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September 4, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. You're traveling more or less most all weeks without a coach. Also you don't work with one of the major management groups. That independence, self-reliance, do you think that helps you in terms of your career or even your play?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think - how should I say - the effect, I felt it like maybe one and a half years ago or a year ago when I started to play last year without a coach. I mean, that was never my plan, not to have a coach, never to have the big management group, you know. But definitely made me more independent. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I played so well, because I was always in control of what was going on on the court, off the court. I was in control really. I think that was very important for me to actually learn about life, you know, how it is on the tour without somebody always telling you what to do, and same, you know, off the court with the management. I think it's an interesting time. Now, obviously with the coach, now it's different again. I have expertise on this side.

Q. People talk about the beauty of your game, the grace the effortless quality. Where do you think that comes from? Your movement? Anticipation? Why do you think people see that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, technique-wise, I think I've always gotten many compliments because everything looks very easy, smooth. On top of that, I think I've really improved my physical shape, so my movement is even better, quicker, smoother. All those things make it now look, you know, basically perfect for some. So I think that's why I get all the compliments. You don't see many guys playing one-handed backhand. That definitely helps, too. I think the one-handed backhand always looks nicer in a way than the double-handed. Obviously, I get commitments because I'm 1 in the world. If Olivier would be 1 in the world, everybody would be saying how nice he plays. That's just how it is.

Q. Being No. 1, does that give you a certain advantage going out there, certain extra aura that helps in match play?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe occasionally. Not to an extreme. I don't like to think, "I'm No. 1. He's not going to try." I have also the feeling it also can really work against you. They want to come out, they want to win, it's a huge opportunity for them. They maybe even player better than they usually do. So I think against different players you feel differently.

Q. When you're playing a final set like that, having gotten over one or two problems in the second set, how much is it striking a balance between getting the match won as quick as possible and putting on a show for the crowd in an environment like that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, obviously it's tough for the opponent. Two sets to love at 10:15 in the evening, to believe he could turn it around against me. Obviously, he's got crowd support there, that is clear. But for me, obviously I can start to play more freely, hit the ball easier, maybe knowing that he's not going to try to work as hard as he was the first two sets. So everything -- makes it easier for me in a way. Trying to put on a show, not really. All I want to do is win the match. I don't want to put on a show and lose. I have to stay focused. If good points come along, that's great, you know. But I'm not going to look for them too much.

Q. Surely come match point, it must be particularly an enjoyment to hit a match point like you did today?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was great. Also the point before, the backhand smash, that was great. Don't get an opportunity that often. I hit it well. Same with the match point. I said, "Might as well just hit it as hard as you can," and it worked. So that was great.

Q. Pete Sampras, a guy you're often compared to, he really had a healthy respect for the history of the game, the record books, where he was going to end up. How important is that to you to sort of think ahead, where you want to be down the line? How important are the history books as far as records?

ROGER FEDERER: For me it's more important just to know them. For me, it's not really what I'm looking for because I'm still a current player. Where I'm standing right now, if I'm best 5 ever in history or 15 or 35, [checkaudio], doesn't really matter for me. I think it's important for each player to know a little bit about what other players have achieved because they deserve the respect, they started the game, they were here before us. For me, it's more that what counts for me, knowing about the game, knowing about who played well, not really where I'm heading to. People can talk about it when I'm gone, you know, maybe how good or how great I was.

Q. Olivier Rochus told us when you were younger than 14, losing a lot of matches, he won many tournaments. Later on of course that changed, but can that still affect you in a match like this tonight, maybe the second set?

ROGER FEDERER: That he was better?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Not really. It's over 10 years ago (smiling).

Q. For him maybe?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't think you draw out of that. It's just too long ago. Maybe if he would have beaten me four or five years ago a couple of times, then it would be different. On the tour, when we were both I think fully grown up basically. But then we were still, you know, kids basically. He was very good. I remember how he was already playing basically at this level. I had the feeling at 14, he was incredible. I grew and got stronger, and this is how I got to beat him.

Q. And he didn't grow?

ROGER FEDERER: He didn't grow that much, but he's still doing an incredible job at his height to play with the best and sometimes beat them. I think it's great, you know, to see him on tour as well. I mean, we both had a smile when they introduced me, said, "No. 1 in the world, best in the world, defending champion." It just doesn't stop. He looked at me and he started to smile in the warm-up. It's pretty funny.

Q. So many players have a kind of moment of truth. Could you share with us the time in Toronto when you just lost Peter, you were alone, trying to get a cab? What was that all about?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it was something I've never really experienced before, to lose a close friend out of the blue basically. I mean, I was playing all right, not fantastic, you know, trying to make the break. I don't know what my ranking was, but I was for sure not top 10 yet. I was trying to get there. Then that came along. I flew back to Switzerland. Came back to the US Open. Couldn't play any more. I was totally somewhere else with my mind. Took me obviously some time to get over it. Still today obviously it's hard when you talk about it, think about it. I don't like to say that it's because of that that I started to understand or I took tennis more serious. I don't know. It just happened. My reaction after that, results started to come, but it wasn't right away from that moment on. I also had my hard times after that.

Q. Did you use that terrible catastrophe to help you transform and become a stronger person?

ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I don't like to see it this way. I'd rather say Peter obviously preferred me to do well than not do well. So for this reason I think I maybe worked a little bit harder.

Q. I know you're obviously very instrumental in organizing the tsunami relief effort. Has there been a lot of talk in the locker room about trying to follow up with something similar for the hurricane?

ROGER FEDERER: Not that I know, no. Haven't been talking too much. Obviously, I'm always interested, you know, in trying to help. Obviously, it's tough to get the players together. But we can think of something new. I'm in it, of course. Yeah, something to think about, that's for sure, because they need help. It's obvious.

End of FastScripts….

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