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March 28, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your thoughts on the match? What was he able to do to get you out of rhythm?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's always difficult to play someone for the first time, first of all. But I think, you know, overall he played a very good match. He was the better player today. It was tough for me to, you know -- I mean, I had time to get the rhythm, but, you know, he played very aggressive and I couldn't quite play maybe the way I wanted to.

Q. Were you surprised how aggressive he did come out? It seemed like every shot he was hitting was perfect.

ROGER FEDERER: He doesn't hit the ball flat and hard. It's more with a lot of spin, which makes the ball bounce, bounce high, and that's a struggle I had today. I tried to get out of it, but kind of couldn't. I thought in the beginning I maybe wasn't going for my shots enough, where in the end I thought I was hitting the ball better. But I felt the match maybe kind of went his way, and, you know, he hit some really incredible shots. That's what youngsters do, so... (Laughter).

Q. Are you surprised such a young guy could come at you like that?

ROGER FEDERER: No, no, I'm not surprised. I've heard a lot about him and saw some matches of him. I think this is not a big surprise for everybody.

Q. You played a lot of tennis this year already. Do you feel more tired physically or mentally?

ROGER FEDERER: My fatigue right now has got nothing to do with all the matches I've played this year. I've been sick, and this was my problem for the imperfect preparation for this tournament. Yesterday I was (going) a lot in the wind. Today I played against a player who was just better. That was my problem for this week. Now I have time to rest and prepare for Davis Cup.

Q. Do you feel better physically than yesterday, or do you feel the same?

ROGER FEDERER: Different. I had a lot of pain in my whole body from the match of yesterday because I couldn't prepare the way I wanted to. But, you know, I didn't feel as tired as yesterday. But tough to explain. Just, you know, I felt what was missing today was just the reactions and maybe the fight in the corners which were not the same than maybe I'm used to.

Q. What do you think is the biggest weapon Nadal has?

ROGER FEDERER: I think his forehand, you know, is for sure his biggest shot in his game, and his all-court speed.

Q. It wasn't long ago you were 17. Can you imagine playing with that attitude against the No. 1 player in the world?

ROGER FEDERER: Was it not good?

Q. It was great. His attitude today, I mean. Could you imagine you at 17 years old...

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we have to get a tape when I played Moya, Moya in Marseille when I was 17. But I think, you know, he's a different character on the court. He relies much more on his fighting spirit, like Lleyton does a little bit, you know, I compare him at his age. So, you know, everyone has their attitude. I think it's a definite good one to have very much success early in his career.

Q. As the world No. 1, still only 22, does it frighten you that he is almost five years younger than you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, what can you do (smiling)? I think he's put a lot of hard work into his game. We all know that, you know, the youngsters from today - because we feel young, but there's always younger players than you, and, you know, we all remember when we were 17, we already felt we were great players. Then suddenly, you're around for a few years and you feel like, "Well, now I've proven it to everybody I'm a good player." It's totally different view of the game, especially I think interesting are the first three years. So I think he's enjoying his tennis. That's exactly what he should do. We'll see how strong he will be in two years. But, I mean, the start to his career so far has been incredible.

Q. Did you sense that he was nervous at all? Did you see that in him?

ROGER FEDERER: No. In the beginning maybe little bit, when you walk on court. I think he's kind of a little bit shy, you know, on court. He looks at me as an incredible great player, you know. I just felt more of a respect level than nerve.

Q. I guess this win for him tonight must feel, in a way, like it felt for you when you beat Sampras, that sort of major victory, that major breakthrough. How important is that kind of victory to your career?

ROGER FEDERER: For me, it was -- I think it's -- I don't know if you can compare. Mine was in Wimbledon, you know. Definitely this is also big tournament, but, I don't know, it's tough because I'm still not much, much older than he is. Sampras, for me, was more of -- I think more than I am for him. He's got different idols, I think (smiling). For me, I think this win counts little bit different for us.

Q. How will you prepare for the Davis Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: How I will prepare? The way we always do (smiling).

Q. When do you go to Switzerland?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know when I'm leaving, when I'm arriving to the team. They started practicing on Monday, which is tomorrow. They will start the practice tomorrow, and I will join them when I get back to Switzerland. So when that will be, I don't know.

Q. Do you think the heat stroke that you got in Indian Wells, although you've got a thick head of black hair, do you think of wearing a cap in those conditions perhaps next time?

ROGER FEDERER: It's a good point which I thought about. But it's really the first time I've experienced something like this. I've played in some heat in my career. So, I mean, I'll try to continue playing the way I did. If I will get it a second time, then I'll put even more thoughts into it (laughter)... and start playing with a cap, thanks to you (laughter).

Q. What's closest to your heart - to win Davis Cup or the Gold Medal in the Olympics this year?

ROGER FEDERER: Olympics would mean more to me.

Q. Do you go with any particular plan today and you couldn't make it happen, or you went just to see? Considering that you do not have a coach right now and you're coaching yourself, how did you prepare for the match in this case?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the difficulty was that I've never played him, so that makes it more difficult. He's a young player who takes, you know -- you never know what he will do next because he's very unpredictable. He will suddenly take a lot of risks. That's what he sometimes did and surprised me. So for me, you know, it was important to, you know, to try to play aggressive. But I felt, you know, the conditions were very slow out there and maybe lost a little bit of my confidence in the early -- beginning of the match. I came to the net a few times and missed my chances there. He passed me well. So this is actually when maybe already I started to lose a little bit, you know, of confidence, when the match went his way. I started to take more chances from the baseline and maybe I played a little bit too much from the baseline with him instead of maybe coming to the net more. It's definitely got something to do with his game as well; he didn't allow me to. That's the way he played.

Q. How do you think you'll do at the French Open on clay this year?


Q. Uh-hmm.

ROGER FEDERER: Long way to go. I don't know. Looking forward to it, you know. I can only do better than the last two years. I didn't win a set, so... (Laughing). My goal is to do better and hopefully win a round. But I've proven in the past on clay, you know, it can also work out for me. It's definitely one of the -- I have high hopes in the French Open this year.

End of FastScripts….

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