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November 12, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: If we could start with questions in English, please, for Roger.

Q. Been a long time coming, that win?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I've been always hoping to beat him, you know, in the seniors. I beat him in Juniors, so... Today's my first time and I'm happy about it.

Q. Wasn't anything wrong with him, as far as you know?

ROGER FEDERER: I just thought he didn't play as good, you know, as the previous matches, you know. I thought every time he played me, he came up with some unbelievable shots. Today was just a few. He normally comes up with much more than that. Still, I definitely changed my game a little bit. He was struggling. But, you know, for me, that doesn't really matter.

Q. How does it feel to be in such a commanding position now in the group?

ROGER FEDERER: Very good, you know. Similar to really Shanghai, you know. I felt really good after two matches, you know. I won my first two also by losing one set one time and once in straight sets. That made me go through to the semis, which is, you know... So I believe I'm in a very good position now, and I don't know what it takes for Ferrero and Agassi, you know, for me to go through. But I'm ready for the third match and that's, I think, the most important.

Q. Do you feel this is some of the best tennis you've played this year? You've had a good year.

ROGER FEDERER: It's tough to say, you know. I definitely didn't miss making a lot of unforced errors. But I really didn't serve that great. That's, for me, really surprising to beat him so easy but not really serving great. That also shows a little bit how poorly he was returning. I think he's normally one of the best returners in the world. Today, he just couldn't really find his rhythm. So, yeah, I took advantage of this. I think that was the good part of the game today.

Q. How about you playing on this surface, is this to your liking?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I really enjoy it, you know. The slice stays low, the kick takes off. You can hit flat, you can come to the net, you know. Obviously depends a little bit who you playing, you know. When I play a guy like Agassi, the court definitely feels slower because he's in command of the rallies and that makes you run a lot. But all in all, I think it's a good court, yeah.

Q. When you hit those slice backhands cross court, then you come up with a topspin backhand, how do you know when to hit the topspins? Is it instinctively or...?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, depends a bit how, obviously, how he plays it back to me, you know. I rather maybe spin the ball when a guy slices it to me, or when a guy spins it, I'd rather slice. So depends a little bit how the opponent plays it back to me. But I always like to mix it up, you know - once a slice once in a while, once a big spin, once flat, you know, just so the opponent doesn't get the same look at the ball every time.

Q. You say you changed your game in explaining today's win. Do you mean specifically in terms of tactics, facing Nalbandian, playing him differently today?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I didn't always -- the last few matches, you know, I played him , I always started to serve and volley because I didn't feel so good against him from the baseline. But today I just told myself, "There's no need for me to serve and volley against him. I rather then attack him in maybe two or three shots." That really worked fine because his returns, they're gonna land short anyway. Doesn't matter how hard a serve. So if I serve and volley, I will always face tough volleys and he will always pass well after, you know. We saw it; if you don't put it away, he's very good at it. So there I was just little bit more patient, but I had to stay aggressive from the baseline because if he gets in the long, long rallies, you know, he's very good.

Q. Your chances to finish No. 1 are gone since yesterday. Did you watch the match yesterday on TV?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I didn't see anything, no.

Q. It was kind of special match because of the times he defeat you?


Q. Before?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, definitely. I think, you know, he felt very good going into this match. Except maybe his wrist was bothering him; I don't know. This, you have to ask him. But, you know, after US Open, a lot of people started talking about this match, you know. I think he was saying that he feels very good playing me. I said well, you know, I'm not far away, I feel it. But it's just not so easy, you know, to beat him. To beat him now for the first time, it's just good, you know, to get it off my back. You know, it's just easier to live like this now.

End of FastScripts….

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