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August 24, 2003

Roger Federer


MODERATOR: Questions for Roger, please.

Q. Is it time for you to make a move at the US Open?

ROGER FEDERER: Is it time for me...?

Q. To make a big move at the US Open.

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, all I can say is I'm ready, you know. I've been here for some time now, and I've been practicing. So all I had was a few days off. I'm ready to go. Obviously, I would like to improve my best performance here at the US Open.

Q. When you played Andy for the second time, the first time after Wimbledon, did he change tactics?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's a different game, you know, on the hard courts and the grass. So, obviously, the whole game changes. I would have to compare the match to some other match he played to me in the past, you know. I thought, you know, he stands a little further back on the second serve and he tends to serve and volley on second serves himself. So that's really one of the bigger changes I've seen in his game.

Q. Did you feel he was more patient in the longer points than he might have been earlier?

ROGER FEDERER: Difficult to answer. I don't see a huge change, no.

Q. To what extent do you feel you have to adjust your game on the hard courts from the grass, any way or not?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah, I got to adjust, definitely. I have to go into longer rallies. The ball bounces much higher, you know, so you tend to play further back in the court, which makes a big difference. I think you can also use the spins much more here on the hard courts than on the grass, you know. So you also have to watch out that you don't slice too much, you know, because the ball tends to sit up if you don't hit it well. So just a few things, you know, you have to watch out.

Q. How do you explain the close match with Draper in Cincinnati and then the defeat in the next round?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't feel good, quite simple, in Cincinnati. I never got the feel for the ball. I got lucky against Draper. Nalbandian is a guy I haven't got a very good record against, you know, and there again I didn't play a very good match. Yeah, was close in the end anyway, but I was not very happy with my performance in Cincy.

Q. Have you got a feel here?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, in the beginning I didn't feel good either. But the last two days, you know, I felt much better, especially today. I think I'm only playing Wednesday or Tuesday, so I've still got some time.

Q. A lot of people are picking Roddick to win it because he's red hot. Do you feel any disrespect that, you know, you're coming off a Wimbledon title and people aren't, you know, saying...

ROGER FEDERER: People can pick whoever they want, you know, as a favorite. To me, it doesn't change much, you know. Just gonna be more talks about him than about me, and doesn't really matter to me. He's living under pressure right now, not me. So we'll see how he does.

Q. What's happened to the cow?

ROGER FEDERER: She's fine. She's up in The Alps.

Q. Who takes care of her?

ROGER FEDERER: The farmer that gave me the cow.

Q. So you gave the cow away?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I left it there (smiling). I can go and visit her when I want. It's up to me.

Q. Could it be hamburger one day?


Q. Could it become hamburger one day?

ROGER FEDERER: No (smiling).

Q. Has there been a greater level of recognition of you, do you think, actually around the city, in New York?

ROGER FEDERER: Occasionally, you know, I get surprised how much people know me, then I get surprised how little people know me. So it really depends, you know, what day, what time of the day I'm wandering around I guess, and how many people, you know, know me. I don't know. It changes. It's been all right.

Q. Has it been a big difference for you back at home in Switzerland, even more people know you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, every big step I've taken, you know, in tennis, it's always moved up a level, you know, every time I made something big. So I haven't been spending too much time in Switzerland to know how it is, but, you know, I got a lot of compliments, obviously, and everywhere I went people recognized me in Switzerland. It's not that big, but I really feel that basically everybody knows me over there.

Q. Do you feel every time you go to the airport and home, everybody knows you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. When I go check in everything, you know, it's sometimes an advantage, you know (smiling). But it's fine, you know. I like flying out of Switzerland, you know, straight, Swiss Airlines. No, people are nice to me in Switzerland. I like it.

Q. The ambiance of this Grand Slam is very different from the other three Slams; it's noisy, the fans are very loud, they don't hesitate to boo you if you don't play well, airplanes are flying overhead. What's your opinion of the atmosphere here?

ROGER FEDERER: It is different, definitely. I think it's maybe closer to the French. To the other two, it's different, you know. I have no problems, you know. I've played in so many surroundings, you know. But it can get -- I think the problem is if you play on a smaller court, you know, like I've experienced in junior times or a few years back, you know, then you tend to get some people who can get on your case, you know, who just decide to be for the other guy. So I've experienced that. But on the bigger courts, not much can happen really, so...

Q. Do you feel the fans here are more knowledgeable than most tennis fans at other Grand Slams?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I think the opposite, really (laughter). Not to criticize them, but like Wimbledon crowds and Australian crowds, they, to me, it seems they really come for the tennis. Here, the people come more to just enjoy the show, so...

Q. What was your first time in New York, playing as a junior?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, in '98.

Q. What was your immediate impression in '98? You'd heard about it all your life.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's an intimidating city when you come here and you've got the skyscrapers, and walk through the city, it's different. It's a very, very busy city. Tough to relax if you don't stay in your room, so.... Yeah, but I never had this feeling that I don't like this city; I like it.

Q. Do you feel any different coming into this US Open now that you're a Grand Slam champion, compared to other ones?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, totally different. I feel much more relaxed, you know. The pressure I've felt over the last few Grand Slams hasn't been so much fun, you know. So I'm very happy to have come over that stage, you know. And now it's about proving, you know, more that Wimbledon title, not about just prove that I can win one, you know. It's totally different. I feel much more relaxed inside.

Q. Did your goals change in tennis after winning Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously, you know. You always got to fix new goals after a big surprise or big title, you know. I've been very close to No. 1. I'm No. 2 now, so my next goal is No. 1 and, obviously, win more titles, you know , US Open and I've got a few highlights coming up this year - Davis Cup, this US Open, I've got the Masters, got Basel, a hometown tournament, and two other Masters Series. So I have a lot of big events coming up. I still have a lot of motivation for the end of the season.

Q. When you were just starting to play tennis, Pete Sampras was winning his first Grand Slam. I suspect you probably saw a lot of Pete Sampras matches as you were growing up. Tomorrow night will be when he says good-bye to tennis. What are your thoughts about Pete Sampras?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, first of all, I would like to say I'm lucky I played him one time. You know, that was always something I've always looked forward to, that I would get that chance. Better for me, it was Centre Court in Wimbledon, plus I beat him in an unbelievable five-set match. But now, you know, it's not a big shock for all of us because he hasn't been playing for over a year. But still, you know, it's a pity, you know, that he's leaving. But, you know, he's older, you know, and it's his decision. And if he's happy this way, we all respect that.

Q. Have you had a stretch like this in your career, US Open and then to Australia for Davis Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: No, never (smiling).

Q. Demanding, isn't it?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's a long trip, but it's worth it, you know. Never been in a semifinals of a Davis Cup. Had an unbelievable Davis Cup this year so far, so... Plus, playing one of the all-time best countries in Davis Cup also, and they're very fair play, the Aussies. So we're going there very early, so looking forward.

Q. Right after this?


Q. There's been lots written about this being a wide open tournament. Do you see this as a wide open tournament, or do you see it as a much more closed group of fellows?

ROGER FEDERER: I wouldn't see now one guy who's the absolute favorite, you know. I think there's like, I don't know, three, four, five guys who really have the best chance of winning. But right now in men's tennis you got to come through the early rounds, you know, then see who's left in the quarters really to see who's got the best chance. So I think it's open again as usual.

Q. Did you ever get to the bottom of the back problem you had in the fourth round of Wimbledon, or is that still a mystery?

ROGER FEDERER: Mystery (laughter). I really don't know what happened. I tried to analyze what happened, and the only thing I could come up with was that I didn't have my half an hour warm-up before that match. I just had a longer 10-minute warm-up. But what is strange, it didn't happen after like eight, nine minutes. There again, I don't understand. I warmed up the same way I did, for example, for the finals and for the first round, so it's very strange for me.

End of FastScripts….

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