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August 2, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger comes in with a 57-4 match record on the season. That's the best since Ivan Lendl won 58-4 back in 1989. Roger leads the ATP circuit with eight titles, and he's won his last ten finals going back to last year. Yesterday he became the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1979 to win titles on grass, clay aand hard courts in succession. Questions for Roger, please.

Q. Is the day off working out for you? You feeling any effects, or you're not able to relax today?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's all right, you know. Got in last night from Toronto. So I had a good night's sleep, really, because I was very tired. You know, I feel it a little bit today. I think three-quarters of the day I will relax and then one-quarter I will start preparing for tomorrow because, you know, it's an important match coming up. I haven't lost in the first round since French Open last year, so I hope it's not gonna be the first time here. It's always difficult to bounce back from a tournament which you really played well and there were a lot of emotions, you know, in the finals. So looking forward for tomorrow, but this is like my day off. I'm sitting here. But it's relaxing, it's okay.

Q. How does this tournament compare to other tournaments throughout the world?

ROGER FEDERER: You mean importance or...?

Q. Just as far as the whole setting, the stadium, the venue.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, for me, I haven't been spending too much time here because I've always lost early. But I hope to change that, you know, this week. The center court is beautiful - really. I like it very much. Otherwise, it's very quiet outside, you know. It's sometimes good to get away from the big cities, and, you know, you can -- something much more quiet. Yeah, I really enjoy it here. The importance of the event, everybody knows it's a huge event with a lot of points, a lot of prize money, so a lot of prestige. This will definitely be one of my tournaments to win.

Q. It's a pretty heavy schedule this year in particular for you since the French because you've been winning. Do you have any concerns that you're going to tire out? You have this tournament, the Olympics, the US Open.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I have a week in between Cincinnati and the Olympics and a week between the Olympics and the US Open. So I guess I have to, you know, catch up with relaxation in that time. Even though I will go through, you know, couple of jetlags, I'm used to that and I get over it. But it is important just that I have days where I'm not playing at all and just really relax. Because I went for eight days vacation after Gstaad. So, I mean, I had that. This should carry me through till after the US Open because then I get another week, so...

Q. What do you do on your vacation? Do you go away?

ROGER FEDERER: I go to the beach. I go to the beach.

Q. You don't go home?

ROGER FEDERER: Do wellness and spa and beach and sleep and... Not much (smiling).

Q. Is it possible that you can be as intense this week as you were last week? I mean, is it possible you can keep going like you did, or is it going to stop for a while one way or the other?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's going to be different. Coming here, the opening -- the first match is always kind of a weird situation because, I mean, I didn't have time now to get used to the courts and all the things. The balls are the same, you know, so I shouldn't have too much of a problem. It makes me confident knowing that Andy did the same last year, you know. He came here after winning and then he ended up winning this tournament. So that gives me a little bit of confidence. It's about, you know, being physically and mentally ready. Because I'm hitting the ball fine, you know. That's not going to be the problem. I hope the timing will be there. I'm moving fine. But, you know, the intensity, it will be tough to get the same like in the finals. But it's always like this in the early rounds, you know. You have to go through. Once you're in the tournament you have to pick up your rhythm. I hope that will happen here.

Q. When you take those vacations, is there exercise involved? I mean...


Q. You do nothing?


Q. You don't...

ROGER FEDERER: I push the off button (smiling). So...

Q. How long does it take you like if you're gone a week or more, how long does it take you to get back to where you're ready: A day, three days?

ROGER FEDERER: At the end of the year, after the Masters, I get two, two and a half weeks in a row. It takes me about one week until I feel kind of recovered, and then the rest I have is really just recovery. Because the first week is like, "I'm so tired, I can't move, I can't even walk to the bar, to the restaurant," I can't do nothing. So it's just mental huge tiredness. When I have a week, it kind of cuts in half. It's like three, four days where I'm really tired and the next few days are just there for relaxation. So that's the way it goes. I wish I had more holidays, but I love tennis as well. I like to play tournaments.

Q. This is an off-day for you, yet you're here. Why did you decide to come and do the interview?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I come here and play. I go and hit a half an hour later on just to check out the courts and see, you know, if it plays any different to last week so I'm really prepared for tomorrow. So at least I did, you know, all I could. I'm just here to organize some things and be here for you guys also, the media. I want to keep you update because I think it's important, so...

Q. Do you think you and Andy Roddick have started to develop a rivalry? Seems like you are meeting each other in all these championship finals. Do you look at it as a rivalry?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, in a way, a little bit. You know, especially now that we've played each other twice in finals in - what is it - in three or four tournaments, you know, we've played. Now that we face each other, it's always in the finals because he's No. 2, I'm No. 1. So it's good for tennis, I think, that the best players play each other more often than in the past. Because in the past, you know, there were a lot of surprises all the time. And for people who didn't follow tennis that much, it was very, I think, tough to understand how come, you know, the top guys are not winning all the time. Now that me and Andy, we've been dominating a little bit, I think it's good for tennis. Especially now leading up to the US Open, it's going to have a huge effect on tennis, I think.

Q. Not that this should bother you, but can you really see it as a real rivalry if you're always winning, to your good fortune?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Ask Andy. For me, I'm in the driver's seat, you know. I'm No. 1 in the world. I've won the last couple of meetings, I've won the big tournaments lately. For me, you know, whoever comes, I'll try to beat him. But it's almost up to me to decide who's my rival, isn't it (smiling)? No, Andy has been playing great tennis. I think he's a great player. He's good for tennis. We need Americans who are good. He's definitely got the character as well. I'm looking forward to playing him many more times, but we shouldn't forget other players. There's many other great players as well.

Q. You said the rivalry is good for tennis, but especially in America, where tennis is a little bit on the back burner - at least men's tennis. Is that also good just for the American viewers, a rivalry?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I definitely think so. I don't spend too much time in America, but I know that maybe basketball, hockey and baseball and NFL, you know, is maybe more important or gets maybe more coverage in papers or TV or whatever. So I think it's important, you know, that we have a guy like Andy, you know, having to focus here in America, and I'll try to do my best as well. And then, you know, we should have good matches. And. Like now, you know, since Wimbledon I think it's, like I've said, it's going to help leading up to the US Open. Because I think tennis deserves, you know, a place in every paper in every, you know, TV show, sports show because I think it's a great sport. Now that we have so many great players, I think it's good and we should keep it up.

Q. Speaking of other players, how do you look at Marat Safin, who obviously has a tremendous amount of talent but seems to lose himself up here and doesn't really put it all together as often as you would think somebody with his talent would?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you have to know it's very difficult to play very consistent all the time, you know. He's been injured a lot the last two years. He had a great start to the season, you know. What a great story that was as well, you know. Unfortunately for him, I beat him in the finals. But still I thought it was a great story. Since, he maybe hasn't picked up on where he started from. But everybody knows that on a given day he can play very well. Because, you know, people tend to look at it like it's normal now I'm playing so well, winning every match and all this and that. But if you look at Marat's story, it's not so easy to come out every day and win. I've experienced that in the past. He's got a good coach, so...

Q. You didn't think it was surprising in Australia, after the way he played, that he basically didn't even give you a fight really? He crumbled.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I played him first round in Dubai, beat him 7-6, 7-6. But it could be that suddenly he wins the US Open and he wins many other events. So you should never count Marat out - same as Lleyton and Agassi and other guys as well.

Q. Do you feel different about yourself now than after you won your first Grand Slam event? Do you feel like, "Yeah, I am this good"? Is there ever a question when you win one, "Maybe I just won one, maybe I can't win another"? But now you've won multiple, you've been No. 1, do you feel different than you did when you won your first Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do. I definitely do. Because when you win one, you think, "Oh, my God, I've had to put so much work in, and it finally paid off and I won a Grand Slam." Because you never know if you're going to win ever a second Grand Slam. For me, especially when I won the Masters in Houston last year, that kind of gave me the confirmation that, "Hey, I'm really on the right track. I'm playing well, I'm beating the best." That kind of gave me huge confidence for 2004. I took advantage of it right away at the Australian Open. Since, I've really proven to myself, "Hey, look, that was not just luck, whatever, good draw, whatever," because I think if you can win the Masters and beat the guys, all of them that are in the top eight in the world, I think that really says something. That gave me a lot of confidence for this season, and I'm really taking advantage of it. I feel much more secure on court. I'm, obviously, a little bit confident. But, you know, you have to take advantage of it because the confidence can go away basically in a day. So you have to really always work at it.

Q. I read something last week that you're thinking for next year you might get a coach. If that's true, what would be the advantage to you, since it seems to be working without one?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, a coach could come at any time. I have to sometimes give the media something to hang on to, because otherwise they'll ask me all the time. So, yeah, I'm looking around, but I'm not in a hurry at all because you can see without a coach it's going well, too. Especially since the Australian Open where I went there and didn't have a coach, I was not sure if that's gonna be going okay without a coach, and suddenly I end up winning. So that gave me a lot of confidence that, "Hey, look, I'm traveling on my own. It works out. I don't need to rush into something." Because if I would have lost early, then I probably would have put pressure on myself and say, "Hey, okay, Roger, let's start looking around, let's go ahead," go more offensive, you know, into looking for a coach. But now that everything's going so well and so smooth, you know, my whole - how do you say - group around me is making me feel really well. Coach or no coach, the results are still there. So we'll see what happens with the coach situation in the future.

Q. Do you have anybody that you confide in or talk to when you play?


Q. Or do you just...

ROGER FEDERER: You mean during a tournament?

Q. In between tournaments do you sit down, does anybody ever brainstorm with you?

ROGER FEDERER: Nobody (smiling). Because that would be a coach, wouldn't it? I really don't have anybody I talk to about my tennis, no.

Q. In a certain way does your girlfriend have something to do with that?

ROGER FEDERER: Mirka, because she played tennis, you know, I sometimes just talk to her, you know, and ask her, "What do you think about my match," or "What do you think?" That's normal, because you can't always talk about shopping or whatever. Sometimes she also has to talk about tennis with me, because she's got a little bit of a clue. So I will speak to her. It's nothing like a coach, so...

Q. Your recent run since Wimbledon, has it kind of amazed you?

ROGER FEDERER: Unbelievable amazing for me. If you go back even more, you know, I maybe lost third round at the French against Guga who played extremely well, I thought. I didn't play my best, but still he played a good match. Two weeks before I won Hamburg as well. So out of the last six tournaments, I won five, you know, and that is, for me, quite amazing. To win Hamburg again, which is one of the toughest clay courts to win, I beat Coria, Gaudio, Moya, Hewitt, everybody. I mean, it was amazing. So to keep that run going now throughout three different surfaces, it's, for me, really amazing. I'm very proud of writing a piece of history books or being on the same level like a Bjorn Borg or so. That really makes me very proud.

Q. Where do you put the Olympics? Tennis players used to grow up not even thinking about the Olympics.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, when I grew up, Olympics was there, you know, in tennis. It was for me always a goal actually to be able to compete in the Olympics, especially since I took part in Sydney. I had a great time, you know. Also I met my girlfriend there, you know. She was playing as well. This is where we kind of got to meet each other. But at the same time it was, you know, also kind of my breakthrough. I went all the way to the semis. Finished fourth. That was a disappointment, but still I had a great time seeing all the different athletes. Ever since, I wanted to come back to the Olympics. It was for me always -- the Olympic year for me very important.

Q. Are there other sports you'd like to go and watch?

ROGER FEDERER: I would like to go and see basketball and athletics, but I heard athletics is after we already stop. So I'm probably going to miss that. That's a pity.

Q. Who has the better Eiffel Tower, Paris or Cincinnati? Over at King's Island?

ROGER FEDERER: I think I've seen it once, but... Is it the same size? No, it can't be, eh? I guess I have to go with Paris then (laughing).

End of FastScripts….

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