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March 29, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Federer. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Two nights in a row you played, two nights it was pretty tough games.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, so, that's exactly what happened. Two tough matches in a row, so I deserve a break tomorrow (smiling).

Q. Are these the type of matches that you would have lost back in 2002, the beginning of 2003, now you're pulling them out because of more confidence?

ROGER FEDERER: Could have been, but it's always hard to say. I'm definitely stronger mentally, you know, than in the past. Yeah, so I just have the feeling I can rely on many strengths in my game which carry me through sometimes, even though maybe I'm not playing great. Like it happened especially tonight. I never really felt I got the rhythm, but still came through, you know. It was obvious it's going to be hard to find the rhythm against Ancic because he serves so big. But still I would have liked just to feel better from the baseline.

Q. Did his return of serve surprise you at all tonight? He seemed to be getting a lot of balls back in play.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the conditions are very slow it seems. I wasn't surprised. You know, he's got a good backhand. That one had surprised me back in Wimbledon. I know about his serve, but maybe his second serve return is sometimes a little underrated. No, I did well to come through tonight. I'm really happy.

Q. Did it surprise you, the strength of Nadal, so there will be no other final with you and Ljubicic?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I knew this was going to be an open match between the guys. They've been both playing well. You know, Nadal hasn't been having the chance really to show how good he really is. But I felt it here last year, so I'm not surprised at all. It's a good surface for him, you know. I'm favoring him for the finals on the other side of the draw.

Q. There was a moment of frustration out there. The second set seemed more laborious for you than the first one.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I started poorly, you know, the match by getting broken straightaway. Bounced back and, you know, started to really return okay, started dominating from the baseline. As the match went on, he start to serve better. I only got a couple of chances, and I missed those. I think I got a little irritated and, you know, threw my racquet a couple of times, which normally doesn't happen very often, you know. But I was just really disappointed, you know, sometimes of my -- the way I chose my shots. But this is definitely something I can improve on for the next match. And in the end, you know, I'm always happy to come through, even though I didn't play great.

Q. Tim Henman is up a set right now. He'd be your opponent if he wins that match. You practiced with him last week. Any tips on how to play him?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we flew together here, you know, so we're good buddies. We get along well. He gives you a tough match because he keeps coming at you. But I think on the outdoors, you know, he's not as good as indoors. But still, you know, nothing to underrate. I've lost to him several times. I expect a tough match if it's him. But also Stepanek can be tough, you know. But I really have to improve my game if I want to keep on winning.

Q. It's still very possible that you might win back-to-back Masters Series tournaments, having won in Indian Wells the week before last. Is this a really special goal for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've never done it, you know. I think if you want to do it somewhere, this is the best place to do it, you know, because you've got a couple of days between the two tournaments. This one is considered the biggest one of the nine, you know; points and prize money are the same, but it's just about prestige. It would be a nice thing to do because if you cannot win a Grand Slam, you know, at the Australian Open, that would be great to show, hey, you're still the best, even though I feel like I am because of my results and because I've lost so few matches, you know, the last couple of months. So that would be a great thing to do but, really, I'm too focused on my own game right now because it could be better. But looking forward to the next match, and hopefully with a day off, that's going to give me some time to maybe work on my game.

Q. Do you think you might get on a roll and win all nine this year?

ROGER FEDERER: All nine (smiling). It's a new goal, you know. Instead of winning the four Grand Slams, you win the nine Masters Series. I'll take that as well, you know (smiling).

Q. Did the wind bother you much today?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it was better today. It was better tonight. I had the feeling occasionally, you know, some breeze came up. But it wasn't bad, so it didn't affect the game too much.

End of FastScripts….

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