June 19, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, again, Ladies and Gentlemen. Can I present the 2004 men's Wimbledon Champion, Roger Federer. Let me emphasize again how much we appreciate you coming today and all the things you've been doing.
ROGER FEDERER: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Who would like to ask the first question.
Q. Is it a relief now that you're actually here to get ready after all the hype and talking about it, a relief to actually be here?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think relief will be over once the first match is played. There will be tension, tension's all the way up there and through the match. I think that's sort of normal. But I'm feeling pretty good. I had a great week in Halle and the preparation has been all right. So I'm really looking forward to this first match because it's going to be very important starting the whole two weeks.
Q. Anything special this time over, the third time?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know, it's always special to come here, no matter how you play the year before. I've got high hopes of doing well again, of course. Everything's been going according to plan really. I have no real excuses so far, you know, in case something would happen. I'm looking forward. The grass, I've always shown that I really enjoy it. Staying again at a house down in Wimbledon and everything's pretty normal.
Q. It's 29 in a row I think on grass. Do you feel invincible on this surface?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't. I should have lost last week in the first round, but sort of came through and won. It's always very, very tough on the grass because it's only a matter of a few points always. That's the difference I've been able to do last 29 matches. So hopefully I can keep it alive, you know, especially in the early rounds. I'm always going to be the heavy favorite. I hope I can keep the streak alive.
Q. One of the things they say about great champions at Wimbledon is they own Centre Court. Borg and Sampras had that. Do you feel you are building that sort of aura?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I keep playing as good as I have the last few years, yeah. I mean, it's definitely looking good, you know. But there's always other players around who want the same thing. So I have to make sure I get through this first round and then, you know, sort of get a feeling for The Championships again and hopefully to really try to defend it. But I can't really think too far. But, of course, now I've gotten to really enjoy playing on Centre Court. You know, my first experience was fantastic, it was the win over Sampras. Ever since, it's always been a dream for me to be able to play on Centre again.
Q. Who do you see as your main threat, or is it just the usual suspects really?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think, you know, Roddick, Hewitt and Henman are for me the main rivals.
Q. When you come here the week before the tournament, do you have a method for preparation? For example, do you like to start out with high-intensity workouts and then gradually let go as you approach your first match? Do you stay on pretty much the same level with your practices?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it depends a little bit on how I feel really.
Q. This week, for example.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I came and I was quite tired, you know, you can imagine after the French and Hamburg and Halle. Yeah, took some energy out of me. So I arrived, I was quite tired. You know, it rained in the beginning, so we had to adjust to the rain in the beginning. Still felt a little bit tired, so I just practiced like about one and a half hours to two hours a day, where maybe normally I practice a little more. I mean, now I'm just trying to prepare as good as I can, save the energy I have, you know, for the up-and-coming two weeks. But, you know, yesterday and today I'll probably just hit an hour, one and a half hours, just to make sure I'm ready.
Q. So you don't feel like you need at least one high-intensity practice?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. Practice is always intense. I'd rather do quality than quantity.
Q. Why do you put Henman at one of your rivals?
ROGER FEDERER: Why?
ROGER FEDERER: Why not (smiling)? For me, he is one of the guys that plays best on grass. He's very experienced on the surface. It really needs a very good player to beat him, I think, yeah, somebody to stop him.
Q. Speaking of another rival, Andy Roddick, finished No. 1 in 2003. He's now No. 4 in the rankings. You, Hewitt and Nadal are ahead of him. Do you think that his game has slipped some, or have you all just been able to improve more than he has the last year and a half?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think he had some tough losses against Lleyton, you know, the last three, I would say: The Masters Cup, the Australian Open and Indian Wells. You know, some of them were quite close, like the Aussie Open and Indian Wells. Who knows if he would have come through one of those, he would have maybe won a tournament. But he hasn't been able to win the big ones, and that's why obviously his ranking's going to slip. Yeah, he hasn't been able to really be a part of let's say the Masters Series or Grand Slam, you know, semifinals or finals, all the way up there. But I feel like on the grass, he showed it in Queen's, you know, he's ready to do it again. So for me I think he's the biggest threat of all.
Q. Do you think that's a mental or physical thing that he hasn't been able to break through?
ROGER FEDERER: It's just he's going maybe through a time where results are just not quite there like he would like to. I mean, he's struggling with a wrist injury at one of his favorite tournaments, in Miami. It's not so easy also. Then you have maybe a bad day and right away you don't win the tournaments any more. But he's still ranked in the best of the world. It's shown also with maybe not playing great, he's still at the top.
Q. At the beginning you were saying at the start of the tournament that there's a bit of tension around. How does that tension manifest itself? Do you just go quiet? Do you get irritable? Do you want to be on your own?
ROGER FEDERER: What I do, just keep my routine really. Nothing really special, to be honest. I just try to be more calm and maybe in practice you get a little more quickly irritated. I think that is almost a good thing at times, you know, when you get a little nervous and you're not so happy with your game, because it's important that you feel well in the match situation, you know. We're sharing a house all together, so of course I can hide in my room. But I'd rather be with the group I'm here with and just have a good time and enjoy the tournament because it's not supposed to be like, "Oh, no, Wimbledon's coming along. All the pressure is here." You also have to be able to enjoy.
Q. When you walk on the court tomorrow, how much is there an opportunity to appreciate the moment?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, so-so. I mean, you'll be really focused walking those first few steps. But I think I'll definitely take a look around and say, "Wow, here is where I lived some great moments already." Haven't hit a ball here since match point, you know, last year. It's definitely going to be special.
Q. How would you characterize historically what it would mean to win three Wimbledons?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know how many players have achieved to win three in a row. Already to win two is fantastic, I feel, you know, because you really prove the first time wasn't just like that. You really proved it again. Obviously now I'm at a level where two or three almost doesn't play a big role. But that would definitely even show how much better I can be, you know, to actually win three in a row. That would be something really fantastic at my favorite event, you know. Yeah, we'll see if that's going to happen.
Q. Are you feeling under any extra pressure because of the three in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Two, three, five, 10 in a row, it doesn't really matter to me. It's about The Championships itself. I'm really excited to be back again healthy because you never know if you're going to miss it because of injury or anything. So I'm happy to be here and have again a great preparation. That is putting more pressure on me than having the opportunity to win three.
Q. That would put you in pretty heady company. How does that make you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: I've had this on a number of occasions now over the last couple of -- you know, let's say last year or so where I could go into another sort of league, you know, either by winning the Laureus Sports Award or adding more titles or winning more finals in a row or keeping more streaks going. So this is nothing really new for me.
Q. When you won 14 matches in a row at this tournament, it would be very easy to say don't change anything, don't tinker with anything. Now Tony is here. He has a great deal of expertise on grass. Has he offered any suggestions on how you might actually do more? Is his philosophy not to change anything?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's not so easy just to say don't change anything because you've played this amount of matches, you know, in between the years. So it's not -- you can't just come and just play like last year. This doesn't work. I tried this in 2002 when I came after I beat Sampras here. I said, "Play like when you played against Sampras." Then you come and I lose in straight sets. It just doesn't always work the way you want. But Tony and myself, we have a sort of same understanding of how I think I should play. So that's good, you know, because I was a little bit worried that he's going to say serve and volley too much or stay too much at the back. So we got that right at least. Was the same for the clay court surface, which was important to me. Yeah, I'm happy he's here because he wasn't supposed to come to the grass court season. But his wife flew in. Gives us some more time together, so that's nice because I didn't expect that.
Q. You mentioned you're a little tired coming here. When you keep on winning and dominating the game like you recently were, is it hard to say, "I need to stop now, I need a rest," or you're just experimenting and say, "How far can I take this winning streak"?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's something quite difficult, you know, because I always try to make a plan where no matter if I win or lose I can stick to the plan. I find that very important. I hate to pull out of events, especially me being No. 1 in the world, you know, they build up a lot of me coming to their tournament or city. And then pulling out, you know, a few days before the event, it's not something I like doing because of tiredness or injury and so on. I mean, after Wimbledon I've got holidays. I'm not going to play up until Montreal. I mean, I got time to recuperate after that. By now I already feel better than, you know, when I arrived on Tuesday, Wednesday because I had a couple of hectic days. So now I'm not worried to enter this tournament, you know, tired. It was just sort of a little couple days where I felt a little exhausted, where now I feel much better.
Q. Would Mathieu be a little tougher than you would expect for a first-round opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: Mathieu, yeah, he's a good player. I've known him since junior times. I think we only played on maybe one or two occasions. Even though I think his favorite surface is the clay, you know, but the grass courts aren't that quick any more like they used to be. Maybe now with the warm weather also, that's not going to really make them much quicker either. Actually it's going to make them slower. It's maybe going to be better for him, too. Like you said, you know, he's talented. So normally talents, they can explore especially the good shots on the grass, too. So definitely have to watch out.
Q. Are the courts slower than in Halle?
ROGER FEDERER: The courts feel slower here, yeah, than Halle.
Q. You were talking about the condition of the surface. Do you prefer a slower surface or a faster surface for your own natural game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the conditions here at Wimbledon are perfect for me (smiling). That's all I can say.
Q. The fact you said you're taking holidays after Wimbledon, does it mean you're not playing Gstaad?
ROGER FEDERER: Correct.
Q. That means you'll miss out on maybe winning a cow or something.
ROGER FEDERER: Thank God (smiling).
Q. You mentioned Henman as one of the threats for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, not for me, for the tournament, yeah. For me, I mean, I don't want to play him.
Q. You won here twice, and Tim hasn't reached a final yet. If we remove you from the equation for a moment, you have to give him advice to go that one step further, what would you say?
ROGER FEDERER: Through the camera and press (smiling)? I don't know that I'm good enough that I can tell him. Once I lose, I'll give him an advice. But as long as I'm in the draw, I won't do that. He knows himself he's got the game to do well here and to maybe win. He's shown how consistent he can be over the years. I think you've got to give him a lot of credit for that, too. The players he's lost to here are not, you know, just some clay-courters or anything. They all know how to play on this surface. I think he's got quite a tough draw, but he's had that over the years I think on a few times. I think he can handle all that. He handled pressure great the last few years, so I expect him to go far again this year.
Q. When you talk about the courts being a little slower than they were a few years ago, yesterday both Nadal and Marat Safin gave themselves very little chance of doing well here . Do you think it's become a situation where it's more psychological than physical, the barriers for those sort of guys to come here and feel they can do well at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know if it's much slower than a few years ago. I've always felt like the conditions are pretty similar. I think it's got a lot to do how you approach the tournament because, of course, from Nadal, I would say the surface is quick because he can't slide. Already that changes a lot in the footwork. Right away the points are played differently, you know, where he has to go for more, he feels like the opponents are more dangerous, and he's more vulnerable. But every player feels this way. It's if you look at it positive or negative, I have the feeling. Of course, you know, the ones who really enjoy the grass, they also have the feeling they're going to do better. The ones who don't really like it, well, the chances are slimmer for them. I just have the feeling it's a lot to do with if you believe you can do well, because for everybody the season's short. It's not so easy for everyone.
Q. Are you the type of person who dwells on disappointments, finds motivation from that? You've only lost three matches this year. Do those stand out for you or do you focus on the positive and put things like that behind you?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I remember more the wins, of course. I've had 10 times more wins, you know, than defeats. I always remember the good times, of course. But I think important is always to show reaction once you lose. I think that's what I've really been able to do very well. Every time I lost, I got back on a winning streak. Same after the French, right away I reacted and won a tournament. That right away puts -- you forgeet it much quicker, you know. But I have to say I can cope with losses much easier than I used to. I used to cry very much and be very disappointed once I lost. But with all the success I've had over the last few years now, it's really become no problem for me to handle it and actually understand why I've lost and sort of explain it to myself and then move on from there.
Q. Was there something in particular that helped you change that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the many wins I had (smiling).
Q. What are your shoes made of?
ROGER FEDERER: They're gold (lifting his foot up).
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