January 25, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Agassi said that he was outplayed. Do you have the same feeling, and how does it feel, if so?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I thought I started well. First service game was perfect, you know. I got the first break, which was important. Then I had to really battle hard, you know, to win the first set. Couple of breakpoints where I served well. And from then on, I had the feeling I really started to pick up even more with my serve. You know, I always got the good start into each set so I think that made a difference. I after could play with the confidence; he couldn't really. So that allowed me to take chances. I served through the whole match perfectly. So I think that's what made me win the match today.
Q. Did you enjoy yourself out there today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I really had to concentrate very hard today, which maybe at times didn't allow me really to enjoy too much. But it's always a pleasure to play against Andre, and I think that's clear.
Q. It was not a hostile crowd, but it was certainly an Andre crowd. Does that affect you? Do you hear them?
ROGER FEDERER: I definitely hear them. I also felt they were on Andre's side, which is totally normal. He won the tournament many more times than me. He's been here for ages, you know. They wanted him to come back into the match, which is normal as well. So for this reason, I wasn't surprised at all.
Q. Can you play any better than that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's tough to say, you know. Andre takes it away from you, the way he hits so hard from the baseline. So you can't really create the points like you want to. But, you know, I try to go against it. And again, you know, it came down to the way I served, which in the end decided how I played from the baseline.
Q. After he had the last chance, had a breakpoint in the fourth game, you lost on your serve only I think seven points in eight games. Is that surprising to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, yes. It's very surprising. As surprising as the way I closed out the match at the US Open, also, where it was extremely windy and I was really struggling with my serve. Through the fourth set and the fifth set I think I barely lost a few points. So, again, there it was similar.
Q. Is it a test to play against Andre? Does that make you concentrate all the time?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, because, you know, he's one of the best returners of all time. You know you just miss a couple of first serves and he doesn't just put the return back into play, but he really hits it hard down the baseline. So every time I've got a difficult half-volley to play, and if you're, you know, a little un-confident and you're not really too much in the mood to play rallies, you know, that puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on you. So I always try to have a good start to each service game. That's I think what made the difference in the end.
Q. Only time when you didn't put the first serve in was the end of the first set. Were you feeling more pressure, or there was other reasons?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think just missing a first serve once in a while is no problem. So if you talk about that, you know, my life's doing just fine.
Q. Who do you feel are your toughest opponents at this time?
ROGER FEDERER: You mean in a tournament?
Q. Yeah, just in general.
ROGER FEDERER: So far I've played or...?
Q. Yeah, just going on.
ROGER FEDERER: Look at the rankings or...?
Q. I mean, for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Who's my toughest opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: It's hard to say because my record speaks for itself right now, the way I've beaten all the Top 10 players, you know, so regular. So it makes it hard to obviously pick one. I have the feeling Safin is playing really good. You know, the other Top 10 guys, you always know on a given day they can upset you any time. So I'm really looking forward to the contest with Safin, you know. I have the feeling he's playing good again and he had a great finish last year, good start again. So it's going to be a really hard match.
Q. Did you have a feeling that anybody can beat you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I always have the feeling. Everybody knows how quickly matches can turn around. And for this reason I was happy to win the first set. That kind of gave me just a little bit of cushion. I didn't expect to start like I had into the second set, but I had it in the end. Again, if you don't serve it out and you find yourself at 5-All, again, it's a different match. I didn't allow anything off that. For this reason, for me it was a perfect match. But I know that matches can turn around very quickly.
Q. Can you think of any other match in the past that you feel that you felt so good about yourself?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, like I said, you know, I served really well. He hit extremely hard from the baseline. So for this reason I couldn't play my regular game from the baseline. I just tried to counterpunch, you know, whatever was coming from Andre. This didn't really allow me to play my game. Only when I can really play my game I'm at my best. But, again, I played a fantastic match today to win in straight sets. I think it needs such a good performance to beat Andre so convincing.
Q. Do you think Safin will offer you more problems than Andre did tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I expect a tougher match, that's clear. I always expect five-setters, or being down breaks or, you know, worst-case scenario. And for this reason, I expect a tougher match.
Q. Does he have different weapons to attack you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's got the bigger serve. That's going to make it maybe more difficult maybe to break. But, again, we only will see after the match what happened. I think also the record here for him speaks for itself, how much he likes this surface. Of course, it's an even more interesting match just because of who's coaching him. But I'm happy I'm through that, that I played him, I got that match away in Houston. So for this reason I can really concentrate on the match itself and not thinking about who's sitting in his corner, you know. But I expect a tough one, yeah. That's clear. He's playing well. He had good matches so far.
Q. You seem to be a silent man on court. Do you listen to Andreas Vollenweider, famous Swiss musician?
ROGER FEDERER: Who?
Q. Do you listen to Andreas Vollenweider?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't. I never heard of him. I'm an international man. I like Switzerland, but...
Q. Safin played extremely well under the closed roof. Do you think that it's a better case for you if the roof is open or closed or doesn't matter?
ROGER FEDERER: I expect open roof. It's an outdoor tournament. So otherwise you shouldn't -- don't have to travel down here, you know, to play. But, yeah, I mean, it's maybe harder for him, you know, if it's outdoors again, it's windy, to get the rhythm back. But definitely gave him a great rhythm to play indoors, you know, no wind. But it was very similar for me tonight, you know, was very calm winds. It was really perfect conditions to play. The only thing that changed was the sky going from blue to black, you know. So I don't know if we play in the night or not, but it's going to be interesting.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.