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September 6, 2006

Roger Federer

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How are you assessing the way you're playing right now? Do you feel completely in control?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I thought today was tough, you know. It's quick out there, you know. On Armstrong. Court, feels so much smaller than Ashe, you know. Also the space you got in the back, you know. So you always feel like it's tougher to return, and the whole thing changes.
So I had a feeling that I had to play good today, you know. Solid and everything. I was very happy, of course, with the start, the beginning. Didn't lose a point in the first three games. That was great, and that got me going. I think that was even a key to the match.

Q. How hard is it for a player of your stature to be on the smaller Armstrong court?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I enjoy it. It used to be center court after all. It's not like this court is, you know, dirt or anything. It's a great court, you know, with great atmosphere. I've had some great matches over there early in my career, you know, against Ferrero. Played Chang there also one night, I remember. That was great.
I've had some good experiences playing over there. You know, I don't think I've played much over there the last couple years, so for me it was good fun to play there again.

Q. Are you consulted as to where and when you want to play? You have some choice in the matter, do you not?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, to a certain extent, you know. But I requested the day session against Henman, you know, instead of the night. They gave me that. After that, you can always ask, you know, and then they can maybe make a bit of changes. I don't want to get too involved either because I let them do it. If I really, you know, maybe had a lot of pain or whatever, I would really request a night session or, you know, maybe a later start in the tournament, then they're gonna really listen instead of saying every day when I want to play. Because that's just a bit too much.

Q. If it's Blake, I'm sure it's going to be a night match, a pretty wild atmosphere. Are you looking forward to that type of frenzy?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I am, yeah, of course. I haven't had an Arthur Ashe night session yet, so I would love to get that one. I think I'm gonna get it for sure. So things are looking good.
I've had it once against Blake before years ago. Berdych, I've played him in Wimbledon and at the French Open, both times I think in the fourth round. This would be in the quarters this time.
I think they have a tough match. I think from now on, the players I'm getting are more experienced, you know, better players and everything. So it's gonna be a hard tournament from now on. That's for sure.

Q. He's a guy who has never gotten over the quarterfinal hump in a Slam.
ROGER FEDERER: Who's that?

Q. James, if you do play him. When you were back there, before you started making final after final, is there something special that you've got to do to get over that hump? Is there something mentally, otherwise, that gets you over that hump?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think it has nothing to do with mental. I think it's more giving yourself the chance, you know, more often. Be a little lucky once in a while, you know.
When I made my first semifinals appearance, I remember that was in Wimbledon after actually having it totally blocked back against Lopez early on in the tournament. I came through that one. Then I ended up playing Schalken, who I really liked to play at that stage, in the quarters. All of a sudden, you know, my draw looked pretty good. I beat him and then I was in my first semis. It felt like a breakthrough in a way.
I don't feel like it's much mental. It's just I think giving yourself chances. Sometimes the draws open up, or sometimes all of a sudden you play really well and you find yourself in the semis or the finals of a Slam.

Q. Tiger Woods just won his fifth tournament in a row. Do you follow Tiger Woods's career? Can you comprehend better than some what it takes to be so consistent week after week?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I can relate to what he's going through, I guess, you know, with the success I've had over the years now. I follow him a lot, you know. I'm always happy when he wins, you know.
So to see him winning five in a row is great. Him winning the Majors, it's great, too. I hope that we're gonna meet soon in the future some time.

Q. Commentators sometimes really stretch and try and seek out ways that players could possibly beat you in this time of your tremendous domination. I don't know whether it was McEnroe or Courier, one of them said, Well, the way to do it might be to take his creativity away, to hit to one spot. Does that have any credence at all, or is that just a stretch?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what he means, though.

Q. Means to just take the creativity, the freedom, the variety of your game away, and just hit to one spot, to one stroke, and try and sort of grind you down.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, you can try to do that, I mean...
But I doubt that players just hit to one spot, because then I don't need to move. But, look, I mean, there's so many different type of players, different type of surfaces. You know, it's not that simple to win week in, week out, you know. I adapt all the time to that, too. I also never play the same, you know, every day. So totally depends on the opponent, you know.

Q. I can't help but notice that you keep stealing glances at the match up there. Do you keep an eye on Nadal? Do you have particular interest in seeing him?
ROGER FEDERER: It's just that the TV's on. If it would be off, I would be looking elsewhere.
I mean, no, I think it's a good match, so... I like watching tennis. That's why I look up there.

Q. People are saying you and Rafael are the next big rivalry in tennis. They're comparing you to Borg McEnroe, Agassi Sampras. What are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, understandable, I think. We've had some great matches especially this year in finals where we finally really should meet, you know, a number of times. I think that we've been able to do that so consistently, I think that's always great for tennis, you know, to a certain extent, you know.
So, I mean, I enjoy playing against him, but there's nothing more important to me than winning the tournament in the end, you know. So if I'm in the finals, doesn't need to necessarily be Nadal. That would just add something more special to it, I guess.
But I like the way he plays, and I'm impressed how consistent he is at his young age, because I was not even close to being so good at his age.

Q. Just for fun: Who would win a boxing match between you and Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: We not physical, the tennis players. We don't like to touch each other (laughing).

Q. You have been very elaborate in Miami at the beginning of the year about your priorities, career. You spoke about Davis Cup, is not the time yet for your participation because you have things to do before. I understand recently that you have reversed yourself, and you are going to play. Can you tell me, when did you come to that, and why?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I waited for the draw to see where and who we play. I knew that if, you know, the team loses the first round, that I'm definitely gonna help them try to stay in the World Group. So we're playing back in Switzerland in a few weeks' time against you guys.
So we'll see, see how it goes. We have a good team, you know, with Stan now and Yves and Marco and Bastl and so forth. I'm excited to be back. It's something I've always enjoyed doing.

Q. Have you always thought that you will step in at the last moment to help them if they are in trouble?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, that's for the moment the situation, you know. Davis Cup is a pretty tough schedule. You never know who and when and where in the world you play. That's why for me it makes it so hard to commit to an entire year of Davis Cup. But I guess, you know, eventually that's going to happen, because it is a goal for me to do well in Davis Cup. But at the moment I have priority on winning Grand Slams and staying No. 1 in the world.

Q. Can you believe that you are enough to make them pass?
ROGER FEDERER: This one match?

Q. Yes, this next one.

Q. Have you assessed it one by one? Your doubles record is not so invincible, so it actually depends more on...
ROGER FEDERER: But I know that if I play well, I can beat them without a problem. But I need a bit of help with the team and the fans and everything. I've done it a number of times to win three points. So I feel like I am strong enough to do that.

Q. How do you feel when you are compared to Tiger Woods? Two different sports. Are you flattered? Do you think it's an appropriate parallel to draw? If you do feel that there's a parallel to the two of you, what do you think the two of you probably share in common the most?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, for me, it's just nice, you know, to be kind of compared to a different sport, too, you know, and not just within my sport all the time. I love talking about other sports because I follow so many different sports, you know. It's not just tennis for me. I mean, it goes from soccer to golf to, you know, Formula One to motorbike racing everything skiing and so forth.
Then to be compared to Tiger, it's obviously very nice. I guess we have something in common. It's really, I think, the mental strength, you know, over the years. And combine that with the talent, I guess, of coming up with good shots at the right time. It's obviously different, a golf shot to a tennis shot. But, still, I think you see similarities there once in a while.

Q. You mentioned Formula One. Schumacher, for instance, he's been able to do it for so long. Tiger has been able to do it for so long. You now have such an impressive stretch. Consistency, is that really the hallmark of a top champion?
ROGER FEDERER: Consistent, I guess, for

Q. Over the course of a long period of time.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think that's what's impressive. You always feel like somebody can do well for one year or something. But to back it up year after year and always be consistently at the highest stage, I think that's where all of a sudden it's impressive not only for yourself, for the fans or the media, but also for the other athletes that are like in your sport.
Like in tennis now, many players, they are very much impressed by my record, you know. That, I've only started to feel like maybe one and a half years ago when I did it for over two years really.

Q. Do you golf for fun?
ROGER FEDERER: Not too much, you know. Takes too much time, you know. But it's good fun, you know, to go out. Nice golf courses. It's just so peaceful. I like to go do it sometimes. I had a bit of a rip from like a few years ago, so I stopped playing more often. Now I just play here and there nine holes, but it's just more for fun, obviously.

Q. Did you follow Lance Armstrong's run? If so, what quality with his incredible performances do you identify with?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I'm not a big bike fan. I never really follow it too much. But, again, it's an incredible effort he did at the Tour de France. I never met him either. But I think the stamina, you know, a bicycle driver needs, it's just unreal, you know. Not only the Tour de France, but the entire season. They're very impressive, as well, of course.

Q. If I could just follow up on this theme. In terms of soccer, what player stood out during the World Cup? What quality there did you admire, of all the great players who performed?
ROGER FEDERER: I think Zidane was playing very well. I think he was the player of the tournament.

Q. Was it his intensity and his veteran experience that you liked the most?
ROGER FEDERER: I just like the way he plays, you know. In his last tournament, to play so well, I thought that was a great combination, you know. Maybe he didn't score many goals, you know, but he doesn't miss some free kicks or penalty shots and everything. It's just incredible.
I actually kind of thought (indiscernible) was playing unbelievable. Was not making one mistake and everything. So that was great, too.

Q. To the extent you've only lost a handful of times this year and they were mostly to Nadal, do you attribute that to the fact that his style is so different from yours, that he's lefty, other attributes of his game are just so different?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think playing on clay against him, that's a bit of a problem. But, I mean, if you look, the three defeats came on clay, you know or four. The one in Dubai I really think I should have won it, you know. I should have won the one in Rome, too, you know, but I ended up losing four against him.
It's okay. I think every time I played him, I had the opportunity to win, too. I was very close those four times, and that gave me obviously the belief that in Wimbledon I should beat him, and I did.
I'm very happy with the season. It's the best so far ever for me. Now I got to focus on this tournament and not on something else.

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