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October 21, 2006

Roger Federer


Q. Very bad match today. You lost your serve once. What happened?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, what happened? It was great. I knew it was going to be tough. Nalbandian, look at the record between him and myself. I lost to him many times in the beginning. We've had some close ones recently in Rome and Shanghai and also at the French Open before he retired.
I'm really pleased with the way I played. I could really play aggressive, play my game. I served pretty well. He's obviously the best return player I've played all week. It was an excellent match for a semi finals. That's for sure.

Q. What did you do better today than the other days against him?
ROGER FEDERER: You're just talking about David now?

Q. Yes, David.
ROGER FEDERER: I always feel like it has to do also with him, how he plays. Sometimes he just returns way better, and sometimes he just doesn't read it very well. That was what I could do well today, served well in the beginning and then always mix it up well. That's what happened also in the first round in Shanghai, and it didn't happen in the finals. He picked all the serves.
He definitely made more errors today, but I think I forced him to by playing aggressive. It depends on how well I play and how he plays. And today it all went my way, which is good.

Q. Did you also feel that you were able to move and hit more freely after winning the first set?
ROGER FEDERER: You always kind of tend to feel better obviously because the other guy is more under pressure. He makes one more mistake and the match is kind of running away from him. I definitely try to put the pressure on in the beginning. It doesn't mean I'm hitting freely. It means I'm trying to play solid, make the other player work hard.
Hopefully, when I have the chance to play aggressive, then I do, and play well. The second set was phenomenal and I thought this is when I could start to hit freely, hit the returns more, take more chances. It all worked out. It was great.

Q. The second set, can you describe for us -- we are human beings, you are not. But what was the feeling in the second set when you were able to hit everywhere, every shot? What were you feeling?
ROGER FEDERER: It's a great feeling. At 3-love you start to feel like this is his last chance he has. If he plays another average game, it's not going to be enough because by now I feel great.
Then you also feel the spectators start to wonder is this going to be over in two minutes or is it going to be over in one hour. They're all hoping for more. It's just more and more good shots coming from my end. It was actually great fun for me of course, because I make them kind of feel that they're living through something special maybe. I don't know. In the end I told myself I might as well go for it. And then it all worked out.
It's really a feeling you don't get very often. It's like what I explained. He was tired and everything. It was good.

Q. You played three tie breaks, four matches in straight sets. Is that the ideal way with which to go into the final?
ROGER FEDERER: It wouldn't matter really how to get to the finals as long as you get there. I feel I'm tough enough physically to handle all these matches no matter if they all go three hours. Don't forget the seeds only need five matches to win instead of six. So that helps us, obviously.
I think it's been a very solid and good tournament so far. This was by far my best match. And I hope that with the best of five match tomorrow I can have a good start and hopefully roll away. It's going to be difficult. They're dangerous players, both of them. We'll see what happened.

Q. You played great on the second set. I still have a question for you. On your shots, which shots do you think has the most margin to be perfected?
ROGER FEDERER: I play with what I've got. And I know my strengths and a bit of my weaknesses. And I know what works better for me and what doesn't work so well. And I think I know when to go for shots and when I should play it a bit more safe.
I feel I have my biggest margin on my forehand just because it's always been my shot I attacked with. It keeps me in the rally. It saves me and everything.
My back hand has really improved in defense. It used to be on the attack was a slice, and then I started to stay more back and my back hand I had to be more steady. That was what I was struggling with in the past.
I have gotten steady. I have got the variation of the slice and the back spin. I definitely feel I can improve the return on the drive, I play with what I have, and I try to improve bit by bit. Practicing a lot with Tony. We're going to work on that again at the end of the year, and hopefully I'm a bit better again next year.

Q. You were Junior World Champion, and for a while you didn't get your game on top. I saw you lose the first round in Challenger to John Barcells. Can you point out one thing that got to you the pro level, to maybe jump to another level?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the juniors always have a struggle eventually. You can't come out of juniors and win four Grand Slams. Obviously you're going to be told you still need more time. It's obvious. We're playing grown men who have beards and who have been around. We're just coming along. It's kind of tough.
I thought I made the jump actually pretty quickly. The last year of juniors I was already playing seniors as well. I finished 300 to No. 1 in the world, after I was 65. The tournament that helped me most was Marseille when I beat Moya when he was 4 in the world and I was 200 or something.
I played quarter finals in Rotterdam as well and within two months I went from 300 to 120. Then I had to struggle for a few months, but then I finished 65. I always had a consistent improvement until I became No. 1. Since I've stayed at No. 1.

Q. Do you watch your matches? Do you tape your matches and watch them regularly?
ROGER FEDERER: The ATP gives the matches to me, but I have very little time to sit down and watch my matches anymore. I used to do that coming up. I just have no time anymore.

Q. There's a chance you will play with Fernando tomorrow. What do you think about him?
ROGER FEDERER: He's been on a good run. He played in the finals of Vienna. I know he can play very well indoors. He just qualified for the Masters last year and should have won to play against me, but ended up losing. So I played Gaston. I've had some good matches with Fernando, even though I beat him every time. I think he's improved over the last few years. He's become more steady. His forehand is still as dangerous as always. I think the indoor takes away that sun and wind and everything factor. So he hits the ball even better. It's a difficult match if it were Gonzalez. But the same for Berdych. Indoors we can see what he can do. He won Bercy and beat Nadal again yesterday. It will be a tough final.

Q. David Nalbandian had no coach at the beginning of the season. Did you have at some stage in the match today of playing against somebody without guidance, without game plan?
ROGER FEDERER: No. No. I didn't even know he didn't have a coach. He has two guys travelling with him. That is like a team as well. And I always said that a player needs to decide for himself if he has only his girlfriend with him or he travels alone or he has a coach or a condition trainer or physio or whatever it is. He needs to know what his game needs. If he thinks no coach, I think that's the right decision. For me it worked out in '04.
I'm here this week also having no coach. I only have friends and my girlfriend. It also seems to work out.

Q. Is to have a coach less important than in the Connors, McEnroe, Villas era?
ROGER FEDERER: They didn't have coaches before that era. Then the coaches came. Now sometimes they go again. That's a normal way of going at things. It's just a coincidence that there's times when many of the top players are looking for coaches because maybe they've been together for a long time or something didn't work out. But the coaching was definitely a trend for about 10-20 years, where I think today players realize that it's maybe not always what they need.

Q. Any thoughts when Nalbandian challenged the last point in the first set?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Might as well.

Q. Sorry?

Q. But because you're opposed to Hawk-Eye, did you find that funny as well? You said you found that funny in the past when you have to wait. Well, this time the set was decided on a review?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's obviously awkward. They're not looking at you. They're looking at the big screen. So it's okay.

Q. On the court you said you are not surprised that Berdych beat Nadal on that surface. Can you explain why he's so dangerous on such a surface, Berdych.
ROGER FEDERER: Not only on this surface. I played him at the French Open. I played him at Wimbleton. I played him elsewhere as well on clay in Hamburg, other places -- in the Olympics obviously. I've played him basically on all surfaces. He's got one of the biggest games out there. If he plays well he can basically beat anybody. He's kind of a Safin type. He's just got the big shots. It seems like his game really matches up well with Rafa. That's why I knew it was going to be a really difficult match for Rafa.

Q. I was taught that a forehand drop shot would be the biggest weapon to compliment your thundering forehand against Nadal. I've heard some mixed feelings for the use of the drop shot. You told me once it would be great to use that as to have a forehand drop shot. Then I've also read somewhere that you had mixed feelings against the use of the drop shot.
ROGER FEDERER: No. What I meant is I don't need drop shots to win a match. Because I feel in any situation I can always hit a winner with my fore hand, so why hit a drop shot. I can open up the court so well with my forehand, that I never really used it or needed it.
It's just because other players played it, and sometimes it does work. Then you feel like you've almost got to do it yourself as well. I just use it for variation. Sometimes I use my back hand because there I can disguise it more because I don't know if I can play the slice long or short. On the forehand side I will pretty much always use the classic forehand. All right.

End of FastScripts...

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