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July 12, 2017
Wimbledon, London, England
R. FEDERER/M. Raonic
6-4, 6-2, 7-6
Q. After the match, Milos said he thinks the difference between you last year and this year is that now you're mentally stronger and moving better. What are your thoughts about that and what is your level of confidence in your game right now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I'm much better prepared for Wimbledon this year than last year. Last year I had a hard, hard time practicing through the clay court season. The grass court season was difficult because of the back issues I had, and the knee issues. I was really lacking practice really.
Then the matches, I could never really play quite so freely last year just because, you know, I'm more focused on how the knee's behaving rather than how I need to hit my forehand or backhand, or what's not going to be good for my opponent.
This year I'm just a normal tennis player again where I can focus on tactics. I think that's the difference.
I'm playing very well. I'm rested. I'm fresh. I'm confident, too. Then great things do happen. Confidence is a huge thing.
I thought he was exactly in that zone last year. He's had not the easiest of years himself. He hasn't had enough matches as of late. I felt I could see that in Milos' game, as well, he was not playing as well as he was last year.
Q. For sure you have to think about yourself first. What is your feeling at the end of the day, looking around to what happened to Murray, to Djokovic, who are not any more here, injuries? What do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, you wish them well right away as a rival to them and a friend. You want them to be healthy again. It does happen, you know. Novak's not missed any slams basically. I don't want to say sooner or later these things unfortunately happen, but he's played a lot of tennis in recent years. For him to be hurt at some stage is only but normal. That's why we want him to recover quickly.
Andy, I hope by playing he didn't make things worse. Yeah, it's big for him to step out on court and give it a go, even though maybe knowing, like me last year, that chances are slim he was going to defend this title.
I have a lot of respect for him doing that. I just hope that he comes out on the other side now not having to miss much later on. I just hope he can recover quickly and get ready for America really, or Canada for that matter.
But, of course, I'm surprised to see them going out - also Rafa. But the other guys are playing well. Grass court, margins are small. Still remains a great, great tournament.
Of course, I wish them the best, that they come back strong again.
Q. Your decision to take some time out looks like a good one in retrospect. Wear and tear injuries, it looks like, with the others.
ROGER FEDERER: It's normal. Once you hit 30, you've got to look back and think of how much tennis have I played, how much rest did I give my body over the years, how much training have I done, did I do enough, did I overdo it or not enough. It's always calibrating the whole thing.
For me it worked out. Doesn't mean it's going to work out for everybody. But sometimes maybe the body and the mind do need a rest. Who knows. You just want to take that decision early enough or see it coming and anticipate.
The problem is you can only play with a certain injury for a certain amount of time, because what you don't want happening is that it becomes chronical [sic]. Then even a surgery can't help you that much any more. That's why I'm happy I've had to take my first surgery really only at 34, 35 years old. That was a blessing. I'm happy about that.
Q. Returning his serve on grass, what was your plan ahead of time? How do you think it worked out?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he didn't serve as well as he did last year. I think he was hitting much bigger second serves as well. Last year he must have hit 10, 20 second serves at 130. This year he probably didn't do any of those. Had a different mindset going in. I don't know if it was tactics or feel, as well.
Then returning second serve, I just felt like I could somewhat get a read on his serve maybe. Today that was like this. Probably the next match, it's going to be just whistling past me.
I think I was very clear and I saw things very well. That helped me returning his serve, as well.
From the baseline, I felt like I had the upper hand, which wasn't necessarily the case last year, which helped me to stay more calm.
Q. What is your reaction that you're now nailed-on favorite to win this on Sunday? Could you let us know, those weeks you took off during the clay court season, what did you do to rest? You don't strike me as the sort of guy that can sit with his feet up for very long.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, being the favorite or not the favorite doesn't matter. These other guys are all big hitters. I feel like they will have their word to say of the outcome of the matches. They've got big serves, big forehands, big hitters really. All three guys are taller and stronger than I am. I got to figure out a different way, carve my way through the draw somehow with my slice and my spins, my consistency maybe.
I'm looking forward to do that.
Really, I mean, things went by very quickly after Miami. I only had, like, five days off before I had to get back and play The Match for Africa with Andy in Zurich. After that I went to Dubai and trained there. Did a lot of fitness actually. I prepared myself basically for the clay court season or for the rest of the season. Then I went to Seattle to play another Match for Africa for my foundation. Then I came back to Switzerland at some stage.
The plan was to then go to maybe Madrid. But at some stage I said, We don't do that. Then to Paris. Once I decided I won't go to Paris, that's when I for the first time had time. Until then I was still in the tunnel to get ready for the clay court season.
I didn't actually have, like, a break like I did have last year, where I really knew I will not play for six months. This time I just thought it was going to be maybe six, seven weeks. It ended up being 10 weeks. The last three weeks were actually quite relaxed. I could practice.
I always managed my schedule. If I felt like practicing more, I could do that. Sometimes when I did practice and the weather was nice, we turned it down again.
Q. Do you feel supercharged now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, that was the idea, that the second week of Wimbledon is that I would feel my best. I feel like it's coming along nicely, to be quite honest.
Q. Would you have thought two years ago that being 35 years and a half you could have been better than you were in the past? All players more or less are saying this, that you play better, you are quicker, agile. Everyone seems to be, I don't say surprised, but almost. What about you? Everyone is saying that grass is slower, but we have Cilic, Querrey, so it's not that slow.
ROGER FEDERER: No, it's not that slow. I think today was the first day again where it felt a bit slower just because of the rain and the moist we've seen in the lasts few days. And it's cooler, too.
But the first 10 days I thought was fast. The ball was traveling through the air quick, on the bounce it was taking off. I think the grass was really accelerating the game.
Like you said, the big guys, the big servers are coming through. It's nice to see that's paying off for the bigger hitters, not just the grinders from the baseline like we know it. A certain different style of play gets rewarded, as well.
I don't see myself playing better than a few years ago. But I always hope to improve every year. Think it's definitely different ever since my injury. If I'm playing better this year than I have in '14, '15 when I had great runs at Wimbledon here. I just ran into Novak, who was red hot. Honestly, was difficult to come past him for anybody, especially in the big matches.
I'm just very happy that I'm still doing so well. Am I surprised? Maybe a little bit. But the plan was always to hopefully be strong also later on in my career.
Q. Speaking of your age, you're now the oldest man to make the semis for some 40 years. How proud are you of that achievement?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't know it, but I don't know. How would you feel?
Q. I'd be pretty happy.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy that I won today. But I don't know if I'm happy to be the guy, you know, in 40 years. People talk more about my age because of numbers, of records like this (smiling).
I guess it's great. Yeah, I'm happy.
Q. You've played in 65 straight slams before you made the conscious effort to skip some. How hard was that?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it wasn't that simple. It was simple in the sense that I went to Paris. That was the first one I missed last year. I went there and I was doing fitness with my fitness coach. After like 10 minutes, I looked at him and said, I don't know what we're doing in Paris seriously. My knee is swollen. I don't feel ready to go. It's maybe the toughest tournament out there. My back is funny. My knee is not well. What are we doing?
Instead of doing fitness or warmups, whatever we were trying to do, we were talking for an hour and a half until we got kicked out of the room because somebody else had booked it.
That's when I went to practice that afternoon or that next day. I was like, Actually, I don't feel so bad. But I was like, No, this is not going to work out.
As a team, we just decided that it's best to skip it. So it wasn't should I or shouldn't I. The body didn't really allow me to play, in my opinion.
It was hard. The first moment I felt relieved taking the decision. Then when it went official, people knew around the world I was not going to play in Paris, I got a little sad, I must admit, because I felt like it was a great record for me to keep going, 65 slams in a row.
But health is so much more important than trying to hang onto some sort of a record.
Q. You won the toss, I believe, opted not to serve. Why would you do that against such a big server as Raonic? What was going on?
ROGER FEDERER: I just wanted the other side to start. So I won the toss. I elected the side, which was more important to me than serving or receiving.
I know it's a bit of an odd choice, but I've done that sometimes in the past. It's more for me, when I walk on court, see how the sun is standing, the wind is blowing, I feel like that's where I want to be, yeah.
I don't know if it makes sense. For me it makes sense, yeah. It's not only the beginning, it's also later in the match it makes a difference.
Q. A little bit of a different topic. Having listened to you in press for a long time, it seems like you're speaking a little bit differently than you used to.
ROGER FEDERER: In what sense (smiling)?
Q. Just using different phrases, more variety, things like 'we're going to party like rock stars', things like that. Just wondering if you can think of any reason for that?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't know (smiling). I guess I'm trying to keep it different for me, too. I don't know. Maybe I've been asked the same questions also for too long that I feel like I need to bring in some variety. That again gives you something to pick on, then we actually have a good time rather than this being sort of ping-pong that it always is.
No, nothing really different, in my opinion. But...
Q. In terms of your coaches, can you talk about the relationship, what it's like amongst you all, what they've brought to your game?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we're good friends. Spending time together is not a drag. It's nice. Feel like in the beginning obviously you always got to figure things out a little bit. What is Ivan going to bring to an existing team already. Same thing with Stefan Edberg as well.
I knew Ivan very well beforehand. I felt like he could be really, you know, inspiring as well in the sense that he really wants me to win. He's a close friend to our family. We're close to his family. He's been a player that has played on the tour with me for the first time. He's actually the only coach that ever did that. I thought that could be quite interesting.
Him and Severin, when they talk about the match with me, or beforehand when they go through things, I feel like I get a very clear message of how they would want me to play, what they think I should do or not do, what I can expect from my opponent.
I think it's working very well. I couldn't be happier right now with my team.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports