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August 26, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/M.Gonzalez
6-3, 6-0, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been so long since you haven't been a top seed at a major. Does it feel any different for you on or off the court when you go out there as a second seed?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe. Look at the draw maybe a little bit different. I have to start from the bottom, but that's okay. I think it would change if I were seeded three or four, because then you don't know what section you're going to be in.
One or two is always pretty much the same thing. No, the change I feel is fans are really supporting me and telling me I'm still No. 1 and still the best, You're going to be there again and stuff.
So I feel like I've got unbelievable support from the fans watching me and seeing people in the streets and stuff. It's kind of really nice.

Q. Pete spoke of that same phenomenon, that all of the years he was dominating he felt that people were always cheering against him, and once he suffered a few losses all of a sudden everyone was on his side. How do you explain that phenomenon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't feel it myself, to be honest. I didn't think people were cheering against me. I think I have great appeal to many fans around the world, and they have always enjoyed watching me play. I'm sure with Pete the same.
Maybe because I speak so many different languages and I'm so international I have a bit of an advantage. I'm not sure. I've maybe had it once or twice when I went to into the Australian Open in 2005 when I was such a huge favorite that people were almost amazed when I lost a set. I thought then at times they were cheering for my opponents.
Other than that, it's never really been too difficult for me. I always thought fans were really good for me, excited to see me.

Q. The reception that you received last night, the ceremony prior to the beginning of play, quite an enthusiastic reception that you received. You seemed very in control. If you could, just talk a little bit about the way you're feeling after both last night and tonight.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, you never know what kind of a reception you're going to get, especially like last night being next to so many other legends and champions and people that inspired me as a player, as a person, and then also people who were so influential in the game, you know.
And then to walk out and almost get a bigger roar than them, it's almost a little bit uneasy. At the same time it's very nice, and I appreciate it very much, especially not being an American.
We shouldn't forget that, that they're supposed to scream for the Americans here. I guess I'm very close to their hearts by now. Took me a while to maybe win over the American crowds, but I had an incredible amount of success over here. Winning the Masters a couple of times, US Open four times in a row, every other American tournament I entered I was able to win in the past.
I think just playing so many great matches here on center court and the finals with Agassi, you know, coming through that tough crowd for instance. I think people saw how much I loved playing the game and how much I love playing here, that this is maybe like a payback for me, a great reception.
And also again tonight, excitement seeing me play and also wanting me to do well again and winning the big ones. I think they really tried to push me forward, which was really helpful.

Q. Are you quite pleased with the match tonight? You seemed to be in control.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it was a good match to start off with. Never saw my opponent before. Never saw him play obviously because I never saw him. That was the tricky part. I thought the other guy played good for the pressure he was under.
And then I went on a great roll. It was the only thing I maybe look back and it was a little bit unfortunate that I was not able to stay ahead with the break in the third set.
Other than that, I thought I really served well and I thought I moved really well for the first round, and that's positive for a start.

Q. What about your experience with Don King, the whole Grapple in the Apple?
ROGER FEDERER: Were you there, or no? I really thought it was great. It was great for tennis. Nike is really making a big push back into tennis, I think.

Q. What do you think with the boxing?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, they asked me. I like it. They asked me if I was going to do it and I said sure. It's the only place I would. I wouldn't do it in London or Melbourne. But this fits this place.
It's quite crazy to play tennis in such a crazy city. I never met Don King, and I think the rivalry is at its peak right now. I thought the whole Don King thing would make it more interesting. It's great for fans. I don't regret doing it. I really thought it was great fun.

Q. Next match; do you know your opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: I know him this much more, so...
I mean, I think I know how he looks like, but...
I saw him on the little screen. I saw them play like a few points, so that's all I really know of him. I don't know him a whole a lot more. It would have been probably easier to play Capdeville who I played here last year here in the second round. I heard they were both cramping out on the court.
He'll have two days off and he'll be fine. Probably something similar from today in terms of a player from the baseline.

Q. The atmosphere with Don King the other night, is that sort of what makes the four Grand Slams so special, is that each one really has its own unique flavor? And you cap it at the end of year with, what is the US Open and Don King and New York City and all that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think all the Slams are very different. I think the Australian Open starting off, you know, with a bang really. I mean, couple tournaments and right away we have a Grand Slam. I really enjoy going to the Australian Open.
It's a really far trip, but it just seems more quiet because you don't have that many guests around for everybody. It's a little bit more calm in the locker room and the lounges and everything.
The fans are great. They love tennis over there. Every time I go on court anyway it's full, so that's nice.
There's such a huge hype coming into the clay court season that the French Open is like this big tournament on clay that everybody just comes to, and it's sold out also weeks ahead. You feel that the grounds are so packed. It's quite an experience.
And then obviously Wimbledon and the US Open make it unique itself. I think night session here is one of those special moments in tennis, and so is Wimbledon with the tradition. I think those really make the four majors very unique.
But I think -- let's not also forget during the year we have a great tour with the ATP. I really also enjoy those tournaments. They're unique themselves as well. But I'm very well aware that the majors at the moment have a very big focus.

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