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August 15, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Federer.

Q. Did you find some room for improvement after that, some things to change, work on?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think I definitely can improve on this tonight. But that's not really what matters for me. I would also be a little disappointed if I would play my best tonight, you know. So it's really what I expected. If you look at the stats, you know, I got one break, I made two, I won a tiebreaker. So it's not too bad, you know, after all. It was a tough match tonight, you know. Night sessions are always a little different than day sessions. You know, I've been practicing a lot in the day. I didn't think he was playing too bad either. So I think it was a tough combination out there tonight. The crowd also, they got into it. And it was really humid. So it was tough conditions. But what counts is that I got through, and that was good tonight.

Q. Did it take a bit of time to get back into the swing of playing matches again?

ROGER FEDERER: I think I was struggling all the way through. I was disappointed at times where I just couldn't make all the returns I wanted to. I was getting aced quite frequently, which is not normal things. It really just shows how the eye is not quite there like it was maybe in Wimbledon, obviously, in the finals, you know. So it's just a matter of getting used to it. For this, I need to keep on winning, you know, to really get that back, or then in practice I have to play a lot of match situations, you know, play a lot of points. Yeah, so, tomorrow's maybe good to also play some doubles.

Q. Were you surprised by Blake's intensity tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you always get, I think, surprised after being away for five, six weeks, you know, from the intensity that is out there. You know, the balls, they come back so quick, you know. It's a different game you're playing than when you're practicing, you know. The practice, you can let maybe one or the other ball go by, but in the match every point really counts. You suddenly have the feeling everything is going much quicker than you're used to. That's definitely the feeling I had a little bit out there tonight.

Q. Would you mind telling us just a few of the things that you've done since Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, came home after Wimbledon for a day. Had a nice reception there, you know, in front of 3,000 people in the main square like what usually the soccer players get, you know. So to get this for an individual sport was really nice, you know. It's hard obviously to set something -- set it up, you know. But the press, you know, they really helped me out to get everybody's attention. And everybody came, so it was really fantastic. I left the following day for vacation. Had about a two-week vacation. Started to work out, you know, mostly upper body and some running, some bike, you know, because I wanted to also give my feet a rest. So after like four weeks, basically I started to hit with Tony for eight days or so, which was good, too. Then I came home, had my birthday there, and was there for three days and came here on Thursday.

Q. How are the feet?

ROGER FEDERER: They're good. I'm happy. No pains, so, which is nice.

Q. Are you still thinking about Wimbledon? You mentioned out there that the points were -- you thought of the points, you had to remember the points aren't as short. From the three titles, is that something you still think about? Has it changed your thoughts in about eight weeks?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you have to really put Wimbledon to the side because anyway the grass court season is so different, you know. So you don't want to have that in mind, you know, going into another tournament. I've had that mistake. Like when I beat Sampras in 2001, every match I played after that I wanted to play like when you beat Pete. But that's not how -- the way it works. I think I learned from that. You know, the hard courts, you know, you can scramble incredibly well. The reaction times, you know, are way quicker, you know. And everybody's a much better athlete on the hard courts than on the grass so you have to -- like Blake tonight, he's really quick so you have to make sure you finish those points and you've got to take some chances. Today, sometimes I did; sometimes I couldn't so...

Q. After he broke you in the second set and he was up 3-Love, what kind of changed for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I just told myself focus on that serve, you know, don't give him any easy points, which I thought I gave him. Maybe just had a concentration lack maybe for just a couple of points, and then he had another few good points. I just hoped I could hang in there in the second and give myself a chance. He definitely didn't play a great game where I broke back. But I just needed also same -- like he broke me, I just needed to play one or two good shots and that was enough. Once I was back in the second set, I had a good feeling that I could close it out in two.

Q. You haven't played doubles since early June in Germany. Why did you choose to play here?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, really to get back in the rhythm. One - how should I say? - one thing I needed to remember was my feet, was it gonna be good for my feet or not. Also not to really double up. In doubles, my expectations are not as high as in singles. As I haven't been playing for also five, six weeks, it's also always good to get back in the rhythm. I usually do that in the beginning of the clay court season, the beginning of the grass court season. So now this time I also decided to do it beginning of the hard court season. It's basically just a match tomorrow. If I win, great. If I lose, at least I got some match play in. I enjoy playing doubles. I used to play a lot before, but now that the singles has been so great, you know, it's tough to back it up with doubles.

Q. Davis Cup in mind?

ROGER FEDERER: Not really. More -- it's more for Yves and myself. I mean, obviously, you know, little bit egoistic, but he's happy, you know, that I'm playing with him obviously. He's always ready to play with me and when I call up on him, he's ready to go, which is great.

Q. Do you feel like one tournament's going to be enough for you to be ready for the Open?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I can't change it now, can I? So I hope, you know. Can't really answer with a yes or no. It's basically like Australian Open, though, for me. I only got basically one tournament, then the preparation week, then the big one comes around. The thing is at the US Open everybody is much more ready than at the Aussie Open. So definitely will be a tough one to win. US Open is always tough, I think - any Grand Slam. So for this, you know, it's for everybody the same. When it comes down to the Grand Slam, you got to be ready. I think I'm ready, you know. That's why I took a rest. Mentally and physically I'm feeling good, and that's just about getting at least the time on my racquet.

Q. Has winning Wimbledon taken the pressure off you for the rest of the year and in a sense altered your mentality?

ROGER FEDERER: What did it do to my mentality?

Q. Has it taken the pressure off you and altered it?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. Altered it?

Q. Changed.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I definitely feel less pressure, yes. Well, you know you got a Grand Slam in your bag - not just some kind of a Grand Slam, it's Wimbledon. So for me, this is a great season so far. You know, I'm really happy the way I've played. You look at my record, it is fantastic. So I obviously try to keep it up, you know. And, you know, I said I think in one of the interviews that everything that comes from now is a bonus for me. Not quite like that, you know, because I got still some big goals coming, you know. You know, you got this one here, you got US Open, you got the Davis Cup for me, hometown tournament in Basel, you got the other two Masters Series, you got Shanghai. You got really many tournaments still coming which for me is always special, but definitely, you know, if I don't win a match again until the end of the season, obviously it will be a little disappointing end but still it was a great season. To win always a Grand Slam is always great.

Q. What about your No. 1 position, ATP No. 1 position? Last week Nadal won.

ROGER FEDERER: It doesn't help, yeah (smiling).

Q. If he wins this tournament this week and if you don't, then your No. 1 position goes to Nadal?


Q. I don't know.

ROGER FEDERER: Probably not yet, huh? He's not quite that close yet so (smiling)... I'm sure I have a nice cushion, you know (smiling). No, you know, definitely the way he's been playing, he's definitely a great contender, you know. So obviously the next few months, I would say, because now this week it's not possible for him, but it's going to interesting to see. I got many more points to defend with the US Open and the Masters, you know. But, again, I didn't play the indoor season, which is a great season for me, too. So I got maybe some points I can make there. Obviously I think it's going to be an interesting end to the season, fight for No. 1. But I know I so far could keep my No. 1 position without losing it, it's been great. Obviously, I'm going to try to keep it this way. It's really brought me a lot as a person, also as a player. But it's not only him, there's also other great players that always got the chance, so I have to make sure I play well.

Q. James said when he was in the hospital in Rome you sent him a card. Can you talk about what he's been through, what impresses you about how he's playing now, everything he's gone through in the last year, year and a half.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was really touched, you know, with what happened to him. I was really disappointed. He's a really good guy, you know. Then, you know, also personal problems, you know, came about. Then also, you know, he couldn't really recuperate from, you know, the accident he had. So it's really hard to see that, you know. I think he's a happy guy and he knows that tennis is not everything, you know, especially in those moments. So to see him back, you know, enjoying the game, and also when he loses he's still in a way happy I think. He's happy to live through those great moments on center court, you know, playing against the best. I think this is what it's all about, you got to enjoy the game. And if you don't, you're in the wrong place. I think before it happened and after it happened he's still the same guy, which is great. Yeah, I'm really happy he's back, definitely. I hope his ranking is going to improve and he can play more often.

Q. You mentioned on the court after the match that you knew you were only 1-4 here before tonight. Any thoughts on why it hadn't come together here? Is it tough to come and adjust to these conditions in that first match right away usually?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, there's always sort of a reason why you lost, you know. Last year I was close, you know, to win the first, and who knows what happens. I always had the feeling conditions are quite quick here so I never really could get the rhythm maybe I wanted to have. Two years ago I lost to Nalbandian, which wasn't a great surprise, you know, but it was a close match. Three years ago my former coach, you know, he passed, a good friend passed away just a week before. So mentally I wasn't here. Basically four years ago I was a nobody, you know (smiling). So for me, that was not excuses, but are reasons why I lost, you know. This year, with maybe the better preparation, I hope it's going to go better. So far it's been all right, you know, so I hope I can improve on that.

End of FastScripts….

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