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March 31, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was the first set almost too easy?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I played very aggressive and tried to do the same in the beginning, but obviously it's not so easy, you know, to do that on a consistent basis.
I chose again, once I was down 3-Love, to play with a lower risk and sort of make him play a few shots, too, and try to then only go for my shots when I'm really in a good position.
But I still believe it was the right thing to do because the match was really short up until then. I just thought that it was better to play -- to continue to play aggressive because I didn't want to give him the rhythm at all, you know. That was the reason, but it didn't pay off.
But I came back strong, and that was important.
Q. In matches like this one, do you try shots? Do you practice some strategy?
ROGER FEDERER: No, well, you know, I play with the feel for the game. If he allows me to play a shot I don't play very often, I guess I have to do it, you know. He doesn't leave you a choice.
But I thought he played quite aggressive with the forehand. I didn't anticipate him to go for his shots that much. But he's been playing well, and I knew he was consistent off the baseline, and just gave me a little bit of too many easy points in the beginning which then allowed me to play so well.
Q. How would you rate your volleys and your transition game tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: It was all right. When I needed to, I had them. You know, you see many guys here are missing easy volleys, same in Indian Wells. Maybe it's got something to do with the backdrop, too, sometimes you lose the ball in the spectators and stuff. It's hard to put them away, you know. It's almost easier to hit a swing volley or a smash, but the high volleys don't always work.
I think it's definitely something you shouldn't miss anyhow, you know, because you're in a good position.
Q. Winning every week, going through all six matches or whatever you have to play, becomes a much bigger workload than just playing tournaments and losing occasionally. Coming into the clay court season, do you foresee yourself being able to play all the Masters Series, the French, keep on doing this, being in the final every time you play?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I believe my schedule allows it, yes. I think I know myself well enough now that I can say, Yes, I believe I could, could do it. The only -- I think the toughest part would be if I would, you know, obviously be in the finals of Rome, because backing up the Masters Series, that's never an easy thing to do, especially if they're so close to each other.
But other than that, I've really put my plan out that if I play well, I can handle it physically. You know, if I'm not playing well, I can always take a wildcard here or there.
So, I mean, I absolutely want to play all three Masters Series, especially this year. That's the big plan. Yes, I do believe the schedule is right.
Q. You said when you were a kid you had to choose between two sports, football - soccer - and tennis. A lot of players attribute good footwork to having footwork on the field. The World Cup is coming up. Switzerland is in it.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. Why are you guys laughing (smiling)?
Q. Will you be watching? Are there some players that you want to see because you like the way they play?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, my choice was between soccer and tennis, quite easy actually in the end. I guess I just preferred tennis after all, you know.
But they are still my two favorite sports and I really follow my home team a lot, you know. Obviously now the Swiss team more because they've played more matches and played very well. Who knows, maybe time allows it, I can go to a match here and there. It's in Germany, I'm in Europe at the time, I'll be in Germany at the same time. I've gotten to meet a couple of soccer players over the years and it's always interesting to meet them.
Yeah, I enjoy watching them.
Q. Such as?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, some Swiss players, Cambiasso in Monte-Carlo. It's just nice, you know, to meet them.
Q. I don't know if you've ignored the little whispers around, but people are discussing the possibility of you winning a grand slam, or at least a noncalendar grand slam. Is that a focus at all for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the calendar slam is not the focus right now, but the one -- the other one obviously is, because I already had -- I made three out of four. So it's one more to go but, I guess for me, the toughest one.
I'm obviously already now focusing on the French, you know, to a certain degree. But I still want to be able to enjoy the hard courts, you know, and just only think about clay. But there's only one more match to go on hard courts then I will sort of really put my mind towards the French because then I will find out more exactly how I need to play and so on.
So it's obviously a big goal because I know what it would do to my career.
Q. Do you know what your clay court schedule is at this point?
ROGER FEDERER: Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, French Open after all.
Q. Between here and Monte-Carlo, what will you do?
ROGER FEDERER: What will I be doing? I'll take a break. This will be my break up until - I guess depending on the French Open - but up until through Wimbledon. Then I'll get on clay, go to Monte-Carlo early, and prepare there. Maybe have a few off days here and there, but the break is actually now.
Q. Before the break you have your last match on hard court on Sunday with Ivan Ljubicic. What do you expect of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, we know our games by now, huh. We've played on a few occasions now over the last couple years. I think he's doing a great job, you know, to put himself in the position over and over again. That's what you've got to do. Eventually, you know it's gonna work out. So just hope it's not going to work out this time for him again.
Expect a good match really. He puts in a lot of balls. He serves extremely well. I played a fantastic match in Indian Wells to dominate him. So, if I could do the same, that would be great. But I always expect the tougher matches than the one we just played.
Q. He said that stylistically he thinks that he plays similar to you, maybe his serve is bigger, you return better. Do you agree with that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, to a certain degree maybe, yeah. Because we both obviously have one-handed backhands so we use our slice very much. I think, you know, we both play from the baseline, so to a certain degree, yeah, yeah.
But, again, I have to rely on more speed, I think court speed, where he has maybe more of the serve. So still in the end I think we are quite different.
But with the one-handed backhand, that obviously is very much the same, yeah.
Q. Do you know what your at-rest pulse rate is?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't, no. You have to ask my condition trainer.
Q. Why do you think he has improved so much as a player in the last year, 18 months?
Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: I believe he plays more patient now, more confident, obviously, through all the matches he's played. It seems he's improved his forehand obviously, you know, in defense and offense. His backhand was always his weapon, you know, backhand up the line, and his slice. I believe it's a combination of many things that make him play so much better. He was always a very dangerous, you know, floater in the draw, top 30 and so on. But to make it to the next level, I guess you've got to have some stamina, and that's what he's showing right now.
Q. He also said when you played in Indian Wells, he felt like he was going for too much, pressing. Did you feel that in the match a couple weeks ago?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. No.
I felt like I outplayed him, to be honest. But in the end, obviously, went for too much, maybe last couple games. But those didn't really matter too much.
Q. Ivan talked about how much winning Davis Cup meant to him. How does that stand in your list of goals for the rest of your career?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, big. For the rest of my career, big. Right now, not so big.
But I love Davis Cup, you know, playing for my country. I represent it every day, you know, when I travel the world. But I can't have all goals, you know - winning Davis Cup, being No. 1, winning all Slams and all such things.
So eventually it will be a big priority for me.

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