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November 15, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. How happy are you with your game today? Was it a difficult first match?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, was - what can I say? Conditions were okay, actually. Not too bad. It was not too cold. It was not too windy. So actually normal conditions to play in. Of course with the rain delay, you know, it changes up everything; we all know that. But, you know, with my game, I'm very happy with it. Coming back from basically not six weeks, you know, no tournament, but two weeks not playing at all, that is something I never have except at the end of the season, which is coming up. To come back and beat a player like Gaston today was very satisfying. I thought I played a great first set. Obviously, I missed a lot of opportunities in the second set. But I still thought, you know, I played well.

Q. Do you think that after the rain, that long delay, in the end you broke Gaudio, it was fundamental for you to win rather easily the first set?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yeah, could be. It's tough to say if he wins that game, if the match is going to be totally different. He's going to maybe even win the first set. I thought I was always closer to break him than him breaking me. I don't think he had a breakpoint. I had many chances. So I think I was playing well, especially that first set. Hitting a lot of winners. In the second set, I came up with some errors. That made the game very even. So that's the reason.

Q. (Question regarding a dropshot.)

ROGER FEDERER: Jump back? Oh, the dropshot smash (laughter). I work on that one all the time (smiling). It's all about getting the racquet on it, right?

Q. How was the court playing, a little better than last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Good. Played fantastic last year for me...(smiling). So, no, I feel that they have improved everything around, you know, here. We can see it all. I mean, the locker rooms are fantastic. The court is better as well. So I can only praise the tournament for really setting up a fantastic event. Today, I mean, I knew the court's going to be fine, so...

Q. How do you see Gaudio's game? Do you think he has chances?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I definitely think he's got a chance, you know. He beat Hewitt at the French Open. Obviously, it's clay, but, still, I think he's got a chance against him. Carlos is also coming back from injury, so I think definitely Gaston still has a chance to beat them both actually.

Q. Do you have extra pressure here this year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I'm slowly getting used to these situations. But now I am quite relieved to have played my first match, to have won it. Because, like I said, coming back from a long time no tournaments, no play, to win the first match, you know, just I'm happy it's over - won or lost, you know. To have won it of course makes it nicer. Now I can actually build from this, and I'm in a good situation, you know, looking ahead for the semifinals.

Q. (Question regarding worrying about an injury.)

ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm not worried about anything, you know, because you can start feeling it in practice, if you're feeling well. My focus was really on the tournament and on the match itself, not anymore about "will my leg be okay?" and so on. I could really push at 100 percent, you all saw it. The practice was already like this in the middle of the week, which I was very happy about. So I could practice, you know, four hours a day at one point, and that was very good to know for me. Like this for me was a regular preparation to a tournament. This one is more special because it's only the top eight players here.

Q. What do you say about Gaston's backhand down the line? Did he surprise you with those winners today?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, he hit much more against me in Hamburg, you know. So I knew that he's got one of the best backhand down the lines. No, so I'm not surprised on that side.

Q. Your fans have been very complimentary of your hair. They were very happy with your new haircut.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, they are (smiling)?

Q. Did you do it for a photo shoot or something?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I didn't do it for a photo shoot at all, no. I cut my hair in Toronto a few months ago, and it was already a bit shorter. Then I couldn't tie it up all the way anymore, so I thought, you know, might as well just cut it a little bit more. And who knows, you know, in a couple of weeks, months, I might go even shorter. But I didn't want to go radical all the way, so I just went step by step - same in a tournament (smiling).

Q. You were practicing with Guillermo Coria. After his operation, how do you see his game and his possibilities here?

ROGER FEDERER: Of course I was surprised to see that he's back already, you know, but it's good that he's here. I think he was worried about not playing here. I have the feeling he's playing fantastic, you know. With the forehand, backhand, he's got absolutely no problem. Sometimes maybe on the serve, you know, he's lacking speed now or just lacking rhythm. To me, it seems like he's going to play and he's going to play well here. If he's going to make it to the semis, it's going to be tough to see. He's got a very tough group.

Q. (Question regarding a deal the ATP will announce tomorrow with a pharmaceutical company.) What are your thoughts on that?

ROGER FEDERER: I think that's positive, you know, positive news for the players, and at least we can rely on something and not always go our own way and not be sure until suddenly you have a positive test or something. I don't know if I'm going to use that or not because I'm not using anything, but it's good to know for maybe some other players.

Q. You've had such a dominant year. Does this particular tournament mean as much as a year ago when you won this? Are you as excited this year as opposed to last year, given what you've done up to this point?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm much more relaxed coming into this year's tournament because last year I didn't feel great at all coming in here. I was playing bad, I was tired. This year, my No. 1 ranking is locked up already. I have had already a fantastic season. No matter what happens here, I am going to walk away happy. Of course this is also, in a way, a big opportunity for me to kind of defend my No. 1 position for a longer time next year, so I really want to start actually with this already now and end the season well and in style like I did the whole season. If that's going to mean winning, that's fantastic; if I don't, a really great player beat me this week.

End of FastScripts….

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