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October 16, 2002

Roger Federer

Q. Your next opponent is either Lapentti or Costa, if Costa overcomes his problems with his back. How do you look at your next match? Do you have a favorite opponent or you don't care if it's either?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe I prefer Lapentti just because of the race position. But it really doesn't matter to me very much. I mean, it's indoors. I feel very confident in the moment because I won last week. I've beaten Costa twice last year indoors, Lapentti this year in Hamburg. I think both I will go in as a favorite. You never know. If Albert wins, he's playing at home, it's in Spain, it changes a little bit. I have to be ready and play well to win.

Q. 6-4, 6-2, it looks like an easy win, but are you happy with how you played?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I have to say it was very difficult today because I only had one and a half hours of play on the outside courts, then a half hour this morning on the center court to get ready for the first match. I really didn't know what to expect because the balls are different, the center court is different, everything is different. I had to get used to it first. That took me a few games. I was very nervous before the game because I didn't know how good Marcelo was playing, how good I was going to play. Right now I'm very happy that I won, first of all. Doesn't matter the result. 6-4, 6-2 is also good for my condition because I'm very tired from Vienna.

Q. How do you assess Rios' game today? You both seemed quite irregular during the match. You had unforced errors, both of you.

ROGER FEDERER: I think I really just tried to keep the ball in play at a certain stage because I felt very uncomfortable from the baseline because I didn't get the rhythm. Plus it's difficult against a left-hander. He always plays -- the ball comes differently to the racquet. This took me also some time. Then I just told myself, "Okay, take some risk away and just put the ball into play, concentrate on the serve." It worked fine today, even though I don't think Marcelo played his best tennis. I know maybe with my slicing and good serving... Definitely was not the best day.

Q. How do you find your physical condition now after Vienna? How do you see your position for Shanghai?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's normal that I'm quite tired after Vienna just because - I don't understand, doesn't matter now after I won the tournament - but Vienna is best-of-five in the finals. Before a Masters Series like Madrid, it's not very smart. Luckily I'm seeded and I have a bye so I can play Wednesday. Otherwise, I would have had to play Tuesday. That would have been very difficult because I would have had no time to practice really, then also get ready. Maybe you should have best-of-threes before Masters Series and Grand Slam finals. Concerning Shanghai, I mean, I feel great. I mean, to be back in the race... I was No. 10, now after Vienna I'm No. 7. I reached the best ranking in my life, 7 in the world in the entry system. I've been No. 8 after I won Hamburg. In the moment, I'm enjoying the tennis because I've had some difficulties lately with some problems, no confidence, plus a friend of mine died. I went through some difficult times. I'm very happy it's going uphill again.

Q. When did you feel your tennis was coming back, at what stage?


Q. Lately.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the match against Malisse at the US Open helped me a lot because I came back from a set down. Okay, after I didn't play too well against Mirnyi. He played a great match; didn't let me into the match. Then confirmation really I think I got in the Davis Cup in Morocco where I played extremely well. Still, I didn't know quite well how well I was going to play in indoors. Davis Cup, you don't get any points. It's good for your image, good for the country, for the team, to stay in the World Group, play well there, but you don't get any race points. I think in Moscow I felt like it was going uphill already. I lost against Safin, who I think played a good match. Vienna was a great week. Now I know I'm doing a good job out of the court and also on the court. I feel much better also in the head now.

Q. They say in Madrid, 650 meters above sea level. Is the ball fast here? Do you feel a difference?

ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I think sometimes it's tough to control the ball. I think it's a question of time really for me. I haven't had much time to get ready here. I'm happy to have won this first match. I hope that every match I can play and win gives me a better look at a chance to go far. I feel like when I came and played with the racquets I strung in Vienna, the ball was flying much more than there. The surface is faster there. I have to get used to it. I just hope it's not going to take long. I need to play well again in the next round to get through.

Q. Do you think there should be some changes in the rules, only one serve, maybe bigger balls?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't think there is a change needed in men's tennis because the balls have been slowed down enough. The surfaces are much slower than before, even though I think this is one of the fastest weeks around on the circuit. You can still see good rallies, you know. Otherwise, I don't see a change, because the players are returning much better than they used to. You see like the Spaniards, all these clay courters, have a much better serve. Everything is improving, getting better. The players will adapt to the situation. I don't think for this you need a rule change.

Q. You like it like it is?


End of FastScripts….

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