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September 6, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Has it gotten to the point where it becomes front-page news when somebody takes a set from you? Is there a certain pressure that you almost have to take three straight from somebody, or else someone goes, "What's up with Federer's game?"

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's up to you, huh, if you want to make headlines because of that. No, I had that feeling more at the beginning of the year. People were shocked when I lost a set, you know, when it appeared when I won Bangkok, the Masters, and everybody -- then the Australian Open, that didn't really calm down people. I continued playing so well after that, when I won Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, there people were sort of shocked when I lost a set. Now I feel it's less, you know. I wish I could win in three, but in the end I'm always happy as long as I win. I'm still aware of that. I think that's the most important for me.

Q. I liked what you said on the court when you were asked about a potential next match. If I heard you correctly, you said, "I had a tough time against David, so I'd like a crack at him." To me, you just played a very difficult match against Nicolas, and to say, "I want the guy who's given me a hard time," that, to me, says you are exuding a tremendous amount of confidence. Am I reading that correctly?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, I had some tough losses against Nalbandian. I had one here where I lost in four. The last two I think I won against him, but still my record's pretty bad against him. I like to play against guys who have beaten me, especially early in the career, try to get them back. He was a tough opponent for me for a long, long time, up until I beat him at the, I think, Masters Cup for the first time, and then also the Australian Open, that's when it was. And we haven't played since, so it's over one and a half years ago. I think it would be interesting to see now how both players have improved and how it is now.

Q. Very dramatic holding of serve in the third set. Your game seemed to smooth out a lot after that. Was there any kind of mental or emotional relief after that game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, that game was huge, absolutely. I was not so happy the way I was playing, especially in the second set. Third was getting better, especially after that pass, like you said. I thought, you know, really that shift in momentum. I took advantage of that, especially in the fourth set, you know. I started to feel like I'm really in control again where I didn't feel that way at all. I had the feeling actually momentum was all on his side.

Q. When you approached that passing shot to hold serve, did you know where Kiefer was going to go? Were you trying to outguess him on the passing shot?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe crosscourt was the easier shot for me there. Still difficult, but I just wanted to keep it low. Obviously, it's easier to do that crosscourt. He was coming up the line, so I guess I was lucky on that shot.

Q. You watched it on the replay at the end change, I think. What did you think?

ROGER FEDERER: I liked it (smiling). It was huge. I knew the moment I hit it that the ball is gonna be in, I knew that he's not gonna be there, and I knew that I'm back in the game, back in the match. I knew the importance of that shot. And important from then was actually to hold and not let it slip away. So I did well there.

Q. What were you thinking when you watched it?

ROGER FEDERER: I can't really - how you say? - sit and think of that shot; I have to move on. But I like to see nice shots in the replay, like the one he hit. I don't know how he did it. It's basically impossible, you know, because it's smash from hip height, you know? I guess he's also in shock still (smiling).

Q. How much do you play by feel and instinct, and how much are you just trying to execute strategies?

ROGER FEDERER: Basically only on instinct, yeah. That's what I do best. It's been working for me.

Q. So when you play someone like Kiefer, you've played times before, you must have ideas as to how you are going to approach the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I give myself ideas. I just put everything together where he's better, where he's worse, where am I better, and what is best against him. But he's very up and down in all areas of his game, you know. If it's his serve, return, volley, he can do great stuff, but also he has lapses. So it's, I think, very hard to get a game plan against him. But, no, I mean, once the match starts, you know, sometimes you have to be able to switch your game. Occasionally, I had to do it today to adapt.

Q. You had more errors than winners in the first two sets. You turned that around in the last two sets. Was that a conscious effort by you to keep the ball in play or did you start playing better?

ROGER FEDERER: I think I definitely relaxed a little bit. I was rather tight end of the second set. I think you could see that in the tiebreaker, I wasn't feeling well. I was really struggling to get some service winners, and that's usually what I get on my serve. It's got to do something with his good return game. He was definitely putting on a lot of pressure. You know, maybe it's because I relaxed a little bit, I don't know. Maybe took a little bit more chances, and it paid off.

Q. Nicolas said in his press conference that "we play on Earth, he plays like he's on another planet." How does that make you feel? You played him so many times.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, and he beat me three times. I thought he wasn't that far away after all from this planet, you know. It's nice to hear. I get many praises these days, so... Good guys.

Q. Who would you rather play next: Nalbandian or Sanguinetti?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, Sanguinetti, because of the experience. He hasn't been on the big stages so often. He hasn't had a fantastic year, you know. Otherwise, his ranking would be up there. But otherwise, you know, I like the challenge with Nalbandian. I don't have a great record against him, like I said, so it would be nice to play him. So we'll see who wins that match.

Q. How concerned have you been with lapses in those last two matches you've played?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's been all right. It's not been bad, but it's definitely not been fantastic either, you know. But I don't expect fantastic matches early in the tournament. I always try to put myself in position, and the way I turned it around today was good. I wasn't playing great, but still was able to come through. I think these are the matches that eventually give me a chance or a shot of playing great, you know. So far I'm not there yet, but it wasn't needed either, you know. So I'm happy I've not been using too much of the energy, like I said two days ago, you know. It's so far, so good. I haven't lost a set; now I have lost a set, but four sets is still easy on the body.

Q. Are you surprised that over the last three years you've been this consistently good? Does anything about the run surprise you at all?

ROGER FEDERER: Everything, yeah, it does. That was my big problem early in my career, I had no consistency. And now I'm the most consistent on tour, you know. It feels pretty good (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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