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September 1, 2006

Roger Federer

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you stay up for the match last night with an early match this morning?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I watched it till the end. I did, yeah.

Q. And...?
ROGER FEDERER: It was great (smiling). Fantastic. Loved it. I mean, what a great match it was, you know. Should have closed it out in the fourth. You know, came back, fought hard. Back and forth. The cramping. The respect for each other, you know. The way the fans got into it. It was just great, you know. Agassi the winner in the end, it's a great story.

Q. How do you feel about the 11:00 start? The stadium is still kind of empty. I mean, would you rather not play that early? I heard you say on USA that you actually prefer the night session.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, of course, you know, because there you have the more electrifying atmosphere. The focus is more on this one night session match than all around the grounds and everything. I got to keep on winning to get my night session here, I think. That's fine. Maybe it's going to be an advantage to have played early because of the rain coming in. You know, who knows.
I mean, I've played some night sessions here, so I don't mind getting out early for a change. I haven't played for a while at 11:00. But I think it's good for Europe, too. Two Europeans playing each other, it's good for the time change. I hope they showed a lot of it in Europe.

Q. What was your take on the match today? I mean, you obviously started so well. Almost a repeat of the Wimbledon. He stuck at it, didn't he?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think the conditions were tough today, you know, breezy, chilly, early. Henman trying to kind of break the rhythm, as usual, you know. So it makes it hard to really play well and get the good rhythm going.
I think it could have been easier, but it could also been tougher. So I'm happy with the way the match went, that I was able to break at 5 All and then serve it out. I thought it was a solid match, you know, because I didn't give him any chances on my own service games and that's what I wanted to do from the start on.

Q. It could have been tougher for you in what respect?
ROGER FEDERER: Losing the third set maybe, and just having to dig deeper, you know, than just winning straight sets.

Q. In the third set there was an amazing moment where you hit the ball between your knees. You even smiled. It's so rare to see you show your emotions. How did that feel? Can you talk about that play.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was nice. It was nice.
I mean rarely, you know, you try this type of shots in a match. In practice it happens all the time. But to come and pull it out, pull it off on a center court, you have to make sure you're not doing something totally stupid or you don't look like an idiot, you know.
So turned out to be all right. I was very surprised with the result because I kind of gave up because I knew I didn't move properly to the ball, and the next thing I knew, it was between my legs. The only option was the one shot that I hit. I mean, he got it back, and then I still had to make a pass. He almost gave up because he thought my shot was too good, which was good fun.

Q. I don't know if you played a match here like the Safin match at the Australian Open night match. How would you compare playing a night match here to playing a night match at the Australian Open? What's the difference in the two stadiums?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess obviously the center court is a bit different because the US Open comes closer to the player. The Australian Open, everything is further up, all the way around. Here on the sides, it comes closer, so automatically you're more in contact with the fans. The stadium is bigger. Depending on who plays here, it can be very, very loud, you know. Always something happening on change of ends. You have the music, then you have, you know there's always something going on, where at the Australian Open it's much more focused on maybe just alone on the players.
They have a roof over there, so I guess there the atmosphere stays more within the court. Here, it goes more out, obviously. So similar, but so different. You got to talk to more players to try to get information, I think.

Q. There are lots of different shaped and sized players that play the game now. The emphasis has changed so much in the last few years towards the physical, strong player. Could you ever see a time in the future where a Tim Henman, a thin guy with not much muscle, with a serve and volley game, could ever be a force in men's tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: I definitely think it's possible. You know what I think is down the road that might be actually an advantage to be playing like this because this day and age, hardly anybody does it, you know. So when you play a guy like Henman, it's so uncomfortable to play against.
The only thing I kind of doubt, you know, why it's gonna happen is because we are brought up the way to warm up at the baseline, you know, hit 45 minutes, and maybe work five to ten minutes at the net and then hit some serves. So obviously the best part will always be the baseline game and not the net. And the net play is a very unique kind of a play because you got to be able to read well, cover well, move well, you know. It's so much to do with just the feel itself. That's what many players don't have, and that's why we don't come to the net.

Q. Need kind of a change of emphasis of coaching almost to coach that back into players again?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would think so. Again, usually you have coaches who used to play the game. What's gonna happen, this generation, they will be coaching maybe later on. They won't tell the guys to come to the net. They will tell them to stay back, too.
I doubt there will be many serve and volleyers in the game in the future.

Q. When you see a match like that, and it's crazy at the end, you know the players, what their minds are like, what's going on in the player's mind? How do you control it? When you see Andre and Marcos last night, are you identifying with them a bit, what they're going through?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. I get nervous myself watching this stuff, like a fan. Get cold feet. I was in the bed going under the blanket almost, you know. It's the same for me.
Obviously I can relate even more to what they're going through, how nervous they must be. But they don't really feel the nerves because of they're moving, they're focusing on the ball and trying to let it get to you.
It was so hard for Agassi, you know, at 4 All when Baghdatis cramped and everything, still to get through that game. I would have loved to see Baghdatis get it to the breaker. I think he was a bit unlucky there with his serve.
It turned out just to be a great match. Marcos is so nice also as a loser. You know, he's not a loser, he's a winner for me, the way he acted last night.

Q. What did you think about the fact that Baghdatis had no challenges left? I know you're not too big on the challenge system. Didn't that sort of reveal a weakness in the challenge system?
ROGER FEDERER: That's exactly what I said to myself. And now what, if a ball was in and not out? You know, and so forth...
Of course, then you got to blame it on the player. He shouldn't have used the challenges. But sometimes you get so many calls in a row, you almost have to challenge eventually. They're so close, and you still want to challenge.
I thought maybe that serve at 40 15, when he hit an ace, was in. He double faulted back to back after that. Maybe he could have challenged that, you know, who knows?
But, listen, if it's fun for the fans, I'm fine with it. But, you know, I hope there's not too much talk about it, you know, that match is all decided because a guy doesn't have any challenges left.

Q. I'm doing an documentary on Argentine tennis. What is your opinion on Coria after the French Open, how he wasn't able to recuperate mentally, how that plays into a player not being able to shake something off mentally and get back into a groove?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously, he was incredibly close. He did everything right and it just ended up not being his day. It was Gaudio's lucky day, really. I thought it was a fantastic match. It had everything like the match, you know, like yesterday.
So, I mean, he played all right after that, you know. He didn't totally break together. But he's been struggling the last year or so. For me, it's hard to explain. I hardly see him play, you know. I just think it's a matter of time getting it all back together again.
It's unfortunate, you know, it happens when you're on the top of your game really. When you should be taking off, he went down unfortunately. I hope to see him back soon.

Q. Mentally, for a player, if you suffer a bad loss, how do you recuperate psychologically?
ROGER FEDERER: One hour I need, and then it's a different day and a different hour and a different match coming up. I don't bother to think too much about losses.

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