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March 25, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You just trying to make it interesting with that second set? I mean, obviously, the wind was a problem. I know Arnaud has beaten you in the past. What happened in the end of that second set?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, everything was going fine till 4-Love in the tiebreaker so. I mean, conditions were tough in the end because sun was very low and wind was -- there was quite a breeze out there. The one end was definitely an advantage, you know, the one end I actually was up 4-Love and 4-2. Obviously, he had the better side after that, but I was hoping to have a big enough lead to sort of take advantage of it.
Again, I thought he played pretty well to come back there, and he really guessed well on a few returns. It was already close, I thought, in the first set, you know. So it looked everything could have gone, you know -- the match could have been over very quickly. But, you know, he hung in there and he played well, I thought.
The beginning of the third set, obviously, it was like a really open match, and I was obviously hoping for a good start. I'm really happy I got it.
Q. Did the challenge system -- what did you think of the challenge system? Did it bother you? Were you into it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's there, right? It's always in your mind at the moment, especially the more you talk about it.
But I'm sort of neutral. I like to give it some time because at one stage it wasn't working, you know, for a game, and then it was working again. Obviously, that's something that is not acceptable, you know, for us players, playing with our minds, I think, you know.
Then, obviously, I was happy. I got the one call for me. I felt a little bit embarrassed I didn't get the other call, you know, because I don't like challenging. If a ball is out, I challenge it. It happened.
So, anyway, got to give it time, I guess.
Q. Is there a time limit on the challenge? It looked like he wanted to call it on the changeover.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, that's exactly when it gets a little complicated. We're both sitting down, he's challenging a call? I mean, that's a little bit awkward, isn't it?
Q. That second one, it turned out you were wrong. Did you feel you were definitely going to be right? Were you surprised?
ROGER FEDERER: I was surprised, yes.
Q. You felt good about the third set. You turned it up a notch?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. Especially at the mid through and then at the end played well. Obviously, I could play a bit more freely because I was up a break or up a double break. Also, then it was easier to play, honestly, because the sun was gone, we were playing in the shade. It was perfect conditions then.
So I was very pleased with actually my all-around performance, you know, because I've had some tough matches with Arnaud in the past.
Q. Your next opponent is Tommy Haas. Obviously, playing really well this year. You've had some good battles. Talk about that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I've had some good ones with Tommy, especially at the beginning of the year, especially the Australian Open. So looking forward to that challenge against him. He always usually plays good on the American hard courts. He won a couple tournaments here.
So definitely got to, you know, be ready for a good match. And, again, you know, he's a good player, especially this year.
Q. What happened in the tiebreak? You were up 4-0, dropped seven points in a row. Was there anything...
ROGER FEDERER: I think in the end, deciding point was the one I think I was serving at. I think it was -- I was serving at 4-Love, I think, and I lose that point. On serve, I think with the wind I shouldn't lose that point. I think if I do, if I lead 5-1 instead of 4-2 at the change of ends, I think I will win the tiebreaker.
But, you know, he did well to hang in there. In the end, obviously, it didn't go my way. I didn't serve like I should have, and he didn't miss. It was a good performance in the breaker in the end for him.
Q. Roger, do you feel over the last four or five years that the hard court surfaces have been made to play slower as well as the balls? Do you feel that's been a factor in your game at all?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I feel like the conditions have been pretty much the same since I came on tour. They had some -- I thought they had some issues with the balls at one stage where they were really flat and I really couldn't get the spin on the ball, but that's been gone for a while now.
No, other than that, it's been pretty much the same. It's just my game has become better, and by becoming better, I have the feeling, you know, the conditions have slowed down because I have more time, because I am more sure about my own game, which in the beginning, soon as there was wind and sun and everything, I always felt like I couldn't play from the baseline. That's changed over the years.
Q. Coming on to the court today, was there anything in your mind thinking, "Clijsters lost here," "Hewitt lost here," "Nadal lost here," "Henin lost here." "Maybe I'm next"?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit maybe. Yeah, because Kim was the defending champion after all. With Rafael losing, he was in the finals last year. I thought, "Have conditions changed here or what?" I didn't feel it, like they did. It's good to see upsets, too, sometimes as long as it doesn't hit you.
I was pleased with the performance. Yeah, I was ready for a tough match today with Arnaud. Like I said, he's been a tough competitor for me.
Q. Getting back to the challenges for a minute, would you ever challenge if you weren't completely sure, like if it was late in the set and you had one left and it was a close call, but you weren't sure? Would you challenge anyway?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably not, no. I think you should really only use them when you're 100% sure.
Q. You think it's going to prevent chair umpires from overruling because why should they, they'll think?
ROGER FEDERER: Little bit maybe, yeah. I mean, my big wish from this whole thing is that the fans sort of don't take this as a game, you know, because it happens so rarely that they shouldn't be screaming you know, like, "Oh, challenge that," or, "Challenge this." Like when there is close calls, they don't applaud anymore because they think there is going to be a challenge. I feel like that's sometimes a little bit of a problem right now.
For this reason I'm saying let's wait and see how it goes. If the people wait too much for the calls, you know, and don't really care about the shots anymore, this is when I tend to get a little bit pessimistic about the whole thing.
Q. Roger, everybody seems to be respecting you a lot, all the other players. What do you feel about that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's good to be respected, you know.
Q. Like a special thing?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's a normal thing, you know. We all have respect for each other, you know. It's not like --
Q. Like your game.
ROGER FEDERER: The game, I guess, you know, when you're up at the rankings - it's not only for me, it's for all the guys - they feel like they achieved something good, you know, and maybe other players admire things you do. I also admire other things in other players. So I think that's just the way it goes. We all love the sport, so I think we all happy we all compete so we can really see who is the best in the game.

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