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March 11, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger Federer.

Q. Can you explain how you started this program with the ATP this evening, speaking with UNICEF, too.

ROGER FEDERER: I've been asked at the Australian Open, prior to the Australian Open, what I'll be doing more for tsunami or in general. I said, well, I was ready to basically play any match, any exhibition match. So I thought I had kind of an idea, and I saw, many of the players did many things themselves with the tournaments, auction, racquets, shirts, everything. I thought maybe we should do something, you know, together. I spoke to I think one of the ATP guys, and I told him, you know, we should maybe do that and consider that in the future. They right away thought that was a brilliant idea, and they started to work extremely hard. So definitely thanks a lot to the ATP and Charlie Pasarell already being able to do it here, because I thought this was too close of a date to do it, you know, because you've got to call all the individuals, you know. To come together is maybe not the easiest thing in tennis. To get the Top 10 all committed to tonight is for me fantastic, so I'm very happy.

Q. Do you think if you are together, there is more synergy, it's more important because you are together?

ROGER FEDERER: Uh-huh, yes, because how often do you see the top, you know, play within an hour or two? I thought, of course, you cannot make it five-setters or anything, you know. You have to keep it short but intense. That is something I sometimes miss in tennis. You always have to wait so long into the draw until you really see the top players, except if you go and look at the practice courts. But there it's not the same. Now having the fans involved and being able to see, you know, all the best, just in a short time, you know, I think it's very nice. And this for a good cause, I think this should go beyond this just tonight. I hope we can keep a good thing going.

Q. You played with Andre on the top of the hotel in Dubai. How was the feeling?

ROGER FEDERER: It was very nice. It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever lived through as a tennis player. It was definitely a thrill. I was nervous in the beginning, you know, even though I knew it was a thousand percent safe. We had a good time up there. With Andre, first time in Dubai. I've been there many times, defending champ. I thought the chemistry was right. It was really a lot of fun. Many people saw it. I've been asked many, many times, you know, how it was up there. I even heard that, you know, some guests or some people went up to there and said, "Well, I'd like to go and play tennis." They said, "We don't have a court." They said, "We know you have a court." They said, "It's gone. It's a heli pad." It's funny, you know.

Q. You were in South Africa. Can you speak about your South African side in your heart?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, my mom's from there. I've been going there many times as a kid for vacation. So last time I was there was four years ago, and now last week. We don't have much family left in South Africa, but I also went down there, you know, for vacation as well, but also for my project that I support with my foundation. You know, maybe people saw the pictures on the website and all this. It was very interesting to see how those people live to get just a point of view of what they are going through. That actually may help where I really want it to get, to the kids for a better education, being able to eat properly. I support 30 kids down there. It was very emotional, I have to say. This gives me a lot of, I don't know, motivation to do more for such people.

Q. After the success of 2004, how have you really approached 2005? Do you think there's a little more pressure on you this year to try and reproduce what you did in 2004? Do you also think that the start of this year, with the Australian Open loss and some very close matches at other tournaments, made the rest of the pack catch up a little bit or is it too early to say that?

ROGER FEDERER: If I want to repeat what I did last year, I've already messed it up. Got to win the French or the next three. So we'll see, you know (smiling). You know, I want to stay No. 1 in the world. I'm No. 1 in the race again, so that's exactly the position I wanted before the American hard courts. One point away from being in the final. So it was very close. It's not like I lost in straight sets and had no chance against Safin. Then, you know, you could wonder. But the way the match turned out, you know, for me it was quickly forgotten. The reaction was good. You know, I agree, there were some close matches. But the finals against Ljubicic in Rotterdam, he played a great match. I was really struggling with my rhythm in the beginning of Dubai. But that's how it is. Still, you know, hang in the tournament. I'm very happy that I won back-to-back titles again. So I'm feeling good. Everybody expected me to win the Australian, I know that. But it's not as easy to do, you know. Had one little foot injury, and that cost me the title. That's how quick it can go. This is why going for four is just not something I'm aiming for.

Q. You mentioned Ljubicic. Imagine that you're that tall, and you played with him recently a couple of times in some tournaments, how would your game be if you were that tall?


Q. He's a tall guy.

ROGER FEDERER: He's a tall guy, yes.

Q. Imagine that you're tall like he is. What would be your game? How is it for you playing somebody that tall?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I would probably play different, you know. I'm as big as I am. I've got to live with that. I'm happy, you know (smiling). Not much I can change there. I think, you know, the tall guys, they definitely have the advantage on the serve, maybe less on the movement. It's very simple. So I would be a different player. Same if I would be small guy. You know, I would have to be extremely quick, you know, maybe very tough mentally. I don't know. I don't -- actually never ask myself that question.

Q. Do you prepare differently for the heat in this environment?

ROGER FEDERER: To be honest, not really, no. Just get used to it, you know, during practice. We play enough times in the heat, some smaller events that we don't play any more, challengers and satellites, they've been played at 55 degrees. You know, we're lucky actually we're playing in a period of time at the places where actually you can handle it. I mean, I had a sunstroke after Indian Wells last year, but that was after the final, so it came at the right time. No, I don't really prepare. You just have to get used to it. Make sure you drink enough, all those things. But those are simple.

Q. Ivan Ljubicic is playing very good. How do you see his chances to win the big tournaments like this one or maybe the Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the way he's playing right now, you know, he's on the right track. But you got to win titles, you know, and he didn't do that so far this year. I mean, I was in the way three times. You know, as soon as he's going to start winning them, we will see what he's made of. So far he hasn't, so... He's a good player. He's definitely a threat to all the big guys, we know that. But it's consistency we need to see now.

Q. What is your coaching situation? Are you still working with Roche at all?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, still the same. Haven't seen him since Australia. Probably will see him after Miami.

Q. How did you suffer a heat stroke after the tournament? You said you had a sunstroke after Indian Wells last year.


Q. The tournament was over.

ROGER FEDERER: How should I explain? I think the pressure was off, you know. Maybe my immune system shut down and it got to me. I don't know. Anyway, the following Monday I was not feeling good, and for four or five days after that. My preparation for Miami wasn't the best. But I'm happy it came after the tournament and not during a semifinals or anything because that would have been impossible to play with the sunstroke.

Q. Use sunscreen.

ROGER FEDERER: We'll see. Does that help? I'm not sure.

End of FastScripts….

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