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August 27, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What separates this tournament for you from the other Grand Slams? What kind of energy, different energy, as opposed to the other three does it bring for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I think of the US Open, it's more everybody's really ready, you know what I'm saying. It's a surface that everyone can play on. Normally we don't have that many injuries going into the US Open. Everybody's been in the States for quite some weeks and is really ready to do well at the last Grand Slam of the year. That is, for me, that's why it makes it so tough to win here. Plus, you know, if you add all the conditions - wind, rain, heat, humidity, the big city, the fans - everything of that adds on top.
Q. Do you thrive on everyone always going after you? Does it ever get old for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Of what? Excuse me.
Q. Off the pressure people put on you all the time?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, pressure's there, you know, especially going into Grand Slams where you have a win from last year. I've experienced it on a couple of occasions. It's not the easiest thing to do, so you really want to, you know, not take any chances in your preparation and really focus on what's been working in the past and try to do that again without being, you know, too crazy. For me, it's been working, you know. Since I'm No. 1, I've been playing with less pressure, I have the feeling. But obviously sometimes it comes back.
Q. Compared with last year when you had the American Masters tournaments, then the Olympics and here, this has been a very different summer for you. How do you compare that physically to how you're feeling now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's different. Because I didn't play so well in Cincinnati and the Olympics, it actually gave me some time to rest, and I came actually into the US Open feeling really fresh. Same this year, because I took some time off after Wimbledon and only played Cincinnati. So, honestly, I feel like it's pretty much the same, even though I did much less traveling than last year.
Q. Do you think that will be a normal part of your schedule?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, no. I mean, it is a chance that I took to just play Cincinnati. If I lose first round there, I have a problem, you know. I only have maybe one match or two matches under my belt going into the US Open, and that's just not enough, like what I said, you know, that everybody's so ready. But, you know, first I have to also wait and see how this one goes. Could be I win Cincinnati and lose early here. I try not to make that happen, of course.
Q. The corporate things that are done here, are you aware of that, does it affect the tournament? In the luxury suites there are people doing business. There are a lot of corporations here.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't even know that. I didn't know that. I thought they were here to watch tennis, you know, not business meetings. The stadium is great. It's the biggest one we have in the world. There's some, you know, that is just so big like this one or Indian Wells, it's really overwhelming when you walk on center court. It's a different atmosphere, obviously, because it's so hard to fill that stadium up, so you always have this feeling of sort of being a little bit empty, but you still have 10-15,000 people in the stadium, which is a lot of spectators in the stadium. Honestly, I like to play in this one and, you know, I showed how good I can play in this one last year.
Q. This stadium, do you think it affects your game at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Stadiums? I mean, different stadiums made me play sometimes different type of games, you know. Sometimes I have the feeling I'm squashed in a smaller court in center court; some seem so big, you know, as I say, I have a feeling I can't hit anything out of the ball. This one is for me sort of quite normal because of the big backdrop we have here.
Q. So you can more play your game here, you think?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, I'm used to center courts (smiling).
Q. Have you completely taken care of all the physical problems you've had over the summer?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I gave myself a chance to let it heal, my feet. I'm happy the way things are. I came back so strong. I have much less pain and problems now than I used to have, so it was definitely a good thing to do. Now we'll see, you know, heading into the US Open, it's a tough one of course on the hard courts, over five sets and maybe back it up, you know, if it rains and stuff every day. So it will be interesting to see how I feel, how I cope with it. But I'm really happy to be back, you know, healthy. Because when you win, you want to come back and defend. You know, you always have to make sure you're healthy so you at least give yourself a chance.
Q. A question on Nadal: His rise to No. 2, is that in a way good for you because it creates another challenge for you? You wouldn't play him until the final, if you both got there, does it give you edginess you need to stay on top?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy to see him, you know, doing so well because I really think it's great for the game and he's had incredible success. At a young age like this, it is extraordinary, really. I'm a big fan of his game. You know, it's really different. It's something I haven't seen in basically never, you know. So this is always good when you get to see a new guy on the block. I think it just adds even more spice to the men's tennis we already have with Roddick and Safin and Hewitt and Agassi and already now Nadal. I think it only helps men's tennis. I'm not too concerned playing him. For me it's a challenge more than being feared or anything.
Q. You've had such great success in your career, three Wimbledons, defending champion here, No. 1 for a year and a half or so. Was there ever a time earlier in your career where you had a sense of doubt, you thought you might not be able to make it to the very top?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was stuck just a little bit outside of the Top 10 for a while where I was wondering what do I need, you know, to get up into the Top 10. I realized after I won Hamburg, my first Hamburg that I won, which was a big surprise on clay, I made it into the Top 10 and I think I became No. 8. I said, "That's what you need, you need the big titles." I really wanted to give myself an opportunity, also, to win a Grand Slam. I'm right away in contention with No. 1 in the world. This is when I start to realize, once I won Hamburg, I knew what it actually takes to be right on top. It's just not enough to play well, consistent, quarterfinals, semifinals, you got to win the titles.
Q. What was the key to winning Hamburg?
ROGER FEDERER: My game needed time, I think. It's not the Hewitt or Safin type of game. Mentally and physically, I just needed more time. I knew that if I do things right and don't put myself too much under pressure, because the media people, they were - and some other people, you know, who think they're really smart - they were doing it, too. I started to cope better when success came. Then once I had the really big break in Wimbledon, that took away a lot of pressure.
Q. You helped launch men's Vogue last night.
ROGER FEDERER: Two nights ago.
Q. Can you describe your fashion style. How would you describe yourself as a dresser?
ROGER FEDERER: It was really good fun. I had a great time, you know. We stayed out late, you know. But got to meet really nice people, interesting. My style, I like quite elegant more and more. I'm very much into shopping the last especially two years. Got to meet Anna Winter, and of course you get inspired when you meet people like this. I like to dress up.
Q. Do you have a favorite designer?
ROGER FEDERER: I like Prada very much.
Q. You referred to Rafael Nadal as "extraordinary." Last year you was in the finals with Hewitt. Do you expect you gonna be in the finals with Rafael Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, we're very far away from that. I don't like to think so far. I mean, there's very good players in the draw. I like to look down the draw a little bit, but I'm mostly concerned about my first round and mostly concerned about my half of the draw, you know, and Nadal is not in that section. So I'll have a look at him, you know, how he's playing on the hard courts. Obviously, everybody's interested to see also how much success he can have on the hard courts after his incredible clay court season. I think it would be interesting to play him on hard courts at the US Open finals, but for him and for me, this is a long way.
Q. Would be good for the sport.
ROGER FEDERER: It would be good for the sport.
Q. In the time you're off, do you have a sneak at the papers and see what's going on, or do you cut yourself off completely from tennis and not think about what's going on?
ROGER FEDERER: I was really following Davis Cup.
Q. That's a shame.
ROGER FEDERER: Excuse me?
Q. That's a shame. We play you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, but that was the ones we're not playing in, you know; we already lost. I was following that quite a bit. The smaller tournaments, not so much, you know. Then when I was in Cincinnati, obviously I saw, you know, the end of Toronto a little bit. But I was following a little bit, you know. I heard sometimes, "Oh, he won," and, "He's playing well." That's really what I care about, not really who wins the tournament, but who's playing well, who's caused upsets, just to be on the ball a little bit.
Q. Did you spend any time on the court in that extended break?
ROGER FEDERER: I wasn't on the court for about a month, and then I worked out with Tony for eight days.
Q. Would that be the longest time you've ever not spent on court during your professional career apart from injuries, do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: Could be. Yeah, you could say that.
Q. Your popularity in Europe is very, very high. I know the ATP and probably a lot of Americans would like to see your popularity in the United States grow exponentially. Do you have any sense of whether or not you're more well-known in this country than you were a year ago in terms of requests for interviews, publicity, television shows?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. For me it's a big difference from still one year ago; I was more of a contender than anything else. Now people know me, the same level I have the feeling as Roddick and Serena, maybe not Agassi obviously because he's been around for so long. But I can do many shows and everything I want, basically. Just have to knock on the door and say, Okay, I need to invest time. I'm not always ready to do that because my priority is tennis and not something else. That is what is difficult, I think, for the tennis player. We play eleven out of twelve months, to always go and do different stuff than tennis is not the easiest thing. But I was curious to see how people will see me this year because I haven't really been back in New York since obviously the US Open. I feel there is a buzz.
Q. In Europe tennis can be as high as the No. 2 or No. 3 most important sport, in the United States it's more like No. 8 or No. 9, so there are fewer people following it. How do you use your personality to bring more people to the game in the United States?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, you attend Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, do interviews, try to be also in the papers so the people, they know that the US Open is being played. I think we have the biggest stadium in the world here, you know. So people that come out, they love the sport, you know. I think it's more about more people watching it on TV. That is, I think, the problem here in the States. This one, to solve that problem, I don't know what you do. I'm not a television expert.
Q. Do you think tennis has taken a back seat to personalities? If so, why? In sports in general, after a while, the sport tends to take a back seat to the personality itself. I don't know if that's because of the nature of people.
ROGER FEDERER: The back seat of..? I don't know, sorry.
Q. Does it become second and no longer first as the sport itself?
ROGER FEDERER: You mean personality is first?
ROGER FEDERER: I have the feeling that became in women's tennis much more important. I think in men's it's still the game that counts more. Maybe women's, it's sometimes a little bit more of their personality. Obviously, you know, they're more sexy, let's say, they show more skin, all these sort of things, and they talk more about that than actually their forehand and backhand. We been asked much more about what's your preparation, how's your backhand doing, I get one question, you know, about fashion basically. That's how it goes with us, you know, but I think that's how it should be, to be honest.
Q. How's your perfume?
ROGER FEDERER: Perfume is still there (laughing).
Q. Has your name raised the profile of Switzerland?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so.
Q. You haven't seen an increase in tourism or something?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I would like to know the numbers, but I could imagine (smiling).
Q. The floods in Switzerland, are they affecting you or your family or friends?
ROGER FEDERER: No, we got lucky. Well, my friends and family, we didn't have any issues. But it's been very bad, so I hope it's under control soon.
Q. Do you read about Canas' case during your rest?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I heard about it.
Q. What do you think about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Appropriate ban. No more I could say. It's a pity people have to do this.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.