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July 12, 2019

Roger Federer

Wimbledon, London, England


7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk us through the game, your performance and your emotions.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I thought it was a tough first set with not many chances. Came down to I thought a really good breaker. I think I served well there, but also came up with some really good returns and rallies.

He got off the gates faster with a great lob, I believe, to get the mini break first. As the first set was dominated by a lot of good serving, I thought that was probably a big problem for me. But I was able to get out of that one.

I think second set got tougher with the sun coming through on the Royal Box end. So I got broken there. Also did a little bit against the wind on the other side. Rafa was in the zone there. Maybe also I didn't serve as well.

You know, it was a close match and he was able to take charge after I had a couple chances early on in that second set, so that was tough.

I was able to stick to my game plan, stay aggressive, stay offensive. I guess I also started to serve a bit better maybe after that second set.

I think I won a lot of the important points in the third and fourth sets. There were some brutal rallies in key moments that went my way. I think those might have made the difference today.

Q. You've had a number of very memorable performances here over the years. Where does this rank?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, obviously extremely high. It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially haven't played in so long.

It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. I mean, I don't know. It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favorite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.

I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.

Q. You gave the fans some nostalgic memories there. Tell us what you think has changed between you two on this surface? Has that given you the motivation to go on and win the trophy?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think we both may be serving again a touch bigger. Especially because he's serving big we see maybe less rallies. It's more dominated by the 1-2 punch. He has such easy power he can sort of kill any point or any shot he wants, especially on the forehand side, but also on the backhand.

You know, I think all of us players have less time on the ball nowadays. Whenever you get an opportunity to go for it, Rafa is one of the best at it. That's been a big difference if you look back at sort of 10 years ago, 11 years ago when we played last. There's maybe less of the longer rallies, or always the same rallies.

I hope this gives me a huge boost for the finals on Sunday.

Q. You and Novak have played each other more than any two men in majors. You can't have any secrets. How does that affect your strategy?
ROGER FEDERER: It's the same like going into a Rafa match. I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, you know, especially in recent years also a few times, there's not that much more left out there. Especially you know where the players go when it really matters, how much can you still surprise somebody.

At the end of the day it comes very much down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place, who's got more energy left, who's tougher when it really comes to the crunch. In the tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes. Don't want to say always the better player wins, but sometimes it can be tough. Like today, he could have broke in that last game somehow and we could still be playing. Who knows.

Look, I'm excited about the game against Novak. Like you said, we've played each other so, so much. I don't mind that, I think it's more of a clear game plan. Especially we had a great match against each other in Paris just recently. I hope we can back it up from there.

Q. When you've had such a tough and emotional match like today, how hard is it to recover for another one two days later?
ROGER FEDERER: Age kicks in. I know it's not over yet. There's no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy.

I think I can with experience really separate the two. If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I'd be speaking very different, feeling very different. There is, unfortunately or fortunately, one more.

It's great on many levels. But got to put my head down and stay focused, you know.

Q. First set was a battle of serves, which didn't happen in 2008. In the tiebreaker he made only one point on his serve. How do you explain it? You won six points out of seven against Nadal.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Look, quite honestly I don't know what makes the difference. Sometimes you are on the ball, you hit a great return, but he picks it up perfectly and ends up winning the rally. Maybe it's 30-Love when that happens. Maybe it's a bit different when it's 2-1 in the breaker.

Maybe also when I connected with the backhand down the line, maybe was I secretly guessing he was also going to my backhand? Maybe. I was just able to come around it enough to keep it deep and long. Next thing you know, you win the point.

Those are things you just can't control. I know you guys think that we control everything. We don't. Some balls just fly in and some don't. Good things happen when you try to do the right thing. Bad things happen when you doubt yourself.

In that breaker, I guess I was clear. This comes from a good game plan. It comes from having understood in the first six return games what do I have to do in the breaker to change that momentum. For me, things went a bit better. I served well on top of it.

I don't know how to explain it. Sometimes it just happens. There's no bigger explanation.

Q. In 2003 you and Serena Williams both won Wimbledon at age 21. How do you explain 16 years later that you're both in the finals?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's definitely a bit unusual, a bit strange. I mean, I hope it's going to happen again for somebody, to have such a big span between the first final, because we haven't won yet, still have a way to go. But it's definitely special I think for both of us.

Serena was even earlier on tour than me because she played the breakthrough earlier. It's amazing what she's been able to do. Again, she can write history tomorrow. That's very, very special for her and the women's game.

For me, I don't know, it's not something I ever expected. Winning that '03 title was something so surreal that it's nice to be back in another final. Means really a lot to me.

Q. When you think about Djokovic, which is the first word cross your mind? Is it the return, the ability to play from the back of the court? Which sort of sparring partner are you looking for for practice? You practice against somebody that return very well or what?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I don't have much energy to go train very much right now. Honestly, it's about recovery, hitting some balls tomorrow, warming up the next day. But it's more in the tactics.

I don't think there's much I need to do in terms of practice. This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read, I don't know, how many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result today. It's been a rock solid year from mine, won in Halle. Stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint I can go into that match very confident.

If I think of Novak, one thing that jumps out at me, is his jump back and to the left. You know, how he's able to defend on that side, which I think has won him numerous matches and trophies. He does that better than anybody. Nobody else really has it as consistent and good as he has, if you want to talk about Novak and one shot really.

Q. You hit so many beautiful shots. I can't imagine anything you do surprises you. Today when you won several of the long, long rallies, the 25-shot rallies, did that surprise you? Did it do anything for your confidence? Did you sense in any way that it might have deflated Nadal a little bit?
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I mean, look, winning long rallies is always a nice feeling. At the same time there were so few of them when you're going deep in a rally like this. Plus they were also played on a very high level in terms of speed and power and spin and everything.

It's not just hitting cross-court balls to one another. You have some other opponents that produce that more for you. More of a waiting game. This is different. Almost every shot we're trying to win the point.

Yeah, I mean, I think it is important that I can win those, as well. But they're not the most important. I mean, I wonder if it took something out of him. I don't think so because on clay he does that in his sleep. Why shouldn't he be able to have a few long rallies and it deflate him? He's a champ, I'm a champ. We know how to handle a rally like that.

Of course, you hope it goes your way at the very end when you're not controlling things 100% any more.

Q. Coming back to 2003, the moment you won your first Grand Slam, first Wimbledon. You are a role model for Simona Halep. She's playing tomorrow for her first Wimbledon here. What advice would you give her?
ROGER FEDERER: Try to win it, you know. Yeah, I mean, you got to have the winner mentality, don't you? It's not like, I'm happy to be in the finals. It's Serena, I have no chance. Like this you're going to lose, that's for sure.

You have to have that winner mentality, that I belong here, I've earned my way here, I've been playing great. You don't get to a Wimbledon finals playing average, you know. Some people might do that, but normally you're feeling the ball well. She needs to back herself and enjoy it also. But that comes after when you win.

It's full-on concentration, not let the moment be too big. The good thing is she's won a slam before. She knows how to do it at this point. That's great.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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