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May 8, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Considering how tight the match was here last year, were you pleased with how it went today?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah, no doubt. Last year was a good match, too. I think I remember serving for the match at 6-4, 5-4 maybe 6-4, 5-3. Got broke and he came back and I almost ended up losing the match. But I remember playing well against him, too.
Of course, I wasn't too happy when I saw the draw coming out playing Almagro first up, because he's a great clay courter and a very dangerous player on any surface. So to come through convincingly in two sets not being broken both time racing away with the lead with an early break, which was perfect.

Q. Have you changed anything in your clay court preparations from last year?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's a pretty similar approach I have again this year after winning three majors in a row. I'm coming into the French Open maybe being able to win four. So the preparation has been there since the Australian Open, of course. I've been trying to get into the best possible shape since then.
Definitely, again, the plan is to try to play Hamburg which would give me more match play again. I've been practicing I think a bit harder this year than last year in terms of not having played such a tough Monaco final. I only took one day off and have been practicing every day accept in Majorca and one thing I needed to do here on Friday.
I need a few days off, but I've been practicing really hard, like four or five hours a day, which was fantastic. In Switzerland I had a hitting partner come along, French junior, No. 1 in the world. We had some good hitting there.

Q. I think that Italian tennis needs help. Perhaps your help. Which advice can you give to Bracciali to beat Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, everything's possible at home I feel. But the thing is not to play great at home but to play away from home as well. I guess that's the secret to get the ranking up. Many nations have the same problem. They're not happy they're not happy with the players they have because they've been too spoiled in the past.

Q. Do you think it's better to give to him corner or perhaps it's better to send the ball to the volley?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think over best of three, why not take a chance and play very aggressive. Bracciali is a player that can do that. I had a touch match with him in Dubai. I think any surface he's a dangerous player.

Q. You made reference here to the shorter Monte-Carlo final, and obviously shorter finals all around now. Do you think in a way that could help in the sense that it gives you a better chance of playing Hamburg and getting more matches in?
ROGER FEDERER: I think in terms of the guys who played the finals of Monaco and then here this week, I feel that Hamburg is definitely going to get more players this year than last year just because not only is it the best-of-three finals, but also the top eight guys get byes.
So that, again, gives you much more air to breathe. And if you were in the finals in Rome you get two days off for that, so much needed important Wednesday start. Which, for instance, me and Raf wouldn't have gotten last year. I think if we had gotten that one we would have played.
But of you had to win six matches in seven days or six matches in six days that was just too much to ask for.

Q. I'm sorry if you already answered this. Is the French Open your absolute No. 1 priority this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, right now it is. I mean, can you put it over Wimbledon? I guess never. But the French Open is before Wimbledon, thank God, so I can really focus on the French Open.
Yeah. I don't know if that answers your question because I don't know myself I guess.

Q. Were these basically ideal conditions for you on clay today?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's been nice actually for the last month on clay. We've had a bit tough few days just before Monaco. I think it was quite windy and rainy and a bit.
I remember I lost my rhythm a bit from the baseline there that's why I didn't play so well first up in Monaco. I think it was well really quick conditions all of a sudden the first day.
On the match days they always water the court much less than during the practice times because they had more time to water the court, and also it rained more. But these conditions were very nice, you know.
On court, I mean, Corretja asked me, too. This was perfect conditions for you? Honestly quick or slow I don't mind. I've proved myself in Hamburg in the past. Every time it's a bit slow I like it too because I get more grip and the ball stays a bit lower. And if it's nicer it's a bit quicker for me which is obviously an advantage.
I think you got to be able to play with all conditions on clay because they change sometimes throughout the match. So you got to be able to adapt and, I think that's a big plus for me that I can do that.

Q. Do you think it's a bit odd now it's only the Grand Slams and Davis Cup where you got best-of-five-set matches, and virtually the rest of the year playing three sets? Is that strange in the sport to be playing at a certain level and the rest of the year only three-set matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. You could think it's a bit odd, but at the same time -- like I think I explained it the other day. I said it's definitely not so cool for the live audience who's in the stadium and for the two players who are playing that day.
I mean, we would love to battle it out for five sets and make a big spectacle for all of us. Then at the same time we're happy to play best of three. If you look at an entire season and an entire career you avoid injuries here and there.
So what happens is maybe the live fan won't get the great match they were hoping for because it's over before it started, like in Monte-Carlo I felt. But, you know, I think for the TVs it's just easier to set up. You don't have. To block a time for five hours and then tune out the last six minutes of last year's finals. That would be tragic too.
It's easier if it's this way, it seems. It's a bit of a dilemma both ways. I guess we're trying it this way and see how to goes. But I think by having this system now more cities and countries will be able to see the top players instead of maybe like maybe Rome, maybe Monaco, and then Hamburg's going to miss out, or Paris, Bercy will miss out. I think that will be cut down a little bit by adjusting this problem.

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