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March 14, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger improves to 17-1 on the season. With his fourth victory over Pavel this year. He'll take on Fernando Gonzalez for the first time tomorrow. Questions.

Q. It doesn't seem like it, but is it difficult to meet the same opponent so often in such a short time?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. It's -- because you always feel, like now he had time to figure me out even better. He knows even more about my game, especially if you play in such a short period of time. I was not expecting a match like today, but I knew I could do it because I played him in Miami a few years ago also. I beat him 6-1, 6-1. When it happens, you're always surprised.

Q. Why was it so easy?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I played well. I was more aggressive today than maybe in the past matches against him. He's definitely maybe mentally not as strong as he was the first time we played this year. Obviously, I knew that could play a role.

Q. How are you feeling in this opener for you? Were you eager to get started here?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. I was happy to play Sunday because I came from Europe. I feel it always takes time just to get used to the different conditions, the jet lag, all this. I'm happy to have played so well in the first round.

Q. You seem to be equally comfortable in either desert surrounding.

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, that's good, because I thought here it's much warmer than in Dubai. But, I mean, the court plays very similar, and that was good.

Q. In a match like that, is there a time like maybe you take the life out of your opponent or desire?

ROGER FEDERER: In a match like this?

Q. Yes. Is there a point in this match where you felt like he looked completely defeated?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously if I look at him and the scoreboard, I think my attitude was much more positive than his. I think that's just normal. Just have to do what you have to do out on the court. If I can win easier, I'll try everything. That's always something I try to improve also in my own game. That if I know I have a chance today to win really easy, I hope not to let it come down to maybe the last service game or something. I'm pushing myself also harder than I used to and it's paying off, especially today.

Q. Andy Roddick said an interesting thing earlier. You're very young, he's very young. He said he talked to Andre Agassi a few years ago and asked him if he had something he could do over again, what would he do. Agassi said he would have started on giving back to the game earlier in his career, started his foundation earlier. Do you think about things like that now? Roddick says he is.


Q. Are you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I am always very concerned about the game of tennis. So that's why I try to give back as much as I can. You know, playing with kids, giving signatures, spending time with media, give the fans good stories, all these kinds of things is very important. I've also got my own foundation now. I've started -- I don't know when Agassi started, but I felt like I couldn't start earlier than I did. I thought it was very important too. I look at this as a very important thing next to the tennis.

Q. What is the foundation? Is it in Switzerland? What is the nature of your foundation?

ROGER FEDERER: I've just created it. I'm still thinking exactly what direction I want to go. I actually on Christmas Day, I call it to life, the Roger Federer Foundation. In the next few months, we'll decide on what it's going to be.

Q. Have you decided what the charity is going to be?

ROGER FEDERER: No, that's what I'm going to decide.

Q. How would you describe the difference between Roger Federer the person and Roger Federer the player today compared with 12 months ago?

ROGER FEDERER: Today I won. Last year on this day, I didn't.

Q. In more general terms.

ROGER FEDERER: General, obviously. Well, I've lived through a lot of -- lot of things since. I've had such nice experiences, with all the big titles I won. I've moved up the rankings. I feel much more confident when I walk on court. I know what I got to do now. Before I was always going on court with a little doubt. If today doesn't work, you know, I cannot win probably. Now I feel even if I'm playing bad, I can win matches. That is for me a big improvement I've made. Yeah, been an interesting year.

Q. Are you more relaxed as a person or more committed or what, off court?

ROGER FEDERER: It kind of relaxes me more because I know, look, I don't need to win my first Slam anymore to kind of prove it to everybody. For me it's a totally different situation now because I don't feel under pressure at all. I just want to do what I like, playing tennis at the best level. I think this was my first win on center court today. That's nice.

Q. Can you still walk down the street or do you get people coming up to you all the time?

ROGER FEDERER: Is it not a good life if I walk down the streets and people see me, recognize me?

Q. A lot of people that are famous get fed up with people.

ROGER FEDERER: No. I was shopping in December a lot, walking down the streets. Okay, it was winter, so you're wrapped up a little more than maybe in summer. I have to almost mentally prepare now when I walk out of the house in Basel. But I'm used to it. I think the people in Basel, in general in Switzerland, they're okay. They respect my private life. Some of them come up to me like they're my best friends. Some of them just come up with a lot of respect. It depends. It's actually funny to see all the different reactions.

Q. Martina Hingis watched a lot of your matches in Australia. Have you spoken to her about this new fame that you're experiencing?

ROGER FEDERER: No. We had dinner together during Australia. I don't know. We just go out more, just me and my girlfriend, her and her boyfriend. We just go out and have easy dinners. I don't think I need to get any advice from her. I don't think she wants to give any, because I think everybody has to find his own direction and find out what he needs. Obviously, a little advice is good sometimes. But I think I'm already too far. Should have gave me more advice when I was 15 or so, when I met her the first time. For me, the experience I shared with her playing Hopman Cup, that was great to see how professional she was. I have to say there actually I learned also just by watching her.

Q. Last year at Wimbledon, after you won, you were still pointing to the Sampras match that was up there on a pedestal that you would never reach again. Have you changed your mind on that? Is there better than that to come? Has there been better than that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I thought nothing will ever top my Wimbledon win against him, against Sampras in Wimbledon, 2001. But, you know, 2003 Wimbledon definitely topped that, with all the emotions I had there and Australian Open, now becoming No. 1, Houston, I played unbelievable tennis. I think those three already alone have topped the Sampras match. That's always something I've been fighting against, not to be remembered as the guy who beat Sampras at Wimbledon.

Q. I think that's over.

ROGER FEDERER: I think that's over, too. I'm happy about that.

Q. Even in a lopsided match we saw a lot of different facets of your game. Talk about the confidence you're playing with. You exude the fact it feels like you can hit any shot out there.

ROGER FEDERER: No. Well, I think the more confident you are, the more risk you can take. The harder you hit the ball, the more you think you're stronger than you maybe actually are. But I still believe it's more to stay realistic and know what you can do, what you can't, or what you should do, shouldn't do. Today it felt very good from the start. Tough beginning to the match. As the match went on, I started to hit much more freely. I know not every match will be this way. But the way I'm playing right now, it definitely feels very good. Hopefully I can keep it up.

End of FastScripts….

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