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September 1, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How difficult was his serve in the first set?
ROGER FEDERER: How difficult?
ROGER FEDERER: What?
Q. Was his serve in the first set.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, obviously very. I mean, he played great, actually I thought for the last few weeks. So obviously I knew it was going to get difficult today, especially with the crowd in the back.
The more they screamed the harder and more precise he served. It was really tough, but he definitely hit his lines in the first set. There was nothing you could do.
Q. Have you ever faced a tougher serving opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: Similar.
Q. I think up to the third set the statistics of the match showed zero unforced errors for you and then 11 in a very short period of time. What happened? Were you tired?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really tired. Nothing to be tired about today. No, I think the tough part was -- you know, the statistics don't mean a thing to do me, especially in the match today.
I mean, unforced errors, what's an unforced error? He doesn't allow me to make an unforced error because he keeps attacking me all the time.
Q. Did you really feel attacked?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he was serve and volleying. Every time he makes a passing shot, that's not an unforced error. So it's kind of like it's not telling the truth sometimes, especially against the big sever. I was happy the way I played my service games. I served well when I had to. I moved him around, didn't make easy mistakes. So from that point of view it was a great match.
I had a few chances early on in the first set you know, where I could have created myself a few chances. But every time at 30-All or deuce he came up with a great serve, and that is why it went into the tiebreak.
Q. You said stats don't matter, but in the Karlovic match you gave up seven points on your serve, and today in the second and third sets it was only four. Did you try to employ a similar strategy in that match as you did today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, obviously they're not going to be that good players from the baseline, you know. Their strengths is on the attacking side, serving. So important is to serve well yourself, and that's what I did today. Then right away be aggressive.
These are guys that don't make too many returns sometimes or go through spells where if you do serve well your service game is going to go quick as well. Like if they are hitting the lines on their serve, it goes quick too. So if I can put the pressure on them by having quick service games sometimes, I give them a feeling back which I usually have against the big servers.
That's the tough part against them. I was extremely happy with the my reaction on the second set because the crowd was getting into it. You know, losing the first set, it was a hard blow.
Q. Did you think he's the kind of player who if top guys play him once they'll figure out something and maybe next time you meet him it won't be quite as hard?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I think he's always going to be tough to beat because of that serve. That serve is not going to go away anytime soon. That's just the way it is. This is also one of the reasons I believe Andy has been able to stay in the top for so long, because that serve will always be there.
15-40 he can hit a couple of aces and serve his way out of trouble. That's such a good thing to have. That's what I've been doing well over the last few years. If you have a serve that does that it helps your game and you're always going to be tough.
I don't think it's going to be easier the second time around, no.
Q. He was a big surprise to everybody this summer. How do you gauge his potential?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, you've got to give him a bit more time. His potential seems good to me. I think he's going to be soon in the Top 100. Hard to predict. But it's been kind of easy to predict right now too, because he's been on this great run. But I do believe he's going to be having a good career no doubt.
Q. Was that a fun match for you today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I enjoyed it actually, believe it or not.
Q. Because of the unknown of him?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Because the challenge of the serve. I love playing guys like this. You don't get to play big servers like this today every day. I've played the kick servers, the guy who just keeps it to my backhand all day.
One with a good backhand and one with a good forehand, I've played on these guys. Guys relying purely on their serve and taking chances on my own serving games though, I don't face very often, except maybe Karlovic. This is my I love playing them.
Q. How do you compare him to Karlovic?
ROGER FEDERER: Similar, but obviously with a double handed backhand that changes a whole lot. He definitely returns better but doesn't volley as great. A bit of a different serve. Obviously same height, so kind of makes it hard. But pretty similar obviously.
Q. Did you change your game all because he is so tall?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, you can say I do completely or I don't. But I definitely can't return the ball back the way I would return it against another guy because it's coming at a different angle and pace. Obviously I try to block the return back instead of maybe hitting it.
From the baseline I'm playing pretty much the same thing. The points go quicker because he doesn't hang in the points as well as good as other players, but he's not supposed to. He's supposed to be dangerous, and he is.
Q. Another tall guy, Tomas Berdych. Tall and big serve.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not playing him yet.
ROGER FEDERER: I play Lopez next.
Q. After the first-set tiebreaker the crowd is going crazy. What's going through your mind at that point?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm thinking, This could be a really difficult match from now on. I knew it from the start, but now I have proof. I was worried, you know, but I was staying calm you know.
I knew for him to serve five sets this way was almost impossible. I came close a couple times, you know, a couple of deuce points, a couple of passing shots that if they would have passed the net I would have been in a good position.
You try to stay motivated with these chances you had. Chances came right away, which was a good thing.
Q. How big of a deal was it get that break in the first game of the second set?
ROGER FEDERER: It was nice, but it wasn't key, I don't think.
Q. What do you do to practice in preparation for that serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Warm up like a normal match.
Q. Yesterday do you get a big sever to come and practice with you?
ROGER FEDERER: You can't get ready for a match like this. These guys are unique, you know. Every guy in the top 100 is a unique player. You can't really get ready for a match like this. It's all in the mind and all in the moment.
It's a knock-out system in tennis, and you better be good on the day, and that's what I was today.
Q. What do you think of Gustavo Kuerten trying to fight to play again?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I like him a lot. It's a pity when a player is so unlucky with injuries. I hope he can come back and hopefully play at a good level again.
But I think he told me he had three operations in the same position. It's rough. I feel for the guy.
Q. What do you do between the matches? How do you relax?
ROGER FEDERER: What do I do? I relax. I don't know, I just -- I'm in the city. Take it easy. Have nice dinners and lunches. I have some treatment, massage, stretches, hang out with my friends and family.
Q. How do you feel going into the second week? Are you where you want to be? Do you still feel there are parts of your game that need to improve to get through the second week?
ROGER FEDERER: This match obviously is hard to judge. I think I did play very well. Next match will be different. I'm playing a left-hander. Changes obviously many things.
I'm happy with my game, to be honest. I've been serving well basically since the day I arrived in North America. I've been able to keep it going here at the Open as well. Physically I'm obviously in great shape. I just had two days off. This match wasn't physically demanding. Yeah, I am where I want to be. Absolutely.
Q. You were obviously happy with a lob over a 6'9" guy?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah almost felt I had to excuse myself.
Q. Bit of an insult almost. I think you enjoyed it.
ROGER FEDERER: I did. I think he enjoyed it, too. Doesn't happen every day.
Q. Was there anything about his game that surprised you? You knew about the serve.
ROGER FEDERER: I was ready for a good player from the baseline as well, and so, I mean, I will probably never be surprised on a tennis court because I don't underestimate opponents anymore.
I saw him playing some great shots off the baseline against Nieminen. Not just a guy who can serve. He can do more, and this is why I knew the danger and was ready for it.
Yeah, I was impressed by the way he played. Especially.
End of FastScripts