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May 6, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger, please.

Q. Well, that was an interesting if nothing else second set, wasn't it, the way it went back and forth?


Q. What was going on?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it was a tough beginning for me of the second set, you know. I felt like I was doing well at 30-love and in my first opening service game. And I tried everything to get that first serve in, just to stay ahead, because that's what I've been little bit struggling with last week. After winning the first set, I always let down in the second. Even though I don't feel like it, I kind of get behind, you know, and that's not what I want. So that was disappointing for myself that it happened again. I tried to come back as much as I could. It just took me basically nine games or eight games till he kind of gave it to me. Just tried to put the returns in and put some pressure on him. I guess because he hasn't been playing a lot of matches, you know, it's not so easy. So he tried to muscle the ball, and he missed.

Q. How do you feel in general about your form at the moment?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's been difficult match for me today because I've only been practicing one and a half hours on this, with these new balls, you know. Different brand, different bounce here. So it's always difficult the first round at a different venue, you know. This, I knew it's gonna be a really tough opponent because he hasn't been playing well, he's absolutely motivated. Same as me, I'm coming from a win. He hasn't been playing much, so he really wants to do well. I knew he was going to be a dangerous opponent, so I'm very happy to have won this match. Now I can kind of not relax, but I know how it works with these balls, you know. I can approach the match a little bit differently mentally. I feel good, you know - of course always after I win.

Q. Are you aware that there is a lot of natural talent in your game?

ROGER FEDERER: Repeat that, please.

Q. Are you aware that there is a lot of natural talent in your game?

ROGER FEDERER: If I'm aware?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, "talent," it's very tough to describe. A lot of people love my game because I'm so relaxed on the court, and I play with touch. I play spin, slice, I come to the net. I play all over. But, I mean, it can also be a disadvantage. Some people don't understand.

Q. I wanted to ask you, could it be a disadvantage?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, it can be a disadvantage, because I believe like a Hewitt, who has unbelievable fitness and mental toughness, you know, for me this is also a talent, you know, but just in a different area of the game. So of course maybe I'm more relaxed out there on the court, but it doesn't mean you're gonna win more matches. So I have to work very hard physically to get to where I have to be in the next few years and to be able to, you know, hopefully fulfill my dreams, become No. 1 in the world. But I'm not even thinking about this right now. It's more about just playing very consistent and being, you know, mentally better. I feel like much better out there on the court because I've been working very hard lately, yes.

Q. Do you sometimes confuse yourself because you have so many different options? I mean, you can hit the ball so many different ways.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, more a few years ago, and just because everybody, you know, was talking about, "How talented you are," and, "How easy it looks." And you feel like you kind of have to live up to this and play the miracle shots, you know, the crowd-pleaser stuff. But I kind of stopped with that. All I want in the end is to win the match and not hit the best shot of the tournament, of the match. I kind of feel now that I know in what moment to play which shot. I think this is very important for my game. This is also why I can - I'm for over six months now in the Top 5. I think this is a big step for me mentally.

Q. Taking the French Open and Wimbledon, do you, yourself, feel you're more likely to win Wimbledon than Roland Garros?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would say so. I mean, just because I feel grass is more natural to my game, even though I grew up on clay and I feel very comfortable there, too, moving-wise. Wimbledon is more like poker, you know, because you hardly ever play on grass. It's tough to answer. But I feel like on the clay, there is more opponents which I can have difficulties with than on grass maybe, yeah.

Q. How much of a shock or set-back to you was your first round at Wimbledon last year?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, that one hurt me much more than the one in the French Open, you know. Because at the French Open, I really lost against Arazi who played really well. I had absolutely the wrong tactics against him. Plus, I was playing in conditions which were absolutely against me with the rain. And he was playing incredible. He hit all the lines on the important points, and I tried to play aggressive but it was the wrong, you know, tactics. So I didn't really feel -- it was just bad luck, really. I lost to a good player. In Wimbledon, I tried to serve and volley and play aggressive and somehow felt it was so slow, so I couldn't do it. I didn't have the rhythm. I was also not very confident because I felt like something is wrong with my game, I'm not playing very well. In the end, I was basically staying back on my serve and the other guy was serve and volleying, who I expected to stay back. For me, that was a big shock. That took me quite some time to get over it. Wimbledon, after what I lived through last year, and plus they put me on Centre Court again last year, that hurt me a lot to lose that match in straight sets.

Q. Have you ever been able to put your finger on exactly what did go wrong that day?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, what I explained to you.

Q. But what you were saying...?

ROGER FEDERER: Before, you mean?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: I can't. I can't say. It was just a feeling inside. I felt like it's not going well. I was hoping to sneak through the first, second rounds, but I got caught cold I guess (smiling). That was bad.

Q. With Agassi out of this tournament, who do you feel is a favorite at the moment to win this tournament?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you've got to go with Ferrero and Moya, you know. These guys have been playing really well. So I think these are the big favorites. You always have a few contenders. Right now I feel like even though Agassi lost, still, in the beginning, these were the two guys who had the best chance.

Q. You talk about feelings. Can you remember a match where you had dark feelings before a match and you were able to change the situation during the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Hmm...You know, it's difficult right now to think about it. You know, five seconds to answer a question that is not so easy...

Q. Just if you remember.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, for me, Wimbledon was just extreme because I was looking forward to Wimbledon so much and everybody was saying, you know, "You have a chance."

Q. I just want to understand if you are improving so much mentally to change situations.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think mentally and physically, I can change a match now. Before, it was more just because maybe little lucky, you know. But now I feel like I can really do it and turn around matches by hanging in there. This is also why I turned around this match today and I turned around the finals last week, you know, two days ago, three days ago.

Q. Did you have any help, a psychologist?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I had that once when I was playing Juniors because I was getting too upset, so I needed some help how to think about different stuff and how to get rid of that, you know. Then I kind of worked on myself, also, the way I wanted to present myself on the court and the way that made me feel natural and good. Finally, now I can really say today that I feel good out there, and I don't have -- I'm over-motivated or under-motivated now. I have the right line, and this makes me feel good out on the court.

Q. Has this in any way meant you have to limit yourself? You talked about the miracle shots. How do you actually deliberately cut any shots out or change anything?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I would still like to play little bit more aggressive maybe, come to the net little more. But it just seems so difficult, you know, because these guys return well and pass well. You see also today, you feel like you hit a great volley or a great approach shot, it just goes... and it's past you. You can do nothing about it. It makes you always doubt little bit if I should come to the net as much as I want to. Peter always tells me I should come in, and, you know, it's just a sign of being aggressive, also just on the court, you know. Yeah, but I don't think I have cut out any shots out of my repertoire, you know - not at that extreme, you know (smiling).

Q. Do you think that Mathieu's Davis Cup defeat really affected him? Do you think that's one of the reasons why he's had this start to the year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I seriously don't know when he started and how many matches he has played so far. I heard he broke twice his abdominal muscle, if I'm correct. That's quite hard for a young player like him. I don't think that final in Davis Cup affected him too much because he got kind of rushed into that position of suddenly hero or loser, you know. Everybody forgives him, because it was not a match maybe where he should have played, you know, because it was problems in the teams with too many injured guys or whatever. So I don't think it affects him too much, even though it's a big opportunity to miss in his career, you know, his young career. That's disappointing for him.

Q. Last year in Wimbledon the results were very strange. Do you think it's even more open this year? Obviously, there are people like Lleyton and yourself and Agassi. Beyond that, who else would you see as the people you would want to disappear before you had to play them?

ROGER FEDERER: You know... again, this is very difficult to answer because we don't know how Wimbledon is this year. But I don't know how Ferrero, Moya is gonna play on the grass this year. I haven't seen them enough. But I think Carlos' game is maybe more dangerous because he's got a bigger serve. But Marat, you never know kind of. Andy, with his big serve. All these guys can be dangerous. Henman is every year a threat, but I don't know how his shoulder is now. So there's always, in every tournament, there's ten guys which could win, and then you have the favorites. You mentioned the favorites, so I think...

Q. Do you think Nalbandian's success there has made it different? Do you think it mentally changes things?

ROGER FEDERER: We had Voltchkov a few years ago. In Wimbledon or any Grand Slam, you can have surprises. I mean Johansson showed it at the Australian Open, Voltchkov showed it in Wimbledon, same as Nalbandian. Costa won the French Open even though internal, maybe it was not so surprised, but for the rest of the world. I think sometimes Grand Slams get a little overrated because there's so much points and money involved. So I feel like, I don't know, it's all about the Grand Slams. If you look at the rankings, everybody's just up there because of a good Grand Slam result. I think maybe Grand Slams should have a little less points, I don't know. It's difficult to say, but that's just my feeling.

Q. Would you favor an extra week of grass if you could get it?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think three weeks is very short. Or four for those... (Smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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