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August 15, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were saying on court how fast the courts are. Are they as quick as you remember?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I think they have been the same for three years now. I really do think that. That's why I think for me it's important for me to get into it, get into the tournament. The further the better, the better I will play.
Usually quick court suits me, so today was good performance and I was solid. My slice worked well. Didn't give him a breakpoint opportunity, which was perfect.

Q. You saw a lot of seeded players go down today. What are your thoughts coming in after a day like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's not the first time it's happened, you know, to me. I was also the last guy to start my first-round campaign here, so that's why you will almost always see somebody being upset.
I was surprised to see Rafa and Novak going down, of course, after the good week they had last week. Just shows you how tough it is to back it up after Montreal.
These Master Series are tough. From the first round on you play former No. 1s or former Grand Slam champions or guys with a lot of experience, the up and coming dangers.
I played an unknown player today, but he already had two or three matches in his legs so that's an advantage. It's always nice it take the first hurdle.

Q. With all the up settle you have to feel better about your chances here, don't you?
ROGER FEDERER: It doesn't really matter who's in the draw to me. I don't think it makes it particularly more easy. Usually towards the end of the tournament you'll always have the best guys of week in there.
If that's a top guy or not it actually doesn't matter, because the danger is always to be knocked out.

Q. Your intensity the last two games seemed to pick up a bit. Is that just wanting to get the match over with or is that just taking yourself to one 100%?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I tried maybe a few more things. I was up a break. It's always easier to play better when you're up. You always got to play kind of smart, you know, when you're on equal terms and on equal games.
I got a couple good returns and a few good shots, so I was happy to break him for a third time today at the very end. I had quite a few break chances today and I thought I fought hard today to try to create chances, but he came up always with a good serve. It was quite frustrating at times.

Q. How critical was that break-in the second set? 3-3 you said it's always easier to play ahead.
ROGER FEDERER: It's okay if the break doesn't happen, it's just important to stay positive on your own serve. That's really what you can control. On the return you're always hoping for the other guy maybe not to serve that well.
But I thought he always served well in the beginning of the games, which made it hard to get into the his serve. But I think the key to the match was the first service game of my opponent today. I broke him right away. He was maybe a bit nervous and I took advantage of that.
So at 6-3, 3-All I'm already up a set, and by then chances are looking better for me.

Q. Any disappointed that you won't be able to go up against Rafael until the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. That's all the way at the other end of the draw. I don't think we were too concerned about each other in the early rounds. I think once we get to the semis we see each other maybe heading towards each other like in Montreal, but this is too far away to be thinking of each other.

Q. Thinking about how hard it was to back up after last week, thinking ahead to next year's schedule, have you thought about what you're going to do in those events? Are you going play everything?
ROGER FEDERER: That's to plan, you know. I mean, I've been thinking what I'd liked to next year. We'll see how the beginning of season goes, if I play well or not. But I still believe it's very possible to play both Masters Series and Beijing and come back for the Open.
There is a week before the Olympics and a week after it, so it shouldn't really be a problem I don't think.

Q. You're now three Slams behind Pete Sampras. How much does that mean to you, and how much do you find yourself thinking about it ?
ROGER FEDERER: I think about it when I'm playing the Slams, not when I'm playing Cincinnati. But it is great to be so close. So close yet so far in a way, because Slams are not easy to get.
But I've done a very nice job the last few years picking of as many Slams as possible and giving myself a chance over and over again. So it's one of the big goals for me in my career to not only equal it but break it as well.

Q. When you speak with Tiger Woods, do you compare his desire for 18 or 19 and Jack Nicklaus' record?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we do.

Q. You do?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, he's older and got more Slams and got a longer way to go it seems, but his career will be much longer than mine. But it's a very interesting race for both of us. The big question mark for both of us is are we ever going to make it? At the moment it looks like we are, and I hope it's going to happen for both of us.

Q. Some of the other players expressed difficulties with the transition from the courts in Montreal to the courts here Cincinnati. Do you see a big difference? If so, what?
ROGER FEDERER: It is different, because it's quicker, yeah. It's more humid, but that doesn't really affect play too much. The thing is maybe not only the change of surface, it's also little preparation.
What did we have, one and a half days to get ready for a first-round match against a good player? That's just not enough though play at your best. That's the problem that we face. If we had another five days to get ready for the tournament we'll get used to the surface and be all right.
That's not the case, and that's why it's hard. It's hard all around the world. I've had much tougher transitions to make from clay to grass or grass to clay within a day, so this is actually pretty easy.
But because the field is so tough, that's the dangerous part for all of us.

Q. Would you prefer to take a week between tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I'd rather have it back to back. Absolutely.

Q. I notice at the French Open at the end of matches your opponents were knee deep in clay dust pretty much and your shoes managed to stay perfectly white. How much emphasis do you place on moment in practice rather than just the strokes?
ROGER FEDERER: Why they don't become red I don't know, but my socks definitely were red towards the end of the match. Movement is a key factor in the game of tennis, especially on clay. It's always been physical, and it's only going to become more physical.
Especially when the clay is -- or when it's beautiful sunshine and the clay becomes light and it flies around. You have sweaty socks and they become wet and it draws the clay to the socks.
Some have more, some have it less. I have tape also around my ankle, so you know, you have like a triple layer. So it's great if you can play well on clay because it's a beautiful surface to be able to move on and have great rallies, and I enjoy it.

Q. How much do you like coming to Cincinnati and playing this tournament as a tune up for the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's a big tournament. The best players show up. That's the reason I'm always excited to faceoff against the best. I've had a good experience, too. Just once, but that was a great one actually. I played fantastically well.
I've had a funny match here one time when I had saved about seven match points against Scott Draper. I've had the ups and downs here. It's the reason I've been really happy that I have been able to come through. I draw definitely motivation from my experience.
And also having won here before I would liked to it again. Fans turn up really in big crowds here and it's nice to play in front of them.

Q. How do you think you're playing right now?
ROGER FEDERER: Pretty good. Like I said, it's a solid match today and I was happy the way I hit the ball. Slice stayed low. I really hit it well and my serve was solid, too. It was only one hour 15 match so I can't really analyze it too much, too deep.

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