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November 14, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. During the match we heard some Roger song or the cow bell. How do you comment with the fans reacting during the match, shouting for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, already yesterday when I came out for the No. 1 trophy ceremony, they were very excited to see me. You know, I've fought a lot of good matches here in Shanghai. Seems people really get excited when they see me. And, of course, when I play tennis.
It's really nice to have the support from the fans. People come out and watch us players play. Of course, you know, when you hear cow bells, you know some different things maybe you wouldn't hear around the world sometimes, it's really a lot of fun for us - for me anyway.

Q. The next one will be González and Andy Roddick. Would you give us your prediction? Whom do you wish to win in this game?
ROGER FEDERER: This upcoming match right now?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: Doesn't really matter to me, to be honest, you know. But an open match. I don't know what to say. You have to ask the experts (laughter).
I don't know. If I had to pick somebody right now, I'd pick Andy. But Fernando played a great match against me, and if he can back up a solid performance, with the confidence, everything's possible.
Yeah, we'll see. I'm just getting ready for Roddick right now.

Q. By your own standards maybe the first set, you started a little slowly. Were there still some nerves left over after lose your opener?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. Just a different situation coming back after losing. You know, playing basically the same tournament. You know, I'm used to losing, going on, playing maybe two days later in a first-round match. The only thing here is, you know, you lose and you play another top 10 guy. This was a top four guy. So it doesn't get any easier.
But, no, I just tried to get off to a good start. I actually felt pretty good from the start, had a good opening game. I realized he was not going to serve, you know, bombs all the way through, which allowed me to really get into the rallies from the baseline and try to maneuver him around a little bit.
I thought I missed a few too many backhands maybe at the beginning, but then started to slice nicely and, you know, sometimes take a chance also to let him make some mistakes. That was the right play today.

Q. Today maybe it's easier to ask you this question than the other day when you had lost. But what is your feeling about the fact that the top four players all lost one match in the first three days of this Masters? This doesn't happen often. I don't think it's ever happened before. Is there a reason? Why this year and not in the previous year? More stress? More fatigue?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, we saw it I think in Montréal already, Djokovic beating the top three. Nalbandian doing the same thing in Madrid again. Then beating me and Rafa again in Paris. You know, so we've seen upsets this season, you know. So that it happens at the Masters Cup as well to me honestly is not that big of a surprise.
Anything can always happen, especially in the men's game. You know, you're a little bit off, you're a little bit tired, you'll lose right away. That's the feeling I have. I think that's massive in men's tennis at the moment. Some people say some players are too one-dimensional.
Honestly, it's not easy to play against these guys, you know, because they hit hard, flat, off the baseline, return well. Everybody cracks the 200 without a problem. Everybody's got a decent second serve today. You know, I think that makes it so much tougher, you know, to beat all these guys all the time.
But honestly, yeah, to see everybody, the top four already having lost one match, it's a bit of a surprise as well, but it also does happen in the men's game obviously.

Q. This means that the balance, there has never been such a balance like this year in the tennis world?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't want to say that, you know. Past generations were fantastic, as well. If I say now ours is the best ever, that's not true, you know, because we've had some very good years in the past as well where depth was great.
Yeah, but we have dangerous players in the Masters. I said it beforehand, that we have a lot of talented players in there, a lot of grinders like Ferrer who upset, you know, already Nadal at the US Open.
These guys all have the game to beat the best, you know. Even González, we saw him beating Nadal at the Australian Open and Hewitt and all these guys. So, yeah, I knew the danger of both groups.

Q. You had 39 unforced errors. You wasted most of your breakpoints in the second set. You failed at every challenge. 1 to 10, how do you rate this match?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. It was a good match. I was happy anyway. Hope we saw the same match (smiling).
I don't know, I mean, the challenges, it doesn't matter. The breakpoints, I wish I could have gotten more. But I did break him twice in the end, so...
Yeah, it's not easy. It's not easy. I tell you that.

Q. You celebrated your year-end No. 1 ranking last night. What does it mean to keep No. 1 ranking for consecutive years?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, big, big honor, very special for me to stay at the top for every single week of the year actually. I didn't lose it. But I was behind in the race. This year obviously is very special coming back in the race, you know, especially all the way through to the US Open I had to battle hard.
Took me really enormous wins, you know, such as three Slams, to actually maintain my No. 1 position. So to have done it for the fourth consecutive time, obviously that's a great achievement for me. Now I'm looking forward, you know, to 2008.
Hopefully I can maintain it there as well and hopefully start well at the Australian Open, as well. But it's been another great season for me no matter what happens here. But, of course, I could end it nicely by playing very well here as well. But the Grand Slam level of play was fantastic once again.
You know, I maybe missed a couple tournaments too much, like Tokyo and Halle, which would have given me a better chance to win more titles. And the matches I lost, you know, it was sometimes very close. So I'm very happy with my season. Hopefully it's going to go well also the day after tomorrow or tomorrow. I don't know what I'm playing (smiling).

Q. One of the things that people used to say about Pete Sampras is that even when he wasn't playing his best on a particular day, he'd always raise his game at the big moments. We saw you do that today. What do you tell yourself in order to play your best when it matters the most, or is it just beyond words?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I'm more a guy who's not going to rip every return, you know, like Agassi did on breakpoints, you know. I don't have the best record when it comes on making the breakpoints when I have them. But I create myself many, many opportunities, so eventually I'll break through and I'll break their will as well. And I believe in that play.
I don't need to necessarily get the first breakpoint. Of course, against Karlovic or Roddick it's nice to get the first because they'll be serving away bombs and maybe you won't see a breakpoint again. But I'm more of a grinder in this respect.
I think this is what maybe, you know, is a bit different to Sampras. You know, he would get one or two chances and he'll take it. Maybe with me, I create myself many more opportunities, and this gives me a chance to win the matches also much easier, where he maybe broke once every set.
So, I mean, I really try to hang in there, you know, and give a full blowing every time I go out on the court. When it pays off it's great, but it doesn't always, as we saw the other day. I just couldn't push luck on my side.

Q. You talked about previous generations, not wanting to make the comparison. Would you say in the course of your career that the last six months have shown more depth of competition at the very top of the game than at other times in your career or there's a beginning of a suggestion of more competition at the top of the game given the breakthrough of Djokovic and Nalbandian's recent performance, and I could mention a couple of others as well?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, Nalbandian was here already years ago, as we know, and he beat me many, many times. I really said, you know, maybe a year ago or so that this could be the year of the youngsters coming up, such as, you know, the ones you also are thinking about, and Berdych and Gasquet and Murray and Djokovic and all these guys.
They've definitely taken a step forward. You know, they still haven't been able to win Grand Slams, but, you know, they're winning titles more regularly, whereas they were waiting in the wings a couple years ago still.
But back then we also had Safin, Hewitt, all these guys at the very top winning slams as well. So now that's changed a little bit with me and Nadal at the top. We've been taking everything. Some people don't realize, they think that wasn't so big, you know, just because we took everything.
I remember maybe it was 2004, I didn't lose against a top 10 player all season long. I think I beat all 24 I played against. That's probably not going to happen again, you know. But you sometimes have these incredible seasons where you just go on winning streaks. But that doesn't mean about how the game is being played.
There's always been these great players, you know, in any generation. This year the youngsters got a bit more of a piece of the cake. But still the Grand Slams stayed with Rafa and myself.

Q. Davydenko kind of joking said that the reason why you had more trouble this season than any other was that you were older and you were more tired. What do you think about that?
ROGER FEDERER: He was joking when he said that, so what do you want me to tell you (smiling)? I'm just going to laugh about it.

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