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April 21, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. This is the fourth time you've played Ferrer. You've won every one, but this is the first time you played him on clay. What did that change in your approach to the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, you always hope it's going to go as well as the previous matches when you play somebody. But I knew on clay it was going to be more difficult. And maybe the score doesn't show much, but I really was very close. It got close in the end, but I played excellent again today.
But it's true, it changes a lot when you know somebody is so comfortable on this surface. But, you know, I always know that I can play with anybody on any surface and I proved that again today, so I'm very pleased.
Q. Does it feel like a little bit of a breakthrough when they say it's your first time in a semifinal in an event. I mean, that's slightly unusual for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, it's nice when you achieve something like that, something you know you have never done. The only time I've been in the quarters, you know, I was nowhere close of beating Grosjean back in 2001, I think it was.
So this feels good. I give myself, you know, an opportunity to maybe play a finals here now. I've got, you know, plenty of matches early in the clay court season so, I mean, the start couldn't have been any better.
Q. Do you feel you are playing much better than last year at the same time?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think just, you know, coming in to Monaco I had more time getting ready, you know. Had a rest after Miami. Because it was, you know, a tough trip, playing Dubai, Indian Wells, Key Biscayne and before that the long trip from Australia back to Doha back to Australia and then back home. It's been a tough beginning of the year.
So now to back it up right away here in Monaco, I feel good. Maybe I have the feeling I am playing a little bit better than last year. I have the feeling I have more security from the baseline, I am playing more safe, and when I want to play aggressive, obviously I can always do that. I really have the feeling my game is in place very early in the clay, in the season now.
Q. When you were 4-Love up in the second set and he got back to 4-3, was it a drop of concentration by you, did he start playing better, or what?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't remember exactly when he broke me, if it was at 4-1 or 4-2, but I think that couple of points didn't go my way there. I should have played better, you know. I should have finished in one smash, you know. Then he gets back into the point, wins it, gets three breakpoints after that, and obviously gains some momentum.
I think if I can, you know, play a little tougher there, it's not going to get as tight after all. And the same, I have 15-40 right after, and I don't break. I think you just, you know, hang in there and you start to play better, start to miss a little bit less, and he knew that was his last opportunity and he sort of almost took it.
Then, you know, at 4-3, I started to make a few mistakes, and obviously almost took advantage of it. So I got a little lucky. I didn't have to go back to 4-All. But even that, you know, there's no need to panic because I was up still two breaks and then he came back. But, still, I'm eight points away from winning. I always felt good all the way through.
You know, maybe I was playing so well that it was hard to keep it up, and especially on clay. So was all right, you know.
Q. In the first set, you had three set points on his serve. You didn't do much. Do you think, "I've got my service game coming so it doesn't matter much"?
ROGER FEDERER: No, of course I'll try to win the game, you know. But points go by, and you try to play the way you did, coming, playing till 5-Love, Love-40, you know. And just didn't work right then. Why should I give it away? There's no reason. I want to beat him 6-0 if I can and not 6-1. You never know on clay, you can be broken at any point.
So, no, I mean, it just didn't go my way right there, but still I thought it was an excellent match today.
Q. When you say you were playing a bit better than maybe last year, how far ahead of schedule do you think you are for the clay?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, maybe a little bit. I don't know. I was very close to the semifinals last year. I mean, one point away.
So this year I feel like, you know, maybe just more consistent, and that's allowing me to really beat these guys so convincingly. It gives me great confidence looking ahead, you know, not only this tournament, but the whole rest of the season now, you know. It's definitely taking away pressure, and I am really going to come out of this tournament knowing exactly what I need to work on. Now I even have matches left, so it's really a good situation to be in.
Q. Did you change anything in your preparation this year compared with last year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the schedule is a little different, you know, because there's no Davis Cup. There's more time between, obviously, then for me between Miami and here. I didn't play Rotterdam last year. But other than that, it was pretty much the same, you know.
I've been preparing for the French or for the clay court season since my injury in, you know, before Shanghai, because I just didn't feel quite obviously ready enough for the Masters Cup. After the finals, where I didn't feel very fit, I felt like I needed to put in the work because I lost a little bit of fitness, I thought, during that time. So I've been getting ready for quite a few months now, and I think now it's paying off because I feel very fit out on the court, and I hope it's going to pay off at the French Open especially.

End of FastScripts...

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