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August 21, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2005 winner of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, winning his fifth different ATP Masters Series event, a record-setting fourth for this season, Roger Federer. Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations.


Q. Six weeks away, you come back and you win first up. Pretty impressive.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it is. Obviously, I am always a little surprised, you know, when I win the big tournaments like this. But more, you know, when I've been away from the game for five, six weeks. This is a great comeback for me, and obviously the best preparation I could have hoped for before the Open, you know. Even though I don't take this tournament as a real warm-up event because it's just too important, you know. But I'm really pleased that I could beat such a quality player like this in the finals, you know. These are the big moments. This is how it's going to be at the US Open basically every match, you know. So I'm ready for the fans and for the pressure and for everything. It's a really good feeling I have.

Q. How do you raise your level? You always seem to be able to raise your level at the important moment.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I always believed in playing consistent, you know. Believing that I can come up with the good shots at the right time. I read his -- try to read his game, you know, over the - how do you say? - throughout the match, I try to analyze what he's been doing, what he's doing best, what he's maybe doing less good and try to exploit it on the big points. But it doesn't always work, obviously, with his kind of serve. But I really had the feeling he gave me some chances on breakpoints where he didn't make his first serve sometimes, and I could take that advantage and break and win the match and the set.

Q. It's worked out very well. But how much of a risk is it just having one buildup tournament?

ROGER FEDERER: It's quite a risk, but what can I do, you know? I also need my rest. I'm playing consistent for the last two years, and this is really the moment where you can basically pick and choose when you're No. 1 in the world and you have all the options, you know. Just because you're No. 1 doesn't mean you've got to race through the same schedule like you've been trying to get there, you know. But it is very - how should I say? - there's so much you can still do. Everybody wants to have you. The offers are big, you know. You're like, Should I do it, or Should I not do it. But I believe in the long run, I believe that I should follow a smart schedule throughout my career so I can hopefully play injury-free as long as possible and try to maintain the good level. That's my mindset I have on picking tournaments. So this is definitely also not only thinking about this US Open, this preparation I have, it's much more long term. This is how I'll keep it for the rest of my life, I guess.

Q. Have you ended the tournament with your feet in good condition?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, feet were good in the beginning and they feel okay now. I have another week only practice. Practice is never as brutal as the match situation because in the match you really push to the limits, where in practice you can still, you know, see how it works. But I have to say I'm pleased the way things have turned out with my feet.

Q. Yesterday against Ginepri you worked real hard. How did you feel during that match about getting in this match? Did you find today easier?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, different. You know, Robby gave me much more time from the baseline. With Andy, he put me much more under pressure. He tried to serve and volley. He tried to, you know, tried to shorten up points sometimes and take chances. And, you know, Robby was more making sure he gets all the balls back, hardly makes any mistakes. Where Andy, you know, obviously, you know, it's going to be unforced errors, same as my game, too; it's much more offensive. I don't know. It's very different. Obviously, the serves are very different, even though both have a great serve right now. Very different match. Hard to compare.

Q. You dominated him last month at Wimbledon. How did today's match compare to that?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I really had the feeling he came in thinking he really has a good chance to beat me today. That's really the feeling I got. So for me to save that first breakpoint was huge. Then coming back and break myself, you know, that was the key I would say. Get a little bit cushion and make him calm down a little bit because he was really all excited, you know, the way he started the match, and serving big. He actually served, I thought, really big all the way, the whole match through. He hardly ever double-faulted except on the one breakpoint, you know. But he really went big first and second serve. Usually when I play him he goes much more for the spin serve than for the big second serve. I really have the feeling that match against Lleyton yesterday gave him a lot of confidence also on his second serve. So I really had to watch out. I'm actually happy I saw that match against Lleyton on TV last night so I got an idea of how much chances he's actually taking, because I don't think I would have expected him playing that offensive if I wouldn't have seen the match.

Q. Because of the way you played this week, you played a lot of matches, did you still feel confident coming into this match as well?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, absolutely. I knew that after Rochus, Acasuso and Ginepri matches I was ready for anybody. That feeling obviously before a final is good to have. No, I've got so many matches in my legs, you know, again, like I said, after the semis, you know, everything comes very automatic now. I don't need to think anymore where I'm going to hit my balls, they just go automatically. That is very important in my game because I need to play with the flow and natural.

Q. What exactly was wrong with your foot when you were off?


Q. What exactly was wrong with your foot when you were off?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've been -- I had this big foot problem at the Australian Open. I don't know if you remember, but against Marat, I was really struggling with movement. I had inflammation on the bone in the foot. Never really seemed to really heal, even though it never returned as bad as it did that particular match against Safin. So I'm actually happy about that. It's been improving. But I still thought, you know, I have to rest it sufficiently to really make it go away because I don't want to play in pain all the time. I was doing that from the Australian Open maybe all the way through to Wimbledon occasionally. So now it's better. I just give myself a chance to rest sometimes as well. Not only my feet and physically, but also mentally I think it's important to rest.

Q. You said at the start of this that you're a little surprised when you win big tournaments like this. Do you mean coming off of an injury, or you're always surprised when you win Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I am. No, because I see the draw and I see how many good players we have right now, how deep men's tennis goes, you know, how tough it is from the first round on. Already like during a finals like this I feel like, you know, this constant pressure, you know, where I'm just waiting for the moment where everything is over, you know, where I can finally relax again. Because, you know, I eat, I wake up, and I think about the match all the time, you know. So it's only when the match is over, you know, like let's say last night, when I can relax for a few hours, and then before I go to bed it comes back to my mind that I've got a finals to play. Then everything from then on is only about the match all the time. It's constant pressure. When it's finally over, you're so relieved that it's in a way a surprise that you've achieved it once more. Because with the record I have lately, you cannot expect all the time to win. But if it keeps on going, it's just incredible.

Q. How do you account for your success against Roddick? I think he's only won four sets off of you in eleven matches, that highly-ranked of a player.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess my game matches up well with his. That's my only explanation. I guess I know how to play him, I've got the game to play him. But it's not easy, you know, because if he serves big and takes his chances, let's say like early in the match, he's a great frontrunner. That's what I've been able to do against the best, you know, get the first break usually, and lead from there. Because once I'm in the lead, I'm obviously the best frontrunner. So that's what I have been doing very well over the last few years. Didn't really allow them to get into the match where maybe in the past, you know, it was different. Especially against the best, you have to start well.

Q. Can we go back to the beginning of this week. How did you feel? Did you feel a little bit under pressure because Nadal had just won in Montreal and he was closing up the gap on you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, he's so far away in the draw anyway. But, of course, you see he's been winning tournaments. It's nothing I have to be concerned about, it didn't affect my play, you know. I don't know. You take it like it's a new tournament and you haven't been playing so your only concern is trying to get, you know, your form back, you know, what you've been stopping with in Wimbledon, which was so fantastic. So you try to get just a little bit of a feel from that again. I know it won't happen in the first round; it's a longer process. Today I got the feeling occasionally, this is great tennis again, you know. Obviously now I'm relieved, you know, that the gap is bigger again, and I finally played well in Cincinnati especially, because this tournament never really worked for me.

Q. Can you tell us in percentage how do you feel versus when you were in the final of Wimbledon? Are you at the same level?

ROGER FEDERER: It was different, you know. The ball flies much more here. I think Wimbledon you can have nicer points, you know, because everything is in the hitting zone. But I still felt today I didn't make many easy mistakes. I served consistent. I got back his return very well, especially second serve, the way he was serving. I really had the feeling it was a very good match.

Q. In percentage how do you feel, 100% fit back?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Q. You talk about the pressure. You're pulled every which way from the media, having to do interviews in English, French, German. How do you handle that? Is that something that gets tiring for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Every day, it's tough (smiling). Once in a while, it's all right, you know. But sometimes you have matches, you know, I don't know, 6-3, 6-2, there's not much you can say about it. Then I got to rap through all three languages, it's sort of not the funniest thing, you know. But I understand, you know. So for this reason sometimes it's nice to get away from everything and sort of come back fresh and maybe with new information, too. It's a little bit more exciting for me, too.

Q. For the Swiss, do you think there will be a celebration of you and Patty Schnyder winning Cincinnati?

ROGER FEDERER: There you go, yeah. Yeah, for the men's, it's little bit bigger tournament, though. No, she's having a great season. I'm really happy for her.

Q. In the long run is it a goal for you to try to win all the Masters?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, people are saying I messed up the Australian Open, I'm going to win nine Masters Series because everybody thought I was going to win the Grand Slam. But that' not how it goes. Obviously it would be nice to win as many Masters Series as possible because they are for me very prestigious. You start to play great players from the start. I had difficult times in the beginning of my career to win back-to-back matches at Masters Series because draws were so tough. Now that I can win them, you know, it's a really nice feeling. I've won, what, five out of nine? Yeah, so, that's great.

Q. Agassi said that it's harder to win a Masters because it's six matches within seven days, versus a Grand Slam. Do you agree with him?

ROGER FEDERER: Hmm (smiling). He's got many more Masters Series than Grand Slams, so that's weird, isn't it? I understand his point. I think back-to-back Masters Series are almost impossible, if you pick like Montreal, Cincinnati. Indian Wells, Miami is different because you have a break of four, five days in between. What else we have? Oh, yeah, Rome, Hamburg. That's like almost impossible to win I have the feeling back-to-back because you have to win 12 matches maybe in 13 days. Imagine that, you know, plus a five-setter in the finals of the middle week. But I don't know. For me Grand Slams are harder maybe because of the five-setters and because if it's over two weeks you've got to make sure you stay healthy, you don't get sick, the preparation is good, you know. All these little things, you know. It's a long time, you know, you're at the same place. Little thing need to go wrong and you lose, you know. Because out of a five-setter, you don't come semi-injured or semi-sick, you'll pay the price there quickly.

Q. What part of his game did you try to pick apart today? Did you sense he was making some errors at the net early on?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, obviously I was trying to get the ball back low, you know, and trying to get it short also. If he was coming in, trying to make him volley up because, you know, he can put away easy volleys no problem, you know. But it's the tough volleys he's not I would say good enough yet, quite like the best volleyers. This is what I had to hope for, that he's going to miss a few of them and give me some chances for passes. You know, on the second serves, try to get into the rally, work my way into the points, try to take away his confidence from the baseline. That really worked once more, so I'm really pleased.

Q. A few words about the US Open now. Who do you fear, or do you fear nobody?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I fear the two, three weeks ahead of me. It's, like I said, a long time. I'm looking forward to that. The players, I know them all, I've beaten them all. But it's a tough one, the US Open. I experienced it last year, you know, especially with the Agassi match. And then just the heat can play a big factor, the winds and everything. So you better be ready mentally.

Q. What did you think about this tournament before this year considering the record you've had here? How much has that view changed now?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was a little concerned, you know, in the beginning. I really never played a good match here. So I was really hoping to get through the first round. In a way I was happy to play Blake, but then I realized he just also played well, and he likes to play in the States. I was not so sure if that was going to be a good draw either. It was Kiefer, you know. It was sort of a shaky draw, too, because I was just struggling recently against him in Wimbledon. I know he can take away the rhythm very, very easily by his game. No, so I was concerned. But once I think I got through those two rounds, I started to get more confidence, started to actually understand the conditions here in Cincinnati, and started to play much better. But, you know, I have the feeling the conditions are really quick here, and you've got to get used to it. It's tough from the baseline.

Q. You don't seem to have a rival. Would you like to have one? Would that be good for the game if you had someone that might beat you every once in a while? It wouldn't be good for you, but...

ROGER FEDERER: Not really good for me. Good I don't know for who, but...

Q. For the game.

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know if it's good for the game. I think it's also nice to see the guys challenging me. I think it's an interesting time in tennis we're going through with all the guys coming along, you know. You've got nice youngsters coming along, Agassi is still playing, and, you know, the bunch of guys right behind me. So I think it's really interesting. Nadal has definitely made his move, you know, to No. 2 player in the world. Now it's an interesting end to the season. It's not for sure I'm going to finish No. 1 in the world, you know. I've still got to play well and defend my titles and make sure I play well. So I have a lot to play for next few months.

Q. You played a little bit of doubles here. Are your plans to continue to play doubles throughout the rest of the year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm going to play doubles in Davis Cup most probably. Played Bangkok doubles last year, so I don't know if I'm going to do that again. I'm not going to play at the Open, that's for sure. I hope I'm healthy in the winter this time, I couldn't play there last year. I haven't made up my mind yet, we'll see. But I'm always a fan of doubles, so...

Q. Will you take any salad dressing with you?

ROGER FEDERER: Still here? No, it's gone. I'll take the trophy instead (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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