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July 7, 2006

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger Federer for you. Questions in English, first of all.

Q. That was the heaviest semifinal defeat since records began in 1922. Do you think you're as close to perfection as you could be?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, was -- yeah, was flawless. I thought it was great, you know. I had high expectations, you know, to win this match today. And then to come through and, you know, play at a level I did today, I think that's great.
I'm very, very pleased. Not much more I can really say about it.

Q. What does it feel like to be in that zone, to be so totally in command of a game like that, and so totally on top of your game?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, in one way it's great, obviously, because you're playing well, you're feeling well. But then at the same time, you know, over a best-of-five match, it's always like not so easy to keep it going, you know, because you always feel like eventually you won't be able to keep it up because you're focusing. Obviously, when you're playing so well, it's hard to always just stay so concentrated, you know. So makes it hard sometimes.
But, look, I'd rather have this problem than having to fight back into a match, obviously.

Q. Is it exhilarating? How do you feel when you're like that?
ROGER FEDERER: It's just a beautiful feeling, you know. You don't get it very often because usually, you know, you have very close matches. Depends on a couple of points. When you can dominate an opponent, it's always sort of nice. But then especially in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it's even better, I think.

Q. You and Jonas are friends. As that match is unfolding, do you allow yourself any pangs of sympathy or is there no room for that?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not in the semis. Sorry (smiling).
No, I think he told me after the match, too, that he actually thought he was playing all right, you know. That's also the feeling I had really, you know, that he wasn't making crazy mistakes or anything. He really just came up short. So for this reason there was no need to feel bad for him because I just had a really great day, and unfortunately he couldn't, you know, do any better today.

Q. Some of the players have said today that they'd like to take the Wimbledon towels home to give as gifts to their friends rather than buying them in the shops. Do you take your towels home from the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do take a few (smiling). I have a big collection, stacked up back home.
I mean, yeah, it's a good gift, you know. We only get to get them on the courts and not in the locker room. I guess that's why if they would give them away in the locker room, too, there would be none left very quickly.

Q. Baghdatis spoke about the sacrifices that he had to make. He had to leave home at a very young age and go to Paris to train and become the tennis player he has today. Can you tell us about the sacrifices you made to get to where you are today.
ROGER FEDERER: I think every player has to make sacrifices. When you're young, you'd rather sometimes stay at home and go maybe through a normal school, or if you -- rather than go and travel. You still would like to see your family and friends more. I was also I remember very homesick when I was traveling at the early age, around 14 till even 16, 17. It was hard at times. I would leave two months from home.
And, you know, I left home also when I was 14 years old. I went to the French-speaking part of Switzerland to train. That was a two-hour train ride away, which is in Switzerland a long way. But it's not Cyprus-Paris, but it was also a long way. That was also hard, I remember.

Q. There's so much talk about Jonas. How do you characterize him as a player?
ROGER FEDERER: He's been hanging in there a great deal. I think he's not a player you would think he's -- I don't even know how old he is, 30-something.

Q. 34.
ROGER FEDERER: He looks fit as ever. He's playing the mixed, the singles, the doubles, plays many tournaments. It seems to me that he's very, very match tough. I think when you're so fit, you can still keep going for many years. Depends on your will and depends on your body. It seems like he's been having sort of an injury-free career, and that can maybe add that you can play a few more years.

Q. What is your preference in the second semi, would you like another shot at Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, both would be nice, you know, really. I had a great match with Marcos at the Australian Open. Would be nice to play him again, another Grand Slam final. At the same time, obviously I would like to play Rafael, you know, because of the matches we've had in the last couple of months. And so for this reason, doesn't matter who comes to the final.

Q. Who do you think is a tougher opponent for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think there's much in between.

Q. If it is Rafa, how much of a difference do you think playing on grass will make?
ROGER FEDERER: We'll know Sunday night then.

Q. Do you expect to find it easier to hit as many winners as you are at the moment against Nadal on grass, given his retrieving abilities?
ROGER FEDERER: It's a totally different match. Obviously, he's a lefty. That changes many things. But it's normal on grass you play many more winners than other surfaces. It always depends how the opponent brings the ball back. Sometimes if they don't bring it back, you can't hit a winner. Also depends on these kind of things.
He definitely covers the court very well. It seems he does it better and better as more matches he plays on grass, too.

Q. How much better do you think you can play in the final than you did today?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, you know, I have to really forget the last couple matches or the whole tournament so far. I can't rely on a performance every time, you know, flawless, straight sets, no worries, no breakpoints, whatever, you know, all this stuff. I think a final is always very different because, uhm, the pressure is much higher.
I'm going obviously to try to defend my title, and I believe - and I'm sure I - will have to fight much harder in the finals than for instance today.

Q. Jonas said some very nice things about you yesterday. There's a little bit of a backlash. These guys are giving up before they go on the court with you. They're talking about how great you are, what a great ambassador you are for the game. Do you think these guys are mesmerized by you or do you think it's healthy for them to be so respectful that maybe it seems they're not capable of bringing their A game?
ROGER FEDERER: I remember. I heard his press conference. I know exactly what he said. I didn't feel anything of lost battle before he came on court.
But it's true that sometimes I hear players, not necessarily against me, but they come into a tournament or into a match and they feel like, you know, Well, if I win this, it's gonna be a miracle, sort of, and usually only find out later on when you put the match together with the quotes before a match, sometimes you can find out. I didn't have that feeling with Jonas yesterday.

Q. Have you ever felt that way against anybody early in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, earlier, for sure. Now, recently, the last few years, no.

Q. How would you describe your confidence against Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, I guess it's a bit different. But, uhm, confidence against Rafa, I mean, it's there. I know I can beat him. I guess I don't need to think of, you know, playing against him. I need to focus on me playing on grass, my style of play, playing aggressive.
It's gonna be only easier on grass to do that than on clay where he can cover much more ground, when he can play further in the baseline. So, no, I'm confident for the finals no matter who it is really.

Q. Sorry if this has been asked. With the rain in the last few days, how is the grass playing?
ROGER FEDERER: Dry (smiling).
But, I mean that's not in a sarcastic way, but they keep the grass so dry with the bubble and everything, with the tent, whatever they have. I mean, it's amazing. Every time I come out, you know, I'm always a little worried it's a little humid and everything. There is no feel to that.
I have the feeling the baseline is really, really worn out. But that's just behind the baseline. That's not where the ball bounces and stuff. There's definitely, as usual, more bounce towards the end of the tournament. It tends to become a little more quick, I think.

Q. One of the more interesting things that has been said during this fortnight was your admission that you like to beat your opponents on their own game. How does that mindset relate to your matches against Nadal regarding the French Open final and then eventual Wimbledon final?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, you know, I don't always play their game. But, uhm, I don't know. That was in my nature, you know, early on in my career, trying to beat guys the way they played. If they play from the baseline, I also used to also play much more from the baseline and so forth. But I still keep my type of game plan.
Now against Nadal, obviously it's so different that I cannot play like him because he's a lefty. I don't know. He's just totally different, you know. So for this reason, you know, I know I have to go back to my game plan, what I usually do and what usually works. This normally works against most of the players. Against Nadal, it hasn't been working the last few times. I hope I can turn that around in case he wins today.

Q. Jonas made a comment yesterday about how you practiced with him when you were about 15, 16, and he thought you seemed to semi- tank. He was a bit disappointed with you.

Q. Can you remember that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah (smiling). No, there were some days, you know, when I was not really in the mood to practice, especially not to practice with Jonas because he was always so intense and I didn't enjoy that, when somebody was so intense and I came on court and just hoped for an easy hit. That, you wouldn't get with Jonas.
Yeah, I also remember one story when I remember Peter Lundgren at the time, I played Stockholm, the last tournament of the year. He put me, I don't know, I wanted to sort of play a relaxing week. I told him, Look, I want to bring a couple friends with me. I want to play a good tournament. But, look, be nice to me with whatever you do, practice sessions, whatever.
He put me, I don't know, like a Sunday morning just before a tournament, nine o'clock with Jonas. I went out the day before. I was so tired. I remember I forgot the alarm and I just arrived on court, went to practice. Lost 6-1, 3-Love. I went back home, What was this all about? Jonas was always so intense.
I'm not surprised I sometimes didn't give my best. But credit to him, you know (smiling).

End of FastScripts...

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