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August 11, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling and how much of a challenge was that match?
ROGER FEDERER: Feeling pretty good. It's kind of cold out there tonight. It was tough, you know. Breeze and everything. That's been around for the whole week. But I think really the cooler weather and everything, that was a challenge. It was hard to hit winners. It was hard to get service winners and aces and so forth. You really had to work hard.
I mean, I feel all right now, but definitely during the match it was definitely a struggle.

Q. At any moment did you feel you could lose?
ROGER FEDERER: First set, I think when he was breakpoint up at 5-All, I think this is really when I thought, Okay, this could be a tough match now, all of a sudden after being up a break and anything. But I ended up winning the tiebreaker. Really after that I was never really in doubt too much.

Q. Clearly the most difficult match you've had this week. When was the last time you were tested so severely?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably in Halle, on many occasions - four actually (smiling).

Q. When you haven't played for a while, you play again, what are the things that sort of tell you that you're back playing better? Do you have any little indicators, certain shots, that let you know you're getting pretty close to being sharp?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, you definitely get the feeling like, you know, maybe the serve is going easier for you. You just have more safety overall in your game, the way you move, the way you read the game and everything, that usually comes, you know, once you keep on winning matches.
For me that didn't happen today. I didn't have that feeling like it was much easier than the last couple of rounds. I think that has something to do with the conditions. It was really hard to do what you wanted to do because every time you came in on the average shot it was very hard to win the point. Just felt like it was tough out there tonight. So for this reason I didn't feel that comfortable. Hopefully I'll have a better feeling again tomorrow.

Q. Looking at the draw moving ahead, how do you feel about your chances on the final weekend here?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think it's going to be a tough match. Very similar players. Good off the baseline. Good serve, both of them. Good athletes, as well.
I guess, you know, when they come that far, everybody's a dangerous opponent. You know, maybe they're not top five players or anything, but they definitely have the potential to make upsets, so I have to be very careful.

Q. Xavier talked about making himself believe that he could beat you, then looking over the net and kind of playing mental games with himself that he was matching you, but could he really beat you. How aware of that were you? He had momentum in the third set, then it kind of fell apart.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, that's why for me there's no reason to panic. We're back to zero. He's got to win another, I don't know, 40 points or so to win the set. That's a long way, especially against me. I'm very well-aware of that. I try to take that for me positive, even though I might not also feel that great and the momentum has shifted at that point.
You know, I know Xavier since a long time. I used to play him in juniors under-16s. He used to toy with me back then. He beat me on the first occasion on the ATP Tour, as well in Davis Cup. After that I came back and beat him every time.
We always had close matches. I think once you're about the same age, I think the opponent always believes in his chance. On top of that, we haven't played I think for three or four years and these have been my dominant years. I knew he was going to believe in his chance tonight and I think he did. This was a close match.

Q. What did you and Tony work on for three weeks and why did you choose Dubai?
ROGER FEDERER: We worked for 10 days actually. Three weeks is a bit much actually (smiling). I mean, I hit with him all the time, so I worked on my footwork, on my volleys obviously, on my groundies the whole thing. Just really toughing it out in the heat. I think that's what it was about. It was a direct flight for him from Sydney. I was on vacation there. We have very good practice facilities over there. That's why I enjoy going over there. And it never rains.

Q. How good does a 61-year-old guy get when he practices with you?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I was amazed that he was out there for four hours every day. Looking back, it was like I can't believe we did that. We have to slow down I think with him. But he did very well. I think he's incredibly tough with himself, with the player he's working with. It's a joy to work with him. It's fantastic that he still does the hard work with me because he really doesn't need it any more, I think.

Q. You were sort of a bit of a critic of the appeal system, the challenge system, you and Lleyton. Have you come around at all? Have you changed your view as you're using it more?
ROGER FEDERER: It was kind of funny today during the match. I thought Hawk-Eye, I don't really care, to be honest, because it hardly ever happens. I never had a point where I thought that was that crucial, that it changed the whole match. Okay, once maybe I would have been up 15-40 instead of 30-All, but I knew that ball was out, so Xavier wouldn't have had to challenge that call. Of course, it wasn't called. For him in the end it was important because he held.
I don't feel like these points make a difference to me at all. I've actually also calmed down with myself because I remember in Miami I was really nervous about the challenge system. This time around, it's like it wouldn't exist, which is pretty good for me.

Q. The US Open is going to be the first Slam it will be used in. What do you expect of it?

Q. Do you think it's more for the fans or can it be used as good strategy?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Maybe a bit of both. For some players, I think it might be good to move on. For some umpires it might be good because they might not get into these arguments. For the fans it might be fun.
We'll see. All the crowds react differently to the Hawk-Eye. Some take it as a funny thing. Some take it as a very important and serious thing. The crowd change, you know, with the Hawk-Eye. That's the thing I don't really like about it, you know, because they sometimes tend to write too much about it.
But I think the more we'll have it, the more they'll get used to it. In the end, it's not going to make a difference any more.

Q. What happened at 5-4 in the second set when you were serving for the match? Did you have a bit of a letdown?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Serving against the wind was tough really. No excuses. I knew it's going to be a tough game for me. I don't remember quite well, but I think he hit one on the baseline the first return and everything. If that one maybe would have gone my way, you know, I would have been maybe up 15-Love. I was down Love-30 quickly. That made it tough for me.
It's not like I expected to break, but I knew it's going to be a tough game to hold there.

Q. I understand you were on court with Peter Polansky hitting. Can you tell me about what you think of his game? Was there any advice you imparted after you hit?
ROGER FEDERER: Didn't ask me, so I didn't tell him anything. Just got to ask me, it's pretty simple (smiling).
No, I think he's got a nice game, good-looking technique. Of course, for me it's hard, I've never seen him play a match or really practice hard. We were just warming up together. We warmed up already two years ago. I think he warmed me up for the finals.
Seems like a nice guy. The way he's playing, at least the way he's hitting the ball, I see definitely potential in him.

End of FastScripts...

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