January 30, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. Was that easier than you expected? How much do you think was due to his leg injury?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously, I always expect tougher matches than this, you know. That's what you got to have in mind when you come into a semifinals against Ferrero. You know, I started to see that he had some problems with his injury only from the third set on. I thought he played really well in the beginning, and served especially well, maybe got a little down on himself in the second, and I took advantage of it. And I'm happy the way I came back in that first set.
Q. With all that was riding on the match, was your reaction at the end kind of a sense of relief that you're in the final, you have the No. 1 ranking now?
ROGER FEDERER: "Relief"? Kind of. Relief for me was Wimbledon. No. 1, obviously it's something I've been close to the last few months. I could never take my chance. I tried everything at The Masters but, you know, wasn't good enough. But I put myself in a good spot for the Australian Open. I'm happy to have had a great start now to the season, and to finally be No. 1. And it does make me feel really strange (smiling).
Q. How do you feel about your opponent on Sunday having 24 hours more preparation time?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I don't think it really matters because I've had easier matches than he has, so he needs two days (smiling). Let's see, but I don't think it's going to play down on condition. Yeah, looking forward to it. You know, it's going to be a good match. Marat is a nice guy and we've always had great matches so far. This is a special occasion for both of us.
Q. Did you expect him to come this far in the tournament two weeks ago at the start of the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: I knew he's definitely got the game to win these tournaments. But to right away do it in the beginning of the season after he had some strange results at the end of the season, I don't know how much he was injured. I only saw him play in Madrid, where he lost in three sets to Bjorkman. But it's good to see him back. We're all happy, but we're scared at the same time, so...
Q. Was it important for you to finish with three sets today?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's better, obviously. I save energy. My confidence goes up even more. So it's great. I didn't expect to play a three-setter today.
Q. On this type of surface, is there anybody tougher for you to play when they play their very best tennis than Marat?
ROGER FEDERER: It's really difficult to answer because Marat hasn't been around for basically a year.
Q. But if he plays his best tennis.
ROGER FEDERER: He's definitely one of the toughest. And he showed it at the US Open and at many other events. You can't get up on him with a kick serve because he's so tall and so strong with his backhand, you know. So he's really tough on this surface. Plus, his movement is better on the hard courts than on any other surface. His kick serve bites on this surface. So, definitely, he's one of the toughest, for sure.
Q. How do you compare to be in the final here and the final in Wimbledon when you first reached the final of a Grand Slam? What is the difference in terms of feelings?
ROGER FEDERER: It's totally different. I am very excited, don't worry. But, you know, Wimbledon, to already get to the semis was for me like a big thing. And then to come to the finals, you know, I couldn't believe it, to have a chance to win Wimbledon. Here now I don't expect it for myself, but I know I've definitely got the game to do it. To be again in a Grand Slam final is a very good feeling. Now it's all about preparation.
Q. Will it be easier to sleep before this final?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, definitely (smiling).
Q. When you looked to your people when the match was over, you were going to be interviewed by John McEnroe, you looked so happy. Can you tell us of your feelings in that moment. You were expressing a lot.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know how many people knew how much there was in this match for me because there was not only the chance to win the tournament afterwards in the finals, but also at the same time be No. 1 in the world. So I just really wanted to enjoy that moment for myself, and the people who knew that I was playing for No. 1 in the world. They definitely saw what was going on. It's just something I will never have again in my life. You're only one time No. 1 in the world for the first time in your career or in your life, maybe. So I really wanted to kind of enjoy it.
Q. How big is this for the country, to be first Swiss No. 1 in the world?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. You've got to ask the Swiss people. But already to be No. 2, No. 5 was a big thing. You know, there's a lot of talk about Roger Federer in Switzerland. So now No. 1, it's even more special. I guess a lot of people expected that. But still, when it once happened, cannot describe the feelings inside.
Q. Do you get sort of special satisfaction from the way that you've handled all the new things that have happened to you in the last six months: winning Wimbledon, winning the Masters, getting to the Australian Open final, being No. 1? You seem to have handled them all so well. Does that give you kind of a special satisfaction, as well?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. And I feel like I've totally learned out of the Montreal match against Andy where I missed my chance for No. 1. Today I was much more relaxed. Definitely I was nervous, too, in the end. I don't know if I would have served it out any other way if I wouldn't have experienced what happened to me in Montreal, because I was basically shaking all over my body because I couldn't believe the chance I had. So there I missed it. And it was - how do you say - it was the defeat that hurt me the most last year. And now to have made it, to have served it out, it's just really -- it's just really nice.
Q. Having won Wimbledon, were you surprised at that reaction you just described there, in that Montreal situation? Nothing's bigger than sort of serving for the Wimbledon Championship.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wasn't serving for it (smiling).
Q. Nothing is bigger than receiving.
ROGER FEDERER: What can I say? You always get nervous when something means very much for yourself. I'm definitely a guy who is rather calm on the outside on the tennis court, but very emotional inside. I showed everything that was going on inside of myself at the presentation of the trophy in Wimbledon. It wasn't far away today. But it was more of a -- just such a satisfaction and such a joy and also proud, of course, to be No. 1, the No. 1 in the men's tennis game. Martina Hingis was No. 1 in the women's side, and now that I'm the first Swiss to have made it on the men's side, it's just something -- it's really fun and good.
Q. You said before the tournament you didn't expect to go to the final. Why?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, because you got to look round for round, and you got to take it easy. You cannot just say, "I'm here to win the tournament," then you crash out in the first round and you don't know what to say. So you got to save yourself and start slowly (smiling). I knew if it goes well and I make it to the fourth round or quarterfinals, that after that I got a chance to go all the way. But looking at the draw, there were some really tough guys around. I beat them all. Now I got the chance for the title, and I'm No. 1 in the world. I cannot ask for more right now.
Q. Marat was confident in Perth already, and he says he doesn't care about the draw.
ROGER FEDERER: Good for him. I did care about the draw. I still also made it, so depends how you look at it.
Q. You may be the first No. 1 in the world who gets there without having a coach.
ROGER FEDERER: I've had coaches, don't worry (smiling).
Q. Maybe other people will follow this example or not?
ROGER FEDERER: I have no idea. That's up to other players. I don't really care what the other guys do. All that I care about is my own career.
Q. Is it tougher?
ROGER FEDERER: It's different. What can I say? This title doesn't come -- how I say, this No. 1 in the world doesn't just come like this. This has been a lot of work on the practice courts, like all the other place, too. But I've been working as hard as I could the last few years. All the coaches that have helped me definitely deserve something of it. But obviously in the end, you know, it's me on the tennis court and serving out the match, not the coach. So I'm definitely very proud.
Q. Do you expect this to be a year when the No. 1 changes hands quite frequently throughout the year?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope not. I don't hope it's going to change so quickly. Just getting used to the situation (smiling). We'll see how I handle it. But it's definitely going to be an interesting year. There's a lot of young guys around. Andre is still around. Yeah, I'm looking forward to what's going to happen.
Q. People say you have the talent to win a Grand Slam on all surfaces. Do you agree?
ROGER FEDERER: Impossible to answer. I have no idea. I've never been close to win the French Open or I would say the US Open. But now that I've played well at the Australian Open, I know I've got definitely a better chance also at the US Open. French Open gives me confidence knowing that I played finals in Rome, won Hamburg and won Munich. If that is enough to win a Grand Slam... I don't think so. I'll go step by step. I haven't even won this tournament yet. Still got some work today.
Q. Back on the coaching issue. You made a decision that you're going to hire someone in the near future or you don't want to think about it right now?
ROGER FEDERER: There's not much to say about it. I feel good the way it's right now, otherwise I wouldn't perform like I'm doing. I'm definitely - especially after this result - not going to stress into something because it gives me kind of air and time to really think about what I want. At the same time I'm getting to know myself better, also what my needs are before a tournament. You know, I've always been taken care of with coaches. Maybe to be on my own a little bit does my game good. You know, in a way yes, and in a way it doesn't do me good because maybe I'm missing some advice. Maybe in the long run this could help me. Who knows.
Q. Marat says he enjoys a couple of beers to ease the muscles. Do you have a similar policy?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I'm not a beer fan. I drink other stuff (smiling).
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.