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November 20, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Roger, please.

Q. You looked like you didn't want to play a third set today.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I always am happy to win in two. But, no, that tiebreaker was very special. I've never played, you know, a tiebreaker in a match, I don't remember, even in a practice. So that was really fun, really, because it just goes back and forth. There's only big points you're playing, saving set points, having matchpoints, missing them, you know. Especially the level of play, it was very high as well. It was not like we were giving each other all those points. Either it was a big serve or good points. We were pushing each other to the limits. Obviously, we only talk about the tiebreaker because it's so special, but I thought also the whole match was also a great match.

Q. There was something quite gladiatorial about the contest, wasn't there? Because when Marat was playing his best tennis, it looked like he was really hurting you, and obviously, you had to respond. I mean, do you see perhaps Marat as being your archrival in 2005, if he can maintain this level?

ROGER FEDERER: Could be. It's obvious we always talk like this, once Andy loses or once the other guy wins. So I think, you know, that the guys who are at the top right now, the Top 4, they all have the potential to have rivalries with each other. I'm not sure if it's just going to be one-on-one rivalries with each other. But we all know how much talent and how good Marat can play. I thought, you know, he really pushed me very hard today. Second set, you know, he could have won it, you know. I thought I played a terrific first set, and not allowing him to get into the rhythm early. I think that was also a little bit the key of the match.

Q. When you didn't get your call on that third matchpoint, how easy was it for you to get your head together?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I look at the mark and I see it's out, but then, again, it's so close. So I think, "Oh, maybe, must have caught the line at least a little bit." Otherwise I go crazy.

But if I am, like, crying after that call, which was amazing, that was a second call which as unbelievable close, which now I heard was on the line. I thought it was also good. I was surprised it was called out. But, again, if the umpire doesn't react, the match is over because I'm not going to give it to him. And, yeah, I really -- I'm happy I kept my act together and finished the tiebreak well because it's not an easy thing to do, because there's a lot at stake at that point, this special moment.

Q. Did it give you more pride, that kind of victory, rather then a straight-sets crushing of somebody?

ROGER FEDERER: I prefer a straight-sets crushing than this (laughter). But this is fine, too. It was a good match, you know. I walk off the court and I'm feeling good about myself, about my performance. Hopefully, this will be the same again tomorrow.

Q. Your recent record against Lleyton is very, very impressive, obviously. But he seems to have come on very strong at the end of the year. He seems to be serving well. So it could be a very, very hard, competitive match tomorrow.

ROGER FEDERER: That's what I expect every time I face Lleyton. The last times things have always been going my way. I hope I can play again at the level I did the last few matches. But I expect him to play better than he did in the Round Robin. That was already, you know, quite close, so I'm really looking forward to a hard contest. It's different. It's best-of-five, which already is a change on the mental side. He played a fantastic match today. I didn't see the end, but I heard he hardly lost a point in the end, so... That doesn't happen every day against a player like Andy. That must have given him tremendous confidence.

Q. Going back to those close calls, would you rather we stick with the current system and the umpire and linespeople calling it, or would you rather see the instant replay?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm fine the way it is right now.

Q. Do you think the replays are accurate, to judge line calls?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, on TV I don't know. I guess they are because when I see the live matches on TV and I see the animation, whatever, usually they seem quite correct, you know. Having that during a tennis match, live, on center court, I think that would be very disturbing for everybody. The way it is right now, it stays a very natural game, tennis. There are linespeople, umpires involved. If there is only robots sitting around the court, I wouldn't feel great about it. So I'd rather have a bad call on occasions because, I mean, usually these kind of mistakes don't happen very often at such important moments. We don't usually chase the lines like Marat does (laughter). But, no, we should keep it the way it is.

Q. You believe that even though you could have gotten the match based on the instant replay?

ROGER FEDERER: If I would have lost the match, you know, I would have been very disappointed, very angry. But there's nothing you can do. I've grown up playing this game like this, and just because I'm No. 1 in the world, saying like, "This is how the rule should be," I don't find that correct. There are thousands of players involved in this.

Q. You couldn't have been sure how you would have played this week because you hadn't played that much before and you had a little bit of an injury. Therefore, given all the weather problems we've had as well, is reaching the final even more satisfying for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I'm already very happy with this tournament. I was not quite sure how it's going to be this week, you know, because of my injury and because I haven't played for a long time tournaments. I had to come back strong and play a great Masters again, that makes me very happy. I've won all my Round Robin matches in my career. Now I have a chance again to actually win it back-to-back. That will be fantastic.

Q. I think you played Lleyton probably more than most of the other guys in the top five or six. Do you tend to get more motivated, more pumped up when you play Lleyton than anybody else?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. It's very similar against everybody because for me, the motivation has to be there against any player. Sometimes I think it's just the occasion that makes it special, you know, either it's a semis or it's a finals or it's a Davis Cup match or whatever it is, Olympic Games. That makes it special, not really the opponent that I play. You know, if I play every week against Lleyton in the finals, then it's a different story. But, you know, I've been playing in the finals every time and there's many other great players next to him as well. But I know what I got to expect going ahead into a match with Lleyton. It's going to be very hard, long rallies, you know, tough matches. Tiring, you know. But after this, I can rest, so I can give it all I have tomorrow (smiling).

Q. You hit a couple of defensive backhands today which landed right on his baseline. Was that good fortune, or, I mean, most players would say those sort of shots are just about getting anything on the ball. How much control do you find you're able to get on those shots?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the one was extreme. I think it was at about 14-all in the breaker, and I just tried to get my racquet on the ball and when I turned around, look where the ball is, it's just floating perfectly and I'm feeling like this has a good chance to go in. It just landed right in before the line. That was a huge big point because I think he would have -- he was about to serve, if he would have won that point. So he ended up losing that point. Who knows, maybe that was a turning point. But I had many great saves today. By hanging in there, that made a difference.

Q. The one time you did get broken was after you had a breakpoint on Safin's serve.

ROGER FEDERER: (Smiling). Yes.

Q. You got broken the game after you had a volley to break Safin's first game, was that volley still on your mind in your service game?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I was, you know, too busy with trying to hold on to my service game. But, yeah, it was a pity that I missed that volley because the setup was perfect. I played a great point and it would have been a perfect breakpoint, really. But you get over it. And didn't play a great game where I got broken, but I thought Marat was starting to return much better also my first serve. So he deserved that break, no problem.

Q. Any special feeling facing Marat because he was coached by your former coach?

ROGER FEDERER: No, because we finished on good terms, Peter and me. So it's okay. If it would have been different, you know, the split, then I would have been very happy. But just like this, it's okay.

End of FastScripts….

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