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November 10, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. How special is it to beat Andre for the first time here in the States?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we haven't actually played too much, you know, against each other. First time was in my home tournament in Basel, which was when I was 17 years old. I couldn't expect to win there. But I came close in the Miami finals and, you know, I wouldn't say finally, but it's just nice to beat such players, you know, one time in your career.

Q. When your forehand went off in the first set, were you always confident it would come back in time?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's true, you know, I could also feel it myself. I was missing by a lot, you know, so which didn't help. But, I don't know. He always puts you on the run, you know. Kind of once you have a chance, you feel, "Now I've got to be aggressive." This is when you overhit. I knew that if I just don't freak out, you know, mentally, I could -- my forehand would come back eventually.

Q. Could you just take us through the matchpoint as you saw it. Quite an interesting little rally, wasn't it?

ROGER FEDERER: You mean the last one?

Q. Yours.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, I saw the ball clearly out, you know, so... But I'm the last guy who stops play just by a close call. I really was sure it was out. Plus it was a miss-hit, so you feel it even more. I hope he didn't take it the wrong way, because I didn't try to kind of win like this. But luckily for me, I played a great shot after, you know, to win and not talk about this. Talk about the last shot instead.

Q. Did you get big confidence from beating Andre?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm just coming off that win, you know, so I have to see how I play the next match. But, no, the group is tough. I have bad records against everybody. So it's a great start, you know. I'm very, very happy the way it went today. I hope I can just play as good again, back to back matches would be great.

Q. Was it the atmosphere you were expecting?

ROGER FEDERER: Something like that. I wasn't too surprised. Americans always scream a lot. Less clapping, more screaming. That's okay. All the crowds should be different. That's the difference.

Q. Is it difficult to concentrate in a third-set tiebreaker like that, when it's only three sets? Every point is so important.

ROGER FEDERER: It's really, really tough, you know. Because you feel like, "Oh, we've come so far. It's just gonna play maybe one lucky shot, one good serve," or, you know, who knows what happens, you know. So it's really like 50/50 in a breaker. You really hope to get off to a good start. I wasn't really confident going into that tiebreaker because of my first one. So, yeah, definitely whoever would have won that tiebreaker, I did, you know, got a little lucky today, so...

Q. What do you think of the speed of the court and the balls? You feel it's very slow or...?

ROGER FEDERER: Difficult to say, you know. I'm playing against a great returner, so you always feel it's slower because there's more balls coming back. He's returning your serve easier than maybe others. But I think it's a fair -- I would say it's fair, you know. We don't have these lightning courts anymore, you know, in today's tennis. So you get used to it.

Q. How would you rate your level of game compared to the indoor tournaments you played before?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I thought Vienna was a great tournament. After that, you know, I never really found the game I normally play. Even though I played semis in Madrid, I always had these really tough matches where I just served well, you know, and it was a very fast surface. After that, I had the back spasm, whatever. I was just struggling in Basel and in Paris. So last time I really played as good as this was in Vienna, in the finals against Moya.

Q. What did you do with the cow?

ROGER FEDERER: The cow is still in Gstaad, where I got it. She's staying there for the moment (smiling).

Q. Both Andy and Juan Carlos have got a bit more of a chance at the No. 1, not to say that you're out of the running.

ROGER FEDERER: Almost (smiling).

Q. There's still a chance. Is that in your mind at all this week, or is it just a matter of winning the title?

ROGER FEDERER: I wasn't thinking about it during the match, really. After the match, one time, I thought, "Oh, I'm still in the race, am I?" But as long as it's not in my, you know, power, I don't even know what needs to happen. But I think Andy's not allowed to win a match or something (laughter). If that's the case, it definitely can happen because, you know, he's playing against good guys. But, still, the chances are rather small, so...

Q. What do you think happened in that first-set tiebreak?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, what happened? Bad start and then he runs away with it. Taking chances and doesn't work, you know. Yeah, I felt, you know, he always had a chance on my service games to hold first set, you know. That makes you wonder going into tiebreaks, you know. He deserved that first set even though I was up a break in the first. But he was better there.

Q. As rallies go this year, have you had a more memorable one than the one in the sixth game of the second set?

ROGER FEDERER: That was quite a rally. I thought that was out like three or four times, you know, out of the rally. Every time I just got it back one more time. And, yeah, the last one I should make. But I'm almost falling off my legs, you know, because I'm so tired. I don't remember actually a point like this, no, this whole year maybe.

Q. You actually responded after that?

ROGER FEDERER: I served well, yeah.

Q. You did serve well?

ROGER FEDERER: If I don't serve well there, I guess it's maybe a different match.

Q. Did you ever think that backing off on big second serves, it didn't work, two or three times in the last set. Then suddenly when you really needed it, you got the big serve.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I just believe in taking chances, you know, is sometimes gonna work. I was double-faulting I think in the breakers two or three times, in the first and in the third. So, you know, I actually didn't aim for the ace, you know, in the third set. You know, on the second serve. But went rather close to the line. I didn't want it there, but (smiling)...

Q. I don't mean to be offensive, but some people who took exception to your comment that the arena here was too small. Like at the WTA championship at the STAPLES Center, they had a 20,000-seat arena and more people, but it seemed very empty without a strong atmosphere. Do you think you might reconsider that and see that...?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I didn't mean anything bad towards this surface or the stadium, you know. I don't know if people wrote it differently. Because I added that, you know, that's okay if it's a sellout crowd. We saw it tonight. I thought it was a great - how do you say - atmosphere on the court. Like this is what we players enjoy and the fans enjoy. That's what I think is the most important. I said also once the tournament gets underway, we don't care if the court is leaning or not, you know. So I don't understand why people, you know, wrote that I was criticizing. That was just my first impression. I can also talk differently when I arrive and say everything is great, you know. I think everything is great. But, you know, that was just my feeling, you know. If I can't say my feelings anymore, I don't come to press conferences anymore.

Q. For a first-round match, how would you assess the crowd and atmosphere?

ROGER FEDERER: I said it was great. It was really nice to play. Especially under the lights makes it even more special, so...

End of FastScripts….

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