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March 27, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English first, please.

Q. I have one that's not directly related to the match. What are the advantages and disadvantages that you find playing without a coach?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's difficult to answer. I think there is definitely some on each side. The negatives ones, I think you have to try to, you know, put them little bit on the sides if you are with a coach or without; the same as the positive things, you have to put them more in front. You look more at those and take them, because it makes you play better tennis. I think you will always have both ways.

Q. What are some of the pluses and the minuses?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, totally depends what kind of person you are and what for you a coach or no coach should do, you know. So, I mean, I'm not going to start saying what is good and bad in a coach or not having a coach, so it's very difficult to say.

Q. Are you close to finding a coach?


Q. What are you looking for in a coach?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, somebody, you know, who can help my game to bring it to a better level and give me advice. That's what I'm looking for in a coach. But right now, there's nothing going on.

Q. Could you see going the whole year without a coach? Could that be a possibility?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously. If things don't work out, I'm not stressing myself out. So you never know what happens. But, you know, so far it's been all right. I know I can play an entire year without a coach, so...

Q. Is Stefanki someone you've given thought to?

ROGER FEDERER: Let's put it this way, I've thought about many coaches. Everybody who might be a candidate crossed my mind. But really haven't been close at all to have taken any decisions.

Q. I saw you here around noon, so you've been here at least seven and a half hours at this point. You had a long wait yesterday. Can you just talk about that, just the process of waiting to play this match.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you get used to it as a tennis player. At the US Open, I had to wait for three days until I could play a little bit. Then I had to come off after a set. So you get used to it. Sometimes it's fun, you know, sometimes it's really boring. But we're here in a group. You can entertain yourself. You know when the matches take long, at least you're here early enough to prepare. It's all about being professional.

Q. What is your scouting report on Rafael Nadal?

ROGER FEDERER: Luckily, I played him in doubles last week so I know a little bit more about his game than I would have. So at least I don't have to see him play anymore because I know how he plays now, and I'm looking forward. It's gonna be a good match. He's definitely one of the guys that will be around in the future.

Q. His scouting report, if he had to play you, was if he plays as well as he's capable of playing and you have a bad day, he can win. Otherwise, he says, he loses. What is your reaction to that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess he wants to take some pressure off himself, which is kind of normal. Because maybe people expect already too much of him. I don't know, people expect him maybe to beat me on a good day, which I think is totally possible. But he's right, he should push it away from him. Tomorrow he's definitely got a chance. Today wasn't my best, and I got to improve.

Q. Can you feel the target on you, people aiming for you because you're No. 1, even more so than when you were No. 2?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel it is more of an enjoyment, being No. 1, than, you know, feeling pressure. I think I've also shown it with my results. I really just try to, you know, while I'm No. 1 in the world, I really want to enjoy it and give as much back to the game as I can.

Q. Do you sense opponents taking more risks against you because you're No. 1?

ROGER FEDERER: Some of them might change their games, you know, because they think that maybe playing with me from the baseline is not the best idea because then I will come to the net and they have to make the passes all day so they'd rather come in themselves. I feel they maybe play a little bit more aggressive than against other players, certain players. But I think their best, they play their game and on a good day, that's sometimes good enough.

Q. How concerned were you out there down 3-1 in the third?

ROGER FEDERER: Very. Very concerned. I was not feeling well today. I mean, incredible winds here. So it's very difficult to play. It's tough to get the rhythm. He started to play well, I thought, in the middle of the second. So was a tough one, and I didn't think I'm gonna turn this around today.

Q. The miss-hit you had would be because of the wind primarily?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, wind and fatigue and just not used to play; first day I played was yesterday. So I'm really missing, you know, to hit enough tennis balls.

Q. You had a cold or flu?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was sick. I had a fever and threw up and those kind of things, so...

Q. And you missed your flight? You were, what, a day late coming here?

ROGER FEDERER: No, just a couple of hours.

Q. How much practice time did you miss then?

ROGER FEDERER: Two, three days.

Q. You have problems with your feet?

ROGER FEDERER: No, the tape was coming off. Didn't disturb my game. But just had to take it off.

Q. What did you say to yourself at 3-1 in the third that changed everything?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the wind was getting stronger and stronger, you know. I didn't have my confidence on my forehand. I couldn't hit three or four balls in a row, so I felt like he was really starting to -- not to hardly miss anymore from the baseline. The beginning, you know, he was giving me a lot of easy points. I thought, "Geez, this will be very, very difficult, you know, hopefully I can just get a good start to one of those games on his service." That's what I got right away at 3-1, so, got a little fortunate today.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ROGER FEDERER: No mistakes, tried to move and at least hold your own serve so you don't get down two breaks. But you got to hope on mistakes from the opponent.

Q. A couple days ago Andy was in chatting with us. We were talking about how difficult it is for players at the very top of the rankings to have any kind of relationship because they always want to keep a certain distance because of the competitiveness. He said, "If Roger called me up and said, 'Why don't we go out for dinner,' I'd love to do that, I'd have no problem with it." Would you?

ROGER FEDERER: Sure (smiling). I mean, we shouldn't talk, like, in a triangle, but I agree, it is very difficult because, you know, usually we stay at different hotels or we're very busy. We've got our own, you know, people around us. I think, you know, I go out with the Swiss players; he probably goes out with the Americans or his clan. I'm talking about any player now. You know, it's a professional sport so you want to do everything just for that day so you're ready. We get along well. We never had a problem together. I could imagine myself having a drink with Andy, I have in the past so...

Q. Do you feel you would have won that kind of match like today like two years ago?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you never know. Obviously, I'm a better player now, mentally stronger, physically stronger. But I cannot say because last year I lost it 7-6 in the third in the quarters. But, you know, different opponent, not so much wind.

Q. You used to hate the wind when you were younger?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, you see it. Tennis is just not as much fun as it is without because you cannot risk as much, you cannot hit the ball as hard as you want. You've got to really calculate everything you do. So that takes away a little bit of creativity, I think. I've learned to use the wind to my favor. That is important to my game.

Q. When you say that Rafael maybe wants to take pressure off himself because there are a lot of expectations on him, do you see in what he's going through maybe what you went through?


Q. Do you think, is that part of what -- maybe you see that where other people would not?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but, I think, you know, his ranking , he has already proven himself at his age, you know, to be ranked as good as he is, I think he's already actually proven that he's a great player. He doesn't right now need to beat all these top players just to show them that in three years' time he can be No. 1 in the world and win Grand Slams. I think all he needs is time, and I think he's a very quiet guy and confident on the court. I felt the same way at his age. So looking forward to playing a player like him, you know, because I think he's a good player. Tomorrow maybe I'll tell you he's a great player, but I first got to play him, so...

End of FastScripts….

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