June 21, 2004
THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger, please.
Q. Do you think you're more comfortable on grass even than your cow Juliette?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think so. She should be more comfortable because she spends more time on it, so...
Q. It's been said that for a defending champion, the first match coming back to that Slam is always one of the toughest because there's always a case of possible nerves, playing that first match, getting by it. Do you have a system or some sort of mental attitude you use to get ready for that first match?
ROGER FEDERER: Important is to get a good start, you know, because once you're leading, you can relax more, you can play either more consistent or you can even go for more. That makes you feel good, you know, for the rest of the match. That's a little bit what happened to me, it was important to get that good start. After that, I saw he really couldn't hurt me on my own serve. This is really when I could just play consistent. That was enough. Before the match, I was just really trying to stay calm as much as I could, and basically enjoy it out there.
Q. So you actually consciously thought about how to approach this first match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, I spend, you know, times on Centre Court doing interviews. At the same time, you know, I'm trying to imagine myself also, before I'm going to bed, playing on a Centre Court with a lot of people, you know, in a tough situation also. I'm just trying to also create the worst-case scenario in my head.
Q. What was the worst-case scenario?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, being down, losing. Other guy on fire, and me nothing to do about it. But, you know, luckily for me, it didn't happen today. So now I know how it feels again to be back here. Really looking forward for the next one.
Q. Most people would try and visualize the most positive thing happening.
ROGER FEDERER: I do, too, visualize me playing well and playing good shots. I do both sides because if I don't do on the other side, too, I'm suddenly in that scenario, then I have a problem, because I don't know how to get out of it.
Q. Which is a more powerful vision, the positive or the negative?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously, positive, because I'm playing so well right now. You know, I don't have much doubt in my game. This is why I'm very positive going into matches these days.
Q. You have a nice mix of serve and volley and staying back on both first and second serves. You came in a number of times on second serve today. Do you reckon that's something you want to use if you make it all the way to the final or will it depend on who your opponent is for each of those matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, today I have to say I played a little more safe. I didn't want to start serve and volleying first and second serve like I did two years ago when I lost first round. I told myself, I'm playing well from the baseline, I don't have to exaggerate it by coming to the net. So I really just played it when I felt it was the right time to do it. But I hope in the long run I will serve and volley a little more often than I did today.
Q. This guy you played today is reckoned to be an example of a British player with quite a lot of potential, who should be ranked higher than where he is. Did you see much potential from the other side of the net today?
ROGER FEDERER: I did see, yeah. He definitely hits the ball well. You know, it's also a very difficult situation for him, as well, to play against me on Centre Court. On grass, I don't know what his favorite surface is, but he plays mostly from the baseline. So it's tough to say. You know, the match went very quickly. But I definitely see also potential because he's got a good hand, you know. He's got an all-around game. He just needs to work, you know, on his conditional strength and the mental will follow the more matches he will play. He needs experience, so...
Q. Is it important for you to have someone or even yourself keep an eye on Tim Henman, Andy Roddick, the players that you could possibly face down the road in this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. They're too far away in the draw really to send out scouts to see how they play, because I know them. But, you know, as the tournament goes on, if I would make it to quarters or semis, obviously I start looking at their matches. But just now I just basically, if I watch their match, it's more to enjoy than to study the way they are playing.
Q. And you have your spies right to go?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't have spies here. I'm the only spy around.
Q. As you rightly said, the match went very quickly. How could you tell he needs to work on his physical conditions, given the fact you were out there for less than an hour and a half?
ROGER FEDERER: It's not speaking about endurance, it's speaking more about the explosive and just, you know, the volume of the body. I think he still can improve that, which I had to still work on over the last three or four years. You feel sometimes behind your serve, you could have a little more, or when he's in defense in the corners. This is when good condition helps you out. There he's maybe playing a little bit too much with his hand, but this is normal because he has a good hand and he gets out of it with that. But in the long run, he has to maybe work a little more. I don't know. Don't take that to serious.
Q. How is the grass?
ROGER FEDERER: The grass was nice. It was a little bit slippery, like you said. No, it's perfect. The lines are perfectly white. You know, they're not a little used and stuff. When they go on the lines, it's difficult, because the ball really stops. But I have to say it really felt really nice.
Q. Was there a moment when you thought about last year, being back out there playing a match?
ROGER FEDERER: The moment I walked on court really. After that, I was in the groove and I was just focused on the match itself.
Q. I know you sometimes watch videotapes of matches. Have you been rerunning the tapes last year as preparation?
ROGER FEDERER: Not as a preparation. I did it more last year, just for enjoyment, you know, to get the sensation once more, the goosebumps and all this. But I didn't use them here for a motivator. I didn't need that this year.
Q. Do you agree with me you have quite an easy draw this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I don't know. Maybe if you look at the first two, you know, I play qualifiers and wildcards which, you know, some can consider as good draws. After that, you know, I see potential dangerous players around in the third, fourth, you know, and so on. It's a good draw for a seed, I would say, because there's not this big dangerous player in the first two rounds, and this is when I myself can find the rhythm for the tournament. Then I get stronger and better. I wouldn't consider it a bad or a good draw. It's all right, you know.
Q. You said before the match you didn't quite know what to expect. We know what you said as far as how he can improve his game. Was there any point during the match you were surprised by him at all?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought he was going to use his forehand a little bit more. But when I saw how good his backhand was, you know, I wasn't surprised anymore. But nothing really surprised me too much, you know, except maybe that he was using his slice more than I thought. I thought he would serve a little more to my forehand because I was having problems there to return that serve. But other than that, that's what I heard around, that's what I also saw a little bit of his game. So I knew kind of in a way what to expect.
Q. I know you know Martina. She wins 6-Love, 6-1.
ROGER FEDERER: I saw during the match.
Q. Were you surprised?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously surprised, but it's nice. I saw the first four or five games. There I thought, the poor opponent was so nervous. But, you know, Martina played smart and she plays so different than anybody else, so it's tough to beat her on grass.
Q. Do you look forward to playing here when you're 47?
ROGER FEDERER: We'll see, huh? Maybe I'm coming back. Stop now, save the energy, come back at 47 (smiling). No, we'll see. I can't tell you.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.