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May 9, 2001

Roger Federer

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well, it was the first time you played against each other. I know you've got great admiration for what Marat's achieved already in his career with a Grand Slam at the US Open and the titles he's won. But, you know, it seemed that both of you were trying to prove something today, you know, whatever he could do, you could do better, and vice versa. I mean, was there an element of that about it, do you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we have practiced already a couple of times and there, you know, we have a lot of funny rallies because we hit the ball very hard. And so, I don't know, today was fine to play each other in a match and see what happens, you know. So I had actually a lot of fun today playing against Marat, because of course he's not on his top form, but still great for me to come out with a win here today on clay especially, against him. He had some great results on clay. Of course it's -- we both are very young, so kind of prestige maybe. But, I mean, for me, I didn't see it like that. We're good friends, so...

Q. Roger, in the second set it looked as if you had to dig deep many times to get out of possible difficult moments. How difficult was it?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean definitely, I think already in the first I wouldn't call myself lucky to make four games in the first, but I saved a lot of break points. I always had the feeling that I had to work hard on my service games. And I was playing poorly on his service games because in the beginning of the match, didn't make a lot of first serves. So I was disappointed the way I played in the first set, and he almost got away with the first set, and then a break in the second. So I was fighting hard today and, yeah, broke him at 5-4, and I felt in the middle of the second set my game really came together, and my backhand started to get better.

Q. Do you think he is a very unpredictable player? Not only as a tennis player, but as a person, it looks like he's up and down.

ROGER FEDERER: Of course, you never know what's going to come next. I think we are very similar. Me, too, also a little bit. So we get cross on the court if we're not happy with our games. We are disappointed when it's not going well; we are happy when it works well. I think we can both hit shots, like, you don't expect. So I think we have something similar. Of course Marat is, ranking-wise and result-wise, in a different league, but I hope I can catch up with him.

Q. You've got Wayne Ferreira next. Your thoughts on playing against him?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I got a very -- we got a similar game: Good serve, good forehand, and everything is based on the forehand. So see -- he's playing better again, because he had a bad start of the year, so it's gonna be tough. I played him twice, and it's one-all, so...

Q. You said you're a similar person to Marat. Do you think personality-wise, even the way you move or the way you react on court, is it similar to him as well?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean of course not everything is similar because I play a one-handed backhand; he plays a two-handed. That changes a lot the game. I play much more slice, I try to mix up my game more. He's playing more flat from both sides, I try to use the slice, the spins. But I mean, I don't know, reaction-wise, if we play well or bad, it's pretty similar I mean.

Q. Is he better in breaking racquets than you?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah, I think so.

Q. He's better?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't go full blast. I don't know, I want to keep my racquets, you know. I better scream than smash the racquet. (Laughing.)

Q. Do you feel comfortable on clay now?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the more matches I get, the more comfortable I feel. Obviously, now it's the first time I've beaten somebody like in the Top 10. I think on clay that gives a lot of confidence. I'm really looking forward now for the next few matches because I played well in Monte-Carlo, playing well here again, so I've been playing well.

Q. And what about Paris?

ROGER FEDERER: What do I think about Paris coming up?

Q. Yeah.

ROGER FEDERER: As I said now, the more matches I get under my belt, the better I will feel at the French Open. I don't really like the balls we are playing with here this week, but I heard that they're much faster than at the French Open. So I think that's gonna even help my game more, and, yeah, I'm looking forward for next few tournaments because clay is a good challenge for me and so far I'm playing well.

End of FastScripts....

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