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July 10, 2015

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/A. Murray
7‑5, 7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You played a lot of sets and a lot of matches in your career.  Did you play many better sets than that first set and many better matches, full stop?
ROGER FEDERER:  The thing is you can't compare different days, different opponents, different surfaces.  At the end you're just happy you're able to do it many times in a career or a few times in important moments.  Again, one set doesn't make the difference.  If you play one great set and end up losing, it wasn't worth anything.
Today I was clearly able to play very well from the start.  The beginning was always going to be an important part of the game.  I had to save breakpoint first, then I was able to start rolling on my serve.  Played a great game to break.
So, I mean, definitely one of the best matches I've played in my career.  I don't know, the first set, I don't remember point by point, but it was definitely really, really solid.

Q.  You can't compare matches, but even Andy Murray said you probably never served so well as you did today.  Did that a little bit surprise you, too, or not at all?  Also the draw, it was won by him, he decided to return.  He was always behind following you in the score.  Do you think in the end it could have been a mistake or sometimes you do the same thing or you never do it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, with the coin toss, it's just a feeling he has.  Maybe it was a game plan he had to have me go first.  It worked well for him.  He created breakpoint in the first game.  That was the plan, trying to come out of the blocks fast, put pressure on.  I think I made eight serves out of eight and he was still able to get breakpoint.
I think he actually started the match very, very well.  Can't make them all, so it was big for me to stay with him then and, you know, get in a groove, be dangerous off the return, make sure I get my returns back.  But I struggled early on because he actually served very well himself.
I served very well.¬† I served a very high first‑serve percentage plus going big.¬† So definitely it was one of my best serving days of my career, for sure.

Q.  Not too long ago people were saying, Why are you still playing?  What motivates you?  Does a performance like this answer that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, for me it does.  I always knew the reason why I was playing.  I don't need to explain a whole lot to you guys.  I think the fans know why I'm playing.
At the end of the day, I enjoy it.  I work hard in the practice.  In a match like this, I can have a great performance.  And clearly it's an amazing feeling when you come back from the match and everybody's so happy for you, even like on the inside of the Royal Box when I was walking back, there was applause all the way to the locker room.  Something I don't remember really having, except maybe on one of the wins I've had here.
So I just feel overall that people are very happy for me, and at the same time I'm very pleased how well I'm playing.  But knowing that it's just a semifinal match, it's obviously a huge one, a big one against Andy here, I need to keep it up for one more match to really make it the perfect couple of weeks.

Q.  What is it about this place and surface that always brings the best out of you as opposed to other places?  Is it any different now that you've done it so many times?  Is it, Here we go again?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't remember quite how every semifinal felt.  It's huge winning the semis, giving you the opportunity to be in the finals, having only one more opponent left where you can just go all out and just bring it then.
Usually you know what the situation is.  You've gotten used to everything, pressure, playing well, moving.  You know, everybody's tired or not, nervous or not.  It's just that one more match.  It's a beautiful feeling.
But I don't quite remember how it's all felt over the years.  Clearly this tournament has given me so much.  The same with the crowds.  Just I guess my game translates very well to this surface.  May be the moving part, the serve, the half volleys.  I don't know.  I'm just able to figure it out very quickly on the grass.

Q.  You've been widely acclaimed as one of the great players.  This morning Rod Laver said you would win.  A lot of people are almost in love with you, things like that.  Do you have like Jose Mourinho, that you're the special one?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm sure there's going to be many great players in the future.  The game is bigger than any athletes we've ever had.  It really is.
I don't know Jose very well.  To be quite honest, I've only met him once.  I don't follow all that very much.
No, definitely I feel very much liked by many people around the world.  It's been amazing to have that support.  It helps when you've been around the block for a long time.  People sort of get to know you.
Like I said, the tennis is bigger than anybody.  We'll have future Wimbledon champions, future world No.1's.  It's going to be even greater in 50 years' time, 100 years' time.  It's a great game to play, I tell you (smiling).

Q.  Were you surprised at all how evenly the crowd was split, bearing in mind it's Andy's home tournament?  In the Olympics, the crowd were heavily on Andy's side.
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I expected the crowd to be split like that a little bit.  But then obviously for the guy who was behind.  They're always going to cheer for a close match.  I think it would have been the same maybe going my way a little bit.
But I always expected the crowd to be maybe a little bit more on Andy's side because he's from around here, I'm not.  People might not know how many more opportunities I'm going to have, so they're going to be emotionally attached to me maybe more as well, as they were to Agassi at the end of his career and other players.  Of course, I appreciate that.  It definitely also gave me a lift to see that the crowd was actually evenly split.

Q.  You thought they would be more on his side than they actually were in the end?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I expected it to be sort of somewhat like that, a little bit more on his side.

Q.  You were also talking the other day about how you don't play with the aim of proving people wrong.  It's something a lot of players do talk about, especially when they win.  I was wondering if you feel like it's helped you to play for positive reasons and how you manage to keep it positive.
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I think when you have goals yourself, you set those with your team.  Maybe your physio, your fitness coach, your tennis coach, your wife or agent.  It doesn't matter who's a part of it.  That's who you talk to, who you relate to, who is most dear to you.  Same with your parents and everything.
So here, this is like part of the job.  It's not my favorite thing to do, but it's part of it.  I've gotten used to it.  What happens here, you can't just take it all in because sometimes there's a very positive vibe.
Like now it's very nice to do these press conferences, but there's also the negative side to it where you just feel like it's beating down on you, it's very bad, your forehand's terrible, why are you still playing.
You're just like, Well, it doesn't matter what they think really.  At the end, I see it as a chance to connect with a fan who is actually supporting me.  I know what I'm trying to achieve.  I actually forget the negativity of the rest.
I think I've been unbelievably positive throughout my career.  Of course it's also gotten to me at times and thankfully not too often and not too long.

Q.  What are your thoughts on the opportunity to face Novak after the way things ended last year here, and also to add to your history in finals and at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, it's great to play Novak anywhere these days, you know, because he's a great player.  He's had great success, unbelievable success actually, throughout his career.  But especially now the last few years, he's been unbelievably dominant, especially on the hard courts, then he improved on the grass.  On the clay, he's one of the best, if not the best.
He's become very match‑tough.¬† He always shows up.¬† It's tough to beat him.¬† You know, he's been very injury‑free.¬† He's been good for the game.
For me, I don't really think about the match we played against each other last year.  I just remember it was unbelievably thrilling.  The crowd really got into it.
I'm just happy personally for myself to be back in a finals.  Whoever that's going to be against, it's always a big occasion.  That is Novak, the world No.1, it obviously adds something extra.

Q.  What does that opportunity mean to you?

Q.  Being No.8.
ROGER FEDERER:  Doesn't matter whether it's No.8 or No.1.  Wimbledon finals is always a big occasion.

Q.  That game at the end of the second set was so huge.  Take a moment and take us inside that game.  What was going through your mind?  How did you stay focused?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, I said I was going to play the game with no regrets.¬† Love‑40, I said I'm going to run around and go for it.¬† Then I thought I'm not sure if I should.¬† I'm going to go for it.¬† He caught me up the line with a serve.¬† I knew that was maybe a mistake in hindsight.¬† If Andy serves two big serves and he gets out of it, you're like, Maybe I should have made him play and maybe feel the pressure more.
But maybe it stays with his mind that I was going to do that at the biggest of moments.  Maybe that's why he did serve on match point the first second serve just to make sure he didn't have to go to the second serve.
Maybe a set and a half later it actually paid off.  Who knows?
But the game was unbelievable.  I mean, he played some unbelievable shots, great retrieving.  I had my chances.  I actually didn't get down on myself.  It's actually a perfect game, regardless if I win or I lose.  Even though you could see it in another way, as well, it was a key game for him to stay on and break my good run I was on, then win the second set.  It would have changed things around completely.
But then I think I was almost able to have a love game after that, stay with him, then break myself.  Obviously it still remained an unbelievable important half an hour for both of us.  The game itself, we had some unbelievable shots and it was great to be a part of it.

Q.  Talk us through that unbelievable shot in the final set.  I think it was the seventh game in the third set.  Andy's return looks like a winner, you plucked it from nowhere.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Love‑15 point, the backhand?

Q.  Unbelievable.
ROGER FEDERER:  I ran there and I said I was not going to chip it because I felt like he was already too close to the net.  If I hit a lob, he's going to smash it.  If I chip it, he's going to be too close to the net and just close.  The only chance was to flick it.  I've done some in my career that have been big.  Thankfully I needed that one to break afterwards.  But when the confidence is there, you have a clear mind, that's sometimes the stuff you can come up with.
I mean, it's awesome if it happens on Centre Court at Wimbledon in a situation like that, no doubt about it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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