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August 30, 2005

Roger Federer



Q. Were you concerned about being a "rain beater"?

ROGER FEDERER: I guess so. Relieved, of course, I'm through the rain because it was bad forecast. But more important, you know, is to get through no matter how many days it takes.

Q. Are you a morning person?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't play much in the morning any more. Mostly play the prime time hours, which means 3, 5, 7 o'clock. Coming out early today was different. Also when I practice, it's usually always afternoon. So, again, you have to change your plans. But it was a great start, you know. Very happy the way I played.

Q. When you get into the draw, third or fourth round, you've already had a couple matches. To start off a Grand Slam, first match, do you have some sort of special way of getting pumped or ready for that very first match? Jog half a mile?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't do anything extraordinary. I stick to what I always do, you know, no matter if it's a final or a first round. I have the same preparation. Just the only difference is I have more time before a first round, which means I have days and days. I want to get the rhythm. I want to see how the conditions are here. Is it more windy? Do the balls play different? I try to get the sense for that. Then adjust string tensions if I have to. I usually always arrive two, three hours before the match so I have enough time to eat, to tape, to just, you know, think about the match. Then off I go. It's a pretty simple routine, which I like to stick to.

Q. 16-minute first set. Clearly you were ready to play today. Can you recall the last time you went on court for an opening match and just felt flat?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, it happens sometimes. You know, I think the first round in Wimbledon was tough this year. I had the feeling I was sort of heavy.

Q. This year?

ROGER FEDERER: This year, yeah. It was tough to get into. It was nerve-wracking somehow this year. But I still came through. Nerves start to go away once, you know, I was up I would say a set and a break. Today was much easier from the start.

Q. Were you at all concerned about the rain in the second game, third set? Seemed like it was coming down, drops were harder.

ROGER FEDERER: We were very close. I think if the umpire says, "Well, let's have a seat," I'll sit down. But it wasn't raining so we had to go back inside, which was good. I mean, I'm happy we could play through. I'm so used to everything that I have no problem walking back to the locker room.

Q. But you weren't concerned at all in the back of your mind, "I don't want to slip, I don't want to get injured"?

ROGER FEDERER: No. Well, we always stop in time, so that doesn't happen. I mean, I was ready for delays today. Took some magazines along in case something goes wrong (smiling).

Q. Which ones?

ROGER FEDERER: All sorts of magazines.

Q. You like to be a primetime player. Was this a bit of an inconvenience to come out here at 11 a.m.?

ROGER FEDERER: I was a little bit surprised I had to come out at 11. But then again, it's good to know your time. Of course, if the rain comes along, you have a long day, okay. But yesterday they also announced average weather and it never rained. It's also good to know -- I think second would have been worse today because then you don't have no clue what's going to happen.

Q. You mentioned there isn't a player you fear. Are you as confident as you've ever been in your life?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. No, I mean, I don't see it as rough any more. When I lose to a player, for me, you know, as long as I give it a hundred percent, that's all I can do. If the guy's better on the day, that's okay, and I'll try next time. Where in the past, maybe years ago, I would lose and say, "Oh, no." I didn't feel like I gave it all I had or I didn't play like I should have. Then I started to really not like to play against a guy. But now I see more the challenge in it. Now because I've beaten all the guys maybe I've had bad records against, that eliminates the fear factor from other players.

Q. Is there any unique challenge to defending here?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, for me it seems that here all the players, it's a neutral surface. Australian Open is the first one, so everybody's a little bit -- nobody's really sure how they're going to play. Where here it's the last Grand Slam of the year, everybody wants to do well, everybody's been here in the States for some weeks. They're just waiting for this big occasion to come around. They're all coming out wanting to play their best, you know. So for me, the conditions changing every day, it seems one of the hardest to win.

Q. Svetlana made an early exit yesterday.

ROGER FEDERER: That concerned me, too. When I saw that, I was like, "Okay. Well, I better not mess this up, too."

Q. When you win a match as easily as you did today, do you learn anything about your level of play? Is it useful in any way?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. I really had the sense I was returning very well, hardly giving him any points there, holding easy on my serve. The baseline, I didn't have the feeling I was in any rush at all. That's always obviously a good feeling to have from the start of a tournament. That doesn't happen very often going into Slams. I've always been looking for my rhythm early. And today it was there straightaway. That was good. Good signs, good feeling.

Q. Is there any difference walking the streets of New York this year? Do you get recognized more since you won last year?

ROGER FEDERER: No, the difference is there, yeah.

Q. A big difference this year as opposed to when you were here a year ago?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know if it's 50% more or whatever. Sometimes it's extreme, sometimes it's nothing, which I'm happy about. Sometimes it's a little bit. Totally depends I guess who walks on the street at the same time as me.

Q. Now that you've had a chance to practice on this court and play a match on it, how friendly is this Stadium Court for somebody who hits with extreme topspin?

ROGER FEDERER: I really find it's nice out there. The sound of the balls in this stadium, with the high backdrop, yeah, it feels very comfortable. Of course, it's huge, you know. Like this morning when there's still a lot of people, but it seems empty. But the crowd really gets into it. I was enjoying to play out there. I always from the first moment I walk on this center court, I always had the feeling it's a nice one.

Q. How much is the topspin jumping off the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we were playing flat today, but it definitely takes the kick and spin, definitely.

Q. You have a little bit of a different philosophy on coaching. Why do you not use a coach as much as some of the other players?

ROGER FEDERER: Hmm. I have a different ranking (smiling). I guess that's it, you know.

Q. Other guys with your ranking have had coaches.

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know about that. I don't feel like I need a guy all the time next to me telling me what I should eat and drink, when I should go to bed, you know. I think I know these things. For me the coach is there to be on court with me, that he's not late showing up for practice sessions, that he can help me how to improve my game. Not just bring my racquets to the stringer, book me a practice ccourt. This I can do myself. I have the feeling maybe in this respect I have a different philosophy. I haven't been speaking much to Tony either, you know. I haven't spoken to him in three weeks. Basically maybe I'll call him tonight. We'll see.

Q. It's getting lonely?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah. We haven't been catching up too much. Still we have been in contact via messages. I don't know. It just seems like I don't need this.

Q. When is the last time you felt you didn't give a hundred percent?

ROGER FEDERER: It's good that I don't remember. It's a long time ago. Years ago.

Q. Last night Andre said when he has a match as easy as his was and as easy as yours was today, he doesn't feel sorry for his opponent. Do you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't. I used to. That was a problem for me. Like I had the feeling the guy deserves it more than I do. That's a horrible feeling to have inside. Especially when I was playing Juniors or coming on tour. No, that feeling is definitely gone. That's good.

Q. Why do you think the guy deserved it more than you?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Because I had the feeling maybe they were practicing harder than I was. I was lucky enough to be in Switzerland, you know how it is. Couldn't get over it sometimes.

Q. How did you lose that feeling of guilt or whatever it was?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's just the fire to win, always wanting to be the best. I think once you get that going, then you realize, you know, if you lose or win, you can still chat after the match. But then when I would lose matches, I would feel I think three times worse than when the guy was losing. I just realized that's not the point either. I wanted to enjoy it, win or lose, out on the court. It's not some kind of war or anything. We're having fun out there in the end. I like the challenge. When the match is over, you know, life goes on.

End of FastScripts….

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