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January 20, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger.

Q. Very competent start. Must feel nice to get into the groove so early?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm happy to have started well. Straight sets in the first round is a good start. The beginning was a little bit, you know, tentative, the way I played. But after I started to go more for my shots, and I also volleyed well today, served well. So overall, I'm really happy the way it started.

Q. Are you happy with the Australian Open so early in the calendar, or would you like to move it further into the season?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, it's difficult to say. I would say there's a lot of upsets that can happen here just because some players are just not a hundred percent ready yet or let's say they focus for later on in the season. But the Australian Open stays as important as Wimbledon and the French Open and the US Open to me. In my eyes, you know, if they push it two weeks later or earlier, doesn't really matter because I'm ready for this event.

Q. Were you at all worried today with the temperature being so high? Did you think they would close the roof?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I just saw Vodafone started with its roof closed, I think. I didn't understand why, but it was very hot in the beginning. The wind was also hot because the last few days the wind was cooler. But then the clouds came, and the problem was over, so...

Q. Must have been relieved not to have to play a fourth set in that heat?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, as I said, afterwards, after one set already, the clouds came in and it got much cooler. At that point, if it's four sets, it wouldn't have been a problem.

Q. The gift you got there is from the ITWA. Another gift you got after Wimbledon, I'm wondering how the cow is, how it's doing? Is everything fine back in Switzerland?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah, she's fine. Not too much news lately from her. So I guess that's fine.

Q. Still alive?

ROGER FEDERER: She's still alive. Otherwise, I think I would know (laughter). I think she's good. That's most important.

Q. Who were your tennis heroes growing up? What did you learn from them? What could youngsters learn from your game?

ROGER FEDERER: The way I see it, I've always admired players with one-handed backhands just because I also played one-handed. For me, Edberg was my first, Becker after. They were more like idols. Sampras was more like the favorite player later on. I never tried to copy anyone. I think that's what the kids also should know. You know, okay, some techniques are good, but maybe there's something else also than the technique that makes your favorite player win the match. This sometimes kids don't see. But still, it's nice to have an idol. I've always enjoyed that.

Q. Pat Cash has expressed some concern about you not having a coach, that you can't get the very best out of yourself if you don't have one. What is your own view at the moment, starting with a Grand Slam without one?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I'm happy. You know, everybody seen today on the court that I was feeling good and playing well, that was a good sign. I know it's difficult to start the season without a coach. But that was my decision. It was something I thought about a long time. You know, it's not something I came up after Houston, it was something that was already going on for half a year or something. So what Pat Cash really says, you know, I don't really care.

Q. Was it a distraction?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't read the article. People just told me. I cannot believe what he says. Everything he said is not true. I don't even know Pat Cash. As long as I don't really know him, I can't take it seriously because he doesn't know me then in that case. I know what is true and what is not true. What he is saying is definitely not right. It's not fair.

Q. So at the moment you're quite happy the way things are going without a coach? If one comes along, fine, but if not...

ROGER FEDERER: As I said, I'm looking for a coach. I'm trying to make the right decisions. But I don't want to stress into something. So it's going to take probably for sure another few weeks and months to see what happens. And I've decided coming here to Australia without a coach, so it's normal people keep asking me, wondering who's going to be the next guy. But I still don't know. Like this, people know what's going on. That's all I can say.

Q. Do you think it's quite daunting to take you on, given you are the Wimbledon Champion, everybody is telling you how good you are? For a coach, it's a pretty heavy role.

ROGER FEDERER: I think it's a good challenge for any coach to work with me. I'm different maybe than other guys. First of all, you got to get to know each other a little bit and feel that you can get along well over, you know, 20, 30 weeks a year. That's not too easy. So it's going to be interesting to see what happens (smiling).

Q. Have you had any applications?

ROGER FEDERER: Which means? You mean offers?

Q. Somebody has volunteered to be your coach or suggested themselves as your coach.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, of course. I wouldn't say a lot. I didn't know what to expect, you know, how many people are going to call or write, whatever. But there have been people asking. You know, it's good to see. At least somebody wants to work with me (smiling).

Q. Have you talked to Tim Henman about being without a coach at all?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I haven't spoken to him.

End of FastScripts….

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