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January 25, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why do you keep us up so late?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, they put me on night session every time. That's the reason. I also would like to go to bed a little earlier. But, you know, as long as I keep on winning, it's okay (smiling).

Q. How close were you to losing?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it was a tough one today. I definitely felt like I had to play well, especially at the important moments. Thank God I did again. I think I could have lost the match in four sets, too, could have lost it in five, could have won it in five. Everything would have been possible today, I think. I'm very pleased the way I came out of this one. Never really close, you know, to losing. Two sets to one up, you always have a cushion. I'm happy the way I played. Got a little lucky in the third set to come out obviously. I think that is obvious. But, you know, I kept my act together and played good, so...

Q. Did you have a specific way that you wanted to play the match from the outset?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would have liked to have played a little different, a little more aggressive. It was hard, though. You know, I thought he returned pretty well. I totally changed my game in the second set. I thought that was an error. I tried to finish the points too quickly because I thought he got a little tired in the second, third and fourth, and never really could take advantage of it. I was a little disappointed with that. Other than that, you know, I bounced back nicely after the second set. In the end, you know, I had to play tough and get into the long rallies if I wanted to beat him. Thank God I understood how to do that.

Q. In the fourth set, surely you were aware that he was extremely tired.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know what he said. I had the feeling he was a little tired, and you should be playing Hrbaty (laughter).

Q. I mean, that perhaps gave you more confidence.

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. You know, I tried, but I couldn't really get the grip on him. That's credit to him. He played well maybe even though he was tired. He didn't maybe allow me to play the way I wanted to play. But it was a tough match, and I thought he played well.

Q. In the third set when you were down 3-5, 15-30, he had that smash that would have taken him to double set point, you basically were up near the wall. How close was it? Can you describe that shot, your retrieval?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he should have won the third set. I just tried to hang in there. It's his own mistake, right? I just tried what I could. Thank God I somehow turned it around. I hardly remember any of those shots because there were too many, it was so close. I just guessed. I mean, he smashed very good I thought all night. I told you, I got lucky in the third, but not lucky in the fourth.

Q. For us is a little bit of a surprise to see you struggling with Haas, struggling tonight. Two different situation, but struggling a little bit. How much is it a surprise for yourself? Is something wrong, something which is not going like you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, there's nothing wrong me being in the semis, I guess (smiling). I mean, I told you, we all knew Haas was able to play well, especially here in Australia. Davydenko, obviously a little bit under the radar because he doesn't get maybe the attention he deserves. But I knew they're both very good and tough players. When I saw the draw, I was a little bit not worried, but I knew if they come through, I'll be in for tough matches if I'll get through, too. That's exactly what happened. If you look down the results I've had with Davydenko, many of them have been tough. Same thing with Haas. So this is for me no surprise. Maybe it is for you. I'm not surprised, you know. Don't be surprised if it's going to be tough again on Friday because I've had some tough matches with Kiefer. Look into the statistics. He's beaten me a couple of times. So, yeah, I'm ready for a tough one at least.

Q. Sometimes do you seem not your usual self out there?

ROGER FEDERER: What was it again? I didn't understand the beginning.

Q. Sometimes you seem a little bit tight.

ROGER FEDERER: Which means?

Q. Which means sometimes you don't flow as you used to. You're not your usual self.

ROGER FEDERER: Getting old (smiling).

Q. There's all this greatest player ever, records, all this crap we give you, make you feel a little bit extra pressure to win every single match out there?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's such a long road, you know, to win slams. So when I hear people saying I'm such a huge favorite, of course, you know, the odds don't help when they come out with the odds me being, I don't know, the highest or lowest odds ever in history. I mean, what do you want me to do? You see it's such a long way and such a tough road. I just try, you know, to stay focused on the matches. I'm extremely, extremely happy, especially tonight, you know, to have come through such a tough match. To, again, have given myself to only be two matches away of a Grand Slam title. So, no, I feel like my game's actually pretty good. I just had some tough opponents and I couldn't put them away maybe earlier like I could. That's credit to the other guys again. Got to make sure I'm playing good again next match because he's a good player again. Maybe it's going to help me play also tough matches. But we'll see what's going to happen.

Q. Have you been doing anything special with Tony Roche over the past weeks?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, more or less when I was down in Sydney before Doha. This is when we really worked out tough. Now I'm in the rhythm of the tournament, so we didn't do much here.

Q. Did you feel at times - it was a long match - that you did lose touch? You looked very frustrated at times.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess frustrated, you're allowed to be if the opponent always puts you on the back foot, you never really get your teeth into his service games, and you're struggling on your own. That's what was the case. I obviously tried to play more aggressive, tried to think and make him come to the net. But, you know, it wouldn't work. It was a tough match. I really had to fight. It was more through my footwork, through my physical strengths and my mental part of the game I won this match tonight I think than maybe through shot making. That sometimes is a little bit of a surprise for some, but I'm happy I can also rely on different aspects of my game than just hitting winners left and right.

Q. Do you think that part of your character is somewhat underestimated?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't think, no.

Q. Perhaps we underestimate how difficult it is to actually do what you do.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, this, yes.

Q. As good as you do, as often as you do, that when it's perhaps not flowing as we expect it to flow, people look for reasons that don't exist?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know what to say. In a way, you're right. I mean, you haven't seen me scrambling too much, especially back-to-back matches. For some it might be a surprise. For some it's finally. For some it's normal.

Q. How about for you?

ROGER FEDERER: For me it's what I expect actually. When I win in straight sets, I'm surprised. When I win against Hewitt at the US Open in the final 6-0, 7-6, 6-0, I'm shocked. Finally get a sense of understanding how I feel when I go through these matches. I feel absolutely normal because it was an uphill battle getting to No. 1, I can tell you that.

Q. In terms of that second set you were talking about, it's unusual to hear you say in hindsight you got the tactics wrong. Was that sort of indecision in your mind? Were you thinking more tactically tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I think I gave him obviously the lead the beginning of the second. I wanted to change things. Not that I panicked, but I wanted to try something different by maybe serving, volleying a little bit more, finishing the points earlier. I realized, well, that's not going to work against Davydenko. He's too consistent, too tough. I had to change again my game plan. By then, I don't even remember if I was down a break in the third. I know I was, but I don't know how it happened. This is really when I realized I got to play tough here and go into the long rallies and beat him this way, because the other way is not going to work. I realized that fairly quickly, thank God.

Q. We spoke to Ivan Ljubicic. He said he played five times with you last year and every time you played different. Is that something you like to do and is he correct?

ROGER FEDERER: Five different ways (smiling).

Q. That's what he said. He said he played you five times and you played every time different.

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't have that game plan going into those matches. I mean, obviously we played on different surfaces. You know, Rotterdam is different to Doha. That one is different again to Shanghai and so on. Indian Wells was different, too. I mean, I guess I adapt to the surface. I don't know. That's probably what I did. I didn't do that on purpose.

Q. Did you see your countrywoman Hingis play?


Q. Did you watch it?


Q. What did you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, she was really close. It's a pity. Great comeback in the second set, which I didn't expect, to be honest. I thought Clijsters had her all figured out. But then, you know, she reacted. If she could have gotten a little better start in the third set, I think she could have won, and then who knows what happens against Mauresmo. But, you know, it is the way it is, and I still believe it was a great comeback and she should be very, very proud.

Q. Are you surprised at how far your next opponent Kiefer has gone into this tournament, how far he's progressed?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, after seeing how he was down against Srichaphan, yes. I just saw bits and pieces of that match. I thought, well, okay, I change the TV, the channel, and I thought he was out. Then the next thing I know, I see him still at the grounds. He's walking around, playing matches. Yeah, I am surprised to see him in the semis now. But again, you know, I know what a quality player he is. Now I saw the match he played today and some other matches. No, I'm not surprised. But it took him a while to get to the semis, so I'm happy for him.

End of FastScripts….

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