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March 11, 2003

Roger Federer


MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. Are you happy to have won a match without playing so well?

ROGER FEDERER: It's always nice to win matches not playing well. It's always difficult, first match of any event. Didn't feel comfortable out there today even though I think I had good practice sessions the last two days. You know, he's tough. He's an all-around player. He's really good from the baseline. That made me struggle a little bit, you know, to play my game. You know, luckily I could break him there in the second. That, if you look back, was maybe crucial. He gave it away, he didn't feel well, whatever. So to my advantage.

Q. Is it also difficult coming to a next tournament after having won the previous one and just starting like from scratch from the first round?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I still didn't play for a few days, three or four days, after Dubai, then you start playing again, body starts hurting. It's just different. It's nice to come off a win, to come and play such a big event like here, Indian Wells. It gives me confidence. I think these courts are good for my game.

Q. Not good?

ROGER FEDERER: They are good. I hope that in the next match I'll play better, and I have to.

Q. You have the most wins so far on the ATP Tour right now. Did you notice that? Does that help you or hurt you?

ROGER FEDERER: No, in one way it helps, you know, definitely mentally. Physically, maybe not so much. I already explained this a few times, that I like to play in February. I'd rather have this problem, winning too many matches than not winning enough. I feel good. Looking forward for this tournament and also next week. Two really nice events. If I can play well in one of the two or both of them, that would be something really nice.

Q. Do you think Martina is actually retired now? Do you think this is maybe it? Do you suspect maybe she won't actually retire?

ROGER FEDERER: What I've heard, it's probably clear. I don't know what to say. I mean, if you say career is over, then it's over. There's no maybe, someday. What I've heard in Switzerland is that it's over. A lot of people hope not, and I'm one of them.

Q. What was going through your mind in the first set, the first half of the second when things were not going so well? Did you sort of not know why?

ROGER FEDERER: I was not playing well, I was not feeling good, didn't really feel too good on the serve. It was a pity I couldn't make the break in the beginning of the match there. I had a few chances. After, the games just went quick (snapping fingers), his service games. But still I made it through the tiebreaker. Also there I didn't play so well. But still I was actually quite close to win the set. That kind of at least gave me some positive thing out of the first set. It was just important that I keep holding serves, make him work hard. I knew once I'm going to get my chance on his serve. I was working hard that one game. I think I broke him. That was very important.

Q. Any pressure you were feeling for some reason?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, of course, the focus is more on you if you're ranked 4 in the world, like I am now, just come off winning two tournaments in the last three weeks, most wins on the tour. The people expect, you know, things. I feel it in the crowd also. They're surprised that I lose the first set, all this kind of stuff. But there's a lot of good players out there. It's really difficult to always come on the court and beat these guys. You feel maybe a little extra pressure . But really myself, you know, not really.

Q. After last summer, in the autumn, when you didn't have the best time, is this the perfect start that you could probably have dreamed about for a new season?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, Australia was still a disappointment. You know, I think I could have done better there. I started, you know, actually quite scary with a little bit of growing problems I had, not sure about the Australian Open, how it was going to go. Luckily, it went fine. But I have to say the last two or three years always I've started the season really good. You know, one year I won the Hopman Cup, the other year I think I won Sydney, now this year I win Marseille and Dubai. I think it's important. It always carries me through at least to have through the season a good start of the season. It gives me confidence, less pressure, you know, to do well, always in the front in the race, which is important for me, because it's definitely a goal again this year, to make the Masters. It's nice to have a good start.

Q. Do you think this could maybe actually carry on to help you to a Wimbledon better than even a few years ago?

ROGER FEDERER: It can, but it also cannot. You never know. French Open, Wimbledon, I have to play better than last year. It was a big disappointment, these two weeks. I can really go into these two events without too much pressure, you know, somehow because I performed so badly the year before. This is something good to have also sometimes.

Q. Next up is Guga or Goran. Can you talk about that, please.

ROGER FEDERER: Two very exciting players. You know, two guys I like on the tour. I only played Guga once, Goran twice, I think. I've beaten them all. But I still believe that's going to be a really difficult match. Courts are slow. If I play Guga, it's going to be tough rallies, similar to today, you know. Concerning Goran, you know, you never know what you're going to get. Doesn't really matter.

Q. Do you have a preference?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I can't really have a preference because I don't know how well Goran is playing, you know. Guga, I haven't seen for a while. We play similar tournaments, but I haven't really been watching him. My coach is going to go out and watch them a little bit, both of them, see how they play, then have to make a game plan.

Q. You must have some special memories from Wimbledon when you played against Sampras. If he retires, what will be your reaction?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's a loss for tennis, you know. He's achieved so much. But, you know, if he pulled out, retired, nobody would be surprised. It's not a shock like maybe when Borg retired or somebody like that. It's kind of, you know, going slowly down. Even though he won the US Open, we don't have to forget that, but I think he's just really focused on the big tournaments. It could also happen that he's going to play, you know, three more years or two more years, no problem, because he's playing so little right now. I don't think people are really thinking about this, that he's going to retire right now.

Q. What would you do if you were in his situation?

ROGER FEDERER: I cannot give him any advice. He knows better than me. He knows almost better than anybody else. He knows what he's doing.

End of FastScripts….

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