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August 12, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger advances to his 17th straight final, going back to June of last year. He'll try to win his 11th career ATP Masters Series title. He's 4-1 lifetime against Gasquet.

Q. After that first set, you must have thought it would be an early night for you. Can you explain the match, the way it went, assess your performance?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it started excellent. I was a bit worried going into the match really because, you know, you have these feelings before matches where you feel good or you feel average. I felt kind of average going into the match.
I was really happy the way it started off for me. I was hitting the ball well, playing aggressive, not allowing him to play his style of play. I was quickly up a set, breakpoints in the second set. I knew after that, once he's going to find the rhythm, it's going to be more difficult, he's going to serve better. That's exactly what started. Started having to save breakpoints. He went for his serve more. Paid off. It ended up being a very close match. Played a shocking game to be broken. It can happen, but it shouldn't.
Then in the third set, I obviously didn't have that good of a feeling like the last two days, you know, otherwise I would have been able to make the difference earlier. But he did well. He was not missing many shots, whereas in the beginning he was just missing by small margins.
It turned out to be a real tough match. Had to save a couple breakpoints. This was a big win for me.

Q. Did you feel of the three three-setters you played, this was the most dangerous of them?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yes and no. The other guys are as dangerous. You know, I see a Tursunov being as dangerous as González. No, I mean, you take them like they come.
By his ranking being higher, you would think his confidence is higher, his experience might be a bit higher. Those components make him a more dangerous player maybe.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your opponent tomorrow. He's one of the few people that have actually beat you in a match in the last two years, albeit on clay.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, tough match. Really shows how tough that first round was in Wimbledon really. He came off a title there to play me in the first round in Wimbledon. Now he's won Gstaad, after that, the Swiss tournament. Now he's back into the finals of Toronto. He really has been able to back it up now. He's playing well.
I knew he's a good player. I expect a tough match. If he comes so far, I reckon he's going to play better than in the first round of Wimbledon.

Q. He says probably he might have had a little bit of an advantage in Monte-Carlo last year because you didn't know him. Unfortunately, now you know him.
ROGER FEDERER: That's correct (smiling). Yeah, I mean, definitely it was the case, you know. He was kind of unknown for me, even though he's been on tour for kind of like a year and a half, playing on and off tournaments because he was so young.
I mean, I started well and played great. All of a sudden he started to play like on fire. I couldn't believe it. He should have dominated me also in the third set. He didn't. He let me back in. I almost ended up winning. I had match point and lost.
I think he deserved that match. I played him a few weeks later in Hamburg in the finals. He proved that it was not just a fluke, you know, to play well. I beat him there in straight tough sets.
No, I know he can play very well. I have to be very careful tomorrow.

Q. You're coming to the net a lot these days, winning a lot of the points there, something like 29 out of 35, according to the statistics.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, you know, the setup obviously makes a big difference. Depends on how you come in. You can play with that. That statistic, it doesn't always show you the truth. But at least when I come in, I do win the point, and that is an important thing to know. I can draw from that and maybe do it more often, take a bit more chances. I'm ready to play low volleys, try to make him hit better passing shots and so forth, put the pressure on him on defense, on anybody.
I'll definitely take that as a positive thing and try to do it again tomorrow.

Q. Is it a conscious tactical plan or something that just happens?
ROGER FEDERER: I think this surface really allows you to do it. You have to really create the points. It's just not a return and, boom, you hit a winner or an error. The surface is so, so slow and the balls too, that you have to really kind of work your way into the points. Usually it ends up being a lob on an attack, or it's a short ball, trying to mix it up. That's why you have to come into the net. I think it's really a lot to do with the surface.

Q. Having three straight three-setters, does that give you any pause going into the final that maybe there's a small amount of vulnerability or do you still have your typical confidence going into your 17th straight final?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I felt much worse going into the Halle final, for instance, after playing those three three-setters beforehand, almost losing to each and every one, Rochus, Gasquet and Haas. I came in there, was very tired, had pain in my leg from the finals also of the French, the whole grueling clay court season. This time around, you know, I'm coming into this tournament fresh. These three-setters, they haven't made me tired yet.
I don't think it's going to play any role tomorrow. It's, anyway, best-of-three. That shouldn't be a problem at all.

Q. You mentioned last night that you were very confident entering the third set. Tonight, 3-All, just as confident or were you getting a little bit nervous that it might slip?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know what the score was when he had a breakpoint. Was it 3-All?

Q. I think the breakpoint was earlier.
ROGER FEDERER: That's really when you're kind of nervous. 3-All, doesn't matter. I think that nerves only come in when you're facing breakpoints, 30-All points, Love-30 points. That's tough, like for everybody else.
This time around in the third set I couldn't make the difference right away. Then obviously, you know, it's not so easy to play so freely. Once I got the break, I played well again and broke him once again. It really shows how important sometimes breaks are and how the momentum then can shift.

Q. A lot of players when they play you play with nothing to lose. Do you think that's going to be the case tomorrow, Gasquet has nothing to lose against you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, sort of. He's also now slowly at a stage where if he wants to make a move, you know, he has to start winning tournaments like this maybe, too. Okay, he's not playing against some guy who's ranked low. Obviously, that changes.
I think, you know, for him it's important now to be able to back up every week. That's what he's been able to do. This is obviously a big occasion. He's had this opportunity once before, in Hamburg against me, too. It's not so easy.
We'll see tomorrow what happens. I think he's improved since. He's been one and a half years. I have to make sure I play a good match because I think anything average won't be enough against him tomorrow.

Q. What do you do the night before a final? What time do you go to bed? Do you talk to anybody tonight about your opponent tomorrow? What's the plan?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's getting late every night for me. I have to make sure, especially tonight as I'm playing day session tomorrow, that I get things done quickly, like treatment, get some food, then go to bed early, try to get as much rest as possible, then come out here and warm up again. So there's not much time now for me.
The other few days, I've always been going to the city, slept in a bit, also tried to get away from the courts as quick as possible because, I mean, the site is nice and everything, but still I don't want to spend my days at the tennis courts.

End of FastScripts...

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