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September 12, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is it true you're going to quit while you're ahead?

ROGER FEDERER: No (smiling). No, no, no. Too young to quit right now, so...

Q. How do you celebrate a brilliant performance like this? Is there a restaurant you want to eat in, champagne you want to drink?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Actually, I have no plans. Nothing planned. I think it's the wrong approach to plan something, you know, if you win, if you lose, all these kind of things. I think this should be some kind of a celebration anyhow, because the tournament has been fantastic, even before this final. Now to win it is even better, so I have no idea what I'm going to do yet.

Q. When you were asked on center court, you said something along the lines of, "That's all I have." Is that the best tennis you could have played out there today?

ROGER FEDERER: I think in the circumstances, against Hewitt, first US Open final for me, I couldn't have hoped for more really. I got the start I wanted, I was dreaming of, you know. Yeah, in the end, to win it in straight sets is just fantastic. Because actually, honestly, going into this final today, I had kind of a strange feeling, you know, because of all the talk, nobody has ever won four in a row, the first Grand Slam. So I started wondering, you know, so... Now that I did it, it's great.

Q. Were you wondering more when it was 6-5 for him in the second set? Was that changeover pretty key? You looked like you were calming yourself down a bit.

ROGER FEDERER: If I would have lost that second set, I would have been quite disappointed. I mean, I had all the chances. I was up, what was it, 4-2, Love-40, then I had set point, easy passing shot on the backhand side. Didn't make them. So if I would have lost that set, you know, that would have been bad. Looking back, it was a key to the match as well for me, you know, looking back. The first set, obviously, was important, to get the lead, you know. But still being one-set-all, it would have been a different match.

Q. All the players in this tournament who tried so hard to beat you, I think I want to ask you if you agree that the game against Agassi the first day was the best game, the toughest player you played against?

ROGER FEDERER: I thought the match against Henman yesterday was already very good. Obviously, it's a totally different game than against Agassi, but I thought, you know, my feeling was better against Henman than against Agassi. But, you know, it's tough to compare. But I have to say I'm very happy that the way I played all tournament long. It's been a very consistent performance, you know. I couldn't have asked for more. To me, you know, not even my wildest dreams I would have ever thought I'm going to win the US Open, you know, honestly. So now that I did it, for me, it's still tough to believe because I think once I settle down, have some time off, at the end of the year especially, I'll be looking back thinking, "How in the world did I do all this?" Now, it's just a little bit much.

Q. Margaret Court suggested today that we should not rush to crown you the greatest ever because players seem to come and go so quickly and not stick around. Do you feel like you want to be here for a long time, doing this?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, it's a very demanding sport. The season is long. There's not much time off. So this is why I'm very grateful, you know, every tournament or every Grand Slam now especially I win. You never know when is your last because one injury, whatever it takes, and the career is destroyed, you know. So I'm conscious of that. I'm taking care of it as good as I can. But obviously I would like to stay at the top as long as possible. I would like to win more majors and more tournaments. But only time will tell really. I'll do everything I can to stay where I am.

Q. You were up 6-Love and 2-0, then you changed racquets. You were not happy with the first racquet?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I was very happy (laughing). I was very happy with my first racquet, but it was time to change because of the strings. And just because of the score, you have to ignore the score in situations like this. I've had enough experience, I know when to change my racquets.

Q. But when you change balls...

ROGER FEDERER: Sometimes just one or two games after or before, depending on how I feel and how long the rallies have been, how long the match has been. But that match went so quickly. Usually you change in the middle of the first. Now it was already beginning of the second, so...

Q. Many champions got the title US Open: Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras. Are you proud of this title?

ROGER FEDERER: Very. Of course. I see the names here. So it's some serious names, you know, on this board. For me, especially nice is, you know, obviously winning the third in the year. My first US Open. It means very much to me. To me, it seems like if you can handle New York, kind of you can handle anything (smiling). I feel very good right now.

Q. What is Roger Federer's greatest strength as a coach and what is his greatest weakness as a coach?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I never -- I don't know, ask myself questions, you know (laughter). How do you say? I don't look at myself, you know, the player and the coach, you know; it's just there, you know. Whatever happens, happens. But sometimes, you know, I think every player does it, you know. Goes through the thoughts and thinking, "Well, how do I need to play against certain players?" I'm doing the same, just that I don't have a coach.

Q. What's the best aspect of having yourself as a coach? It's so much simpler, the best aspect of being your own coach?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess, you know, I got immense confidence in knowing that I could really rely on my game because that wasn't always the case, especially in tough, windy conditions. This Australian Open has helped me very much, same as the Masters in Houston at the end of last year. I mean, obviously, you know, the coaches that I had put me in a way also independent, because I think it's important. Because once -- you never know if they're not there anymore, if something goes wrong, I think you always have to have the option of being able to travel on your own. And that's what happened to me, you know. I took this decision in hoping that, you know, I'll find somebody else or whatever happens. And, you know, that it went so well without a coach, it's a huge surprise. I don't know, I feel extra pride, obviously, because this is not the easiest thing to do without a coach.

Q. When he broke in the 10th game of the second set, was it finally, after all those breakpoints, a moment where you said, "Wow, he might be turning the tide here"?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was worried, of course. It was not just back -- you know, that game was 5-All. It wasn't 5-4 and he still had to hold his serve and make sure we don't get to 5-All. Especially with a quick game he had after leading 6-5, put me under pressure. It's normal, but I kind of put it down against serving against the wind, old balls and so on. Then once I got on the other side, I also had a quick game. It was with the wind. I think it was new balls even. So I kind of put it like this. I looked at the thing very positive.

Q. Can you talk about game six, in the second set. You came back to win that match.

ROGER FEDERER: It reminded me of the Toronto match against Roddick, obviously. I was down Love-40. I think it was 4-3 maybe in the first. I came back with three aces. So that was a huge moment for me also to come back. I just told myself, "I have to stay ahead. I will put pressure on him. Maybe I get another chance to break again, a second time, then win the set comfortably," you know. In the end, he was playing so consistent at that level, I was feeling, in the end when he broke, he deserve it because he hang in there so tough. But I had my chances before. I should have won the second set easier, looking back. But it could have also turned. So I'm conscious of that and when I look at the tape, you know, I'm happy I won that second set.

Q. When you're dominating so thoroughly in that first set, what does that feel like? Do you actually allow yourself to say, "Maybe this is easy"?

ROGER FEDERER: You talking about the third or first?

Q. The first set.

ROGER FEDERER: Good problem. Good problem (laughter). No, I mean, the first was different than the third, you know. For me, the first, obviously, was a perfect start. My forehand was working, you know, really to perfection. I had the feeling also I was doing very few unforced errors. Always putting him under pressure. I mean, obviously he helped me by double-faulting on a few of the breakpoints which makes life much easier and takes away all the confidence from him and gives me everything. So it was a tough opening set for him. For me, it couldn't have started better. Third set was -- I didn't have the feeling I didn't play much better, you know, but I guess he was tired and disappointed of losing that second set, you know. And I was almost feeling like a little bit, "Nothing can go wrong now at 3-Love." I really started to almost wonder, "What's going to happen if I have suddenly this trophy?" It's quite difficult to cope with this. But with the experience I have now of the last few Grand Slam finals, helped me a lot, you know, to go through that before.

Q. As good as you've been this year, you said before that never in your wildest dreams would you think you could win the US Open. What is it about this tournament that would make you think that way?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, it's America. I used to have my difficulties winning tournaments here up until last year, I would say. The Americans are extremely tough here, the conditions are rough, you know, with the winds, with the humidity. My first Grand Slam came last year, you know. So, I mean, now I have already four, you know. But even after winning Wimbledon, I knew how difficult it would be to win back to back US Opens. If I don't win it this year, once I'm in the semis or finals, I have to work my way all the way again to the finals to get a second chance. I never thought I would be sitting here, you know, as a winner, honestly, in my career. Now to have done it, it's very special to me.

Q. Does that make this one all the more special?

ROGER FEDERER: Uh-hmm. Yeah, it does. Every Grand Slam had something special, you know. First Wimbledon, obviously the first Grand Slam. Australian Open, first tournament without a coach, you know, seeing how things will be. And then defending the title is also something I've never done before. Wimbledon. Now winning my first US Open, it's kind of -- puts everything like -- an end to a great season. The season's not over, you know. There are still many tournaments left for me. But it's just a great feeling the last.

Q. The last match would be extremely demanding for anybody. Do you feel a bit emotionally drained right now? Do you think you will in the next couple of days after the euphoria wears off?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm exhausted. Honestly. It's no secret. There's a chance I might even get sick because I already felt it the last two days, you know. But that's just usual because I'm very happy the pressure's off now because I've been focusing on this tournament for the last three weeks. I'm happy it's over. I'm happy I won it, of course. But the next two weeks are going to be extremely important - to recover and then again get ready for the rest of the season so I don't get injured, so I still have a good end of the season. Because after this, I don't want to go to just a tournament and play. Every tournament I go, I want to win it, obviously. Especially in the situation I'm in right now. You know, we'll see what happens next few days.

Q. Since the French is the only time that's eluded you so far, have you started to think about what you might do to prepare for the title at the French?

ROGER FEDERER: You can obviously change things up on preparation. I haven't actually put too much thought into it, you know. I know I can play well there. I don't want to put pressure on myself by saying, "You know, next year your only focus is the French Open." I have enough years left, you know, for me to maybe accomplish that as well. But that's not my priority right now.

Q. Three Slams this year. Do you think in the future there is a chance you could win four in one year?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what to say. I was asked this question after Australia. Everybody got a little bit quiet after the French, which is normal, you know (laughter). But, no, every one I win is incredible. So I'm happy to win one next year, you know, so let's just put it this way.

Q. When you started this year thinking on your goals for 2004, would you have imagined that you would be in the situation you are in today?

ROGER FEDERER: No. No chance (smiling). Because I thought I already had such a great year last year by winning seven titles, my first Grand Slam, the Masters, and I thought, "Well, this year has been so, so long, you know, I need a break." And, you know, "I hope that Australian Open will go fine for me." Suddenly I'm sitting here having nine titles. It's insane. I cannot believe it because playing I think back to back great seasons is something very difficult, I think, to do. Obviously, this increases my chances 100 percent of finishing No. 1 at the end of the year. This is also big goal for me. I was close last year, so this year hopefully I can really make it.

Q. Did you see the television advertising with Roddick with the trophy? What did you think about?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it wasn't this trophy. No, it's good publicity. I enjoy watching them. I think it's good if you promote tennis players, so I'm happy for them.

Q. Some analysts say you could be the greatest player of all time. Do you care about being the greatest player of all time?

ROGER FEDERER: Obviously it would be nice, but the road is long, you know. Don't forget. There's a lot of hard work you have to put into it, you know, a lot of sacrifice. So I'm still all the way in the beginning. So I hope I can keep it up, you know, as long as I can. Once I get sick and tired of everything, and tired of traveling or whatever, you know, you never know when that day will come. Right now, obviously I'm enjoying my life. It's very busy. But traveling the world, being No. 1 in the world in tennis is not too bad. I want to stay just a little bit longer.

Q. Do you think in some ways that you're 23 and you really burst out at 22, which some might say is late for a tennis player. Do you look back at your first four or five years and think, "If I did a few things differently, maybe I could have reached this level even earlier"?

ROGER FEDERER: I think, really, for the people who really know me, they've always believed in me and they knew that I take a little more time than let's say, for example, Hewitt or Safin, you know, who had success early in their careers, you know. I already thought, you know, I don't remember, was it 2002 when I won Hamburg for the first time? I think it was, yeah. For me, that was a huge breakthrough because I cracked the Top 10 at that time. And obviously the win against Sampras in Wimbledon 2001 were all milestones for me at the time, you know. But I knew that I won't be No. 1 at 19, but I was already very good at 19. But it took me time to progress mentally, physically, you know, having the experience. So I think the success came at the right time. Everything else would have been too early for me.

Q. Your girlfriend, does she do some coaching with you sometimes?

ROGER FEDERER: That is a secret (laughter).

Q. Don't want to have intimate...

ROGER FEDERER: No, she played tennis, you know. But we speak occasionally, so (laughing)...

Q. How do you feel, three different Grand Slams you won. Do you think that you belong to a special league or something, a superstar, to beat almost everybody else?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure what you're asking, but... (laughter). I don't know. You have to repeat.

Q. Do you feel you are a superstar in tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, in tennis, I feel like a superstar, yeah. But I don't know, in other sports, you have to look globally. I think tennis is very international. So, you know, you can call me a superstar worldwide, I'm fine with that (laughter). Honestly, I like to be an idol for kids; it means a lot to me. Maybe other people or persons or players, whatever, they think, you know, all that's important to me is I'm having a good life, friends and family are happy. To me, it's important, too. But it's also important to represent the sport correctly and, you know, for kids to be an idol. Because I looked up to players, and when they didn't behave or whatever, you know, either I did the same -- I don't want the people, the kids to do bad stuff on the court or whatever. So I'm enjoying this. I like to be a superstar, it's okay.

Q. Final forehand down the line, the winner on matchpoint, you sort of dove into the corner. What was your first thought?

ROGER FEDERER: Forehand down the line? Matchpoint?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do remember that point (laughter). What happened? I was surprised Lleyton didn't get to it, you know. I guess it was tough for him, obviously. But there is nothing I really planned, obviously, you know, what to do.

Q. What was your first thought as you sunk to the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, first moment for me was when I was lying on the back, I look up, I saw the lights around the stadium. I thought, "This is unbelievable." You know, I could not believe it. Again, like every Slam I won, very close to tears. It's too much for me to understand right now what I have achieved. So it's going to take me time.

Q. What do you like about playing tennis and what do you hate about playing tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I love the sport. I've always loved this sport. This will never go away, even when I quit. What exactly, I think it's, you know, an artistic sport, you know, very - how do you say? - athletic. I like the crowds around the center courts and around the grounds, you know. What I don't like is obviously sometimes the traveling. It can be hard. The season is long. But, you know, I'm committed to it so I'm not complaining. I'm having a good time. I can see the world, I meet a lot of cultures. For me, this is already way enough.

Q. How much differently do you think you would play if you were using a wood racquet as opposed to the racquet you are using now?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I probably would not use as much spin. For me, it probably wouldn't be too much of a difference. I would probably hit more backhand slice. For me, it wouldn't be a problem.

Q. Do you remember your first racquet?

ROGER FEDERER: I think my first racket was a wooden racquet, but I was very young.

Q. When people compare you to Sampras, talk about you chasing some of his records, what does that mean to you? How does that make you feel?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, there's still many guys ahead of me, you know, not just Sampras. So I don't know. It's not a goal for me to beat his record, you know. That only came into play when he was trying to beat Emerson's record. For me, this is not motivation. This would just kill me, you know.

Q. Is it difficult to become such a role model in a country with seven million people where you live and you don't have so many big sports personalties so you're the one to carry the flag in Athens, you're well-known in Switzerland, a role model. I guess you enjoy it, but is it difficult?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I spoke more globally, you know, honestly. Because I see tennis as a very international sport, you know. It's been -- you know, the coverage on the TV is worldwide. Obviously, I'm No. 1 in Switzerland, but I'm No. 1 everywhere else in the world. But I like play also in a way for Switzerland. I speak three languages, my mom's from South Africa. I feel very international, and I enjoy this.

THE MODERATOR: National language, please.

Q. After you won your first Wimbledon last year...

ROGER FEDERER: We don't speak English in Switzerland (smiling). Sorry. Go ahead.

Q. I'm sorry. I didn't hear.


Q. You said that you still believe, when you won your first Wimbledon, the people were not expecting it. Now everybody is talking about you being the greatest player ever. How do you feel?

ROGER FEDERER: I kind of got used to it, you know. A lot of people asking me and always putting pressure on me and saying, "Well, he's going to make it anyway." Once I got my first Grand Slam, once I got my second Grand Slam, I felt even better, you know. Everything that the people say, for me, is either compliments and so on. But I know how hard I need to work for every title and every match, you know. Motivation has got to be there every day. I know how much effort I put into it. So, I mean, I hope for the people who know me, they know that this is not a normal thing I am doing right now. This is something out of this world for myself. I'll look back with a smile, that's for sure.

End of FastScripts….

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