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adidas International

January 7, 2003

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger, please.

Q. Roger, every loss is disappointing. But is a loss here, at this early stage of the season, the week before a Grand Slam, is it possible to think that it's less important than another loss at another time?

ROGER FEDERER: There's definitely losses which hurt more. This is clear. I mean, if you lose in a tight three-setter or five-setter, it hurts more than losing in straight sets, like today. But I don't think it changes much if it's leading up to a Grand Slam. Four Grand Slams in a year, there's always like these kind of smaller tournaments where you use as a preparation. But every loss is the same, you know. So I'm just disappointed today, I could not have done better here after being defending champion. It's always nice to come back. Yeah, it's very disappointing today to play like this.

Q. How are you physically?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, not so good. My leg's hurting since already a little bit since Doha, my groin. Today, again, I was struggling on my serve.

Q. So your leg and your groin?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's basically the same, so...

Q. Which leg?

ROGER FEDERER: The right one.

Q. Is it the main reason (inaudible)?

ROGER FEDERER: I couldn't serve 100 percent. I felt it was hurting already. Because it went away for the days I haven't been practicing so much between my loss in Doha and here. I thought it went away, but it came back now again during the match. So I have to make sure I get treatment now on it, and hopefully it won't bother me at the Australian Open. Like this, it's not so fun to play.

Q. No chance that you could pull out in the Australian Open?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I would have pulled out here. I can still walk. So as long as I can walk and play a little bit, I'll go on the court. But I know I won't go on the court in Australia with pain; otherwise, I'll put out before. But I'm not considering pulling out.

Q. Were you surprised by the way Squillari played today?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I don't see him very often, you know. He plays a different circuit than me. He plays the clay, I play the indoors. So it's always difficult to play him. He stands very far back, he's got a different game. He moves very well. I thought he passed really well today. He came up with some really good shots, so... Yeah, he was tough.

Q. Having played in Shanghai, do you feel that you're now at a slight disadvantage compared to the players who didn't play in Shanghai?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm missing maybe two, three weeks, you know, more break, more work. But, I mean, every player has a different setup anyway. Guys just relax for one month, other guys work for four weeks, you know? So, I mean, for me, the break was quite short, but I still thought that the preparation is pretty good, and hopefully it's gonna pay at the Australian Open and I can play pain-free.

Q. How long did you stop after the Masters Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's 16 days right after my loss and another 4 or 5 days around Christmas.

Q. So you're happy with the way last season went in terms of the number of tournaments you played, the length of the season? Is that all right with you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I definitely think the season is still too long, you know, especially if you make the Masters or the Davis Cup. The season's really long. And maybe the Australian Open is a little bit too early in the season, you know, not enough leading up tournaments to such a big event. Suddenly, there's so many big tournaments following back-to-back. Indian Wells it starts. From Indian Wells basically to Wimbledon, I only play Masters Series and Grand Slams which I think a little bit is too much. Yeah, I mean, it's a tough schedule, you know. But I like it.

Q. Most players say that. They say the season's too long, week after week. Different players say that. What can actually be done about it? Do you feel that you have any influence at all over the length of the season?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, this is something one player cannot decide, you know? It's all the players should get together and talk about something like this. But it just seems impossible because every player has different points, you know. Guys want more clay court tournaments, the other guy wants more grass tournaments, the other guy wants a shorter season, the other one wants to play more tournaments. So it's impossible that everybody has the same opinion for this. In the end, we are all egoists, you know, all tennis players in one way. Because all we care about is ourselves because we're not a team player, a team sport, except in Davis Cup. So for us, that's just my view. It's very tough to get together, you know. Even though you have friends on the tour, you cannot meet at one table all together and discuss a thing like this.

Q. You do have regular meetings, though, don't you, at the Grand Slams, the players?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I don't know how many meetings there are per year, but there's definitely always one in the beginning of the season now, at the Australian Open. Last year I missed it because I was in the finals here. The other one, I don't even remember, maybe it was the US Open. I'm not sure. So I think it's like two a year.

Q. Those meetings, though, is that high on the agenda usually?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we -- I wouldn't say we're forced to go because there is a fine if you don't go. But I think it's interesting. Every time I go, you know, obviously you don't have too much time to go too deep into certain problems because, you know, you have, I don't know, 100 players there and all the guys want to leave, you know. But it's interesting once in a while.

Q. Since how long do you have this problem with the leg and the groin?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it came in the match against -- maybe against -- no, I don't think -- maybe I think against Gambill really I felt it for the first time. I had my knee was hurting me, but then it went away. My other knee was hurting me, then my hip was hurting me. But it's nothing. Beginning of the season, I was struggling also with injuries last year beginning of the year at the Hopman Cup. Almost took me a week to recover. I couldn't play the matches at the Hopman Cup, the second and third, 100 percent. So it's little bit similar, you know. I think my body has to get used to again to playing matches after a break. Hopefully, I really hope I'll be fine, so...

Q. Your win here last year was your first outdoors. Is that still a problem for you, as opposed to playing indoor events?

ROGER FEDERER: It's definitely very difficult to play in the wind like this, like it's today. I mean, I've been playing night session in Doha three times in a row. Not too much wind - well, one out of two was windy. But it's just different here, to play during the day. The ball flies even more, and different conditions, you know. Different balls, faster courts. So I was really struggling with the -- I mean, first of all, I was struggling with the footwork. If the footwork's not right in the wind, you shank a lot of balls. This is what happened today.

Q. Will you practice normally for the rest of the week? Will you take it easy?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I have to check with my physio and we have to get together and decide how much I can practice. We actually plan to stick around for maybe one or two more days to practice here, but we'll see how it goes with the legs. If you see me around, I'll be fine.

Q. Roger, you talk about not seeing much of Squillari because he plays the clay court season, you're maybe an indoor player. Certainly one of two of your best performances last year was winning Hamburg. Don't you feel that you can play on anything?

ROGER FEDERER: I believe I can play on any surface, but, you know, I don't see him very often. It's just usually the tournaments where I play well, maybe he doesn't play so well. Where I don't play so well, he plays well. We don't face each other very often. He beat me twice - once in Hamburg the year before I won, and now here. So for me, he's a tough player to play because he moves really well, he's got a great forehand, and lefties are quite dangerous for us one-handers I believe, with their serves, so... Yeah. But I believe I can play on any surface, and I've proved it.

End of FastScripts….

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