September 2, 2008
Q. Did you think there was a chance you were going home today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, being down a set and tiebreak in the second
set, obviously, you know, there's danger written all over that
situation. But it's not really that much time to waste, you know,
thinking about that kind of stuff.
You just hope that it's going to turn your way. It did. So I'm happy.
Q. Did he really surprise you tonight? And if he did, what did he
surprise you with?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he couldn't really surprise me, because I
haven't played him that much. You know, I only played him four years
ago. That's such a long time ago.
There I remember set 3 and 4, he started playing really well and I was
happy to win in four. Now, today, I've seen him play quite often. I've
seen how hard he can hit the ball, how well he can serve. So he was just
proving himself tonight what a good player he is, you know.
I expected a tough one, you know. You always was get ready for
five‑setters, but they're fun when you play them, you know. Sometimes,
of course, they're hard physically and mentally and the pressure is huge
on me, you know, because Igor doesn't have a whole lot to lose, you
know. For me it's way worse, so I'm very happy with the way we competed
I think it was really fair. He's a wonderful player.
Q. It seemed like a turning point in that match was that one point where
he hit the dropshot. You raced in to get it, the crowd was cheering
while you were running in. You lobbed him and then he missed the
backhand. Could you hear the crowd cheering as you were running? Did you
sense that was a turning point in the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, obviously it was a break point, it was huge
to get the first break in the fifth set. All I remember was just I was
hoping to get the ball back in play, and I had the feeling I had kind of
a good contact, but I wasn't sure if it was high enough to make it over
As I was turning around, I looked and I saw him actually attempting to
do a dropshot, so I just started to run, and once I got up there, I felt
better again after the whole spinning and running and everything. I just
thought, you know what, I think even if he can get to it as a volley, he
has to backhand smash it, which is probably not his favorite shot and he
went in; he missed it. It was a good moment. I think the moment of the
Q. You said on your on‑court interview that you were happy with how you
played tonight. And you seemed genuinely elated. I mean ‑‑
ROGER FEDERER: Genuinely?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't understand "elated" yet.
Q. Happy. A very high point in emotion, if you will.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay.
Q. Do you really feel like, you know, this was, if you could just
describe the feeling of the victory tonight? Because you had some tough
moments in the match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I think it was ‑‑ it was really entertaining, not
only for the fans, but for both of us. I don't remember if I ever played
an entire five‑set match on center court. I remember playing Andre in
five sets, but that was over two days. Other than that, I don't quite
remember that many, you know. I don't give myself the opportunity that
much, you know, because I always win easily, and then five‑setters don't
happen, you know. (laughter.)
Like this, it's different. It's fun for a change. Same as the Australian
Open when I beat Tipseravic 9‑7 in the fifth. Being part of some
dogfights, it's fun for me.
I was really happy because in five sets you go through different stages
of feelings, of playing well, playing bad. And in the fifth set you try
not to make that many errors, and hopefully, you know, you'll get off on
a good start. That's exactly what happened.
I was just really pleased with my fighting spirit.
Q. It wasn't an easy match for you, but were you surprised at some of
the choices he made, and especially from third set going forward? Some
of the decisions he made?
ROGER FEDERER: He made?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, you know, he's a risky player from the
baseline. He takes incredible chances, especially with the forehand. I
was struggling in the beginning to really serve. I think he really has
got some serious pop on his serve. He's got a great second serve. Nice
spin on it, nice pace, as well. So it makes it really hard to really get
on the offensive from the start, you know. He was dictating play, so of
course he's going to try to change it up a little bit.
No, I mean, I think he played a good match from beginning to end.
Q. Many people are curious about your health situation. On a scale of 1
to 10, how much do you think you are over your mono that you were
working on earlier?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I feel I'm over it, but, you know, maybe I'm not
playing, you know, my best yet, you know. Who knows?
But I need to play my best, you know. What I need to do is get through
the matches. Hopefully the best match will come at the end of the
tournament. That's what I'm looking forward to. I have no complaints. I
don't feel I'm extra tired. I'm not scared to be super tired tomorrow. I
don't think physically it was that much of a problem. Those are all good
signs to have right now.
Q. Going back to the second game of the final set, how much was the
turning point emotionally for you? Did you feel it was all downhill from
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wasn't really expecting to make a break in that
game, because I was sort of against the wind, so I was just trying to ‑‑
hoped to, you know, put pressure on him, and he had I think a bad
serving game. I think he had many ‑‑ especially on the deuce side, he
missed many first serves. That allowed me to get into the rallies a bit
It's hard for him, every shot, you know, to hit winners all the time. So
I just hoped to make a little bit less mistakes, and then maybe come up
with something when I had to. That's exactly what happened.
So it was sort of a bonus, and I was actually quite disappointed I
didn't make a second break. Either on the other side with the wind and
then against it again. That put me under a lot of pressure when I had to
start serving break points again. So the fifth set was quite a thriller.
Q. Besides being really happy or elated at the end of the match, you
showed a lot of raw emotion throughout the match, especially for you in
the fourth round. I'm just wondering if that's sort of indicative of
letting off steam from what's been a frustrating season?
ROGER FEDERER: It hasn't been that frustrating, you know, to be quite
honest. It's just fun to play on center court, you know. I mean, it's
why you practice hard, that you play, you know, good when, you know,
when it's crunch time. I'm happy with the way I played today when the
pressure was the highest, and the crowd gives you that, you know, that
feeling of going crazy a little bit.
So that's exactly what happened to me, same as at the Olympic Games. I
think I'm at a stage today where I just really enjoy playing, you know,
much more again. Whereas maybe for a while it was quite, always the same
for me ‑ go on court, you win all the time, so maybe you don't take it
for granted that much anymore.
So it wasn't because I'm frustrated in any way or because it's been a
frustrating season. I don't see it that way.
Q. I know you said playing the fifth set was fun, but you lose the
fourth set, do you remember your emotions right at the start of the
fifth set? And, you know, were you thinking, What do I have to do
differently? What were you thinking going into that fifth set and losing
ROGER FEDERER: Well, first of all, I didn't think I was playing that bad
in the first set, for instance. He just got off a great start, and I was
always running behind. Actually, I felt I was hitting the ball okay,
serving well, and just needed a little bit of luck here or there, and
maybe an error from him. That's what I got towards the end of the first
set and the same thing in the fourth set.
I think it was very even, you know. I just had sort of one game maybe
where things didn't really go that well for me. I thought, you know, no
excuses. It was two flashes that went off in the first two points of
that game. I was down Love‑30. Then I got unlucky with the net cord. I'm
not saying I would have won that game without those things, but during
five sets you go through tougher periods.
He had a good game there, and that put me under a lot of pressure and I
thought he was serving well in the fourth, so it was kind of difficult
Q. Gilles Muller came into this tournament as a qualifier. He knocked
off Tommy Haas, and then went on to beat Almagro. He came into the press
room and he said that he's coming in with an attitude that I have
nothing to lose, I think I can beat Davydenko, and he came out and beat
him today in really a remarkable display of tennis. How dangerous is an
opponent like that, who feels so empowered, you know, in that he doesn't
have anything to lose, really?
ROGER FEDERER: It's been like this for four‑and‑a‑half years. This is
nothing different for me. It's just a guy who's got even less to lose,
you know, than all the guys from four‑and‑a‑half years ago. It's really
the way it is, you know.
I mean, definitely he's on an unbelievable roll. He maybe should have
never been in the quarters because he could have been knocked out in
straight sets by Tommy. We could have had a completely different
quarterfinal. He did well, he fought incredibly well in all these
matches and you have to give him credit for hanging in there. It just
shows you if you believe, and if you're right there, when you ‑‑ you
know, it pays off. And I think that's his credit, you know, because I
heard he couldn't win matches anymore in challenges, and now he's in
quarters in the US Open. He played the greatest matches here of his
I'm definitely aware of how well he's playing. I saw a little bit how he
plays. He played aggressive. Serves well. He didn't beat Andy for
nothing here a few years ago. That's why I definitely won't
underestimate him because he's a good player.
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