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March 21, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: No. 1 ranked players are now 7-0 lifetime in the finals here at this tournament. Roger wins his second career ATP Masters Series title and third title of the season. Questions for Roger.

Q. In Rotterdam you lost, was there bad water, terrible food? How could you lose?

ROGER FEDERER: No, Tim played a great match. You know, the surface was lower bounce which suits Tim's slice very much. I felt a little bit tired, missed a lot of chances. He totally deserved that victory. You know, today I always had to watch out from the first ball on I hit. I just had to make sure I served really well today, put pressure on his own serve.

Q. He said he felt the variation in your serve caused him enormous problems.

ROGER FEDERER: I felt that, too.

Q. Is that as well as you've served against him?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't think I served any different to the last few times against him, but the difference was I didn't double-fault today. I told myself, it's important, I'd rather make him hit some good approach shots and good returns than just to get away from him, then he would feel the pressure just by his presence, knowing he would come to the net. I think then I started to feel good in the middle of the game. Then, you know, the confidence was my way.

Q. Five unforced errors in a final of this magnitude. Quite a memorable performance, isn't it?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but five unforced errors is tough because, you know, it always looks like it's a forced error if you make one against Tim. He keeps rushing you. I mean, definitely it's a great match I've played today. This was one of my goals for the season, to win Masters Series. I'm happy I won the first one because last year I couldn't win any. I lost in the finals in Rome, and now to win this one against Tim is especially nice.

Q. Justine Henin-Hardenne said she's able to pass up Miami. Do you wish you had that choice or do you still feel pretty refreshed? Do you wish you had the option to skip Miami?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm surprised she doesn't play it because to me it seems like there is enough days to prepare for Miami again. I'm going to go there, for sure, that's all I can say. I think Miami's one of the nicest events of the year, as well, same as this one. It's definitely a pity for the women's game she's missing out.

Q. When you broke the first time, particularly reaching that dropshot, almost seemed to be the turning point psychologically in the game.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it was one tough call at 15-All already against him, this one serve he hit. Then at 15-30, I hit that unbelievable pickup of that dropshot. I was very, very surprised I made that one. That was, looking back, a very important point, yeah. Otherwise, I don't think I would have broken him.

Q. Two points later he got a chance to put a volley away.

ROGER FEDERER: I think that one he felt the pressure. I passed him once already. I got to the dropshot. Maybe he felt he had to do something more or play a little safe, I don't know. Suddenly, you know, he missed that volley. It was good for me. Like this, the match started perfectly for me, what I wished for.

Q. You didn't give him a chance. He said so. He was helpless. That's his word. Have you played that well against a really good player, Top 10?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I've showed a few times that I played well against top players. But against Tim, it's just a different game overall just because he keeps coming at you, and you cannot actually find that rhythm from the baseline when you're looking for. You feel like you're going to hit the normal backhand, then suddenly he's standing at the net hitting a volley. That kind of always makes you look at the ball and on the other side of the net to see where Tim is standing. It makes it extremely difficult. But I'm very pleased the way it went today.

Q. Going into Houston last year, Masters Cup, you had had lots of problems with Andre, Lleyton, Tim. Since that time now you've gotten victories over all of them. What does that say about yourself and your game?

ROGER FEDERER: I think, like you said, Houston was very important for me because I had problems beating Agassi, Hewitt, Nalbandian. Roddick I never knew also. I beat him again after he beat me in Montreal. For me, that was like an unbelievable turning point in my career. I knew how to beat all these guys. Same as Ferrero, as well, I had my difficulties with him, as well. But now beating all these guys, Hewitt at the Australian Open, and now Tim here finally, I feel like now there's not many guys left who have really an edge on me. I think this is very important for the rest of the season.

Q. Are you actually able to relax while you're playing a final?


Q. You looked totally relaxed.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, maybe, but every time I went up to serve my first point of the games, I was hoping not to be down Love-15 like I was the first three service games. This is maybe where he missed his chance a little bit. Three times in a row, he had Love-15. You know, even though I was up a break, when he made that volley on the line, for me to go up double break, I was just hoping for that volley to go out. To be a double break, that would have been basically the match. I still have to fight, try to keep my serve maybe one more time instead of twice. But, you know, that's just the way it is against Tim.

Q. There were times against Agassi when TV showed you, a real crunch time, you were smiling, et cetera. Obviously, you do feel you're right on top of your form, your game, at the moment?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm very, very confident. I think also in moments where I know it's not going my way, like yesterday in the first set, I don't see any point for me to panic. I think that makes me much stronger now than it used to. At the same time, just knowing what I'm able to do, what I'm not able to do. I know my possibilities and my limits. I think that is very important to my game.

Q. Often in the media we hear you're the one who is going to take over the game. Does that create for you a pressure or is that motivation for you?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don't feel any extra pressure because everybody will try to beat me, I will try to beat everybody. I don't see it like, you know, if I don't win, like if I would lose here in the finals or if I would lose here in the second round, that then everything has broken down, what I have achieved. No, I don't feel pressure. I'm really just enjoying the moment right now.

Q. Have you tested all the limits of your game yet or do you still feel like there's a lot of progress for you to make?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think what I would really like to improve is my serve-and-volley game, but it's just very difficult these days with the conditions, you know, slow, the players, they return so well. Not only do they return well, but they're good also off the second shot, the passing shot. But the important thing is that I serve and volley well at Wimbledon, and that is most important, because without serve and volleying I think there it will be difficult for me to win. So right now I'm playing a lot from the baseline. That's something to get easier points and quicker points which might save you energy not only for the rest of the season, rest of the match, but also for the rest of your career.

Q. Is your next major goal Roland Garros, to have a good result there this time?

ROGER FEDERER: No. My goal is Miami, then Davis Cup. You know, all this Grand Slam talk, it's not disturbing, but this is not a goal I set for myself this year when I was practicing in Switzerland in December, that I want to win the Grand Slam. I think it's the wrong way to look at tennis right now.

Q. How much do you intend to play on clay leading up to the French?

ROGER FEDERER: The Masters Series. I haven't signed up for Munich, the one I won last year. So Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg.

Q. Can Switzerland win the Davis Cup if you don't win every match you play in Davis Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I'm there to give everything for my country and for my teammates. You know, for us already semifinals last year was a great achievement, I thought. And this year, I wouldn't say it looks even better, but, I don't know, we play at home against France. Last year we were away. If we win, we have a potential semifinals against Spain at home again. So there are chances which keep me very motivated to play Davis Cup.

Q. Who will you play doubles with?

ROGER FEDERER: Rosset or Allegro, one or the other.

Q. Justine thought this is one of the hottest conditions she ever played in. Did you feel the same?

ROGER FEDERER: I would say, it's strange here, if you sit still, really the sun gets to you. I don't know, if you keep moving, you feel the wind, then you get two minutes in the shade after every two games, I kind of get enough time to get away from the heat. For me, humidity is much worse than this. I mean, every body's different.

Q. How are you going to celebrate this?

ROGER FEDERER: What shall I do? Start dancing (laughter)?

Q. Do you have any plans, go for dinner?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm leaving tonight. I'll probably celebrate when I'm in Miami, when all the traveling is over.

Q. How do you manage to sign so many autographs? Do you enjoy signing? President Clinton likes to greet the people.

ROGER FEDERER: I like signing autographs a lot because I think it's something where the players and the fans get together. They see me from far away, you know, behind -- it's just too much space in between us. When they can come close to the players, I think that is some special moment for everybody. If they can take pictures, maybe touch me, whatever, for them it's a highlight of the day. If I can give them that, I think that's a lot of satisfaction for me, too.

Q. Do any fans actually attempt to give you any advice?

ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. You know, especially now that I don't have a coach (smiling).

Q. What do they say?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. They tell me, "If you need help, here is my card. I'll check out your shot." I don't know. It's funny.

End of FastScripts….

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