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April 22, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What happened to your forehand today?
ROGER FEDERER: Mistakes, few too many, I guess. I'm not happy about the performance of my forehand. Rarely it happens to me, because it's my best shot in the game. I guess it's a bit different against Rafael.
You got to keep on pushing, and I just missed a few too many to go a break down in the first set. Missed my opportunities in the breakpoints and then go breakdown in the second, os it was disappointing.

Q. Beside the forehand, what should you do to beat him on clay?
ROGER FEDERER: Not make those mistakes, you know, and use the chance when I had them early on. I was playing very easily solid and in the beginning, created myself chances. He didn't have any breakpoints.
Unfortunately it turned around with a few mistakes. But I feel this match gave me some information. I think I'm absolutely in the mix with him on clay, which is how I wanted to feel.
You know, it's always disappointing to lose, but I feel like I didn't play well and still it was close. That's a good thing.

Q. You played 19 sets against him and you won only 5. What that means? I mean, almost one out of three. That's big, big difference apparently. The reason, explanation is only technical or sometimes mental? Do you get nervous when things are not going well?
ROGER FEDERER: Are you talking about clay?

Q. Clay, clay.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know. You've seen his record on clay?

Q. Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's won a few in a row. He's an excellent player, let's not forget. You're talking like he's playing around with me. That's not the case. It came very close the last few times, but clay is his number one surface; it's not mine, and still I come so close.
It's for me a good -- still a good thing to do, you know, to play, I don't know, four finals in a row on clay now. Okay. I lost four times against Rafa. I'd rather have that than lose against four different guys.
I feel like I'm in good shape for the rest of clay court season, and it's going to come down to the French Open to see who wins.

Q. Is this where Tony comes in handy, where you can both analyze what you think is more information and use it on this surface, which you say is obviously the one you want to improve on?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, it's always good when you have somebody telling you from the outside. But I mean I also understand my game very, very well. I know what I'm going to have to work on in the next couple of weeks, and, you know, physically I feel fine. It was absolutely no problem today.
Of course it wasn't -- a four- or five-setter would have given me more information, and also physically. It's going to be interesting this year not having played any five-setters going into the French Open, which we had last year here in the final and then also in Rome.
So that's going change, but we're definitely going to talk about and see what he thinks.

Q. What I meant before is that it is not mental, because even the serve, which has nothing to do -- or not much to do with Nadal -- it is not working as it usually does. I mean, you are bad percentage and second serve you lost a lot of points. Is it something that makes you more nervous or anxious when have to play him or not?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's a left-handed player, so you serve differently. I mean, I don't know. Your questions are very strange today, seriously. You have to play different against Rafa than when you play against Ferrer or Ferrero.
I play 95% against right-handed, so when I play left-handed it's obviously a bit different. For him he plays right-handed guys all the time so he doesn't need to adjust. So there he has I guess a little advantage.
This is what I'm trying to do over the last few years. I play better against lefties having a left-handed coach. Hitting a lot of balls with him helps, too. So it doesn't come down to how I serve or do that, it's just about having a good day against him.
I've come very close and play very well against him, but on clay you need a really good day, you know.

Q. On the evidence of today and what you've seen generally this week of Rafa, do you think his game has gone on from last year, that he's better?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought he was playing identical to last year, to be honest. He's got such a solid base, you know, in terms of how he plays because he does it all year around already. He plays the same way.
I mean, it doesn't change for him on hard court or clay. Even on grass he plays the same way. So when he comes on clay the movement comes handy for him, too, because he's the No. 1 clay court mover to me. Obviously he's born on this surface so all of it works in his favor.
Look, he dominated everybody this week. I was expecting him to maybe struggle last year, but after he played so well again I see him strong against this year.

Q. Is there any new information you think you can carry forward today from what you found in the game?
ROGER FEDERER: No. But it's good for me to play against him. He sometimes makes me improve my backhand. I think that problem is solved for me. Today I started to miss on the forehand but, look, again, it can happen over a few minutes that you're going to have a downfall on one of your shots.
Again, you should try to avoid it, and that's going make you practice and make you a better player. I enjoy playing against him and I think the same for him. We can improve playing against each other. It was only two sets, so there's not too much -- you know, it was over in a hurry, so there's not too much we can say about it.

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