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September 9, 2015

Roger Federer

New York, NY, USA

R. FEDERER/R. Gasquet

6-3, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At 34, how do you explain continuing to peak? How are you able to maintain such a high level?
ROGER FEDERER: Ah, I don't know. I mean, since a few years now or many years I have tried to look at the big picture to hopefully still be playing at a high level at this age. So in some ways I am not surprised I am playing as well as I am.

I think I have worked on my game moving forward, have been able to take the ball earlier, and, you know, I think I'm volleying better than I have the last 10 years. I think I was volleying well coming up on the tour when I was younger because I was spending more time at net.

I think that gave me confidence to keep working on that, moving forward. Now because my serving is working quite well, you put those two things together, and standing in on the return as well, I think has changed the dynamics a little bit. It's all about keeping yourself in shape and staying injury-free. And motivated, I guess.

Q. You have Stan next. You know him well. What do you think it is about his game or his mentality that lets him play so well at times against the top guys? Like against you and Novak at the French.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think a lot comes through practice for Stan, because he's worked very hard throughout his career. It took him a while to figure out exactly what his possibilities were. I don't think he was a guy who always, you know, had enough confidence.

I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins -- I recall a big win for him when he beat Hewitt in the fifth deciding match in Davis Cup in Sydney. Beat him on the grass two sets to one down. Came back and won it. Played unbelievable tennis at the end.

Then I think in practice he started working to hit the ball harder consistently, and today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot.

I'm happy he found that level of play. Two slams, got Davis Cup, Olympic gold. Has a complete career. Won a Masters 1000. Has everything he ever wanted. He has had a wonderful career.

Looking forward to playing him, because he definitely is a big test and a big challenge for me. He beat me in straight at the French, so I hope I can do better this time.

Q. During the tournament, how much time do you spend taking care of your body? How much of that maintenance is, shall we say, age-related?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess I'm more professional these days; whereas when I was coming up on tour I would bounce up and down for two minutes and then just walk out to the practice and do almost the same for the match.

These days I take more time, put in more of the core exercises, do more stretching. Sometimes I just can't wait to get off the table again honestly. It's nice not to be on there all the time.

Yeah, for me, also sleeping has become quite important. I make sure I sleep enough, as well. Like when I went to bed after the Isner match it got quite late and I couldn't sleep quite as much as I wanted to.

Because I believe it's really the sleep that gives you energy again down the road. That's why the next two days are very important for me in terms of sleeping.

Q. How much is your target?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of sleeping? Hopefully nine to ten.

Q. The other night you were asked about the Williams sisters and you said you were happy to not have a sibling in tennis. Just curious if Stan is as close to that tennis brother as you feel, and the relationship that you have guys have on court, is there any difference in approaching Stan, say, from any other opponent for you mentally or emotionally?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, emotionally it's not so hard for me. I have always found it quite not easy, but it's just another match. I'm able to see it that way somehow with him. But then of course subconsciously you know he knows what your preferences are, where you like to go, where you're probably going to go.

Probably he feels the same way. That's the weird part. I feel we meet each other somewhere in our minds before the point is being played out.

So that's odd sometimes, but otherwise it's pretty straightforward for me. I enjoy the matches, because always that means one of us moves on. For Swiss it's huge that we have two guys in the semis of the US Open, a huge tournament, biggest arena in the world. It's what it's all about.

I think we are both very much pumped up that's the case. Only better scenario would have been in the finals, but this is already very, very good. We are very proud of that.

Q. I know when you were younger you probably had more anger and these days seems like you have a wave of joy out there. How important is mood to you in terms of winning goes?
ROGER FEDERER: Mood in terms of?

Q. How important is your mood to how well you actually think you play.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, well, I mean, I'm not the kind of guy who wakes up angry. (Laughter.) Even if I am, I don't think it will have much of an impact of how I play.

I feel like I see the matches as an isolation. I don't know if it's when I arrive at the tennis, when I go warm up, whatever it is, but that's a different world for me. You know, when I leave the grounds I feel like not I'm a different person, but like that's my other life I have.

So I have two lives, and all the problems I might have, I feel like I drop them once I step on to the match court or when I enter the grounds. I don't know if it makes sense, but that's the why the mood doesn't really matter that much to me.

Q. What does the US Open Championship trophy mean to you both in terms of the ones you have already won and the one that you're two steps away from today?
ROGER FEDERER: I like the trophy, and I'm happy when you win it you get the same-sized one. I wish it also had engravements of all the previous winners, but I will speak at the tournament that one day I will get them all done, you know. Because I think -- I love tennis history and I like to see who has won in the past, you know, here on the trophy so it feels like it's an original one, not just a duplicate.

Yeah, it's a good size. It's different to the golden ones. It's a silver one. Yeah, I like it. I would like to have another one. (Laughter.)

Q. What is the belief that you have now? How does that contribute to seeing that trophy, being so close? You're two steps away.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, two steps, but they are not like from here to there. (Indicating few feet.) They are like... you know what I mean. Hours of work and sleeps and waits and nerves and all that. It's still a long way.

I feel like I'm close, of course. You enter now a territory which is very interesting, and definitely Stan is going to present the big test for me. Don't look further than that, to be quite honest.

Q. Given how well you've played thus far in the tournament, will it take an extraordinary performance by an opponent to beat you right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. I really do. I believe Stan can bring it, you know. That's my No. 1 focus, that I make it as hard as possible for him to beat me. Personally I'm very happy with the where my game is at. It's just a matter of keeping it up and adjusting to Stan now.

Q. You're one of the few players who won this tournament when it was played on both green courts and blue courts. Wondering if you have a preference.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I have already -- I hardly remember when we played on the green courts. I prefer watching it on the blue courts. Playing was nice, I guess, either one of them. But I like the blue courts. They are better on the eye, I think.

Q. Have you noticed how many courts in the world are blue now?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, many of them.

I think it's important that you see the ball properly on the TV, otherwise why watch two players running and not seeing the ball? (Laughter.)

I mean, if you like that, sure, let's keep it yellow courts, but...

Thankfully we have HDTV now too, so that helps.

Q. At any time when you were making these adjustments in the racquet and being more aggressive, was there any point where you thought, I don't know if it's going to work? Were you unsure or were you confident that I'm going to make these adjustments and eventually it's going to pay off?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I was sensing that it was going to work, because I did feel in practice that I was hitting my backhand better, not shanking as much anymore.

What I wanted to -- if I changed, I wanted to feel that I had more easier power on the serve. If I was not going to feel that I was not going to change. In these two main factors.

The only problem for me was that in the beginning I didn't feel like my slice was as good and the forehand took a while. You know, when you go full swing, are you going to spray it a bit more? Naturally, yes, because it's in your racquet, so that not scared me, but I was like respecting that fact.

But when I felt like my backhand was better my serve was better, I just said if the more hours and more months I can put on the racquet, the better I will start to feel. Hopefully down the stretch I will really be able to play good tennis again and who knows maybe even better.

So it was interesting, you know, because I did switch, go back and then switch again. I think that was the right thing to do, because first I had to figure out my back problems over trying to figure out my racquet and my racquet issues.

Q. They were talking about just how high your level was, saying maybe even the best ever. I won't ask you to grade that. Are you amazed at all at yourself that you're doing that at this level at this age?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I mean, a little bit to the extent where it's nice to play this way. And maybe at my age to run through, you know, five opponents the way I have done here at the US Open, I don't consider that normal, to be quite honest, even though I expect it in some ways for myself to come out and play well.

I've played so well over the last one-and-a-half years. I don't feel like I'm as old as I am. I still feel young. So it's nice to get rewarded with the hard work and, you know, that actually I'm able to play sort of fun tennis, I maybe call it for myself. Aggressive, pick it up, you know, like half volley it, move in, serve and volley, cut the points short, and if I want to, if I want to, extend the rallies.

But it feels like on my terms. Then if you win this way, it's a great feeling.

Q. We're obviously getting towards the end of the tournament, but I did want to ask you about the very unfortunate incident that occurred with James Blake today and whether you had heard that or whether you had any thoughts about that.
ROGER FEDERER: I read a piece, but it's hard for me to comment on it, to be quite honest. You know, you hope these things don't happen. Like I think James said it the right way. I have nothing else to really add to that.

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