September 6, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So this very declining Roger Federer, three Slam finals and one
semifinal. How do you comment on it?
ROGER FEDERER: Did you write some of that stuff or not? I hope not
I hope not for you. No, I mean, look, of course I'm happy to be through
to another Grand Slam final. You know, I've been on an incredible run at
slams lately, and this was a big match.
I knew it from when I saw the draw. If we both get to the semis it was a
huge match, he's seeking the No. 2 ranking a little bit. You know, he's
been playing very well on hardcourt for the last one‑and‑a‑half years.
I knew it was always going to be difficult. I'm very happy with the
Q. You hit the first serve of the ball game on the T. You seem to have a
fondness for that spot.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, depends on ‑‑ I did serve it well there,
yeah, no doubt. But I think it's important to have variation and to be
able to hit all four corners on the court. That's what great servers do.
Then of course it's important to choose the right ones when you have to.
I think my serve got me out of trouble a few times today.
Yeah, it's hard to break against the wind, you know. It's basically
impossible. I knew that, and it was just important to be really
concentrated against the wind.
Q. Was that your best serving in a long time?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought I actually served very well throughout the
tournament already. Of course Novak is a different caliber of return
player, so I always expect more balls to come back from him, especially
when I saw how easily he returned Andy.
You expect him to return me even more easily, because I don't have the
power that Andy has. But I got maybe a little bit more variety. I can
sort of hide my serve better, you know, so it's harder for him to read.
And that doesn't give him the confidence from the baseline, then.
Q. When was the last time you played a set as cleanly as you played the
first set today?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably in Toronto in the first set. I played very well
there as well. I hit winners all the way through. It was important, you
know, to stay grounded, you know, because I knew that tough times were
going to arrive, and that's exactly happened in the second set.
You don't hit your first serves like maybe you do usually, or the way I
was hitting them in the first set. I knew I was always going to get in
trouble against such a good player like Novak.
Q. Especially after being down 5‑4 in that third set, you seemed to
break more than just Novak's serve, also his spirit with a lot of help
from the crowd. Do the ovations like that mean more to you this year
given some the troubles you've had this season?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I said it from the start. It would be great if I do
get, you know, a lot of fan support. I don't count on it because I'm not
American, but I feel a little bit New Yorker right now.
So it does feel great. I definitely appreciate, you know, the effort
from the fans, you know, supporting me and pushing me forward. I
definitely feel it's helped me throughout this event.
I had some tough moments against Andreev, again today, and they were
definitely on my side, which is always very nice for me.
Q. Given the expectations you have of yourself and everybody has of you,
now that you're in your third straight slam final, how would you
describe your year?
ROGER FEDERER: Let's wait another day and then I will answer that
Q. How will you describe it if you win at the end of that?
ROGER FEDERER: You can't wait, eh? (laughter.)
Yeah, I don't know. Give me 35 hours, and then we'll sit down with
something to drink and I'll tell you everything (laughter.)
Q. Out on court, you mentioned that it would be nice if you played Rafa
again. He's in big trouble now. Is your thinking on that just it's a
great rivalry, it's good for tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, what we went through at Wimbledon and, you know, in
the past, in Paris and all the tough matches we've had over the years,
it's just always nice to play against him, even though I have a losing
record against him.
I mean, I'd like to play Andy, as well, but obviously he hasn't been as
good as Rafa for the past years, you know. But I'm sure he will be, you
know, at the top of the game for a very long time, because I always
thought Andy has incredible talent. He's a great player.
I won't be surprised if Andy would beat Rafa, but just I think the
meaning would be more to play against Rafa here at the Open, you know.
But we'll see what happens. Still, it's not over.
Q. Can you identify, say, a key or "the" key moment in this match, the
turning point, moment?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the way I played the first set was the key
moment, you know, get the first set. I had a feeling he was looking a
little weary, a little bit tired. I had a feeling like what the other
person said, I think I broke his will as well when I got the third set.
I think he let his head hang a little bit.
I needed to just play really tough now, and maybe all of a sudden play
my best again with the lead, I knew I could get it in four.
For a while it was almost looking like I was going to win it in three
actually. There were a couple of key moments. The end of the third and
just the entire first set.
Q. You said the other day you are becoming more emotional. You are
showing more of your true face out on the court. Seeing your reaction
after the win today, it looks like there is pressure on you to prove to
people that you are a still there. Could you dispute that or confirm
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, you have to ‑‑ let's not forget what type
of matches I won here. I beat Stepanek who I lost to in Rome, you know,
the last time we played. So that was an important win for me.
Andreev was a five setter. Never played and entire five setter on center
court in a row, so that was always going to be emotional.
Beating Novak today was big, you know. And then also Gilles Muller was a
tiebreaker in the third set. A point here and there and you go to the
fourth. Like this you can just be happy you won.
Those are the reasons I had to four times show a lot of emotion at the
very end. But it's true that I am trying to push myself, you know, not
to be actually more emotional, but to try to play well.
I have been struggling on hardcourt, you know. I have no problems
admitting that. But here it hasn't been a struggle because I played well
on clay and on grass, so maybe that's why I'm more emotional.
I'm trying more and more to push myself forward and playing well here at
the Open, because that's what it's all about right now.
Q. A common observation right after the match was you looked like your
old self. How do you react to that, and do you feel like your old self?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, I had moments out there where I really
felt, This is how I normally play on hardcourt, you know. Half volleys,
passing shots, good serving, putting the pressure on, you know, playing
with the wind, you know, using it to my advantage. All those things.
I definitely had moments during today where I thought, This is how I
would like to play every time. So it was a very nice feeling, actually,
to get that feeling back.
Q. You looked very good physically. Are you feeling as good or better
than you ever have coming into a final here at the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I'm feeling fine. It was humid today.
That's why we're sweating absolute bullets out there. Other than that,
it was no problem for me. I could have easily gone a fifth set.
It's always tough, you know, the Saturday/Sunday, semis/finals. I'm
happy the way I feel now. I don't feel like I need extra sleep, extra
treatment, which is obviously key for tomorrow.
Q. You weren't around when we had all the airplanes every day. Was that
a distraction, or did you wonder what was going on? They had the to use
new patterns across here.
ROGER FEDERER: I had a feeling they were trying to get as many planes
out as possible before the rain came. No, it is a little bit disturbing,
you know, not to the point where you're like, Oh, my God, another plane.
The things you don't hear, the shot, you don't hear, you know, the other
guy moving around, so it's just different type of feeling out there.
It's like if you play with music. It's just completely different than
when you play in a normal tennis setting.
So it's ‑‑ I don't know. I had no problems with it today. I didn't think
it was that extreme. I don't think it was from the start, either.
Q. But you had heard about how it used to be?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, and also in practice the week before the Open they
still go. Yeah, that's sometimes a bit annoying.
Q. Is this your house?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I like to call Wimbledon my home, you know,
a second home. I've had so much success over there. But I could equal my
five Wimbledons here tomorrow, so this is a big moment tomorrow.
Q. You did a little dance out there at one time.
ROGER FEDERER: Did I?
ROGER FEDERER: When?
Q. On the big point.
ROGER FEDERER: A dance? Oh, my God. I was a bad dancer, because I don't
remember. I don't remember.
Q. That's good.
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe you spotted a talent, you know, I don't know.
Q. You've fallen a little bit behind in your course to try and equal and
also pass Pete. Do you feel like getting a victory in the final would
really kind of get you on course for '09? And also, just talk about the
history of potentially being not only be the person to win five straight
here, but also in Wimbledon, what that means to you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but I think at the moment the focus is trying to
get my ‑‑ defend my title here and get my fifth. I think that's what
it's about right now.
I know the Pete thing is obviously still very much alive and everything
is possible. But, I mean, I'd like to obviously focus on that, you know,
on the five in a row right now, you know.
After that, you know, sure. I mean, if I win, it's great. I'm back sort
of in the race and things aren't that bad like everybody's saying.
But for this, I first need to just get the win tomorrow. That would be
huge, you know.
Q. I heard in the past you describe when you're playing well it feels
like you're flying.
ROGER FEDERER: Um, in one of those planes, right? Loud, too.
Q. Did it feel that way in the first and fourth sets today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I felt like I was in control of how the
points were constructed. I felt very smooth, great coordination. I think
that's also very important, you know, that you hit, you know, the ball
smoothly, not that many miss‑hits and stuff. Even though in the wind
it's always going to happen.
But I definitely felt for a while out there like that's how I want to
feel. That's what I explained before. I definitely had that feeling out
there today which I had quite often in the past.
Q. If you do play Andy tomorrow, do you remember what it was like to
contest for your first major, and can you put yourself in his shoes a
ROGER FEDERER: I guess it's less pressure for him to be in the finals
here than at Wimbledon. There's no doubt. I mean, even though over there
he would have, you know, tremendous support. I still feel he's maybe
even better on grass than on hardcourt, you know, so that just shows you
what a great talent he is, you know.
But, I mean, I remember I came in as being the favorite actually for my
first final. So that's obviously a big difference, you know, to how he
would go in, even though he beat me last time.
It will be interesting to see how he handles it, but I have a feeling
he's a guy who plays well on the big occasions. That's why I need to be
very, very careful how I play tomorrow if it is Andy. Match isn't over
Q. It seems ridiculous to even suggest that after all your Grand Slam
success that there's any hint you have to prove yourself, but given this
year after the things that have been said and written, do you feel any
pressure to prove yourself tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, the pressure is off. I think now you can look
forward and just try to win, really. Because I think the pressure is
always on in the early rounds, coming through and not getting an upset
You know, there was a couple of tough opponents early on, so this is ‑‑
I think once you get to the semis you can maybe play a little bit more
freely again, because you're also playing opponents who you know most
likely have a better chance to beat you.
You also know them better, so it's easier to play against them, as well.
I don't feel like now I need to prove myself in the finals. I think if
it's Rafa, I mean, he's No. 1 player. I don't want to put pressure on
him, but that's how it was for me. I was always expected to win.
I had maybe a little bit less this year, but nevertheless I'm defending
champion. I know what it's all about tomorrow.
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