER FEDERER: I think more disappointment than embarrassment. I mean, as long as you try and lose 0-0, there's no problem with it. I think that's what happened today. I mean, he almost won a few games, and it could have turned around, the match, if he gets his claws into the match. But I guess I never really allowed him to do that. I still think he should leave this tournament, you know, feel going about himself, the first semifinal appearance for him, solid year. Shouldn't be miserable now for a month - I wouldn't be.

Q. A week ago you were quite emphatic that you had zero expectations coming into this tournament. Here we are again, another final, another Masters final without losing a match. Did today underline to you the fact you're back where you want to be or did that come earlier in the week?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I was very excited and emotional after the first match, to be honest, because I surprised myself by being able to play so well. The foot sort of held up to the match. It was a tough match with Nalbandian. I knew I had to do a lot of running. Then in the end also to came back the way I did, I don't know, I was very emotional because I went through all the rehab. Me and Pierre Paganini, we tried to get through it conditioning-wise, tried to get me fit just in time. That for me was the match that sort of told me, yes, I can continue to play the tournament, kept the hopes alive. What happened after that didn't really surprise me. I knew that anything was possible. Coming here, I just hoped I could play the three round-robin matches, win maybe one or two. Now I won all three. I'm through to the finals, too. I mean, it's definitely a surprise for me.

Q. Looking back over the week, what sense of responsibility have you felt to almost keep the tournament alive in the light of the other guys not being able to play?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I felt definitely -- I was shocked when Nadal didn't play, and then I felt pressure when Agassi pulled out. That's how I felt. Then I was like, this is a real pity now because they don't just pull out, because they made the whole trip here, so something must be wrong with them. They went through all the opening ceremony, they did all the press and everything, and in the end they can't play. All of a sudden, I felt a little bit left alone. I was like, well, I better win a match here, you know (smiling). I definitely felt a little bit of pressure, but at the same time I can only do so much and try to play well. You know, that I've made it so far now I think is maybe great for the tournament, I hope so. For myself, I think even more.

Q. A friend of mine is worried because you and Gaston are friends, you give a friend such worst experience on court. Did you think about the friendship?

ROGER FEDERER: No, we won't have any problems shaking each other's hands in the future. I mean, when I shook hands with him, I definitely saw a big disappointment from his side. Especially after yesterday's great fight, coming back, Gaston to get this sort of treatment today, that's no fun for nobody. Yeah, I don't think we'll have no problem. We'll probably smile next time we'll see each other.

Q. Do you think you will take advantage in your final because of the easy win?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I definitely have more reserves now energy-wise. I think that's going to be essential in a final against either Nalbandian or Davydenko. It's going to be tough rallies. I've been struggling a little bit with my fitness this week. Now that I've only one match left, after this is nothing for a month, I am more confident now than I was still a few days ago.

Q. Tony Roche and you worked together this year. What did you learn from him? More mental side?

ROGER FEDERER: I think mentally I've done great progress over the last couple of years. But I think he's definitely just shown me little things that make a great difference. I think we've been working on my serve, slice and volleys a lot, just trying to play more tough, you know, use my variety of shots. We've been trying to work on obviously all things. And you never got to forget your strengths, too, you know. We haven't had that great amount of time, but still when we work together, it's great quality time. We work very hard, and I definitely felt like it has paid off.

Q. Another question about embarrassment. Do you think it's also a little embarrassment of the tournament because it's the semifinal of the Masters Cup, not the first round of the Shanghai Heineken Open?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all. It happens sometimes. It's tennis. Sometimes you also see soccer matches which go very one-sided, very surprising. We have it in tennis. Obviously, the focus is huge on a semifinals in the Masters Cup. That it happened the way it did, you know, today is a pity for him, it's great for me. It's always a little bit of both. If you look back at the finals I played with Hewitt, that was very easy, too. The tournament wasn't angry about it. What can you do? I mean, he tried. I played fantastic tennis. That was the result in the end.

Q. You were a little reluctant earlier in the week to talk about equaling John McEnroe's record of 82 out of 85. Tomorrow if you win, you will equal it. What will that mean to you if you do?

ROGER FEDERER: Nice. No more than nice. If it doesn't happen, you know, I still had a fantastic year. I don't know what matches he lost and what he won, but I think only losing three matches, that is quite extraordinary. The most I can lose now is four matches. I still believe that is a great result, too.

Q. To get back to your sense of responsibility. Brad Drewett was telling us a few of us about the day you came here after winning the Bangkok title, flew in, interview after interview after interview.

ROGER FEDERER: I enjoyed that (smiling).

Q. Then you got out on court, you thought you were going to play one set, ended up playing three sets. You were invited out to dinner. Everyone wanted to keep talking to you. You never say no. A few of us that have been around for a few years can read off a list of people that would have said, "No way." Why is it you're the sort of guy that doesn't say no?

ROGER FEDERER: When they requested or asked for me to come, I first obviously checked the schedule, told them, yeah. I mean, Monday after Bangkok is no problem because I'll probably anyways stay here in Asia. It's not too far of a flight. I decided to come here. Once I was here, I knew I was only here for this opening, not for myself. If I had a few extra hours, I did go shopping the following day. But that day I knew I was here for opening the stadium, spend time with the government. The person I played doubles with, he requested to play one more set. So I said, for me, it's no problem. We're going to go for dinner together after. We won both sets and we were very happy. In the end, it was good fun. I enjoyed it. Don't get to spend every day with the government, especially from China. I thought it was interesting, you know, to see how they think and how they do things and organize stuff. It's very impressive. For me, it was a great experience.

Q. There have been No. 1's in this game that wouldn't do that. You do believe in putting things back into the game, don't you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, very much so because I just believe tennis has given me so much, you know, so I believe I definitely also have to give back. It's not a must, you know, but I feel much more comfortable with myself. I have time also to do it. I can always arrange things around it to make it fun for me, too. This was fun, too, to open the stadium. I've never seen and nobody of us have ever seen a stadium like this one. I just thought it would also be a great experience for myself to live through something like this. If I can help and promote the game, sometimes it goes beyond tennis, sometimes it's sports in general, if I win the Laureus Sports Awards, I can promote tennis even more across the world. I get proud of that and always hope the future No. 1 does the same thing. I'm lucky, I speak three languages, French, English and German. That obviously helps when I travel the word. I try to have a good time, too, next to playing well.

Q. Nalbandian is playing very well. What do you think about Nalbandian's advantage or weak points?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he's definitely got a very consistent baseline game, great backhand. Doesn't really have a great weakness except maybe a little bit his serve and his volleys because he doesn't come to net that often. His serve, it's more of a preparation for his baseline game. In a way it's hard to say what his weakness is because his strengths are not that incredible, but I just think it's the all-around package he has, knowing what shot he has to play at the right time. He reads the game very well. He plays good out of the defense. So that gives him a lot of qualities next to maybe the little weaknesses he has maybe on the slice or on his forehand sometimes, I feel. Physically I think he's doing fine. He's a very tough player. If you want to beat him, you got to play a good match. He's not going to give it to you.

End of FastScripts….

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