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March 17, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. Did you feel shocked after the first game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, he played an unbelievable game. Maybe I didn't serve that great. You know, I missed three serves. But that normally doesn't make you lose a game the way I did. But I expected a tough match because, you know, the way he won his matches, I really thought he's going to play extremely aggressive and that's going to make me work extremely hard, especially on the concentration side. You know, when he started like this, I got a little scared almost. But right away I calmed down after I broke him back. Then things, you know, got smoother. I got into the match. That was important because, I mean, he missed an easy shot there at 30-All which normally he wouldn't. That kind of maybe changed a bit the momentum of the match.

Q. You played him a lot over the years, lost to him the first couple of times, but you've beat him the last three times. Do you feel like you've finally started to figure him out?

ROGER FEDERER: The matches I lost were always tough and tight. Played him several times on grass. Indoors, as well. I really played him on all surfaces, the second time here. But somehow, you know, in the beginning of my career, my game didn't really match up maybe too well with him because he really runs very well. I would maybe panic quite quickly. From the baseline, I always had the feeling against double-handed players, I wasn't the better player. Now I can turn it around. I feel very good off the baseline. I'm playing the right shots at the right time. I think that makes a difference. Also my serve has improved so much over the years, this also has made a difference. But again, next match can be different. For the moment I'm feeling good when I play against Kiefer.

Q. You didn't have a very good game when you served at 5-3 in the first. You reacted immediately the game after. Can you tell us how you manage to forget that kind of accident?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was -- it was a very disappointing game for me, to give away a game like this at 5-3, I wasn't happy. But, I don't know, I had the feeling that on his serve, I was reading it well, getting back a lot of his first serves especially. The second serve is usually never as big of a problem against anybody. I had the feeling if I get off to a good start, I could break him immediately, and I did. Played a great shot on set point. Again, you know, the reaction was good. That's what you've got to keep on doing. I always love to stay ahead. If I can do that, I'm a better player.

Q. You cooled off a pretty hot player today. Where is your level right now? Can you sort of assess where you are?

ROGER FEDERER: I am so far very good. You know, I haven't lost a set. That is always something good. You know saved energy. I've been really playing well. You know, sometimes you win matches, if you're No. 1 in the world, you still don't feel very happy. But this week has been very good. I like the surface. Last night against Ljubicic I think maybe was my best match so far. But also tonight, you know, there was a solid performance needed, you know, to get through because he's been playing well. If he gets off to a really good start, he almost had, it might have been tough to beat him. But turned it around quickly and changed things. So I'm looking forward to the next match because that is going to be a tough one. I've only played him one time and lost. So try to change that. You know, now semifinals, don't like to lose those.

Q. Where was that?

ROGER FEDERER: Toronto a couple years ago, in the heat (smiling).

Q. Last night's match was such a high-level match. The stadium was a third full, it wasn't as loud as it could have been. Were you disappointed there weren't more people out to see that match?

ROGER FEDERER: It was very cold. Many people also left after the first set, which is a little bit disappointing to see. But I understand, you know, it's cold. Maybe there's kids there, elder people who maybe usually go to bed earlier, I don't know. But it's a huge stadium. We should not forget that. You cannot expect that for every match 15,000 people are there when it's so cold, you know. But I don't know. I thought it was okay. Tonight already many more people stayed. I think it was because of the conditions last night.

Q. Do you think Kiefer has the potential to come back in the Top 10?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe if he keeps on playing the way he did, even though I didn't see him. He's got a dangerous game, you know, where he mixes up well. He's got definitely one of the best returns out there. I have the feeling he's playing very aggressive off the baseline now, not maybe pushing the ball as much as he used to. That might be a solution for him to come back in the Top 10. I mean, we all know and see his potential. If you want to get there, you got to play consistent or just win a big one. That's all it takes.

Q. What do you think about Canas?

ROGER FEDERER: What do I think? Good player, you know. He's having a good tournament so far. I don't know him very well. I've only played him once a few years ago. Practiced with him maybe once or twice in the meantime. He's famous for running balls down which are over usually. He's got his good weeks, but he also has his bad weeks. This is definitely a good one. I have to make sure, you know, I beat him because this is getting to a very important stage of the tournament right now.

Q. A previous week you visited New Brighton township and visited the AIDS and tuberculosis victims. There was an idea that you would like to help preschool children in some future quest with your foundation. Are you going to do that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've just seen it. It's not actually what I'm supporting exactly. I'm supporting the project where I help kids to have a better education. The project that I support also supports AIDS victims. I went to see that, as well, but that's not really where my money is going, I would say, my help. But it's definitely one thing to consider because it got me very emotional, you know, to see all that. It's something to consider. For the moment, I want to really focus also on the poor people who are maybe just walking around in the townships and actually cannot go to school at all. I want to help them do that first. Maybe over the years we'll see what happens.

Q. You seem to be very friendly and good to the kids at these tournaments. Some pros don't have the time. Do you have a philosophy with that?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe because I used to be a ballboy, as well. I would get very disappointed, you know, if maybe Marc Rosset wouldn't sign my paper (laughter). I was fighting to get his. In the end, I got it. Some players don't like to sign - others do. I loved to get the signature. So maybe this is one of the reasons why I take more time. This tournament seems very relaxed, you know. I can take more time also for the people because many spectators come and watch the practice sessions. There you always get time to do that. There's many youngsters here. I like to see that. I just think it's a normal thing to do. Nothing too special, so.

End of FastScripts….

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