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July 2, 2001

Roger Federer


MODERATOR: Could we have the first question, please, for Roger.

Q. You just changed the course of history, stopped a 32-match winning streak that Pete Sampras had. How does that feel?

ROGER FEDERER: It feels unbelievable, of course. I mean, I went out on the court today trying to beat him. I mean, I knew it was not going to be easy. I'm very happy about my performance today, from the first to the last point. Yeah, at the end, it's just a great feeling I've never had before.

Q. Where do you think you won this match? In the return?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would say returns because I had the feeling I had more chances than he did . Especially in the first three sets, I always had chances to break him. But he came up with some big serves. Then suddenly in the fourth and in the fifth, I didn't have any break chances anymore. He was just like serving too good. Maybe I was a little bit passive on the returns. But, I don't know, I'm still happy with my game.

Q. You never seemed to lose your composure out there, no matter what. Was that a big factor for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I felt good, actually, from the start, as I won my first service game. I think the first service game is never easy, especially for me the first time coming out on Centre Court, playing Pete Sampras, one of my former idols. Then, I don't know, I won it I think love or 15. That gave me a little boost to go into the match. The whole court was packed. There's no way you're going to quit, I guess.

Q. Was it difficult to not think of him as your idol? When did he become your "former idol"?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, sometimes it was weird, you know, I look on the other side of the net, I saw him, sometimes I was like, it's just true, you know, kind of that this is happening now, that I'm playing against him. But then it just goes away, this feeling. You think about your serve, where you're going to go, then it's like playing against maybe some other player, you know. But obviously something special for me to play Pete.

Q. How did you stay so calm, particularly after you'd been ahead twice? How did you stay so calm?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I had the feeling that that first set was very important, that I came back from set point down to win the set. That gave me a lot of confidence for the rest because I had the feeling, I mean, I really can beat him. I had that feeling all the way. That's probably why I won today. I had played a bad game there in the second to lose the set. I mean, I had problems with my leg. That probably relaxed me mentally a bit. I mean, I had trouble running to a couple balls. But I was totally relaxed. That's why I was not tired in the fifth. I felt good really all five sets.

Q. He's the king of grass. Why did you think you could beat him? What was it about his game?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, in the beginning his serve was just massive. I had no chance. I mean, normally I'm pretty good in reading serves. I just had no chance. Especially, I mean, his second serve was as fast as my first serve (smiling). You think, "How is that possible?" But I still had the feeling I had a good chance on his second serve, even though he was serving 120 miles per hour. Suddenly when I had Love-40, 15-40 a few times on his serve, so I knew I will always get a chance in the match. I was holding also serves pretty easy at that time. I mean, I don't know why I had that feeling today. A lot of friends and players told me, "This year I think you can really beat him." I've played a great year so far - better than he did.

Q. What have you done to improve your game this year?

ROGER FEDERER: This year? Physically, I feel much better. Big points. I mean, I've been playing unbelievable, especially on breakpoints against me, I've been saving so many breakpoints. My serve has improved. On the grass I can serve and volley now. Before, I couldn't do that now.

Q. Were you saying in the locker room there were a lot of players saying he was beatable? Is that the view that's been held?

ROGER FEDERER: A few players, a few coaches, my friends, myself. I knew I had a chance. But, of course, I was not like a hundred percent. I mean, he's the man on grass.

Q. How did you feel after that fourth set tiebreaker? Were you concerned at that point?

ROGER FEDERER: What really worried me was that volley I missed at 1-All. After the return, I thought, "What happened?" I looked kind of to him, missed a volley. From then on, it was just his tiebreaker. I mean, I felt good already going into the tiebreaker because I know if I lose this tiebreaker, I can go in the fifth set, no problem for me, because I was feeling good physically at the time.

Q. You weren't worried in the fifth set about losing?

ROGER FEDERER: When I was down two breakpoints, I was very worried because I had the feeling he was raising his game, started making the returns, making me play. There I was very scared for a while. But I survived it and came back strong.

Q. Do you think you have a real chance of winning the title now?

ROGER FEDERER: I think this match will give me as much confidence as I can get. This is my biggest win in my life. Now I'm going to play Henman or Martin, if that's correct. I've played them before. Never beat Henman. I beat Martin. I have to look really match per match. After beating Pete, I think maybe I have a chance. I don't know.

Q. Pete said when he played you today, seemed like sometimes he felt like he was playing himself because you don't show a lot on the court, don't show a lot of emotion. I know you saw him as a kid. Did you pattern your behavior on the court after Pete?

ROGER FEDERER: Not at all actually. I mean, I was throwing around my racquet like you probably don't imagine. Helicopters were flying all over (laughter). I mean, I was getting kicked out of practise sessions non-stop when I was 16. Now since maybe I think this year, I started just to relax a little bit more on court. I'm not smashing as many racquets as before. I don't know.

Q. What changed it? Why suddenly did you decide to do it?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know if I grew up a little bit. I realised that the racquet throwing didn't help my game because I was always getting very negative. I used to talk also much more. Now, I mean, I don't talk anymore. I'm just positive, you know. Also, of course, to play Centre Court in front of a packed crowd, to play Pete Sampras, I don't know, doesn't make you scream, you know, throw racquets. I think that's pretty normal.

Q. You've been kicking the butt of us Americans all season. In our country, we have lots of nice mountains, lots of tennis courts. What can we possibly do to get you to jump ship and come to America?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. It's tough to say. I mean, it's true, I played unbelievable Davis Cup tie there against you guys. Today again I played great. Actually, I was thinking about the Davis Cup during today's match because I thought Pete could also have came to the Davis Cup tie, I maybe would have beat him also (laughter). I mean, I don't know.

Q. Sound pretty confident.

ROGER FEDERER: Too confident, I think (smiling).

Q. What did Pete say to you after the game? Did you have a chance to talk?

ROGER FEDERER: I think he just congratulate me when we shook hands. Otherwise, I mean, he was on one side of the locker, I was on the other side. I think he was very disappointed, I mean, obviously after such a loss. I don't know. We didn't speak at all, actually.

Q. Were you aware that Pete had never lost a five-set match at Wimbledon? When you got into the fifth set, not wrapping it up in four, did you have any concern that this is where Pete Sampras is the master, in the fifth set?

ROGER FEDERER: I actually didn't know his record of five sets. I don't know why, what it was, but I had the feeling that in five sets, I was really good. I don't know if the record is the same. I felt like in five sets, I'm really good. I heard about it. His five-set record, he was probably like 70% he wins them, five sets. I heard that when he played Barry Cowan. I told myself, "Yeah, but he has lost five-setters, so I think I can really do it today, as well."

Q. When you saw him struggle with Barry Cowan, had that in the back of your mind, did that change your feeling about him on grass?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, at that time I was also in the second round or third round maybe.

Q. Once you were getting ready to play him, you had that Cowan match in the back of your mind.

ROGER FEDERER: I was just happy that Barry Cowan took him to five sets. That showed a little bit that he wasn't playing his best on grass probably. I mean, a normal Pete Sampras would beat him in three. He just lost the tiebreak in the third. Probably gave me a little bit of good feeling inside, you know, that I can also myself push him to five sets maybe.

Q. The injury you have?

ROGER FEDERER: It's on the adductor.

Q. 4-All, first breakpoint, he hits the return low to you, are you thinking you're going to win the match at that point?

ROGER FEDERER: 4-All, what was it?

Q. In the fifth set.

ROGER FEDERER: The half volley I played, yeah, I was. I was scared when I had to face breakpoint. I just told myself, "Be aggressive, go to the net." Yeah, I came up with a good half volley, finished it on the backhand side. I think where I was a little bit scared was on the other breakpoint, that second serve, played it to his forehand. He had a running forehand. When he hits it, his ball stays hit on the forehand side. I was happy he didn't make it.

Q. Could you tell us a little bit about how you developed in Switzerland? Was tennis always your game?

ROGER FEDERER: I started playing at the age of three. I was playing soccer at the same time. At like 10 or 12 years old, I had to make a decision what I'm going to do now more than the other one. I had more success in tennis. Decided at 14 to go down to the National Tennis Center, but it was in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, I'm coming from the German. For me, it was very tough the first half of year. I wanted to go home. I was not happy. I was crying when I will to leave on Sunday. Then I went to the Orange Bowl, under 14. Came back, felt good, started to win matches. At 16, the tennis centre changed to the part of Switzerland where they speak both languages. For the future, they can go in French-speaking schools and German. I decided to quit school at that time, at 16, because I felt like school was bothering me from my best tennis. I quit school and just went (showing upward movement with his hand) very quickly. I won a junior tournament and finished No. 1 in Juniors then. Also the change from Juniors to pros was not as tough.

Q. What is he missing from his game that he had two years ago? Obviously he's still a great player. Has he come down a level?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, I was very surprised that he was serve-volleying at the French Open first and second serve. It looks like he's not ready to stay back and rally from the baseline. I agree, it's not his game. But somewhere you have to, I mean, stay back or play a little bit more passive. I don't know. He's got his one game now, serve and volley first and second serve. I don't know if he was doing that two years ago.

End of FastScripts….

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