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August 20, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Federer. Questions, please.

Q. Did he surprise you at all in the first set, or was it just a matter of getting used to him?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I thought I got the rhythm pretty quick, you know. Obviously was surprised how far in he was standing, you know, on the returns. But that really didn't mean I was serving bad, you know, was just a different sort of angle to the game. But I really thought, you know, I had my chances early; didn't take it. Then I had problems really putting the return back in to play. I was a little disappointed with that, but I thought I got a little unlucky, you know, the game I got broken. He had one sort of shank pass, you know. He hit the reflex volley and sort of stuff. Suddenly I was down Love-40, so obviously then it's tough. But I thought that was something I could have prevented maybe, or a little bit more luck on my side, things would have changed. But anyway he played -- he hit those shots good and he read them well. So suddenly, well, I was down a set. You know, it goes very quick in tennis especially when you're 4-All, you know. Yeah, it was definitely a hard battle, but I didn't underestimate him. That's why I came back and won.

Q. Do you think the mini rain break helped you a little bit?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was worried because I knew that if the rain delay is not long, you know, I have to come out and serve right away. That's what happened I think against Blake, it was. It's not so easy, you know. You must have a good start to the game, and that's what I had. So that kind of was more relaxing then. And obviously once the service game was over, he had the pressure on his side, you know, to get his rhythm going again. But I didn't really think that was a big advantage.

Q. Did you always feel sort of in control even though you were a set down? Did you feel like it was in-hand for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, so-so. I'm not allowed to make any more mistakes, huh? Otherwise, it's all over. And I'm aware of that. But I had the feeling I was really winning my own service games very consistently, you know, very sort of easy. That gave me a lot of confidence maybe to also go for a little more on his serve. And really up until the moment where we should have been a tiebreak, he was up 40-15 on the last service game in the second, I didn't really have still that good feeling on the return, you know. It's only in the third where I really started to relax a little bit.

Q. He said by the end of the match he knew he wasn't going to break you. You had 12 aces today. Were you serving particularly well today, or maybe your serve is just underrated by some people?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I out-ace many, many players. It doesn't mean I hit 25 aces, but I hit more than my opponent, and that's what counts, you know. I think my second serve is very reliable. Today I had the feeling I served quite smart, you know, because he was trying to change it up and mix it up and give me different sort of looks on my own serves. When I needed my serves, most of the time they were there, and that is definitely always good to know - especially now heading into the finals, heading into the US Open, that the confidence is back, because I had to work for it; it didn't come by itself.

Q. You have this streak of 21 straight tournaments that you've won when you reached the finals. What is it about your game that has prevented you from losing when you get to the finals?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I had losses in the early part of my career in finals. But, you know, I don't know. Play my best in the finals, in the important matches. That's why I'm No. 1, you know. There's no secret. So I hope I can keep it up.

Q. Is that a mental thing?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah (smiling). You can imagine.

Q. Do you feel like maybe you're a little stronger mentally than most of the guys on tour?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm not overconfident, very confident. I just know what I have to do. I know my game's in place now. Once I win a certain amount of matches, my level of play, I know what I can do, what I can't do. And so I play the percentages I think extremely well in finals, and on big points usually I'm -- well, I've been unbeatable, you know, so that's always what I'm looking for. Somehow, you know, when the nerves are even bigger, you know, somehow it seems like I can even play better because that can also backfire very quickly, you know, and things turn around.

Q. How would you assess tomorrow's final? You're 9-1 against Roddick; you've won the last 8 against Hewitt, you've won like 15 straight sets against him.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's great, you know. But what can I say? Tough match no matter what, you know. I have a great record against anybody basically right now. So doesn't really matter who I play in the finals, I'll be in there as the big favorite. But I still have the feeling against these guys, a little bit off the best, you know, and you lose - and they all know that. So I'm aiming for a very good performance to win this tournament.

Q. What about possibly like a home-crowd advantage if it would be Roddick? I mean, you obviously faced Hewitt in the Australian Open. Does that ever affect you, or does that even motivate you more when you've got the fans against you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I had Blake and Ginepri this week, so I got a taste of it. But it's not too bad, you know. We're not like in Spain or I don't know where, where they can be more brutal. So, no, I enjoy it, of course, you know, if Andy will be in the finals. But the same with Lleyton. With Andy there will be obviously more fans cheering for him, against me, for me as well, you know, because people who are maybe more quiet, they get also out of their seats to help me because they see that everybody's behind Andy, you know (smiling). So, no, it's always interesting, you know, when the crowd gets into it. You know, without them, it would be a little different tennis if we wouldn't have the crowd.

Q. Has this tournament taken away any of the effects of taking a month off? Are you feeling any effects of not playing since Wimbledon anymore?

ROGER FEDERER: It's in the past now that I haven't been playing. I feel very fresh mentally especially. Physically, I was struggling in the beginning of the week with some muscle pain in my shoulder and chest because of, yeah, serving. You know, I wasn't quite used to that. So that's going away, luckily, and just right in time, you know. I've got one more match and then some time to rest it again. But I really feel like, you know, I got the confidence back. I got my footwork back. The eye is back, you know, watching the ball, following the ball, reading the game. So definitely I'm feeling really good right now.

End of FastScripts….

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