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September 9, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Have you ever played in such windy conditions? How did it bother your game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, usually you only experience such winds on outside courts, really, because on big courts it's usually covered and the winds are very different. But today it felt like you're playing out on a field, you know, where there is no windbreakers, whatever. So this has been one of the toughest experiences I've had with the wind in a match situation, especially in such a big one. The tough about it was also that we had totally different conditions last night, you know - playing in the night with no wind, coming to day session with huge winds, you know. So I'm happy to have coped well with that.

Q. It was tough for you, but you handled it. What was your game plan? When you got up, you knew the wind would be there. Did you think, "What am I going to have to do?"

ROGER FEDERER: I warmed up for a half an hour on the outside courts. The weather there, it was unbelievable windy. I didn't think like on Stadium Court would be too bad. I had my game plan, play aggressive, try to play same way as last night. I realized, "Well, this probably won't work. You have to play more safe, make sure you get your first serve into play," these kind of things. Confidence can slip away very quickly in such conditions. I had one game where I served three or four double-faults and totally lost my game. But the winds were so strong, it was tough to play especially with the wind. You would touch the ball and the ball would fly a long, long way. So in the end it was more just trying to wait for the opponent's mistake and, you know, I guess the difference today was that I was up two sets to one, you know. He made one mistake and he loses the match. I make one mistake and I lose only one set. So that was my advantage today.

Q. Did it feel like two different matches?


Q. Did Andre seem like a different opponent today than he did yesterday?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we couldn't play our games. Usually we are guys who look for the winner, you know, play aggressive. But we could not play this way, you know. So it did feel like two different matches, yeah.

Q. Was it more a mental game today than it was last night?

ROGER FEDERER: Tough to say, you know. We just -- today was more play to win, you know, than to play well. I don't know what to say. It was tough, you know.

Q. You're serving in the fourth set. Wind was just about as bad. Fifth set you were almost flawless. What was the difference? What did you do?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I guess the toss is very important in the wind like this. And if you make the first, you know, you don't have the pressure to serve a double-fault, you know. I had the feeling that fourth set, when I had that bad game on my serve, I really had the feeling there was such strong winds I couldn't even toss my ball right. I had to kind of toss it behind me so it would come forward and hope that it would land in the right spot, you know. That's how extreme it is. Actually, was easier to play against the wind because you could just kind of tee off and hit flat and wait a little more for the opponent's mistake.

Q. One question about your slice backhand today into the wind that allowed the ball to die in front of Andre. How key was that shot for you today?

ROGER FEDERER: That was a risky shot, I thought. I hit a couple of those. One on breakpoint in the fifth and I thought, "Why not do it?" But it gets so short. You know, with the backspin, it comes back and he's on top of the net. You really wonder if that's the right shot to play. But then he mis-hits a little bit and it goes out. I guess at that moment it was the right shot.

Q. Final game, third point.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well the breakpoint at 4-3.

Q. Can you go back to last night, the third set. You played a great first set. He played well in the second. Third, very, very close. He seemed to be in control. Then in the end you pull it out. How important was that? How were you feeling at that stage?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, actually, I had the feeling I started well the match, like you said. I had a good first set. I had a feeling after he played really aggressive and didn't miss many shots, I was always put him under pressure. He was putting me on the run many of the times. It was tough from then, you know. I had really difficulties to recover from that one game he played. It was important just to stay even in the third set. Once I got to the middle of the third, I felt like, "Okay, if I can stay even with him and I get a chance, you know, one of his games, I can make the difference, then it's looking good for me." Because I know I have that game. If I keep winning my service games rather easy, I suddenly will get a chance on his serve. That's exactly what happened For me, I would have preferred to continue last night in the rain, with these conditions. But unfortunately the rain came and kind of destroyed the game so we had to start from square one again today. But being ahead two sets to one was a big help.

Q. How is Andre viewed in the locker room? Is he a player to be feared?

ROGER FEDERER: Of course. I don't know how you can ask such a question. I mean, we have huge respect for Andre, you know. We all think he's a great player. We know he's little bit older than me, you know, but he's not 50 or 60, you know (laughter). He can still run and play, you know, he can win tournaments and he can beat the best. So I don't know.

Q. Your volleying today, particularly off the backhand side, and yesterday, how much of a factor are those misses the wind, and how much of it is Roger Federer not volleying very well?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, didn't volley too well, you know. But what can I do, you know? Can't change it now. I hope for the next match it will be better. But Andre, we all know how well he passes. I should have made a few of the volleys, at least. I was taking a lot of chances from the baseline. I didn't go to net very often, didn't hardly serve and volley ever. So this is because I have a lot of respect for his baseline game, his passing shots and the returns. I guess I wanted to maybe do a little bit too much sometimes, but...

Q. The eighth game lob shot that you had, can you talk about that. It saved game point.

ROGER FEDERER: 30-All point, wasn't it?

Q. He was serving. Got you back to deuce.

ROGER FEDERER: Got me back to deuce. Hit a lob then I had an overhead. Is that right?

Q. Just the lob.

ROGER FEDERER: Backhand? Yes. Yeah, looking back, I remember it got me back to deuce, you're right. I remember that. I told myself, "This could be maybe the shot that's going to make the difference."

Q. That was with the wind?

ROGER FEDERER: Against it. It was against the wind, yeah. It's easier.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges that Henman will present in the next round.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, he will be tough. Comes to the net all the time, puts you under pressure, you know. First probably have to analyze the conditions, you know, how they are, because they play a big role now, I've realized. Good for me is that I won the last meeting we had in Indian Wells. That, obviously, gives me not a lot of confidence, but gives me -- knowing that I can beat him is good. I've had quite a bad record against him, I think. So not too surprised he made it to the semis, but that he won the first few rounds surprised me because I know he had a back problem, quite a bad one. But it's good for him. He's had a consistent year and he will be a tough opponent.

Q. Why do you think he's caused you problems in the past specifically, and what did you do specifically in that match in Indian Wells that perhaps got his measure?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we had some close matches, you know, some when I was younger, when he was the big favorite, you know. When I had the matchpoint in Vienna, didn't make it. Then in Paris I felt tired. But nevertheless, he always charges me, he always puts me under pressure. I have the feeling he returns extremely well. He gets back a lot of balls. On the second serve, he comes at you all the time. At the net, I find him the best in the world, you know, he's really that good. That kind of -- I couldn't handle that up until Indian Wells, really. I had the feeling I really served well. I mixed it up extremely well. I was dominant from the baseline, which was very important.

Q. When this match restarted today, it looked for a time as if you felt more comfortable in the wind than Andre did, which was surprising. Many people consider him the best wind player in tennis. It began to change in the fourth set. You looked a little uncomfortable - maybe a lot uncomfortable in the wind. Did there ever come a point in that fourth set where you began to wonder seriously if you were going to be able to win this match?

ROGER FEDERER: You know what, I had the feeling I actually started well the fourth set. I was hitting well. I had a couple of breakpoints. I thought, "Well, if I can make the break here, I'm probably going to win this in four." But, you know, he hang in there. Then I had this one bad game. Also when you serve it out, I just tried to chip it back, but the wind was so strong at that point I really lost all my confidence - if I should actually hit through the ball or just push it in or should I chip and charge, should I come at him and make him hit passing shots. But when I would come in, he would pass me, you know. So I lost little bit of confidence. Obviously, the beginning of the fifth was extremely important not to be down because then I think I would have lost the match.

Q. You never thought, "I'm not going to win"?

ROGER FEDERER: I thought I still have fifth set, you know. A chance there. But I felt like, like you said, he was starting to play better in the end of the fourth. And he was putting a lot of pressure on me because I started to feel like he started to return better. My serve was not working like I wanted it to work. At that point, I was worried, yes.

Q. Andre said as long as he can continue to force the best players in the world to play their best in order to beat them, he'll want to continue to compete. Did he do that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, definitely he did, yeah. I think he will play here next year, you know. That's really my opinion. I think he should, you know, because he's playing that well, you know. The losses he had in the summer, you know, were surprising for all of us - I think also for himself. As long as his body is feeling okay, you know, I think he should definitely keep on playing because the crowds love him, you know. It would be a pity if he goes away.

End of FastScripts….

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