home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 31, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel about the way you played?

ROGER FEDERER: It was definitely one of my best matches this week, very clearly. Still have the feeling I could serve better, you know, just to maybe get a few more free points. But from the baseline was really good today. I felt much better than the last few days. Also, I think, you know, moving, my movement was good, which is always a key to my success.

Q. You obviously had the benefit of having a day's rest after what looked like two very tough, tight matches for you. Is that something you needed, do you think, just to get yourself...

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it helped, you know. You know at these events eventually you get your days off if you keep on winning. Even though I didn't feel that tired, the match against Ancic was quite short still for a three-setter, and physically it's no problem, yeah. So I'm used to that.

Q. Did you at any stage feel particularly threatened today?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, middle through the first set I started to feel like I was not getting in the first serves I really wanted to, and he was keeping coming in, you know. I knew that, you know, maybe after some time I won't make all those passing shots anymore, and that's exactly what happened. I missed quite an easy one at 30-All, he got his breakpoint and you start thinking about it. I think the key to the match was the breakpoint. Served a good second serve to get out of it. Once I won the set, you know, actually went quite smooth. I started to feel great from the baseline. He was under pressure and he was trying to create something, then it's obviously tough, you know.

Q. That second serve, you had a couple straight into his body the game before that. Were you looking to go down the middle or thinking about the one into the body?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I like to mix it up against him because he's got a great backhand slice, you know. So sometimes you want to stay away from it because, you know, you're going to kick serve, and, you know, the next thing you're going to do is hit a passing shot. I'd rather let him do something with it, so I kick it into the body or just move it around. Easier said than done. I hardly served any double-faults, which also is important against him.

Q. Have you had blisters this week?

ROGER FEDERER: No, that's usual protection I do for every match on the tour. Tape was just wet and it came off. I didn't want it to be bothering me, you know, so I took it all off.

Q. You play either Agassi or Dent next. I know you've played Agassi a lot. You never played Dent. Can you talk about the prospect of playing each.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, what can I say? Dent, I've known him since junior times. I lost to him one time there on grass. I think that's the only time we really played. Now, you know, I've seen him, the way he was been playing over the years, you know, so it's nice to see that he's really playing well and beating good players. I definitely give him a chance against Agassi tonight. For me, Agassi is the favorite. He loves this tournament. He's won it many, many times. If I play Agassi, of course, that's also a tough match, just him -- playing him here, it's almost, maybe, probably his favorite tournament, the tournament he won the most. So it will be a tough match, but really looking forward to that, if it happens.

Q. Can you talk about your US Open match with him last year.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, that was an awkward match. We had to play through two days in unbelievable winds, a lot of condition changes, you know. I played a good match; him, too. In the end, it was almost a thriller. It was important to get through that one, because you see what happened after that.

Q. You still have a losing record against Tim Henman.

ROGER FEDERER: Still (smiling)?

Q. Still. You played 10 times, you've only won four. What's the key now to your success compared to, you know, your losses in the early days?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I have the feeling, you know, I serve and return better. Just those two things make it harder for him now maybe to play his game against me. You know, many, many things. Now of course confidence. Maybe it's in his head now that he has to turn things around whereas before I had to. I had a few close matches in the beginning. I remember having matchpoint in Vienna, I should have actually won that match but I ended up losing it. You know, he beat me a couple of tough ones back home in Basel, once in the finals, once in the quarters. I think the first win against him, I got it here, where he gave up at 6-2 up for me, where he could not move. So that was like my first win against Henman, you know, that's great. But then I knew the next time I played him, I went, "Oh, no, he's fit again." But that I could turn it around was great. I enjoy playing against him because you always get good rallies going.

Q. 18 out of 21 at the net. Are you trying to show Tim you can play up there as well as he can?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't even know about the stats. Important is when I come to the net, I finish off the volleys, I don't put myself into such tough positions like he's in all the time, because he takes chances at the net. But he's also, for me, in my eyes, the best at the net. So he should do that. I'd rather come in to really finish off the points, you know. This is the reason why I had such a good percentage from there.

Q. Is there a shot that you don't have that you'd like to have?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I see many players with different great shots which I would like to have but...

Q. Which one?

ROGER FEDERER: There's many. There's many, you know. There's enough shots I would like to have, but I'm the player I am and I can't change that. But I'm happy with the variety of shots I can pull off and I can do. It's just important to use them at the right time.

Q. There are a lot of players on this tour who like to inspect three, four balls, look for the right amount of fuzz on the ball, laying down on the ball. There's no fuss with you. You take two balls. Do you think all that's overrated, inspecting balls?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I kind of look at the balls as well, you know, just take the newest one so all the balls are being played the same, you know. Not that there's one very old one, very new one. You try to get them all the same. But I don't know. I guess it's just a focus, you know, players have. They'd rather take the right ball. An extreme is when they ask for a ball they just served with, so they want it all the way from the other side, like Goran used to do. But that's funny, too, you know. But we don't see that too often happening anymore.

Q. From watching upstairs, it all looks slightly matter-of-fact, slightly routine, I know it isn't, but from the viewpoint in the box it does. Are you frankly amazed that you keep on playing so well and keep winning and keep going, keep playing at the level you're playing at?

ROGER FEDERER: In the end, you know, the last couple of games when I broke him, I really feel like now I'm really starting to pick up my game from the baseline, starting to really play well and everything is coming together, this is when I really start to feel well. But, you know, I have to fight for being up 6-4, 5-2. From then on, you know, everything is easy. But I am surprised, you know, to have, again, such a great start to the season after last year's season where I really thought, "Jesus, how in the world will I defend all those titles, and how will I maintain this level?" Because people expect so much. You have to feel well almost on every day, you know, to come through, because everybody wants to beat you out there. That I could maintain such a high level, you know, is, for me, a little bit of a surprise. That's clear. Even though, you know, in the bottom, I know I can do it, you know. But then to really do it is a different thing again.

Q. Can it ever get tough to stay focused? Or because everyone wants to beat you, it makes it easy?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, as the No. 1 in the world, you just don't want to give away victories to other guys. Then they can say, "Yeah, I beat the No. 1 player in the world." At least you want to make it tough for them. I think this is the motivation I have and found. It makes me a better player, a tougher player especially. I'm happy I live through this.

Q. How old were you when you played Dent? Do you remember?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, must have been almost 17.

Q. You said it was on grass, was it Wimbledon or Eastbourne?

ROGER FEDERER: No, the week before. Lost in three sets.

Q. Have you spoken on the phone at all with Tony?

ROGER FEDERER: Haven't, no.

Q. Nothing, nothing you need to discuss?

ROGER FEDERER: Nothing I can tell you, no, as we didn't speak.

Q. Still special if you meet Andre?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, I would look forward for sure, you know. He's done so much for the game. He's got a great story here in Miami. We played the finals here a couple of years ago, which was for me one of my breakthrough results in a way. Helped me to kind of get my game going. Was a great experience. Now, you know, I'm the No. 1 in the world. But to still play Andre, who just picks a few events a year, you know, you always know you're going to play him when he's at his best. Especially in the semifinals, you know, there's no more kidding around. Would really look forward to a match with him. If it's Dent, that's okay, too. I think also that would be quite interesting.

Q. Do you ever get off days, when you wake up in the morning when things don't feel too right?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I consider myself quite lucky, you know, to be very little sick, you know. Because I remember in the past, you know, when I came on tour, I got sometimes little fever, little cold here and there, but just now it seems like I've come through that, you know.

Q. I don't mean illness.

ROGER FEDERER: But this is one thing, you know, which really puts you off. You think about that and not about the game. With injuries, you know, I'm also very lucky. But of course I wake up on days and I'm hurt, I'm like, "Oh, again?" But very seldom, because I know my exact plan for the day, you know, when I wake up in the morning. I know what I have to do, so you're ready for it. I think if you go to bed and you think you got vacation tomorrow and you got to play a five-setter, this is when it's not good. But that never happens, so...

Q. After that final with Andre a few years ago, he spoke with such high regard for you. At that time in your career, he felt he could exploit high backhands. Was that once a problem you had to iron out?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. My backhand was definitely my weaker shot; it still is, you know, for some. I've definitely improved it because everybody's been going to it, you know. Of course serving is the easiest thing to do, just to go to the backhand. I had to improve it, you know. I think footwork was also a thing I was not doing well on my backhand side. Since I got that right, my backhand's been a much better shot. Especially on the passing shot, I can really rely on it.

Q. Was it just a matter of hitting a million backhands?

ROGER FEDERER: I guess so, yeah.

Q. Do you feel the crowd support here? Do you even think about it when you're out there?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel there is a buzz out there, you know, when I come on court. It seems like they enjoy coming out to watch me, you know. Also at the practice sessions, there's always many, many people watching. So I feel like, yeah, here in America I'm well-liked. So that's nice.

Q. Is there someone you consider who taught you how to play, someone whose game you modeled yours after?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I used to play much more aggressive, you know, when I was younger. When I came on tour, you know, I took many more risks on every part of my game. You know, I came to the net much more often. But, you know, I think I figured out myself how to play. Of course you get tips and tactics, everything from your coaches. But I think in the end, you know, I'm playing the way, now, the way I'm comfortable. That's the winning game.

Q. You mentioned all the tournaments you have to defend this year. Does that feel like pressure or more like an opportunity?

ROGER FEDERER: More pressure, I would say, yeah. Because, I mean, on the big, big tournaments, like the Grand Slams, you really feel it, you know. Because you're like there, you're like, "Oh, my God, if I lose this, you lose so many points." I don't know, you don't want to lose your reigning Wimbledon champion or reigning Australian Open champ. I feel pressure, you know, but it's almost a weird situation I'm in this week, I have hardly any points to defend. Suddenly I'm in the semis. Yeah, I got some points so (smiling). Really looking forward to the clay season as well. I really hope I can play well there, especially at the French, of course. Yeah, I think the tough times will come after Wimbledon, you know, when I really haven't lost a match, you know. So we'll see.

Q. John McEnroe once only lost three matches in an entire season.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I know.

Q. Is that conceivable for you?

ROGER FEDERER: No (smiling). I'm happy the way it is right now. Last year was good.

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297