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October 18, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. Was it a question of you playing not well enough or Juan Carlos playing too well today?

ROGER FEDERER: I think, you know, I wasn't too happy with my game. A few moments it was all right, but it was a little bit too much up and down. You know, I took chances on my serves and double-faulted. You know, that shouldn't happen. I put myself in difficulties myself. He wasn't really controlling the match, I was. So it's hard to say for me how well he played because I was the one who was taking chances.

Q. You seemed to have trouble attacking his serve. Did he improve his serve very much in the last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I was returning, you know, horrible - in the first set especially. Maybe, you know, he has improved his serve. I don't know. I don't play him enough. But for a smaller guy, he's definitely serving not bad. But it's nothing like a monster serve. I had the feeling I was just struggling with the rhythm, you know, to read serves. I've been playing Lopez yesterday, Fish before, who was just serving huge. I never got the rhythm on the return, even though I beat them. The first round for me against Corretja, it was important that I didn't give him rhythm. I never really got my own rhythm until the semis and today. In the first set, I had to pay the price for that. After, it got better and I also served well, but it was just not consistent enough throughout three sets.

Q. You were talking about consistency. I think most of us think that when you are at the top of your form, you're the best player. What's the problem in terms of getting that best form on a consistent basis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I've been playing consistently this whole year. You know, this is really something I had to work on three years ago, just that I can keep it up mentally two, three, four weeks in a row. This I couldn't do because my mental part went away, then also physically I wasn't in the mood or I was just too tired. All this I have improved a lot. You know, I'm not surprised it happened because, as I always told you all, I never got the rhythm here in Madrid. I still made it to the semis. So for me it's actually quite a good week, you know. In the end, to lose against a big rival for No. 1, you know, that's quite disappointing. I have to go from here.

Q. How do you feel, considering you still have to play two more weeks in a row?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm rather tired, you know. I'm also just human. But, you know, there is a motivation for me, extra in Basel to play at home. We'll see. I really can't tell right now. I'm pretty tired. I have to get some rest. I'm going to play Tuesday. We'll see what happens.

Q. How are you going to make that mental recovery, and physical, obviously, for Basel?

ROGER FEDERER: The same like I did here. Even though this is now the second, following into the third week, physically I'm okay. Obviously, some parts of my body hurt because of the hard courts, which is normal. For me, it's just important that I get back to Basel quickly. Check with the flights. It's going to be busy over there because it's my hometown, all the people want stuff from me. At the same time, I've got to play. We'll see.

Q. Is No. 1 a goal for next year or are you still looking for it during these weeks?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what it takes. This is why I think this match hurts me, you know, because I know he's taking an edge on me for the year end. But I said for me No. 1 in the world at the end of the year, I don't know how close I am. For me it was just important to play a good indoor season, then see if I have a chance at The Masters. That's what I'm doing. I'm very happy to have started well in the indoor season with a win in Vienna and the semis here. I'm happy. I'll just try again to play well in Basel, like I did the last three years, and then Paris I want to do better than the last few years. There I think there is more potential.

Q. When Sampras was at the top of his game, he became a different sort of person in these weeks. He became uncommunicative. He admits he didn't really like himself. Are you happy in the situation at the moment or does it get to you a little bit, with all the tiredness, the No. 1 thing?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the No. 1 thing, it's not on my mind like it was in the summer when I was really, really close. I said in the beginning of the indoor season, and I still feel the same way, I'm very relaxed actually. I think this comes with experience. You know, as I said, I'm tougher physically and mentally. I'm not caught up in this race, you know, like last year for Shanghai. I'm going out there pretty relaxed. I prefer it this way (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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