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January 27, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How bad was your elbow and back bothering you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, back was no problem. Just had a nerve going all the way to my finger. On forehands, you know, especially at the end of the fourth. So just said if you've got a chance to have treatment, why not take it? It did help actually. It was better in the fifth. But what was bothering me the most was my blister on my foot. I had that from almost from the second set on. That was actually bothering me the most.

Q. Is there any sort of consolation in the disappointment that you've been involved in such a match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I haven't been involved in too many of such great matches. You know, I played my last five-setter must have been here against Hewitt maybe in the Davis Cup. I'm not sure. It's really unfortunate. You know, I thought I played, under the circumstances, really well. Yeah, a point here and there changed the match. So that was a pity. But at least I gave it a fight, you know.

Q. Did you think when you kept saving match points that it was going to turn for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I had chances in the fifth. I had breakpoints and Love-30s. Of course, you know, when he was serving for the match, I wasn't feeling overconfident. I was -- I surprised myself by coming back, you know, because I had all these problems, you know, and he has a great serve and a great game. Well, he was obviously more fresh than me, so I thought there was probably no way coming back. Had the feeling like he gave me a second chance, you know, and almost took it. It's really a pity. I mean, I had my chances, but he didn't allow me to take them. But I was closer in the fourth than in the fifth, so.

Q. On your own match point, did you have other options or was that kind of like a last-ditch attempt?

ROGER FEDERER: You mean the serve and volley?

Q. When you went through the legs.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I thought I would have lost the point anyway. He came up with a good shot, you know, to lob me. Got to have some guts to do that, so it's well done.

Q. There's been so much expectation on you the last couple of months. Did you feel the pressure out there of expectation or were you able to block that out?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I live my whole life with pressure, so this is nothing different, you know. I thought, you know, it was a match like every other match. You know, he's one of the best players in the world. I like to play against him just because of the way he is on the court. In the past we had some good matches. I was just, you know, hoping to win it, you know, like every other match. But I didn't feel extra pressure. Maybe at times you think, "Oh, I have to defend my title and I'm battling to get to the finals." But that's -- you know, I just told myself I'm going to try everything tonight, you know, to get the two days off and then try to be fit for the finals. That's not going to happen, so...

Q. Given how inconsistent he can be at times, unpredictable, was there a part of you at any point that was thinking that maybe he was going to lose his nerve?

ROGER FEDERER: Who are you talking about, him?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought, you know, his serve was consistent. You know, he hardly served any double-faults, you know. When he needed his first serve, you know, he got it. So that's just the way he plays. He's got great returns, but even though I thought I battled them off quite well, you know. I mean, I got what I expected. So it was no surprise.

Q. Was there any sense at all, even though it's just one match, that he's a mentally tougher opponent than perhaps the Marat Safin you played previously?

ROGER FEDERER: No. No. I mean, played him in Houston and Dubai and here last year. I know him like this. You know, he's still sometimes lose his mind, but I think he needs that, you know. And I totally understand him. And for this reason, no, I don't think he changed much, no.

Q. Considering how close you came, does this hurt more than other losses?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, of course. You know, it was losing by having match point, it's always going to hurt, no matter how great the match was. But, you know, at least you can leave the place feeling good about yourself because I thought I gave it all I had, and that's all I got. He was the better player in the end, you know, because we don't have ties or draws in tennis. So the winner is the better man, and that's him. Of course, you know, I'm hoping for a rematch so I can beat him again. But, you know, it was a thrill actually to be a part of it, that's very clear.

Q. When did you start to feel your arm hurting?

ROGER FEDERER: At the end of the fourth.

Q. Have you had that problem before?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, one time.

Q. How long ago?

ROGER FEDERER: Like a year ago.

Q. What is it exactly? A nerve pinched?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm not an expert. I don't know. As long as it only comes in five-setters, that's okay, you know.

Q. Do you feel that maybe your serve let you down a little bit today?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. No. I had a couple -- yeah, it was a pity. I think it was in the second set when he broke me or something, you know, I had game point and I should have won the point and I didn't. You know, that gave him a chance. But, no, I thought the serve was good. I was happy with it.

Q. Jim Courier was repeating in his commentary during all your easy matches on the way to the semifinals that it would be interesting to see you under the pressure finally. Do you think maybe the lack of tight matches was a factor today?

ROGER FEDERER: Everything can be a factor, you know, in such a circumstance. But who knows what would have happened if I had played five sets before against Agassi. "If, if, if." We don't know what would have happened. You've got to take what is there. It's very clear I haven't played any five-setters. But, you know, I can practice five-setters in practice forever. Once it comes down to the match, it's how you react to it. I tried everything I could, you know, under the circumstances, but I don't agree totally with what people say sometimes.

Q. Do you plan on taking any time off to rest this elbow?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, this is going to be gone tomorrow, you know. That was just in the heat of the moment, I guess. So I'm not going to play any tennis anyway for the next few days. When I play again, you know, that's not going to be bothering me. It's not an injury; it's just a thing that was bothering me. So I'm not worried about that coming back for the next match or anything - at least yet, so that's a good sign.

Q. With today's match, but also what you were seeing from Marat in the tournament, also Lleyton and Andy, do you have any sense that the other top men have really come back from the break very fit, very strong, and everybody has been putting in perhaps even more than they have previously to reach that standard that has been set by you last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we don't know what they did. We only hear what they do. What they really do we don't know. We'll never find out. That's a secret. Like you have no idea what I did in December. So I think that will always stay a secret, and that's the way it should be because every player needs different practice. You know, some need eight hours, some need two hours, some need none - which I don't agree with. No, I mean, I'm very happy to see that all four guys again were in the semis, you know, like in Houston. For this reason it's an exciting tournament, exciting future for tennis, for the men's game especially. Looking forward to maintain my No. 1 ranking in the future and beat them again.

End of FastScripts….

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