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August 31, 2002

Roger Federer


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Coming into the tournament here, obviously you weren't in the best of form. Is there something specific that's turned around for you here at the US Open?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I mean, I was not playing very well at all lately. That's why for me it was just important to win that first-round match, you know, just to get the sensation of winning again. That was a difficult match for me. I didn't play very well. I got a little nervous in the end. Went to a fourth set. That first match was very important to get me back in the rhythm. Against Chang I played a really good match. Today also, I could feel that I'm kind of back. It feels very good.

Q. What did you feel was different out there when you were on the court from a couple of matches ago? Is it your confidence?

ROGER FEDERER: A little bit confidence, for sure, yes. Otherwise today, even though I lost the first set, I was just staying positive out there, trying to come back strong the second set. That worked really well. I felt mentally I was very good already against Chang. Compared to the first-round match, I was still very, very negative, very down on myself, very disappointed quickly. So now in the last two matches, I really felt like this is how I can play, should play, and I am playing. That was a nice feeling today.

Q. How far do you feel from your best level, the level you had at the beginning of the year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's tough to say, but I think I'm not so far away. I'm playing well. I still think maybe I can do a few things better. I don't know. He also hit some good shots, you know, in the right moments. I'm actually very happy right now. I really have to look match for match because I just don't have enough matches under my belt to look further in the draw. The next round match will be against a friend, no matter who wins. It will be a special match for me.

Q. You had a bit of a slide towards the end of 2001, then you bounced back. Can you compare sort of the feeling then to now? Do you feel like you're getting into that sort of red hot form or is it different?

ROGER FEDERER: It is different because last year I came back from injury in Wimbledon, I didn't play till the US Open. I came here, played the fourth round. But I was still hurting a little bit with my groin. That took me like until maybe I would say Basel, until it really went away. Basel was I think the second to the last tournament of the season. I never really got enough matches and enough confidence to play well in the indoors. That was disappointing because I think I still had a chance, a small chance obviously, for the Masters. In the end, I had no chance because I just couldn't get my rhythm. This year other things have happened outside of the court. I lost a lot of confidence. Wimbledon this year was for me a tough tournament. That didn't help.

Q. Would you evaluate for us your own assessment of how well you play on the different surfaces, and why.

ROGER FEDERER: That's really tough to say because I would say my favorite surface is the indoors just because my first success when I started on the tour was indoors. I always loved to play indoors just because the conditions are always the same. Usually the surface is good for me. I really like the indoors. Then grass is so unpredictable. You hardly ever play on grass. I think I still need a few more years on the grass until I can really say how good I am. I know the surface is good for my game because I have an all-around game. Outdoors hard court, I think I have some good results now. I'm not struggling with the wind anymore, with the sun like I used to when I came on the tour. That's got for sure something to do with my footwork. I've improved that over the years also. I guess clay is my weakest surface. Now all the Davis Cup opponents will pick clay, right, even though I maybe have the best result of my career on clay. I still think there I can make the most improvements. Maybe it's also because I'm not playing as much on clay as I'm playing on the hard courts, indoors.

Q. How did you manage to regroup after your loss in Long Island last week? Did you work mentally, especially?

ROGER FEDERER: This is difficult. I mean, I didn't expect much from this tournament really. My only focus was just to win that first-round singles, then play doubles, have some fun. That was totally missing lately. We know the reasons. I mean, there's not much I was doing. I was just practicing. Even practice was okay. Back home when I was home for a week, then I came over to Long Island, before Long Island I was practicing good. Between Long Island and US Open, I felt like I can't play anymore. Really now I'm also starting to struggle in practice. Before, I told myself to work hard in practice, it comes back in the match. Then I was practicing good, it was terrible in the match. Then suddenly I had terrible in practice, terrible in the match. I was like totally playing the worst ever. I guess that maybe helped that I played so bad in practice, really no expectations for the singles. Now suddenly I'm playing good again. That's just the main thing right now.

Q. Do you think the fact you had no expectations coming in here may have taken some pressure that you were putting on yourself off yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, maybe a little bit, for sure. But on the same time I have pressure because I lost first round twice in a row in Grand Slam. Still basically almost Top 10. This is kind of maybe difficult to understand for some people that I'm close to 10 if I lost first round in two of the four biggest tournaments in the world. If I would go out another time first round, I wouldn't even drop so low because I don't have many points to defend. For me, it was important to win especially that first round and get into the tournament. That's now a big relief.

End of FastScripts….

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