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August 23, 2008

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is there a particular challenge to coming in this year, having just been in Beijing on the other side of the planet and making the adjustment to coming over here? Is there a particular challenge to that? I mean, is your body feeling okay in terms of the, you know, jet lag and so forth?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, well, I mean, I think it's always easy when you know what's coming up, and we knew it for a long time that we're going to have to do this. This tough trip, Beijing and back.
So for this reason, I feel like what I was meant to do, you know, a few months ago. I was tired, you know, when I got here, but last couple days been good in practice and feel much better.
I always knew that we actually had enough time to prepare for Beijing because we got there a week ahead, and a week ahead in tennis tournament is a lot. Sometimes we only have two or three days, but here we had a week. Same thing at the US Open.
My preparation is pretty much the same. It's definitely been a very challenging stretch, sort of from the French Open to the US Open. Big tournaments with a lot of traveling and a lot of pressure. It's been exciting.

Q. Can you are correlate the experience of the doubles gold in terms of just getting a sense of, you know, maybe helping to put some of the disappointment from Roland Garros and Wimbledon behind and you using that coming into this as sort of a motivator?
ROGER FEDERER: Umm, well, I mean, some people ask me that, you know, if sort of if it made up for losing the singles, but it's completely irrelevant because it's two completely different things. I had hopes, you know, to make gold in singles and maybe in doubles, and once I lost the singles I right away played doubles. So there was no time really to be disappointed about it, even though that was the big goal of the season for me, as well.
Like winning Wimbledon and then winning the Olympic gold. So I still got my Olympic gold, but in doubles. Honestly the celebration was much more intense. It was very different to winning alone on a tennis court. You might have heard that. So for me it was very special winning with my teammate.

Q. Obviously this was an important tournament for you this year, but do you feel like you need more? You know, is it more mental for you right now or more physical or more tactical or more competition?
ROGER FEDERER: Umm, well, you know, I mean, I've had a tough beginning to the season, so maybe I've been playing a little bit of catchup all the way through the season. I was lacking practice, and so I think it's just a matter of maybe, you know, winning a lot of matches in a row together, and really feel like this is going to happen here at the US Open if I play good. You know, and then once if I hope to make it to the quarters or semis, I think then I have enough matches and enough confidence to go all the way.
I have to take it a little bit more step by step. That's what I usually do anyway in Grand Slams. I've been very consistent even this year in Grand Slams. I'm not really too worried about that. But, I mean, Rafa has played great, you know, so he deserves the No. 1 position. I mean, he's in a way the favorite now all of a sudden, even on hardcourt, because he's' played so, so well.
I'm going to concentrate on what I can really control, and that's in my section of the draw trying to control all the players. We'll see how it goes.

Q. You're referring to the mono obviously at the beginning of the year. Do you feel like a little bit like your body has betrayed you this year?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it's just been difficult. It took away maybe a Slam, took away a lot of, what is it, 20 days of practice. That is a lot for us, because at the end of the year maybe -- I don't even have 20 days of practice because I need to also rest and then get ready.
So it's a lot that I maybe lost, and then I had to play catchup all the way through.

Q. Does it take any pressure off you losing the No. 1 ranking, or is it pressure...
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I would think it does, yeah. Five years almost I was expected to win every tournament I entered, except maybe towards the end a little bit on the clay. Rafa showed he was very, very good on clay.
Other than that I was always expected to win, so maybe now it changes a little bit, because obviously there's a shift in the rankings. Rafa will now feel what I had to feel for a very long time.
So it will be interesting to see how he handles it, but so far he's been great and he's played so well on all surfaces now. Maybe it's nice to go into a Grand Slam for a change maybe not having No. 1 next to me, and it should be interesting.

Q. Do you feel playing doubles benefits your singles game? Have you given any consideration to playing doubles in a Grand Slam?
ROGER FEDERER: Not in a Grand Slam, but I used to play, you know, doubles in Slams. I think it does help my singles play a little bit, you know, just the returns and coming in, serve and volleying a little bit, just the reaction at the net, all these things.
It does sharpen you up a little bit, but still, at the same time, I really don't want to have any things that disturb me during a Grand Slam, such as doubles. I'm going to purely always concentrate on the singles, and maybe doubles just to in a lead-up tournament to a Grand Slam maybe.

Q. Were there any special things you did to try to deal with jet lag in the week plus?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, you just hope you're going to get getting into a good rhythm. You have to force yourself. But I rarely have a huge problem with jet lag. It's just a matter of being tired, maybe a little bit rundown.
I tried to save a lot of energy at the beginning of the year so I would get through the entire season without a problem. At the moment, I think all our players, we're like in the mode of, Let's just try to get through the US Open and let's see how we feel afterwards.
So even if you are tired, you don't allow it to come out. It's been a tough year, and I think you'll see many guys now that they are feeling a little bit rundown. But I think that's a normal thing after a tough season.

Q. Does it bother you at all when someone like Patrick McEnroe calls Nadal the clear-cut favorite even though he's never been past the quarterfinals here and you've won it four straight time times?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know how he said it or what he said, but like I said as well, he's won every big tournament in the last three: Olympic Games, French Open and Wimbledon. I mean, he's not completely wrong.
Clear favorite? I don't know about that, but he seems like the favorite, even though I've won here last four times. I still believe it's an advantage if you how to win a US Open. It's a tough tournament to win. Like you said, Rafa has never been beyond the fourth round or quarters, so that's definitely the advantage I carry to the other players that they don't have that.

Q. So many pullouts with the Olympics and players have injuries because of the tournament schedule. Now that you're on the administrative side, you know, working with Rafa and the ATP board, are you hopeful that you're going to be able to make some changes that will help people stay fit for longer? What are your top priorities there?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think this is quite a unique season. Rafa wasn't happy with the clay court season. I was not particularly happy, you know, with scheduling at the Olympics. We all wish we would have had more time between Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, or after Toronto there was only two weeks.
So this year I think is one sort of to forget in terms of scheduling, but there was not really a whole lot we could do, you know, because of the Olympic Games. Every four years maybe there will be a tough season like this.
But, look, next year's schedule it will already be much better. We'll have much more time and won't be forced to play every single week. Now looking back, maybe I should not have played Toronto and Cincinnati, but then I would have given up No. 1 without a fight and I would have come into the Olympic Games without any hardcourt matches since basically Miami.
That's not the perfect preparation, either, you know. So that's why I was trying to chase, you know, some matches on hardcourt, and that's what you get. And then you lose and then you travel and it just makes you more and more tired.
I think this is a season sort of to forget in terms of scheduling. We're working hard on that, but I think next year we won't have this type of problems like this year. We just have to get through this one.

Q. Each Slam is different. Different atmosphere. You're here in New York. You've had great results. Give us some comments about being back here in New York where you've had great success. I saw Don King the other night, the personalities.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, always have a great time always in New York, especially the last four years obviously have been very special. I've had some legendary matches from me playing Andre in the finals, or Andy. The night sessions, it's electrifying, and the crowd's always been very good to me.
So especially this year I hope, you know, maybe not playing my best tennis, maybe this year they will come out and support me and carry me through to another US Open win.
I think I need the support a little bit this year. Other than that, it's been always fun, you know, coming to the city. It's the most incredible city, you know. You attend some events and meet people you maybe usually don't during the year.
For this reason, I'm very excited to be back, and I hope I can stay here as long as possible.

Q. Does tennis need Don King?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, why not?

Q. Are you going to make any adjustment mentally or physically before the US Open, before Monday, or...
ROGER FEDERER: I think physically not a whole lot, you know. I'm just going to try to recover from a lot of, you know, traveling we've had, and so you do a lot of prevention, you know, stretching, massage and a lot of sleep, eat healthy kind of thing.
Mentally I think it's important just to be positive. I know how to enter Grand Slams. I know how to enter the US Open, what it takes to win. That's always a huge advantage I have. I come here as a defending champion, so I always have great feelings about this place.
It's a matter of once I get into the tournament I take the right decisions how I want to play, and especially be very confident and positive in my mind. I think that only will really start to roll once I get into the tournament.

End of FastScripts

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