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June 27, 2004

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger, please.

Q. Three matches, unbroken, very tough opponent today. Without having 130 miles an hour crushing serve, are you demonstrating that it's possible to win here with a very finally located first and second serve rather than just standing back there and hitting 130, 140 miles an hour?

ROGER FEDERER: I cannot, otherwise I would like to break that 130, 135 barrier, but I cannot. So I have to do it differently. For this I need to play well from the baseline. I have to serve consistently. That's exactly what I did today. So I'm very pleased because today's opponent was much more dangerous and much more difficult to play against than the other two, which is obvious. This is why I'm, you know, happy to have really won in straight sets because it wasn't that easy.

Q. Can you say just how accurately you're serving right now?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm feeling well also. I think, you know, I felt it also and you saw it in the end of the third when he had, you know, a few breakpoints. The way I got out of that one, you know, I got a lot of first serves in. I feel like, you know, the more comfortable I win my serves, the more I can take risks also on the second serve. This is then when I really start to play well.

Q. What did you think of the atmosphere out there today?

ROGER FEDERER: Different. You know, it's nice. I think the people were just really happy to see some tennis, you know. I mean, it was a great crowd out there. Yeah, it was big fun.

Q. Is it possible to compare the speed and condition of the courts between this year and last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, to me it seems similar really. I've heard there's been much talk about it. But I've played on Centre and Court 1 now. To me they seem very similar to last year.

Q. Pat Cash writing in his column today said that you were the most complete player he'd seen since Pete Sampras, but he was scrapping around for something to say that was a criticism, and he identified your backhand slice as your weak shot. Would you say that's a fair comment or would you say you're playing the most complete game you possibly could?

ROGER FEDERER: Hmm. We're going the wrong direction here. He said some things already in Australia. We don't have to come back, you know, what Pat Cash says about me. If he gives me compliments, that's okay. If he doesn't say something that nice, that's okay, too. I don't take it seriously.

Q. Could be Karlovic in the next round. On grass, what does a serve look like coming out of the heavens from a guy 6' 10", whatever he is?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I've never faced somebody so tall. I faced Rosset, but that's small compared. I almost played him in Indian Wells, but he lost 7-6 in the third, surprise, to Pavel. If I play him, it will be interesting to see, you know, because everybody's talking about that big serve, you know, that's unbelievably accurate, very consistent serve. I would like to face it and see how I can, you know, kind of play with it. You know, it's going to be tough. Puts a lot of pressure on your own serve, but I think I can handle it. I'm used to that. But we'll see how big that serve is.

Q. Might also be Lopez. He won the third set.

ROGER FEDERER: He did? Changing quickly here then (smiling). Okay, let's concentrate on Lopez.

Q. You played him in the fourth round last year. Was that sort of the breakthrough match for you in last year's tournament?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, the match with him was very, you know, strange because I hurt my back. I really didn't play at a hundred percent. I would say I got really lucky that day. I really just tried, you know, to play as well as I could under the circumstances. You know, he should have really won that first set. I think if he does win that first set, then it might look very different because then I start to doubt also, yeah, I get a little bit too down on myself. But, you know, in a way, I don't know why I won that first set, but got me going. I had some pain killers, had some massage on my back, and suddenly I started to feel much better. In the end, I could almost play normal again, which is very strange, because in the beginning I could hardly move. I mean, the breakthrough for me was more of the Schalken match, to get to the semis for the first time in a Grand Slam. So not really the Lopez match anyway.

Q. When you're going through a Grand Slam like this, do you become insulated because you just want to focus on your game that you don't have time to even look at the paper and say, "That's interesting, Andy is through to the next round" or, "So-and-so is through to the next round"? Do you have time in your life during a Grand Slam to reflect as a fan might about who's winning and who's not winning in the draw?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think especially during Grand Slams, you have more time. You know, you always have a day off. You have a lot of time actually to watch TV like a fan, you know. I watch a lot of tennis matches when I'm not playing. I really enjoy that. You know, don't read too much about what's written about me. But if there is a paper, I also open it and read it. I'm interested in what's going on, what the people write, what the people think. I think it's important because if I just don't care, you know, might as well not answer any questions here.

Q. How close an eye are you keeping on Andy's progress?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's so far away in the draw, you know, if I see him winning, you know, I'm not surprised. If I would see him lose, then I would be surprised. But I always keep watching a little bit of his matches because, you know, he's No. 2 in the world. I have to kind of also look at his game, how well he's playing, because we haven't seen each other very much in the clay court season because both either, you know, lost or played different times or whatever. But here I'm checking him out more than maybe other tournaments.

Q. How do you compare your play from now to this time last year, your play and also your mental attitude, given you're defending champion? Are you looking for a game like Schalken to really test you, to get you going this year?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought today was a tough match, you know, and a real test. The first two, they were result-wise too easy. The third set was more of a, you know, wash-out. So I would say this was a really tough match for me. I really had to focus hard because he was serving well. You know, if I get broken maybe once or twice or three times in the match, then I can lose this match, or it could turn out a different way. Looking forward. I think this is a good match for the fourth round.

Q. Do you feel confident compared to this time last year, do you go out expecting to win?

ROGER FEDERER: It's a little bit different. You know, last year Andy and Lleyton were more of the favorites. Of course, Lleyton lost in the first round, so all the talk was about Andy. Now it's more about me and Andy. So it does change a little bit. I am very -- you know, I'm feeling very good this year, definitely better than last year, because I know I already won this tournament. So I know anyway I can do it again. But also, you know, the results so far have been really good. I don't know if I'm going to play tomorrow again. But for me it's not a problem because I've had, you know, rather short matches, which is good.

Q. How different does it feel being here as the champion, whereas this time last year you were just one of the favorites? I mean are all eyes on you now? Do you feel extra pressure, responsibilities?

ROGER FEDERER: More in the very beginning of the tournament, you know, leading up to the tournament, I thought this is a different feeling I have about this tournament suddenly. It's not the same. Like all the years I've been coming back, it's just got something else, when you come back as the defending champion to a Grand Slam. You have a lot of points which you can lose, you know, a lot of talk there is about you. If you win or lose, especially if you lose, there is people write a lot. And this is sometimes can be difficult. But I have to say I prefer this position now because, you know, I already won a Grand Slam last year. I haven't won any. That was getting tough on my mind.

End of FastScripts….

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