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March 22, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How important was it for you to just win that in two sets and not have to play another set in that heat? Is that something you were consciously thinking?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, most important is that you win the match. But for me, I was not really scared of going to a third set. I mean, of course the chance was there, but what I want to say is physically it wouldn't have been a problem. Of course it's hot out there, but imagine you're playing best-of-five. You don't have a choice. So I was feeling okay - sweating much because of the humidity, but I got used to it now the last few days so it's okay.

Q. You play such a versatile game. Can you just say, for instance, when you go from hard courts to clay courts, what adjustment, if any, do you make anymore?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, that's, I think, one of the biggest change, just to go to clay or going away from clay. It's really something you have to work on your footwork, you know, because that's really what changes everything. Because the way you move in the clay courts is not at all the same than on the hard courts. Same again on grass. On grass, you take smaller steps. So I think the first few practice sessions or condition sessions you do, you work on the right on-the-court movement, you know. After, then you can start to work on your serve and volley game or be more patient from the baseline. So that's just the way I look at the court change.

Q. Is the Agassi match still on your mind to some degree?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, little bit, you know. Just still remember that chance I had - break in the fourth set to go in the fifth. But that's okay (smiling).

Q. Do you relive it in your mind, thinking, "If I had done this instead of that, if I had done this instead of that..."?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't really remember the points at that stage. I just remember I was up a break and that it went very quickly and that he broke me twice and the match was over. Suddenly, we're standing there, holding a trophy. So that was a little bit strange but, you know, I don't remember the points and what I should have changed. I think he played well from the start. I couldn't manage to hold on. Then I started to serve better, and after, it was a pity that I couldn't go in the fifth.

Q. Backing up for a second, how was it making it to your first Masters Series semi, then your first Masters Series final here last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's true, it was a little bit of a breakthrough for me to do well at a Masters Series. I think I played two times quarterfinals before, before that. For me, these tournaments here are so tough, you know, because from the first round on you've got very good opponents. If you can, you know, beat these guys here in the early rounds, it's also going to help you in the Grand Slams and, you know, any other tournaments, you know. So it helped me definitely, too, experience -wise when I played Hewitt in a night session here in the semifinals, which was a good experience; then the finals against Agassi. Then in Hamburg a few weeks later I experienced something similar, so it was very good for me, these two Masters Series.

Q. Do you change anything because of the heat, either in your preparation or in the way you might play a rally, perhaps occasionally trying to shorten it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, depends how you feel really. I mean of course you're going to watch out before what you eat, what you drink. You got to drink a lot before, during, after, you know? You can basically never drink too much. It's almost impossible because you sweat it out so quickly. Of course at one stage maybe in the match when you feel like totally exhausted and tired and hot and everything, maybe you try to come to the net more often, you know, take more risks. It all depends on the situation I guess.

Q. Not too long ago there were different people dominant at certain portions of the year, there were different styles, people couldn't figure out how to play on clay or people couldn't figure out how to play on grass. Do you think all those changes and differences are vanishing, that there is kind of a uniform style emerging now?

ROGER FEDERER: If I would have to tell you who's probably the biggest favorite for clay court season, there's maybe one or two but then the rest is totally open, you know? I don't know why, you know. Even before the clay courts were dominated by clay court players, now I feel like even other guys have a chance, you know? So the balls are getting slower for the hard courts, you know. Guys like my opponent today, they're standing five meters behind the baseline to return. And it works okay, if you don't have a big, big serve. They're kind of getting around, you know, these -- the fast courts and all this by standing further back, giving themselves more time, and it seems to work, you know, on any surface or style. Maybe except on the grass, where you have to come into the net more.

Q. You come from one of the great ocean sailing countries of the world: Switzerland. Do you know they took all that expertise off to New Zealand to win America's Cup. Do you know any of those men who won the cup?

ROGER FEDERER: I've met Mr. Bertarelli once a few years back in Gstaad. I didn't know who he was, but now I know.

Q. How are your sailing skills?

ROGER FEDERER: I've been on boats before, but not sailing so...

Q. Can you talk about what it's like for you now that you're in the Top 10? Do you feel more relaxed because you know for sure you belong, or are the expectations now from the outside higher and is that somewhat more pressure?

ROGER FEDERER: First of all, I think it's a great feeling to be in the Top 5 and to have achieved, you know, good things so far. So I think it was a struggle for me last year, you know, after I won Hamburg and made my first step into the Top 10. That was more difficult because I was so happy maybe and so relieved and reached my goal, you know, my dream goal. Of course Top 5 and No. 1 in the world is always dreams for any player. But Top 10 is another milestone. I don't know if it was because of that that I didn't play as well after. But, you know, now that I finished the year in the Top 10 and had some time to think about all this, you know, now I got used to it and nothing really changed if I'm No. 12, 6 or 4 or 20 I think, so...

Q. If you had one match to play, a challenge match against somebody, where would you play it on and what surface, if it was your choice totally?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. You know, I had Sampras in Wimbledon, so I don't need to play that one again (smiling). Otherwise... I like to play Marat Safin. I think he's a fair guy, you know, nice guy off the court. We always have good matches.

Q. I was driving more at what court would you choose to play one match on if somebody said, "Next week you have to play one match for a very big prize or something very important," and you could choose where it would be, what surface, what would you choose?

ROGER FEDERER: Probably some indoor court in Europe back home, my hometown (inaudible).

Q. How is it you came to be friends with Ziggy Palffy?

ROGER FEDERER: "Friends," I met him a few times, you know. I just met him two years ago maybe or three years ago. I was in LA and watched a few of his matches. Actually, I met him through Hrbaty. I don't know, friends is a little bit too much because we don't call each other. We just met each other.

Q. Are your PlayStation days over, or are you still a big PlayStation fan?

ROGER FEDERER: Occasionally.

Q. You didn't bring your PlayStation with you?

ROGER FEDERER: No. In the States it doesn't work, so...

Q. Can you talk about, are you noticed a lot more when you're out, recognized a lot more when you're out and about this year than you were last year here? Can you talk about what it means to have gotten as far as you did last year in terms of how people recognize you here.

ROGER FEDERER: Definitely in Switzerland. A lot of people recognize me abroad, you know. Sometimes you're surprised where they recognize you; sometimes you think, "Why aren't they here," you know? It's strange.

Q. Where is the strangest place you were recognized?

ROGER FEDERER: On holidays, you know. Like once I was in the Maldives. In Thailand I was also on some island and they knew me there. You know, it's just strange to be recognized.

Q. You've won more matches than anyone else on the tour this season. What does that do for your confidence in terms of another good run at this tournament?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think winning a lot of matches is always, you know, very important for your confidence, and it makes you play better. You feel like you can go for more, you're better on big points. Your whole mental approach to the match changes, you know. It's been a very good start to the year again, you know. Really the last two or three years I had always good starts with the season. I'm the guy with the most matches won or played, whatever. It's just I think a bonus for me.

Q. Some people have expressed surprise given the talent level that you obviously have that you haven't had bigger results at the Grand Slams yet. Are you at all disappointed? Are you satisfied with your progress so far?

ROGER FEDERER: Of course I'm disappointed with my Grand Slam results - last year especially. I missed a chance at the Australian Open, you know, in January. So I've played quarters before, but the only thing really for me missing is just Grand Slam results, and I cannot do more than just, you know, work hard and play well outside of the Grand Slams to give myself, you know, good confidence boost to get into the Grand Slams. Then, hopefully, I can play well there, too. People accuse me that I haven't really showed yet what I can do, but that's -- they only talk about Grand Slams. I've shown it in any other event, so that's up to the people make up their mind.

Q. Do you have any kind of a plan for what you might do differently before Grand Slams this year to enhance your chances, maybe play less, play more, take different training techniques or anything?

ROGER FEDERER: I still, you know, traveling the tour and I still learn every year, you know, what maybe is best for my game and where to go, which tournaments, which surface, you know, are better for me. Usually I always like to play, you know, a few matches coming into Grand Slams, especially Australia. That's why, because it's the beginning of the season. The French Open I think is a good preparation, I play three before, take a week off before, and then I play the French Open. I've got one tournament before Wimbledon, then a week off where I'm going to go early to Wimbledon this year where I changed my plan to last year's. So we'll see what it does. Hopefully, good things will happen.

Q. Did winning Hamburg hurt you last year in the French?

ROGER FEDERER: No, definitely not. Because, I mean, the time in between was enough, so...

Q. What is your schedule like before and after a match? I'm talking about practicing, laying around, whatever.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, here you've more options, you know. You've got the beach, you've got South Beach, whatever. Here, it's nice weather. There are more things you can do. I played golf last week a lot in Indian Wells. I like the outdoor season also, because you got so many options to do. But the days are long sometimes, you know - come in early, finish late. So just try to feel okay, you know.

Q. On a day like this where you finish pretty early, will you practice a little bit, then are you going to leave for South Beach or somewhere like that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, we're staying down at South Beach so we'll go back there later on. I have no plans really, just going to take it easy. I don't know if I'm going to go down to the beach or stay in my room to avoid the sun a little bit. Everything is open, you know, play it by ear.

End of FastScripts….

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