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August 30, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. It's almost embarrassing to criticize a straight-sets win at a Grand Slam, but I kind of suspected you wanted to finish up that match in the third set different than the way you did.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I definitely wish it was different at the end, you know - obviously to win, but to close it out like I usually do, you know, just serve it out. I guess it seems like I was too dominant, you know, for a while. There was not enough rallies suddenly, and that worked against me because the game I lost, I was against the wind. Actually to get the 5-2 lead, I think if I get that lead, I'm not going to give it away. But I got broken, and then when I served for the match, you know, I just had a terrible service game. I went for too much. That's how quickly it goes.

Q. Borg was 0-9 in this tournament. How important is it for you to win here at some point and get that monkey off your back?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I don't see it so bad like you guys are. I feel like I've been playing well here in the past, consistent. I've never had a first-round loss here. I've been three times in the fourth round. So I've been actually winning my matches here. I've just been maybe losing the big ones. At the time I was not the favorite, you know, to beat Agassi. Nalbandian was a dark horse, a guy I didn't like to play too much. Once when I played Max, it was like midnight and he blew me off the court. Not much I could do in those matches. I feel like this surface suits my game. It's quicker than Australia. I don't know. To speak about Borg's record and compare it to mine, I don't think that is fair.

Q. Roger, he's one of the few guys to have beaten you this year. What did you do differently in this match than your last two matches?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, in Miami, you know, I had match points. I should have closed it out actually. I think I served for the match at 5-4 last year and had two match points. In Rome I really started well. You know, kind of missed again many chances in the second set to run away with it. He really got the momentum going, played really well after. For me, it was important to play aggressive, make sure get a lot of first serves in. That's what I did. I think that made the difference in the end. I also started to figure out how to play him today, so I'm happy about that.

Q. It seems like Al Costa is one of those players who if you let him get a set, he gets so much tougher. Do you come out against him having to get as fast a start as you can to get on top of him?

ROGER FEDERER: You always hope to get off to a good start against everybody. It's always good in a best-of-five match to win the first set, you know, because it kind of gives you time actually, you can analyze what has been happening. But you're right, against Costa, if you give him a set, his game changes and he knows he can rely on all his shots. And if you're on top of him, he starts thinking and maybe changing up his game plan. This is when you can take advantage of it. That's what happened today.

Q. How fresh do you feel at the moment, given you played an awful lot since Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel good actually. I thought it was a really good match for me today. It's not just a match I came through. I felt I had some very good moments attacking, good moments defending, and I'm also serving well. There's been really good things all over the place. That is something I like obviously. It's something I can build on for the next match.

Q. The popularity of tennis has struggled a bit in this country. I was reading an article the other day in the Times, an interview with you, you were talking about the feeling of strain that you come over here and have some anonymity. I hope I'm not misquoting.

ROGER FEDERER: It's normal. I don't have to sign as many autographs in the States as in Europe. Here you have many other sports, you know, which are following. So for me it's very difficult to say how much time tennis gets on TV because I'm never here. But I don't know. I feel good here. Once you're on the tennis grounds, it seems like every other tennis tournament. Obviously, New York City, it's kind of a different city, you know, busy people around there. I'm happy not to be recognized so often so I can actually go to normal places to eat and stuff.

Q. Do you think part of that is due to the fact that New York crowds, maybe Americans in general tend to relate to the oversize personality like Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi rather than kind of like others?

ROGER FEDERER: They're Americans. They're always here. I think it's easier definitely for an American, you know, to be a star here than a non-American. But that's the way it should be, so you're doing the right thing.

Q. Agassi was always bigger than Sampras for that reason.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Well, different personalities, you know.

Q. A lot of commentators point to you as being one of the guys who has the talent and the game to possibly win a calendar-year Grand Slam. Is that something you ever think about?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've been asked many times after the Australian. I'm not going to do it this year (smiling).

Q. What about in the future, do you think it's something that could actually happen?

ROGER FEDERER: I wish it's going to happen. But I know how tough it is. Yeah, I'm playing many matches. To always keep it up and always beat everybody, it's not the easiest thing to do. It's easier to lose than to win. So I don't know. It's not something I'm really aiming for now.

Q. How special would it be this year to win three out of four Grand Slams?

ROGER FEDERER: That would be something. That would be more than enough for me to win three out of four. You know, to be a second after Wilander to do it, it would be nice. We're not there yet. Let's just be patient (smiling).

Q. Lleyton Hewitt has been flying a bit under the radar. Have you been keeping a bit of an eye on him?

ROGER FEDERER: I've been checking him out (laughter). I know how tough he is, especially on the American hard courts. I definitely think he's one of the, let's say, top four contenders for the title this year, next to me, Agassi and Roddick. I feel like once he gets going, he's very tough to stop. I hope for him he didn't play too much leading up to this. I think he hasn't been playing too much over the last say one and a half years, so he's got a lot of energy left in his tank.

Q. Do you think he's one of those players who actually profits by playing more?

ROGER FEDERER: Could be, yeah. Just takes the confidence with him the last three tournaments he won, and he carries it through the whole US Open. I wouldn't be surprised. Let's keep an eye on him.

End of FastScripts….

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