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November 18, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Comparing your previous three titles from the Masters Cup, how emotional is this fourth title for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I didn't cry or anything on the court today. But it was a nice victory, you know, especially proving it, you know, to myself and the world, you know, that I can do it over and over again.
You know, it's been a great season for me. And finishing off, you know, the best players in the world, you know, also Nadal and all these guys, you know, in the Masters Cup. It's always a great experience for me.
I think it only really is going to start coming down on me like next week, and then especially during holidays.

Q. Everyone seems to be worried about your tennis crisis. Seven games you lost in the final last year. Seven games you lose this time in the final. How do you react to all this? Three slams won this year, another one lost in a final. It's a disaster.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, some might think, you know. I don't think so (smiling).
I think it's a fantastic year. I'm really happy, especially the way the year has been going. It's been in some ways a breakthrough year for me. Especially the way I played in the beginning of the year, not losing a set during the Australian Open, coming here, beating everybody in straight sets after losing against González when people thought, you know, okay, Federer is maybe not playing so well.
Beating Nadal for the first time on clay. I've beaten all my closest rivals, Nadal and Djokovic, more time than they've beaten me. It's been one of those years which I'm really, really happy about.
Maybe I didn't win 10 titles, but it's not necessary to stay No. 1 in the world all the time. If I keep this level of play up, I mean, I'm in a great position for next year as well.

Q. Not to be nosy, but what do you do with these 53 titles you have? Do you have a room someplace or shelves?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I have actually now a trophy room since a short time. I'm happy about it, you know, putting all the Grand Slam titles together, all the Masters series together, like the awards I've received, you know. Because people might think I don't care about, you know, awards and titles more. It's so not true. It's something that's a great recognition for me.
Having one room basically, you know, to myself with the trophies, it's a great feeling walking in there. It's actually my office. It's not like I'm there all the time. I wander around sometimes and all of a sudden I find myself in the room staring at the trophies and going through them. It's a good feeling.

Q. This was a fantastic week for David. Do you think it might be a boost for his next season, and that you will see him in the finals of slams and Masters Series, or was it a once in a lifetime opportunity?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I disagree, to be honest. I think this will definitely give David a lift and a boost, you know, for next year. He'll definitely start believing he can beat the best now, whereas I think he's maybe been very much down on himself always.
He thought, I'm the worst guy in the top hundred. I'm the worst guy in the top 10. I think he is going to start thinking differently, especially having beaten guys like Nadal, Roddick, Gasquet, Djokovic. You have to believe you can go up there and make it to the finals of Grand Slams.
I think that's what he's starting to believe in now. He's going to be tough on clay, but also tougher on hard courts and quicker courts. He's shown it this year in Tokyo and here again indoors. I'm looking forward to his challenge as well.

Q. Is there a sense now that you've sort of begun to transcend the sport, become bigger maybe than tennis itself, like maybe Tiger Woods in golf, Michael Jordan in basketball, even David Beckham in a different sort of way? Does it become more difficult to keep your focus solely on the tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe at times, you know. I've gotten many requests, you know, for obviously different tournaments. You know, I could play a lot of tournaments. Everybody wants me to have them there, but I have to be very selective of what tournaments I play. Of course, you know, I could meet so many different people, as well.
It's very interesting to meet all different kinds, going to awards, red carpet stuff. I'm trying to cut it down as much as I can, because in the end my big focus is tennis, you know.
But it's nice, you know, being at the top for so long. It goes in phases. Sometimes you're more wanted. Sometimes it relaxes a little bit. Then you're happy as well, you know, to be honest.
You know, I really hope I can give tennis a lift, too, you know, because especially this year has been maybe a bit of a struggle at times. But I think the level of play this entire week has been excellent from all the players. I think that's going to stand out, and not the problems we've had this year.
You know, hopefully more kids will start playing tennis in my home country, but also around the world, you know, because I think it's a great sport. It's a clean sport, and I hope that in the future it's going to stay this way.

Q. In China one of the oldest customs is the circus. I think next year, 2008, with the Olympic Games, more difficult for you. You want also the Olympic gold, or how do you see it?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I mean, I'll try my best. It's not going to be easy. Comes around every four years, you know, and you tend to get a bit nervous, you know, when that comes around. It depends on the draw. It depends on the player you play, the day form and everything, so it's a tough thing.
But I'm probably going to go in as one of the big favorites, you know. I really expect myself to do well. It's one of my goals of the season. It's going to be a rough trip, you know, coming from French Open to Wimbledon, over to North America and come back, but I'm ready for it.
That's what the tennis players are used to, you know. I think I'd rather play enough and good and coming into maybe Beijing with a lot of matches than not enough and not feeling so good about my chances.
So it's going to be interesting to see also how the surface is played, slow or fast. It's going to depend once we arrive in Beijing.

Q. Seems pretty certain from here on out you're going to be increasingly playing against history, compared to the greats of the past. You talked about players whose games you liked a lot as you were coming up. You mentioned Rios, Edberg, Becker. If you think of all the greats of the past in terms of who had the greatest game, regardless of the number of Grand Slams they won, what sort of appraisal do you make?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, I don't know Laver and the Rosewall era enough to really comment on theirs. I know they were very good at the net, all-around game. It's probably one of them, you know. I still liked the way Bjorn Borg played. Everybody thought he was, you know, far behind the baseline. He would only hit baseline shots. But he would actually serve and volley much more than you think.
John McEnroe obviously is one of the great talents. Agassi, the way he was a ball striker off the baseline, the way he, you know, took the ball early and attacked on both wings. It was unbelievable.
But then again it all comes back to Sampras, to be honest. When he was on, he was on, and he was unbeatable. For this reason, he is, you know, in my point of view, very, very much up there.
You know, it's hard to compare different eras. But when he was on, he was absolutely one of the best. This is why I'm so excited to play against him actually next week. It's a real thrill for me. It's a dream come true in some ways, playing him, not just on Centre Court, not in his backyard back in L.A., but also now in front of crowds, in front of everybody. I think it's going to be a lot of fun for both of us.

Q. You always seem extremely good when you're playing finals in the Masters Cup, apart from the 2005 loss to Nalbandian. Why is it? Because you're simply too good in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, look, I don't know. I come into a finals obviously with a lot of confidence, you know. Once you make it there you always feel good about your chances. And I've always had a great record in finals, you know, in Grand Slam finals. I've won 12 and lost two maybe. I've really got great records in finals, you know.
I struggled a little bit on clay obviously in finals against Nadal, which obviously upset my record a little bit. But at the same times, indoors and on my home surfaces, such to speak, hard court and grass, I have an unbelievable record. I'm very happy once I get there. Usually I can play much more relaxed and free.
At the same time, I came into these matches being most of the times the favorite, against Ferrer, against Blake, maybe not so much against Agassi back then. But still, you know, I took advantage of my chances when I usually get them.
In the most important matches I'm the toughest. That's been a big strength of mine in the past.

Q. Last month in Paris and Madrid you lost to Nalbandian twice. This time you lost to González. Would you say the three losses will motivate you to do even better?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. You know, I knew it was going to be a tough three weeks. I didn't expect myself to win all three weeks. It's just too tough.
But honestly, you know, I've won -- in some ways my favorite one. It was my hometown tournament where I used to be a ball boy. You can imagine it was very, very emotional. Some might think, Okay, who cares about this tournament. But I do really care a lot about it.
You know, celebrating with all my friends and family over there. When I look at the ball-boys, I see myself. It was a big thrill. I finished my No. 1 position over there. I knew I had it locked and loaded after that tournament.
Nalbandian played very well in Madrid and in Paris. You know, the loss here against González came maybe as a bit of a surprise, but the important thing was how I reacted to it, you know, not get too down on myself, not ask myself too many questions.
I was happy the way I played after. It's been an absolute roll. I defeated every player that came along in straight sets quite comfortably, so it's been a great end to the year. I'm very happy with my season, obviously.

Q. You lose your first match of the tournament, then win four in a row. Yesterday you're down 15-30 to Nadal, go on a big streak. Today you're down 30-40, go on a big streak. Is there something about adversity that brings out the best in your game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I've always had a tendency to all of a sudden, you know, go in streaks. Either it's points or games. In the US Open against López I won something like over 30 points in a row my own serve. That's an incredible streak sometimes.
I surprise myself at times obviously. But to do it in the most important matches, like against Nadal, against Ferrer, in Grand Slams, you know, where it counts the most, you know, for me it's a great, great feeling, you know, to get.
Once you get on a roll it's so hard for the opponent to come back into it. I don't allow them. I can mix it up and change it up. This is my big strength. I hope I can keep that going for many more years to come, obviously.

Q. You're going to play an exhibition with Pete Sampras next week. Can you talk about that. Do you expect to play Pete Sampras as professionals on the tour or something like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, it's going to be interesting to see how I'm handling his game, you know. I haven't seen the guy play, so that's his big strength of his. You know, he has seen me so many times.
I haven't seen him play now. We forget sometimes how long he's been retired. I think it's been five years now. And he still looks very healthy and fit, you know.
I hope I can play well against him. It's going to be difficult because I practiced with him in L.A. this year. He seemed to play very, very well. He's still got the lethal forehand, the great slice and the great serve, you know, the fantastic movement and volleys.
Yeah, we'll see what happens. Anyway, I'm really excited. I'm happy I played well this week, so hopefully I can carry that over to next week and beat him not just once by three times (smiling).

Q. Tossing aside the rankings, but how they've played against you, who do you think is the best player you've played so far in your career, and why?
ROGER FEDERER: In my career? Well, I've got to go with Rafa, Agassi and Sampras. Really, I mean, Sampras obviously I only played once. But Agassi really got the best out of me every single time I played him. I think I played him at his peak. Some might disagree. But I really think I had enough matches with him where I saw his best.
Rafa, obviously I've seen him at his best many times, you know, on clay and other surfaces. For me, you know, playing against these three was very special always.
I would almost include Lleyton Hewitt in that, where I've had some great battles with him over the years, as well.

Q. Today the last point, it was you passing Ferrer in the net. You also demonstrated it's possible to go to the net. Your game is going all around better and better. Do you think you can improve?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I practiced hard to get this level. This is really what it comes down to for me. I'm professional. I believe in my chances. I believe in my way of handling my career is the right one.
And, of course, you know, when it all comes together in a finals like today against Ferrer, it's fantastic. I still would like to play a little bit more offensive, you know, come to the net a little bit.
Obviously this week, every time I came to the net, I felt like I was in a good position, you know, whereas sometimes you come to the net you think like, Oh, God, I hope I don't have to play a volley. So this week was very different. And I'm actually very happy I could turn it around, because I was playing very passive Madrid, Basel and Paris.
So I was able to turn that around. I always knew I had great defensive skills, you know, and I showed that again this week with the great offensive skill. And when both work, it's hard to beat me basically (smiling).

Q. If you were a coach, you have to say to a player, You're going to play Roger Federer. You have to do this, that and that. What would you say?
ROGER FEDERER: Don't even try, pal (smiling). No, it's going to be really, really difficult, you know. You're probably not going to win, but you can always try.
I'm just kidding.
I don't know. I'm not a coach - just yet. I'm still a player, so I won't answer.

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