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January 21, 2005

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You made a slightly hesitant start. Was that a little bit the conditions? A bit breezy down there.

ROGER FEDERER: Actually, I had the wind on my side so there you go (smiling).

Q. It was unusual. Silence in the crowd.

ROGER FEDERER: It was a little unusual, you know. At least when you get broken in the first game, you know -- in a way you have a little bit of time to get back into the match. But I wasn't happy. That's clear. I was a little irritated after that, and just worried, you know, because I had the feeling this could be a tough match, and I knew that from the start. Then I ended up losing my first service game. That was bad. But I bounced back and slowly really started to feel that there was a chance on his serve and this is when I really started to play better.

Q. Because of your record over the last six months or so, do you get the impression that people don't expect you to make any mistakes and are kind of shocked when you miss the kind of volley you missed in the first game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, now I start to feel, you know, at times in matches, you know, when I get broken, people are surprised. So I don't want to know how it is when I lose a set, you know. Well, I saw it in Kooyong, actually, when I lost a set to Gaudio in exhibition. They couldn't believe it. We'll see what happens next match. But I think they so used to that I'm winning, you know, so people don't understand when I'm losing. It's not that simple.

Q. What about you? How do you react when you miss shots now?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, it's something very normal. In practice I miss sometimes shots you cannot believe. But in a match, the concentration is higher and there's something -- you're really playing for something, you know, for everything. I don't know, it's okay. I can handle it. As long as I'm not really losing the match, losing sets, you know, that's fine. But I always want to play better than I am. But today I thought it was pretty okay.

Q. Did you have an inkling before the match, whatever you did this morning, in your warm-up or anything, that you were feeling a little bit flat, that it just wasn't quite there at the start for you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, no. I had the usual warm-up. Everything was going according to plan. But, again, it's a left-hander. You know, totally different match to the match I played before. And sometimes that just takes a little bit of -- a couple of games to get used to it. You know, I had a bad start. But I always say important is the reaction after that. I showed it also today again, as against Suzuki, when I was down a break, that you can recover from that and end up winning the set. That's what I did. I started to play better, like I said. But didn't feel nervous this morning or anything, no.

Q. Do you see any reason why a few years ago there were even five left-handers in the Top 10, and now there are not almost any any more? Do you think there is a reason for that, tactically?

ROGER FEDERER: I think the parents usually teach you to write and do stuff right-handed, I guess.

Q. That was years ago.

ROGER FEDERER: Still now, I think. It's just a normal way to be, I would guess. And it's becoming more dominant than it used to be. For me, I cannot explain. I'm not a -- some specialist, so...

Q. Have you had a chance to look at the matches of some of your main contenders? If you have, have you noticed any variation in their play that might be different to what you might have seen previously?

ROGER FEDERER: No. You know, the bottom half is very relaxing to watch because you know you're not going to play them before the finals, if you actually ever get there. So that is always nice to see the matches. The one in your half of the draw, you know, you're more concerned about those. But I haven't seen anything new they have added to their games over the off-season. I think, you know, everybody knows how short the off-season is. For some who play Davis Cup finals, it's even more difficult. I think throughout the year you will maybe see some changes, but not now in the early stages.

Q. You appeared to be content to get to the net perhaps quicker in rallies than has been the norm. Is that something that Tony has said, "Get in, vary it a little"?

ROGER FEDERER: No. He didn't tell me to get in, no. I think he's happy when I vary my game. But he didn't tell me, "Come in extra against this guy," or anything. I just had the feeling, you know, if I can play a couple of good volleys and make him feel the pressure, you know, that he really has to hit great passing shots, after a while, I just had the feeling he probably couldn't come up with all those shots on a regular basis. You know, sometimes, you know, of course I got surprised, sometimes I missed a volley. But all in all, I still had the feeling that when I was at the net, he had a lot of pressure because he was struggling to get my slice up at times. It frustrates him. I can break his rhythm like this. That was the reason why I did it.

Q. Do you think the fact -- I know you were hurt in the fall, but the fact you didn't play too much in the fall is helping you be mentally fresh down here this time of year?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I don't have that feeling. I would have preferred to play Basel and those tournaments. But I think it would have been the same no matter what. It's only two or three tournaments I would have played more.

Q. Did you ever figure out why you had that injury, what caused it or anything? Was there any explanation?

ROGER FEDERER: I was a little unlucky, I thought. You know, I had -- yeah, I was unlucky. I had a look at it with my physio, with my condition trainer, what I might have done wrong. But it was a bad movement, you know. Maybe like Jarkko today, you know, there are just things sometimes you cannot control. I could play tennis like this. You know, I was practicing till the morning itself. But then I just realized or the doctors told me this thing won't go away if you keep on playing. So I knew there was no chance for me to win the tournament. Who knows, I might have won the first round and then had to give a walkover then. But that's not what I was there for. So I'd rather take it easy and make sure I could play the Masters, actually, so that's what I did.

Q. It just happened in one quick motion in a practice session; it wasn't over time?

ROGER FEDERER: Could have been also. But I felt muscle pain in my legs, and actually it was probably more than muscle pain, because I don't have muscle pain every day. But, yeah, I think it was just pretty unfortunate. I didn't realize it quick enough, actually, how serious it was.

End of FastScripts….

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