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September 6, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When did you find out you weren't playing today?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what time it was. Must have been around 2:30 or 3:00.

Q. Were you here?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I was at the hotel.

Q. You came around to hit?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I did, just for an hour. You know, just did it according to plan. Came over. Instead of hitting for 30 minutes, I hit an hour.

Q. I guess you would have preferred to reach your first quarterfinal here under different circumstances.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's always an awkward feeling, you know, winning walkover. Don't call it a win, you know. I guess you just -- with the win against Santoro, I just won two rounds, you know. That's how it is, you know. Nothing I can do. But, you know, I feel bad for Pavel. Fought through a five-setter. Doesn't happen very often, you know, so it's kind of a strange situation for me, as well. I don't know what to say too much.

Q. Would you have rather played a match going into the Agassi match now or would you rather not?

ROGER FEDERER: For me it doesn't really matter. All I was hoping for me was that I could get through to the quarterfinals. Now that I did, winning like this tonight, you know, it's not a win, but I just came through. That's the most important, you know. Then it's all about being ready physically, mentally, taking what was good from the first week, take it through to the second week, you know. Second week for me starts only on Wednesday. I have enough days off. Now I'll be a hundred percent physically, so that is an advantage. It will be a tough match, everybody knows that - me, as well.

Q. Is it possible for a No. 1 seed to come in at the US Open and sneak away with a championship?


Q. If you are the No. 1 seed, is it possible to come in and sneak away, win this by surprise? Your name here maybe isn't at the top, on everybody's lips as much as the American players.

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I think that's a very strange question you're asking. I mean, I didn't become No. 1 in the world by chance. I also worked hard for it. I don't know. I think you're not in the right level at me right now.

Q. I was simply stating, everybody is talking about Agassi and Roddick here. Maybe your name isn't on everybody's lips here at this tournament. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But is that okay with you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, they're Americans. What else can I say? It's normal they're more popular here than other players. That's not a secret. It's normal. If they win, it's maybe more logic to other people. But for the tennis experts, you're not talking as an expert, you're talking as a fan.

Q. What atmosphere do you expect at the stadium with Andre playing for his home crowd?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, interesting. That's definitely something I'm looking forward to. Like I've said, you know, before the tournament, I've never really played the real big matches here at The Open, especially night sessions. I've played night sessions against Baghdatis or James Blake last year, for example. I should have played again tonight. I've never played the really big matches against like Andre or other players. So this is a big occasion for me, to actually kind of prove myself, deserving to be on the big stage, beating the best at the most important moment. This is a quarterfinal everybody has been looking up to. Hopefully we can fulfill the hopes of a good match. Yeah, it's definitely nice to play him, especially in New York. I played him in Houston, I've played him in Indian Wells, so now we're heading to the biggest stadium in the world, which is nice.

Q. How much do you have to change, if anything, of your game when you play Andre?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, for me it's very natural, you know, always the way the opponent plays. I'll just change it up so it doesn't suit him too much. But I will have to go against his power, you know, against his attacking game by playing aggressive myself. This is also the game kind of I like to play. I think it's going to be a good contrast - me trying to mix it up and him trying to not overpower me but kind of, you know, always get a hit, hit it harder, longer and stronger until I go away. This is the matches we've had in the past and this is what I'm expecting again in the next one.

Q. Do you think he will play a lot to your backhand? Are you expecting that? Is it similar to playing Hewitt?

ROGER FEDERER: No, they play different games. You know, even though they're both baseliners, I think Lleyton is more of a counter-puncher, where Andre plays more offensive. It starts on his return games. I think Andre plays you more left to right, you know, than just going straight to your backhand. He wants you to run, not make mistakes, usually makes you hit forced errors rather than unforced errors. Whereas with Lleyton it's a different game. So I'm ready to do a lot of running (laughter).

Q. You seem to have a unique combination of strength and flexibility. I was wondering in the off-season when you're not playing tournaments or not playing tournaments as heavily, what is your daily training regimen to develop that strength and flexibility?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think -- I speak in general for tennis players, and also for myself. I do a lot of, you know, running, how you say, sprints, interval training where I run, stop and go, do a lot of gym also, do the weights and stuff. We do a combination of everything. I think you can see it on the body of the tennis players, they don't have one area in their body which is like extreme, you know, big. I think that's the best way to do it because, you know, you have to be flexible, so you have to stretch a lot. You have to have your treatments. But at the same time, you know, you have to have your endurance, you have to have your explosive -- explosiveness needs to be there, as well. For this reason I think tennis players are very kind of unique. Maybe compare them to a 400-meter runner or something in athletics. We have to work on everything.

Q. What have you admired most about Andre, as you've grown up as a person and tennis player, in his long career, what's been most impressive to you as you've seen him play?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, never actually paid too much attention of Andre, honestly. You know, I was more about Sampras, Becker or Edberg. I didn't follow his career as closely as the other players. But once, you know, I got to play him in '98 when I was 17 years old, back in my hometown, you know, started to obviously, you know, think that was one of my highlights of my career at that point. Lost 2-3, which is normal. But it was nice to play against such a champion because you never know when they retire, and you never know if you get a chance again. I was lucky enough to play him six times. It's still amazing that he's still playing, and playing at the best level. I think that's what all the players admire about him.

Q. To what degree are you surprised that he's been able to sustain that at his age and he has made it this far to be against you in this round?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm not surprised at all. It's more the media who want him to retire and so on. I think that's wrong. And all the players out there know how tough he is. I mean, the losses between, let's say, from the French Open or St. Polten onto, I don't know when, until after Wimbledon, were very surprising that he lost to these kind of a players. But once, you know, he gets his game going, everybody knows how tough he can be. I think it was a lapse of maybe like a month or two. Maybe had his hip problem, I don't know. But we, the players, know how good he is.

Q. Obviously every point in a match counts and is important. Often matches come down to key points. How do you play a big critical point in any manner different from just a regular point in the flow of a match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I try to focus a little harder, even though I'm focused already. I maybe take just a little bit of extra time to tell myself, "Look, this is important. You better play well here." So I put pressure on myself. Usually I try to play aggressive, but it doesn't always work. I mean, the good players usually come up with some good stuff when it's important. In the past I've done it. That's what has to happen again against Andre.

Q. Does something like this disrupt your routine as a big tournament like this? You're thinking about playing the match the night before, you get to that day and you find out you're not playing. How do you stay focused?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's more today where I feel kind of strange, you know. Went to practice when actually I'm not really in the mood to. I was preparing for a match, not for practice. Practice was not horrible, but not enjoyable because that's not what I came here for. But then, you know, when I go to bed tonight, I'm happy I'm into the quarterfinals. Then from then on, I start preparing again for the quarters. Actually now I'm not doing that, but I'm facing questions about Andre, which is normal. I would say from tomorrow on, I will really start preparing and thinking about it.

End of FastScripts….

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