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May 10, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was it more tough to play against an Italian in Foro Italico than other places?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, for sure, and I do believe that the match would have been easier for me if he wouldn't have had the support because, yeah, definitely, you know, makes you think twice when you want to go for a shot. You always believe somehow he will find a way to come back into the match with a support like this.
This is always why it's hard to play local heroes, especially here in Italy. I really had to concentrate very hard to focus on my game because they were applauding his shots, you know, fanatic. That's not very easy to handle over a consistent basis, but I think I did well and I'm very happy the way it went today.
Q. I heard today you had a special meeting with the Pope. Is that correct? What is your reaction, your emotions? Can you describe it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it was an emotional day today (smiling). In the morning, meeting the Pope, you know, which was, yeah, very, very nice and a big honor of course. Got to shake his hand, exchange a few words in German, and that's it. But of course very special for me. I'm Catholic after all, you know. So it was very nice.
And then after on, the great match here. So it was a perfect day.
Q. Was the Pope showing awareness of who you are? Does he follow sports and tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, this, they said who I were -- was. He said that tennis was a very grueling sport, you know. He pointed the fist, you know, that means you really have to, you know, I guess battle very hard, you know. So I guess he's seen it, which was nice to hear (smiling).
Q. What happens to Federer, you enter the tiebreaker, and suddenly you hit your best serve of the match on the T. What comes over you in a tough spot like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was trying to hit that serve for the entire match, so I'm happy it came once, you know. Other guys can rely on aces more than I can.
But, yeah, it always seems like I do find a way in important stages of the match, you know, to find my best serve, or the best forehand, or just the best choice of shot. I'm happy it paid off because, you know, going into a third tonight, that would have been extremely tough, I think. I wouldn't have known the outcome because I think it would have been even beginning the third set.
Q. You played Starace two years ago in Gstaad. Did you notice any difference that his game progressed, developed?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, to be honest, I don't quite remember the semis we played. I know it was a tough match. The thing was, you know, I was so much into winning a second Wimbledon and everything was just crazy, you know, in Switzerland, in Gstaad. For this reason I don't quite remember how I ended up winning that tournament.
So just played well, and conditions obviously were very different, you know. It was much faster, and I remember it sort of rained or something and maybe it was a rain delay; I'm not sure.
But I remember, you know, hitting with him a lot at Roland Garros, you know. Practiced the year he beat Grosjean. Already there I recognized, you know, that he was a great player, especially on clay. He uses his serve and forehand excellent. He keeps doing that, that's why he's in the top hundred and with potential for more of course.
Q. To finish well in the best way this day, this special day, what sort of dinner will you have? Where?
ROGER FEDERER: After such an emotional day, just an easy, relaxing dinner. At the most, maybe four or five people. Not more, please. I've seen enough people today (laughing).
Q. There's a restaurant called "Santopadre."
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I heard of it. Been there (smiling).

End of FastScripts...

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