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January 24, 2020

Roger Federer

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

R. FEDERER/J. Millman

4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just speak about the tiebreak? Started off really well and he played great points and you made a comeback. Where did it turn around?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, at the very end, I guess. It was a tough tiebreaker throughout, because I didn't feel like I was playing badly or really taking bad decisions or at some moment you have to play a little bit safe.

He punished me every single time. He was really coming up with the goods and was able to stretch the lead. Once he had the lead, I was always able to hold on with my serve and win my points, which was really important.

Then of course there was crucial points, 8-7, 8-All, 9-8. I'm happy they all went my way. Things were extremely difficult not just in the breaker throughout the match for me against John.

Q. How does an ending like that make you feel about continuing to compete? It must be thrilling? How do you feel with that?
ROGER FEDERER: Continuous?

Q. How do you feel with the end of the tiebreak? It went from suddenly down 8-4 and then six straight points.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it doesn't happen very often like this, because, I mean, we're not used to super breakers. And being down by such a big margin is rare for us.

Played a few, I guess, in the doubles, few in the Laver Cup, as well. So you always feel as long as it's not match point you're still kind of in it.

But the air gets so incredibly thin. And you know that any overhitting, too much risk or just handing over a point at this moment will cost you dearly. It's a very, very tight balance you have to choose there.

But, yeah, I mean, it's happened to me in the past against me. It's happened in the past for me, as well. This one was unique in many ways that I was able to turn a super breaker around like this in an atmosphere, it was crazy, fun, and I couldn't be more happy, of course. Big relief.

Q. You had 48 unforced errors on your forehand tonight. I'm curious how much of that was John covering the court well and you feel like you had to go for too much? How much was just not feeling that side as much today?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, honestly, nothing against the statistics people, but over a four-hour match you're going to hit unforced errors. What is an unforced error? Is it when it comes at 120Ks an hour or 135 or you're on the stretch?

So for me, he pushed me to go for more. You know me, I'm not going to hold back and just rally all the time. I will always try to make plays, and for that I will miss some.

Of course sometimes I wish I could have maybe hit a few more winners instead of unforced errors, but, you know, it shows how slow the courts can be, as well, you know, how many rallies get created, how he didn't serve and volley once. I served and volleyed maybe what, 10 times? 5 times? It's that crazy at these moments.

When you can come in and you play serve and volley and, you know, volley errors don't count I don't think ever and rally errors always count. So there you go.

Q. You played a 10-point deciding tiebreaker in a slam for the first time. What do you make of it compared to the other deciders, other slams, for example? Would you prefer it to Wimbledon which goes past 6-All but then plays a standard breaker at 12-All?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's important to have different endings at every slam. We got that. Making sure I experience them all before I leave the game. (Laughter.)

I mean, honestly, I don't know. I have been in so many different types of endings. I don't even care what the ending is as long as I know what the deal is at 6-6. I listen very carefully to the umpire and they say, It's a 10-point tiebreaker. I'm like, All right, it's a 10-point tiebreaker. I kind of knew it was at 6-All this time around.

And I felt the roar was big when he won his 7th point in the breaker. People must have thought it was over.

But, no, I mean, look, in a funny way I'm okay with all four endings, because they all have a reason to end the way they do. I don't know what it is.

I'm of course a historian. I like when it just goes, you know, into the infinity, if you like. But I do also see with what we saw with Mahut and Isner. But if that happens, you have no shot of winning the tournament anymore. It's just not possible.

So I guess it is good to end it and cap it at some point, I guess. So, yeah. I don't know. It is what it is.

And I think, you know, if you're ending up with 6-All in super-tiebreaker or 9-All or 12-All, I mean, you have enough chances to clinch it early.

I mean, I remember -- not that I remember the days -- but I remember Tony Roche telling me they had long sets in every set. I just think TV couldn't handle that nowadays anymore.

Q. I was just wondering if you can pinpoint exactly what it is in his game that makes him such a tough matchup for you. Is it his game or is it the attitude, the whole mentality he brings?
ROGER FEDERER: No, attitude? I mean, you need to bring that, but if a guy is jumping up and down on the other side, he's not going to beat me. You need to bring I think everything to the table, you know, I hope so, to hang with me and all that stuff.

And I just think he's just so, so tough from the baseline. He's got sort of good speed on the backhand, on the forehand. The way he hits it makes it, for me, unsure if I should pull the trigger or I shouldn't. Is it there to be hit or not?

Every time I get a ball, I'm in two ways, because I have the option to do that with my game, but then he covers the court very well. Because he hits it hard enough, maybe it's harder for me to find angle.

I think the biggest problem for me was just I wasn't able to get -- I was not returning poorly, per se. I was just not getting into those neutral rallies, finding the ways to unlock him. That's his credit. He's a great player.

Like you said, he's got great attitude, and that's why I mumbled something to him at the net just saying, I have so much respect for you, and it's such a pity, I'm so sorry, but well played, and all that stuff, because I really feel that way for John.

Q. A straight-set win is obviously easier, but is there something about a night like this, the atmosphere, the competition, the back-and-forth, all of that, that is at least part of why you continue to play?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no doubt. I mean, in the moment itself, it's very grueling and very, at times, very disappointing, you know, that you are in situations where, I don't know, you get broken in the fifth or you're down in the super breaker and lose the first set. It's not a big deal yet, to be honest.

That's when you really start wondering, you know, like why couldn't I close this match earlier and all these things?

Then all of a sudden you turn the whole thing around within, like, two minutes and it was so worthwhile, you know, everything that I have gone through.

I think if I do play tennis it's because of winning titles, trying to win as many matches as possible, enjoy myself out on court but also being in epic matches like this. Doesn't always have to be finals, I guess.

As long as the crowds are into it, you have a great battle with an opponent who you really admire and respect, it's a good feeling.

I'm happy I had that match tonight. I hope I would feel the same way also if I would have lost, to be honest.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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