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November 13, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English or Chinese.

Q. Were you in any discomfort out there?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm not allowed to be if I want to beat Nalbandian. Yeah, like I expected really. You know, I told you yesterday I felt good in practice, so this was the proof I really feel good, you know. Obviously under the circumstances you still occasionally think about it. But to be honest, you know, I'm very pleased the way I played, to have come through the match, you know. I had no expectations whatsoever, to be honest. For me, yeah, this is one of the better moments in my career because coming back from the worst injury I've ever had, you know, to come back and win a match at the Masters Cup, it's great for me.

Q. Very rare for you to find yourself in that situation: down in the third set of a match. What did it take, from your point of view, to turn it around?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think, you know, I was mentally ready for a two-sets defeat, you know. But I'm always sort of ready for that. Like I haven't been in this situation, you know, very often the last couple of years. Obviously it's always difficult to come out of it. I really hoped that he would give me one opportunity and, you know, he did, and I took it. You know, that was a great relief because I was getting a little bit not frustrated but, you know, disappointed, playing such a good opening set, you know, and then having all my chances in the second set, then in the end suddenly finding myself 3-1 down in the third. I was just getting a little bit worried. But now that's in the past, so it's great (smiling).

Q. You seemed a little bit ring rusty, like all sorts of mistakes that you wouldn't normally make. Is that the way you were feeling for two and a half sets?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I haven't played for seven weeks, so I know that I maybe keep missing too many returns, you know. Occasionally I miss a shot or two more than maybe I usually do. But that is for me not really a concern. The more matches I play, you know, maybe it's even good it was a three-setter so I really got to get even more match play. I just hope and I'm very sure about this actually that the next match will be better and the same again then for the third match. To start with a win in my group, that's definitely a cushion great to have.

Q. Great match. Quite a roller coaster. Considering it was your first time playing the match on that surface in this stadium, did you actually enjoy the game?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, you can imagine I'm very, very pleased to have opened not only, you know, the Masters Cup but the whole stadium, you know, with a match, plus with a win. So for this reason this stadium will always stay something special in my memories.

Q. The second set, which you lost, do you think your level dropped or that Nalbandian outplayed you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I think he definitely played better. He hardly missed a shot and he really started to return well. I was battling all the way through the first set, you know, to hold on to my first -- to my service games. Yeah, this is when he broke me. He totally deserved it. Obviously in the end, you know, the second break doesn't really matter actually to me. I definitely think he was the better man for quite some time there.

Q. Your backhands and first serve, what happened with that? Your first serve was in only 63%. What was with the first serve and your backhand?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think 63% of first serves is not so bad. I'm very, very happy with actually my serving; it was not so bad, for a first match after a long time. It's not the easiest thing to do to serve through three sets consistently. My backhand, obviously, I made too many errors on that, I know that myself. But, you know, I still won. In the end, that counts, not really how I hit my backhand or my forehand. They were good moments and bad moments, that's clear. But with the injury, that overweighs. I'm happy I'm back and I'm happy I'm playing in this tournament.

Q. What do you think right now about the surface after the first day of competition? All the thinking about the surface are confirmed? What do you think right now about this?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm getting used to it. Obviously, I'm still figuring out exactly what are the best shots to play on this surface because I think you've got to play smart on this type of surface. Yeah, so I didn't feel uncomfortable out there today. That is a good sign. The first serves are pretty tough to return. The second serves are pretty easy to return. So you want to make sure you have a high first-serve percentage. That's for my game. Maybe for other ones, they see it totally different.

Q. How did you feel with your ankle? Did it still give you difficult times during the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think more mentally than physically. I mean, I could get to all the balls I wanted to, and to some I didn't because they were unplayable. Yeah, like I expected, maybe even better because a couple weeks ago I was on crutches. You know, now I'm playing against the best in the world. Like I said before, this is a very nice moment to be back on tour and playing in the Masters Cup. No, not really uncomfortable. It was great.

Q. During this match, both of you want to go to the net. Can you please tell us what do you think about the net play during this match.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wish I could come a little bit more often to the net, you know. But it's just not so easy. I had the feeling first I had to focus today on not making any errors from the baseline and getting actually a feel for, you know, how is it again to play a match and not just practice, you know. I definitely missed a few easy volleys. You know, I think it was early in the third set when I got broken after that. That was a disappointment because, you know, I try to work a lot on the volleys, and then this happens. It just shows me that I have to work even harder. I think this surface gives the opportunity to come to the net also after the first serve. I might do that a little bit more, but I haven't decided on that yet.

Q. My question is also about your foot injury. It is a rumor that you will quit the Masters Cup after the first round because of your injury. You won't quit, right?

ROGER FEDERER: I won't quit (smiling). I can assure you. All of China also I can assure.

Q. In the box, besides your girlfriend, your coach, are there sisters and parents here sitting in the box?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes. My mother and my sister were here also today, exactly.

Q. Why did they come with you this time? We haven't seen them at other tournaments.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously my sister works. My mom works for me, so she can come to any tournament she wants. This was a good time. You know, they're going to go for vacation after this to South Africa. Yeah, they decided to come by. I'm happy to see them. I don't see them so often. This is nice. It's good they enjoy tennis.

Q. In the third set, what did you do in the third set, especially when you were down?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I believed very strongly that I could turn this around. But obviously I knew that things really weren't going my way. But I knew if I just could get more chances on his serve, which I knew eventually would come, I'm going to take advantage of it, you know. I still had the feeling I wasn't giving myself enough opportunities. Either I was going for too much on the return or maybe I was playing too passive. I couldn't really find the right balance. I just fought, you know. I just fought hard. I'm happy it paid off because usually at 3-1, you know, the stakes are against you.

End of FastScripts….

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