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August 25, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. Last year you didn't qualify for the US Open Series. Does it put a little added pressure on your shoulders? Are you looking forward to trying to achieve this goal this year?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no pressure. Actually more excitement. I mean, it's a big purse. It's the biggest one in tennis. But, of course, you only get it if you win it. So it's a long way away.
Like I said, goals for me are always to try to come back and defend the title. If you have an extra incentive, that's great. I've had a great run here now, Montréal and Cincinnati. I'm really happy with my form. Hopefully now I can start with a good first-round win here.

Q. You hit with Tim Henman yesterday. He announced his retirement effective in August. How has it been since you found out he's retiring? Did you find out before anyone else?
ROGER FEDERER: Kind of came out. I didn't know that because I don't read the English papers every day. He asked me if I wanted to practice kind of one last time. I kind of told him like, What are you talking about? That's it or what?
So, yeah, it was kind of a different kind of a practice, I thought. Almost a bit sad to a point. It's one of our last times we're playing together. I think he was a wonderful player, a wonderful person. It's always a pity when somebody like him leaves tennis. Yeah, I mean, he gave everything he had. In the end, the injuries got the better of him. He's got a great family now, so he's looking forward to his future now.

Q. Looked pretty good against you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, too good. That's why he shouldn't retire. No, I'm kidding.
He knows best. I've had my struggles against him over the years. He beat me at Wimbledon. He beat me in my hometown twice. He beat me at the places where it hurt me most. But I got him back a couple times, which is nice, too.

Q. The night matches that you have at the US Open, are they something you look forward to because of the atmosphere or something that messes with your schedule?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I do like the night sessions. I prefer them over the day sessions, to be honest. Even though the schedule is tough, you know, because you finish late, then it's hard to get back into the rhythm. But, still, I do prefer to play at night because it's more special, electrifying. The crowds come out in big numbers.
Yeah, somehow you always have the feeling you're playing better at night than during the day.

Q. Can you remember one in particular that was your favorite?
ROGER FEDERER: I liked James Blake's last year. I thought that was kind a good match. I don't know if you consider the finals the night sessions, but they go into the nights sometimes. Had a few good ones as well there.

Q. What do you think about coming up the next generation, for example, Djokovic, Murray?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the new generations now have announced themselves since a year basically. One year ago they were still very young, not just young. But they're all very good, you know. You could definitely tell one of them was going to definitely make the breakthrough soon. It was Djokovic that did it first, even though it looked like Murray was going to do it ahead of him. He had problems with his injuries. Who knows what he could have done at the French Open and Wimbledon, he was injured. Gasquet has been able to make a breakthrough as well making semis at Wimbledon. You always got Berdych, Baghdatis, all these other guys who can make the big breakthrough as well.
I think it's definitely now the young guys that are pushing through. I think slowly but surely they're also getting ready to win maybe big tournaments, like Djokovic has been able to win a couple of Masters Series this year. It's going to be interesting to see how well they can do at the Grand Slams.

Q. Who do you think of that group will wind up being the best?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don't know honestly. I think they got similar chances, to be honest. At the moment you would have to probably say Djokovic and Murray. At the same time I like Gasquet's game better than those. It's my opinion. Berdych's got a huge game. Baghdatis has announced himself already a couple years ago with the finals at the Australian Open. Then there's other guys like maybe Del Potro who is going to come through. I think there's going to be a few very soon, a lot of them in the top 10.

Q. You don't mention Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: He's already been up there too long. He's a veteran.

Q. Can you talk about your friendship, relationship, with Tiger Woods, and what you could possibly learn from him, if anything?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. There's not much we need to learn from each other. It's just great to be friends. Good to know each other. Of course, if we got a question, I can always probably ask him. But hasn't come to the point yet where I've been in a crisis where I had to call Tiger up and needed his backup or anything.
I mean, we're not here to solve problems for each other, we're here to help each other.

Q. Back to 2003, the last guy who beat you here was David Nalbandian. Ancic was last at Wimbledon. Do you remember that match?
ROGER FEDERER: Against Nalbandian, I do remember.

Q. It's been so long since you lost here. What it's like?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been a while, which is a good thing (smiling). Nalbandian used to be one of the guys that I couldn't really figure out to play against, you know. That match for me was maybe a bit of a turnaround because that was maybe the last time I lost to him on that streak, then I beat him a few times, then he beat me in the finals of Shanghai. I remember that match, going like into the match and actually feeling strange. I actually still ended up winning the first set. I thought, Okay, I got him figured out now. I was down 5-0 in the second set. Okay, I still don't get it. I think then there was a rain delay. I came back, ended up losing 7-6.
I also see him actually making a run again here always. I think he's a fantastic ball-striker. Hopefully he can do well again here at the US Open.

Q. After losing in Montréal, you said you felt good, somehow losing once in a while is okay.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't say that after the match. I said that a week later. There's a difference.

Q. Do you find a way to build on your losses to renew your focus? Does that help your game in the long run?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's good I think when you lose and you play right away again. You don't sit on that loss for too long. If you play again, lose again, okay, then it happens. It's just a pity it did. You try to work on your game again. It's harder if you lose and let's say you wouldn't play for a month. You think one month, that one match, everybody's talking about it.
The match I played wasn't too bad. I played actually a great week in general. I didn't lose a set till the finals. Played well against Lleyton, played well in the semis against Stepanek. I was actually quite happy with my form.
Then again, I got into Cincinnati worried just in general of my up-and-down results over there. I didn't know really how it was going to be. I thought I had kind of a tough draw after all there. I was really struggling with my rhythm. In the end, I really played my best on the final day. That's how I really won so many of my 50 titles, is to play my best in the finals.
Now I'm in great shape. I've had the best summer of my life. Hopefully I can repeat the win here at the US Open again.

Q. Do you think it's better for you to move from best-of-three sets to best-of-five?
ROGER FEDERER: I prefer over five sets. I just think it's more of a battle. It's more interesting. Yeah, it allows your opponent to get back into the match. You got to really close him out because over best-of-three sets you make one mistake and you're gone, it happens so fast, whereas with over five sets the better player usually wins. That's what I like with best-of-five sets.

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