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July 5, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger Federer for you.

Q. Is that the best you've played at Wimbledon so far, Roger?

Q. No, this Wimbledon.
ROGER FEDERER: This Wimbledon, so hard to compare, you know, one player with another. But I definitely had a period where, you know, it was so good, you know, it was just incredible.
So usually sort of rain delays, they slow you down and everything, but they actually gave me more. I played even better. So, I mean, I was very, very pleased. It was an incredible performance. Yeah, that was quite a good performance.

Q. Roger, how early this morning did you know it was raining, and what then becomes your attitude when you know that's going to happen today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you hear the day before that it might be bad, so actually I woke up during the night and I saw it was thunderstorms, you know. So when I woke up, obviously I wasn't surprised to see rain.
But, uhm, you know, when I left the house at 11 o'clock or 10:30, I saw it kind of stopped already so I knew that it could be on time. You know, being first on, it doesn't really matter much because you got to be there on time, you have to make sure you're ready in case you have to play at 1 o'clock. That's what I was.
I just hope that we're not gonna come on and off for five, six times. It was only a couple of times, and it was okay like this.

Q. How did having lost to him before here affect your approach to this match and your feelings about how you wanted to play?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, not much really. I just knew the danger of playing against him, you know, like everybody else, they knew that he could be dangerous. He has a great serve, he's got the game on grass, he can volley, he plays aggressive on everything, takes chances and so forth.
So I knew that this could be a very tricky match if I don't get off to a good start. I didn't think much of the match here four years ago. It was just too long ago. I think that was in my favor really.

Q. Do you think serve and volley tennis is slowly getting redundant? Not necessarily 'redundant,' but getting harder to win with serve and volley?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we are brought up, you know, if you have an hour practice, you hit 50 minutes from the baseline and maybe 10 minutes at net. So that's already how we are brought up. Then obviously conditions are slower than they used to be, so it's normal that we don't see so many guys at the net anymore because you just don't feel so comfortable.

Q. I once heard you say after a very extraordinary performance that you had surprised yourself. So I'm wondering, did you hit some shots today in that match that actually surprised you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, plenty (smiling).
When you get surprised, I get surprised, too, you know. It's not the ordinary when he comes to the net and every time you pass him. It's like really been working well for me this whole tournament. I've been serving excellent. I've been returning good, especially passing shots have been incredible. So that's obviously on the passing shot where I get surprised myself the most.

Q. When you're in that kind of mode and playing like that, how does the game feel to you? How differently does it feel to just normal times? Is it the way you're seeing the ball? Is it almost an out-of-body experience? Walk us through what it feels like to play like that.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you get to feel that you're absolutely in control, and there's a sense of confidence, you know. It's like when you're playing with the home crowd sort of, you're not afraid to try anything, you're not afraid to hit the ball hard, you're not afraid to go for aces. That's the sensation you get when you're playing so well. That's exactly what I felt today. I always felt in control, except in the end a little bit, but I knew that a moment of uncertainty will come along because he will be able to hit more freely because he's basically already told himself he lost.
So I had to just be very careful. I was happy that I was able to finish it off in three sets.

Q. When did you think that you and Wimbledon became a comfortable fit? When did you think the whole thing became a fit for you here?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I guess after my first win here in '03. Before that, I enjoyed coming here but I still had three first-round losses after all, you know, the quarters in 2001. But it's not maybe until I passed that quarterfinal stage until I got really comfortable, and maybe that match against Andy in the semis here in 2003. That really opened the door for me to know that I can play incredible tennis on grass.

Q. You said that rain interruptions kind of helped you. What did you do during that rain delays?
ROGER FEDERER: Nothing different to Mario. We were sitting there together, so...

Q. Just waiting?
ROGER FEDERER: I was waiting. Obviously, I chatted to Tony a little bit, if I have to keep it up, change a few things or if I have to eat something and so forth.
So, no, the rain delays were pretty easy today. You always knew pretty much when you're gonna go on, so it was no problems.

Q. Knowing you were playing Mario today, do you alter your practice routine, do you practice with someone who's going to hit more passing shots or come to the net more often or was it a normal practice routine for you since your last match?
ROGER FEDERER: I hit with Tony yesterday, and I warmed up with him this morning. So he's a lefty, Mario is a righty (laughter). I don't know if that's the best preparation, but it seemed like it worked.

Q. Hard to imagine Tony getting to the net as fast as Mario.
ROGER FEDERER: Once he's at the net, he's better than everybody. He's better than me. Shocking, you know (laughing). But, no, it was -- we worked actually on the passing shots yesterday, so it was good fun to hit with him.

Q. The American golfer Fred Couples was watching today. He was amazed by your performance. He compared it with Tiger Woods, the other athlete who's dominated an individual sport. Have you ever seen Tiger play? Can you reflect on his artistry and craftsmanship?
ROGER FEDERER: No, we never got to meet, unfortunately. We almost got to do it in Shanghai last year. We were there at the same time. We were also in Dubai at the same time. I guess our schedules are pretty packed. But obviously I enjoy watching him, too. The sport of golf, being able to elevate it somewhere where you didn't think it was possible maybe ten years ago. The way he plays, I enjoy it very much.
So obviously I take that as a compliment, what Fred Couples said.

Q. I believe Michael Stich during the rain break saw you watching the telly. John McEnroe was praising you. Eventually, you became uncomfortable because he was going on and on about how good you were. How does that feel, to hear him say good things?
ROGER FEDERER: He says he beats half of the players blindfolded, you know, I was like, Yeah, right, you know. We're not that far yet.
It was just funny because it's not only you watching, it's everybody watching and listening and everything. So you just want to go somewhere, you know, listen to it.
But, I mean, we have a fun sort of a locker room here in Wimbledon. We get along very well, you know. We joke around a lot. Obviously, when stuff like this comes up, I rather make the comment myself than somebody else does it.

Q. Joking around, any of your opponents suggest you play in the jacket rather than leave it on the back of the chair just to give them a chance?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe I can still try that out, you know, maybe some other time. But it's not the time for jokes now.

Q. We're all starting to think that you might get through this whole thing without losing a set. Did you begin to think the same?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. Maybe the next round sort of looks like it's opened up a bit, you know. I'm obviously a big favorite for the upcoming semifinal no matter who wins. But both could be tricky on grass. They have the experience. They have the all-around game. They like to come to the net as well, mix it up and stuff. It can be very tricky. I guess if I keep this sort of a performance, I don't see myself losing.
But, look, again, it's Wimbledon. It's the semifinals. You don't want to underestimate anybody. I hope I can keep this level of play up really.

Q. Was your first experience on grass here in the Juniors?
ROGER FEDERER: I got an invitation to Queen's in '98 first, and then I played the Roehampton tournament.

Q. What was your reaction to grass at first?
ROGER FEDERER: All right (smiling). I mean, I was sort of very happy to finally get the opportunity to play on grass because that was always like a dream, you know, to see is it gonna work out for you, is it not? I felt like it was a pretty good surface for me. I lost the second round of the invitation in Queen's and lost in the semis against Taylor Dent in Roehampton. This is where I felt like, yeah, grass is actually working out fine for me.
When I got to Wimbledon, I felt very good, confident, and I was actually the big favorite also to win, and I did. So actually grass came very naturally, very quickly for me.

Q. Still about grass, what do you think about the Italian performance in the World Cup (laughter)?
ROGER FEDERER: I was very happy for you guys (smiling). Forza Italia.

End of FastScripts...

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