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September 4, 2004

Roger Federer



Q. At the conclusion of this match, when you shook hands with Fabrice, seemed to say something that amused you both. Can you share it with us?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's nothing too hard. I just told him I thought we had a great match, that I enjoy, you know, playing against him. Then he said, "Well, hopefully you'll let me win the next time." So we both had to laugh because, no, I think we really understand a lot of tennis, we play with a lot of feel. When we play each other, we have always these great points. I think we always really appreciate the opponent's shots.

Q. When you play Andy, you pretty much know what to expect point after point. With Fabrice, you never know what to expect from one shot to the next. Does it take a different kind of concentration to prepare to play for him?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't quite agree. I know what to expect against Fabrice. I know he's not going to surprise me with anything, you know. He plays differently than other players, but I know what's coming my way. It's just a different kind of approach than to Andy's game, totally. You cannot compare. So I've had some quite good results against him in the last few matches we played. But every time, you know, you have to really watch out. If it could always go like in the first set I would be happy, but I know that eventually he changes his game, he gets into the match, you start thinking about things. This is when it gets tough. I was really happy to have won in that third-set tiebreaker.

Q. What did you say to him at the end of the match at the net? You guys both started laughing?

ROGER FEDERER: I just said it.

Q. I'm sorry. I came in late.

ROGER FEDERER: Okay. I'll say it in French and German later on as well. I can do it twice in English. So what did I say? I said I enjoyed the match against him. You know, we had some great points. Then he said that, you know, he hopes that I will let him win the next time. But that was more sarcastic, so.

Q. After three matches, how do you feel about your game?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, today was good. I was not quite sure, you know, after Baghdatis because I just really played to win. But today I had the feeling my forehand was working, my serve was there when I needed it, 15-30, 30-All points, it was there. This is what really shows I am actually playing not too bad. Looking ahead, you know, fourth round of -- I would say I never had such an easy fourth round here at the US Open. So I really want to take this chance to go one step further than last year.

Q. You said you played a lot of tennis lately. It took you time to get used to Athens.

ROGER FEDERER: Never got used to it (smiling).

Q. Are you more comfortable here?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I arrived even earlier here to get over the jetlag, get used to the conditions because I was really not happy the way I played in Athens. Now that I'm three matches into the tournament, it's not just three matches, it's also best-of-five. It's a big difference to the best-of-three we played at the Olympics, you know. I'm feeling good, you know, definitely better than in Athens and also in Cincinnati. That is, for me, again, quite a relief.

Q. You missed three overheads today, two into the sun. Would a cap have made any difference?


Q. What happened on those?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, one I should have let it bounce. I didn't because it comes, you know, at quite an angle, you have to have the perfect timing. The second one I took a chance and said, "Hopefully I don't catch it in the sun." I had it right in the sun, had no chance. Would have been lucky if I would have made the smash. Then one kind of got behind me, so... It happens, you know. I knew I would have to play a lot of overheads. Important is that you don't miss the important ones. They were not too important.

Q. You lobbed brilliantly today.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I had some good ones. I don't use that shot very often but when I needed it, it was there.

Q. Obviously, you've proven yourself on hard courts at big tournaments. What would be preventing the best player in the world from winning the US Open? What would be preventing you from winning this title? What would have to happen?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, many guys have the chance to beat me, you know. It's not getting easier from here. You know, I was quite impressed the way Andy played last night, you know - not only then, but also the first round. Agassi is tough here. There's many good players around. I'm not taking these guys like Santoro and Baghdatis and all these guys easily. Maybe I've had a very dominant season so far, but, you know, I always look at it the way -- it's a new match, it's a new day. I have to again prove myself. I don't think about who's gonna stop me.

Q. Do you have the same confidence level going into the second week here that you did at Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, always good to win three matches in a row, you know, especially at a Grand Slam. I've got an unbelievable Grand Slam record this year. I really have to use this confidence and this experience I took from this year to do well again in the second week. So far I've never come further than the fourth round here at the US Open, so this is an opportunity. I want to take it. Like I said before, I felt good today on the court. So I don't know if I feel better than the previous years, but it's not bad.

Q. In the third-set tiebreak, at love-3, to make it love-3, he sort of bunted a backhand, and you just unleashed a backhand across the court. Is that sort of almost the frustration of playing Fabrice, that kind of bunting, that you finally just said, "That's it, I've had enough"?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't remember the point. I missed it or I made it?

Q. You made it. Perfect backhand.


Q. Yeah, you made it.

ROGER FEDERER: Don't remember. Played too many points today (laughing). Too many were important at that stage, so I don't remember sometimes. But I guess the important one was at 6-All in the breaker, on the pass.

Q. How important is patience against Fabrice? He gives you a lot of short balls that are very low. You can't drive him away for winners, you have to play for another shot.

ROGER FEDERER: What is quite incredible, you know, he plays the way that he can cover the, you know, the whole court. You definitely have to stay patient, not allowed to lose your mind on certain points, you know, because, you know, he plays very differently to other players, so you're not used to it. He can make you very frustrated. I have the feeling he reads the game, you know, unbelievable. He's got unbelievable feel. So this makes it very difficult. You always have the feeling you have to almost overhit the shots. It's almost better just to play it simple, you know, but it's not so easy against him. With his forehand slice, it makes it very awkward to play against him.

Q. You got frustrated a couple times, didn't you? Belted the net once with your racquet after missing a couple of volleys. You screamed, I think, once.

ROGER FEDERER: No, it was more out of -- it was just emotions also involved in this match. We had some good points that went my way, good points, you know, went his way. No, I really enjoyed this match. I was not frustrated at all. It was more just like that (smiling).

Q. Other players have said that they almost feel they have to get you early in a tournament because you seem to get more confident and play better in the tournament, round by round, as it progresses. Do you feel that yourself, more confident, playing better?

ROGER FEDERER: I guess that's the advantage I have being I'm 1 in the world, always being seeded, and never, you know, facing a let's say tough seed in the opening rounds, you know. This is why for me, for all the top guys the Masters Series are extremely tough. There you can play against Top 20s, Top 30s from first round on. They are very dangerous opponents. Where in Grand Slams you can play, let's say up until the fourth round you can maybe play a guy not even ranked in the Top 100 because of wildcards, qualifiers, all of that. So it changes a lot. And what was the beginning again (laughter)?

Q. I was wondering if you feel more confident, your record in finals is so strong.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, about losing... catching in the first round. I guess, you know, it's always for the top seeds, it's always nicer to play in quarters in those kind of matches and the other guys are not. So they take advantage of it. First rounds are not going to always be difficult because you're not quite used to the conditions, but I don't know. Last time I lost in the first round was Cincinnati and before that was the French Open. So not many guys caught me in the first round.

Q. Do you like playing Agassi, and what is it about his game that brings out such good tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I enjoy playing him last three times because I won it. But always tough to play him, you know, to me. To me, it seems him and Hewitt, you know, you always know that you're gonna be in a real big battle against them because they can play the long rallies, they always put you under pressure. I'd say Lleyton, you know, he plays a little bit difficult than Agassi, but it seems like you can be out there for a long time. For me, it would be nice to play him, but still a match away from that. It would be nice to play him here at the Open, get my revenge, because he got me badly the one time.

Q. You're into the fourth round, which has been the round that you've been stuck on here for the last couple of years. Do you believe in the psychology of tennis that there would be some -- it would clear your mind to get past the fourth round, into the quarterfinals, would that be particularly significant to you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, it's more with you guys. You know, I speak about that, that I've lost here the last three years in the fourth round. For me, that was not a problem because every time I lost, either the opponent played well or I didn't play well whatsoever. But that's just stats, you know. This year I'm a difficult player, I would say, than last year. I was very upset with my performance last year against Nalbandian. This year I hope I'm gonna do better. So it's more about stats than anything else, so I hope I can change it.

End of FastScripts….

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