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January 23, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You had a little fun with the possible castration shot, but you didn't make the shot. Do you remember that?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, the one around the -- no, the one between the legs this time?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was a pity. I could have hit it differently, but I thought, "Why not?" I saw Andy made it, so I thought I had to try it as well. I hardly ever do it in a match situation. Almost made it.

Q. How did you like the Greek chorus?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I wasn't sure if I was leading actually, you know, because they sang along like they were winning, you know. I always had to check the score and make sure that I was actually winning. But when I looked at the score board, I was always pretty happy, so.

Q. You possibly might have to play Agassi next. Assuming you do play Agassi, do you think your game at the moment, you're at a level to beat him, considering how well he played the other night?

ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. I mean, I don't know why you ask me a question like this. I think I've proven myself in the past, and I know my game's good enough, you know. Also on my day where I'm not playing perfect, I know I can beat him. He's not as good as he was when he was at the top of the ranking, otherwise he would be there. Fortunately, I'm there. I think he has to raise his game, not me.

Q. When you got into the tiebreaker, were you thinking about the US Open, which was the last time apparently you lost a tiebreaker?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Because, yeah, he came again. Just before the break, he got fired up and played some fantastic forehands. That's exactly what happened also at the US Open. But just there, you know, there was more pressure because it was the second set. Here it was a third set and I was already leading two sets to love. So for me it was okay. But I was worried, 3-Love down, you know, I think two mini breaks. I'm happy I came back there and saved maybe crucial energy.

Q. Chela got fined $2,000 US for spitting in yesterday's game with Hewitt. What do you think about that sort of fine for that sort of incident?

ROGER FEDERER: Didn't see it.

Q. Didn't see it at all?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't see it at all. I just heard. The papers say it all. It depends how close he spat (smiling). I don't know. I mean, we hardly ever get that in tennis, so it's tough. I don't know what the rule says. I don't do it. He can be fined $10,000, I don't care. But I think, you know, there should be a fine. We see it in soccer sometimes. It's not something very nice, so I'm happy he gets fined and things like this don't belong on a tennis court.

Q. Hewitt gets himself obviously very fired up on the court. Do you think that plays a part in how maybe Chela reacted?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe, yeah (smiling). I don't know. I didn't see the match, luckily. I mean, it definitely plays a role. But I don't think you should go that extreme, you know.

Q. How important is it when you are playing Hewitt that you keep your cool? I mean, how important is it to his game, that ability that he seems to have to get on his opponents and irritate them?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, totally different players have different characters. Different characters need different motivation, you know. So Hewitt, he needs his screaming. Other guys, they need the peace. Sometimes they like to get into each other's faces, you know, that they play better. So you just have to -- don't really have to care too much about what your opponent does. You know, I think it shouldn't influence you that much that you lose your mind.

Q. Is it difficult when you're out there and things get tight? When you prepare to play a guy like Hewitt, do you have to set out from the outset, "I'm not going to buy into any of that stuff going on on the other side of the net," because you can lose your own game?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm at the point where I just focus on my own game. Definitely, you know, tactics and everything, I analyze that. But whatever he does, you know, for me it doesn't play a big role. I turn around very quickly. You know, I see maybe one-quarter of what my opponents do, you know, which is good. So I really just focus on myself.

Q. Was there a time when you were disturbed by opponents' antics?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, in the beginning. Yeah, you know, you have a look. You're like, "Why are you showing me your fist? Did I do something to you?" You take it very - how do you say? - personal. That's not what you should do. It's a match, of course, you know. Sometimes it's difficult to separate match, on court, off court. But I'm at the point where, you know, whoever does on the court, he's like that. Off court, he might be all right, so. What matters to me is how they are off court and not really on court.

Q. You said Andre is going to have to really raise his game to beat you. What do you expect him to try to do?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, first he has to win, so let's wait about that first. He has a tough opponent.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what Tony Roche is bringing to your game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, we just started, so didn't have too much time. But I'm having a good time with him, like I said. I think it's just important to get new information. You know, so far I'm happy I coped well with it because very quickly, you know, it can influence your mental part I think in tennis and you try maybe what you have worked on, and in the end end up losing. And that's not what I'm really working for with Tony. I'm hoping just to improve my game, also if it's just little things. I'm not going to start serve-volleying first and second serve. That's not why I got him as a coach. I think the next couple of months will show. I think now also here he sees all my matches live, and we can go from here.

Q. Happy with how this first week has brought you into the second week? Went pretty smoothly.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, I'm very happy. I saved a lot of energy. I'm really like -- tournament almost starts now, you know, for me, which is very good. I played a lot of -- all the matches on Laver now. Probably will keep on doing that. I'm looking forward to tough matches coming up now. You know, no matter Johansson or Agassi, it will be a tough one. It would be fantastic to play Andre here. But I try to look at the big picture and try to defend my title. Andre or Johansson are in my path, and I hope I can beat them.

Q. Hewitt says the court is too slow. What's your version of this court?

ROGER FEDERER: I think it's similar to last year. I don't remember too many guys making a big deal out of it last year. A little bit quicker, I don't mind. So as long as you don't change it, you know, to the extreme where basically there's no more rallies, you know, just because it's so quick, I think then we have a problem. But it could be a bit quicker. But the way it's now, I think we're seeing great rallies.

Q. Moderate, would you say?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, we don't have those quick courts any more like in the past. Like when I came on tour, there was a few quick ones around. Now it seems everything has slowed down so much. This is like a regular hard court.

Q. Courier asked you on the court about the tsunami relief effort you did at Nike yesterday. Are you impressed with how the tennis community has come together on this or do you think there's not enough being done yet?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I think every player wants to help, you know. We're all trying to do something. I also spoke to Horst Klosterkemper and asked him if maybe we should do something before Indian Wells or Miami, maybe a match, just where all the top guys, you know, they appear on the court, and all what the ticket and sales, that goes also away, because I think that's missing a little bit in the game of tennis, and I would be very happy to do it. We gave stuff, you know, to auction it off. I think we are all trying our best. Important is what the top guys do especially because they are in the limelight, and I think they have really shown that they do care very much.

Q. On Hewitt, would you like to see him tone down his on-court antics at all?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I understand him. Geez, he's in Australia, you know. He wants to win this tournament so badly, and he's showing it. He wants people to feel it. So, I mean, you know, what is 'tone it down'? Three c'mons less per match? That's not going to make the difference, so. I mean, we all agree. I mean, he's fine the way he is.

Q. What do you think about the possible return of Martina Hingis?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would like to see her coming back. I thought she never comes back. But now I think this is for a good cause. I might even see her winning the tournament, so we'll see what happens, right?

Q. Can I just clarify, when you said earlier in your career some opponents might have got under your skin, were you talking specifically about Lleyton or just players in general?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I had many, many opponents. Because when you start and you're young, all the players, they take advantage of it. You know, they take toilet breaks, change their stuff for 10 minutes, they don't watch the clock, you know, the umpires. There's just so much going on. Now, you know, that I'm playing on centre court and I'm No. 1 in the world, they don't try the stuff any more because they know in the end it comes down to tennis, not these little tricks. But in the beginning, you have to go through that and you have to experience this. And sometimes you lose your mind on such things because you can't control those, you know. And then, again, you know, you have people getting in your face just the way they act. But now nothing of that is bothering me, and that's why I'm a better player.

Q. Has Lleyton ever annoyed you on the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we had all these tough matches, you know, in the past. He won too many of those. So, yeah, he did annoy me (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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