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August 27, 2007

Roger Federer



Q. Strong way to open up your US Open campaign. Comments on your match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I thought it was a good match, you know, tough match. Didn't allow my opponent many chances on my serve. You know, I tried to creates a many as I could. I was serving well.
Unfortunately for him he double-faulted quite a bit on breakpoints, which obviously helped. Put myself in the position at least. From the baseline, was tough. He was kind of controlling play. So I was just trying to keep the ball in play. Yeah, it was a good opening match for me.

Q. How would you assess your game this year relative to what it was last year at the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, pretty similar. You know, I mean, the surface is obviously similar. I'm still pretty much the same player, you know. Just, you know, got more matches under my belt. You know, maybe I improved a little bit, you know, on a few things, you know, but you're not going to change your game entirely.
It's the fifth time I come into the US Open as the Wimbledon champion, too, so obviously that helps every time, as well. I'm happy where my game is, my fitness and my mental part of the game. Those are the three components I need to have right before this first match.

Q. The kid from Florida, Jesse Levine, was talking about your time in Dubai.
ROGER FEDERER: Was he happy?

Q. He said he had a good time.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, good (smiling).

Q. Said he went to lunch twice with you, but you didn't set him up at the seven-star hotel.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't stay there either.
It was good fun, he came over. It was a long way for him, too, to come all the way from Florida. And, you know, not having a coach after Rome anymore, you know, I had to be well-organized, organized that he could come, and a guy from Lithuania, Ricardas Berankis, I played with them. Also my doubles partner came for the week. It was good fun. My Davis Cup captain helped me out. Obviously beautiful weather, really hot. He plays well.

Q. Are there specific things you were looking to work on with him being a left-hander?
ROGER FEDERER: The funny thing was I didn't even know he was a lefty till he took his racquet out of the bag. Oh, he's lefty. I had one lefty, two righties there. It was good to mix it up a little bit.

Q. Do you think it's good for you to have this kind of games, easy on the paper in the first round, or do you prefer more difficult?
ROGER FEDERER: I prefer easy, but that's me. Maybe other guys like five-setters in the first round. I like straight sets more. Some reason, I don't know why (smiling).

Q. What do you know about Althea Gibson?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. You're putting me on the spot. I don't know what you're talking about.

Q. She's being honored tonight.
ROGER FEDERER: Nothing, to be honest. It's before my time. Isn't much I can really say about it. I don't know, I'm sorry.

Q. After the story line at Wimbledon, you're going for four here. Talk about that accomplishment, the desire to go for four consecutive.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, the four in a row, of course it would be kind of special. But it's the US Open five, that was the big one. I was never aiming for five at Wimbledon either. I was aiming for four here.
Now that people mention it, of course it would be nice to make it. I'm more concentrated on the fact that I'm trying to defend my title really. That's what it's about. It happens to be four so it's obviously more special. I'm still at the very top of my game, No. 1 in the world.
Just from my first round, I'm feeling good. So chances are there. That's a great thing. Hopefully I can make it. It would be very special absolutely.

Q. When you were asked on court about the fact you've been No. 1 longer than any other man, and you said, And Steffi Graf, got her, too. Was that a particular mark that you were after?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all. I didn't know what he meant, you know, because I did it already many weeks ago. It was not something new, you know. People knew about it. But since today, apparently, I'm No. 1 man and woman.
Maybe that's what he meant. Apparently he didn't know what he was talking about. Anyway, that's what I understood.

Q. You also say your best friend on the tour is Tim Henman. Did you inspire from him?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think the way he goes at work, I never had a bad practice with Tim. They've all been good. He's always so into it, but with the fun side next to it. Always very sportsmanship like on the tennis court during matches.
Yeah, I always enjoyed playing against him, spending time with him. Of course, he was older, so I always looked up to him, as well. For this reason, it's obviously a pity that he's leaving the game.

Q. When you invite to come hit with you and practice with you, are you just looking for a general workout, or are there very specific shots that you have in mind to work with with a certain player?
ROGER FEDERER: Doesn't matter what kind of practice? If it's just a warmup?

Q. In Dubai, if you invite someone to come hit with you.
ROGER FEDERER: No, it's just to hit. I don't like to call them sparring partners. Always the media like to say that, because I'm better so they think anybody is a sparring partner. That's not the way it is.
These guys, they're playing on the professional tour. In a year's time maybe they're ranked totally elsewhere. So it's about putting an entire season together so the ranking follows.
But honestly, no, I never practice with somebody who then I could say this is exactly what I want him to play like. I just want to be able to have a guy that's steady off the baseline who I can play points with.
You can always play points with many guys, you know. They can be ranked No. 500, 1000 in the world, it's no problem.

Q. What is useful about Dubai as a place for you to practice? Is it weather related?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, never rains, which is a good thing, because I can practice on a hard court. In Switzerland we struggle with outdoor hard courts. You never know when the rain.
Yeah, what else? I can really concentrate on tennis over there. I have no distractions, whereas in Switzerland maybe I still have so many friends, families, I want to do things.
I'm maybe not there to really focus on tennis, whereas in Dubai it's totally different. Maybe, as well, you have the beach. If you want to go, have a day off, like an afternoon off, you can even go to the beach, take it easy. It's just a good feeling in Dubai for me to practice.

Q. If you make it to the finals, have you invited Tiger Woods to join you?
ROGER FEDERER: I think he's playing a tournament this year. I haven't spoken to him. No news that he's going to come to the finals.

Q. Tiger is in town tomorrow, in New York. He hasn't made any indications he's coming to watch the match?
ROGER FEDERER: I think he's only coming here tomorrow and I'm not playing. He's coming to New York, yeah.

Q. Have you gotten any reassurances on Hawk-Eye since the disputed call at Wimbledon? Are you happy?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm not happy. I will never be (smiling). So, no, I mean, nobody spoke to me after what happened at Wimbledon. I don't care honestly.

Q. In Dubai Levine was saying it was so hot you couldn't play till about 5 p.m. Is that pretty much your routine there?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we had to. I mean, it was fun. When he arrived, I was still only hitting for maybe one and a half, two hours a day. I thought, okay, we'll do it a bit earlier. The nights are kind of normal, you can go for dinner around 7 or 8. It was so hot around 3 or 4 I had to move the practices back.
He only thinks it was for him, but it was for me, too (smiling). It was really hot and we always practiced into the sunset. It was much better then. Then I just did the four hours in a row instead of doing, you know, two hours at the end of the day.

Q. 5 to 9, then go to dinner?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, basically. Well, he was so tired so he would do his room service and I would just go to bed as well.

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