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January 25, 2007

Roger Federer



Q. Second set, was that the best tennis you've ever played, or close to it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's hard to say. Big occasion, I played incredible today. I'm so happy. Second set was definitely incredible. I mean, I've had a few good ones at the US Open against Lleyton and other players. But it's incredible to do it against a top guy, you know, on a big court on a big occasion.
So I'm really happy, yeah.

Q. We kind of asked this question after the Djokovic match. Was there a bit of an extra edge out there? You really wanted to make your statement and play your best in these circumstances against someone who has come close to you in the last couple times that you played?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, exactly. We've played a number of times. Against players like him, I always enjoy playing. Not just because I've been winning, but, I mean, I know how close he was at the US Open and Shanghai. He played well in Kooyong, too. We practiced here. He beat me in practice here. He beat me 4-4. I still remember all those things. To come out and beat him, you know, so convincing, it's a surprise for me, too.
Yeah, that's about it.

Q. You said on court that you were shocked. How would you be shocked if your name was Andy Roddick or Jimmy Connors?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, look, it's a tough one for him of course and for the team. He's been playing so well, made it to the semis. I mean, you got to be confident coming into the semis. I was, too.
I always go into matches thinking, Well, this might not work out. Especially against Andy, more so.
I mean, it's hard for him. I put it more down on just the day form. I mean, I was just better today. I guess it makes it easier to forget for him, I hope.

Q. What advice would you give him after a demoralizing loss like that?
ROGER FEDERER: No advice. That's just one to forget for me.

Q. You must be feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof right now.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I do feel great, no kidding (laughter).

Q. Have you ever felt better?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, the tournament's not over yet so I have to stay kind of concentrated here, try not to get carried away like I said on court. This was definitely one of my best matches I ever played.
I read Andy's serves almost like back in the day in Wimbledon when I played him for one of the first times, in the semis. I was playing out of my mind.
Yeah, I mean, I do feel great. I'm surprised I could kind of turn it on so much after the match against Robredo. I just hope now that I can keep it up one more match. I got two days, which is great. I can kind of recover, then start thinking about the next match.

Q. What puts you into that zone? What gets you there?
ROGER FEDERER: There's no secret. You just hope for a good start. That's what I got. But he broke back. I was like, Oh, God, this could be a tough one tonight. He was all pumped up after that break. I knew that's exactly what he needed to get back into the match.
All of a sudden everything goes my way. Started reading his serve. Started hitting passing shots. Started not making mistakes from the baseline. No unforced errors, just winners.
That's all of a sudden when it goes just by itself. You don't ask yourself any more questions. You forget about how tough the beginning was, you know, of the match. There's no explanation. That just happens.

Q. It was a wonderful response from the crowd, a standing ovation. You musn't get too one step ahead of yourself. You still have a final to play and that's great, but it was a tremendous ovation, wasn't it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think, especially here at the Australian Open -- I mean, I've played good matches here, but never really almost destroyed somebody. I've done it at the US Open, Wimbledon, French Open. Maybe not so much here because I didn't get so many chances yet.
Here at the Australian Open I've won good matches, but never outright dominated another top player in the big stage in the semis or the final.
For me, that's a highlight of my career to do it right here tonight, so I'm very, very happy about it.

Q. You've been talking to Rod Laver. What did he say about the match?
ROGER FEDERER: How do you know?
No, it was great to see each other again. We missed each other yesterday. Yeah, I mean, just kind of catched up, you know, see what's going on from his side, from my side. It was just good to see each other again. Not much I can tell you really.

Q. He didn't rate your performance today?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, he said it was excellent, which is nice to hear (smiling).

Q. If you have a time machine, which legend would you pick to play against you, from the history of tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Him or Bjorn Borg.

Q. Some people think it won't make a difference. Who would you prefer out of the other side facing on Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's a tough match. Steady player, Tommy Haas, against the fiery Fernando González. I don't know who to pick.
Maybe Tommy because he's been here three times here before in the semifinals. Now he's playing. He's had a bit more success over a long period of time, where maybe this is a big, big occasion for Fernando. But, again, he's tough, so I don't know who.
I think it's about the same whoever I play in the finals for me, in terms of toughness.

Q. Have you seen the González matches? Will you watch tomorrow night or leave that to someone like Tony Roche?
ROGER FEDERER: No, unfortunately, I didn't see anything of the match yesterday. Went to dinner, came back, it was over. Must have played well, I guess (smiling).

Q. Will you watch tomorrow night?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, what time is it? 7:30, as well? Usually dinner time, but we'll see (smiling).

Q. There were a couple of moments when the giant screen showed replays of one or two of your superior efforts tonight. The crowd had a great response. Do you look up as well and think, How did I do that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's nice to see great shots replayed, even if it's his shots. Doesn't matter. I just think it's nice to see it in replay because you can kind of see how it all happened or how you got to the ball and stuff.
I mean, I think it's a great thing for the fans. It's tough sometimes, you know, when the screen changes from seeing the return play of the server, then it goes to the whole screen of the court. It goes from white to green or whatever.
You can see that kind of in the corner of your eye. You've got to really tell yourself not to look up there because it's a little bit in the sight of vision.
But, look, it's okay so far. No problems.

Q. You beat 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 Lleyton Hewitt at the US Open. How do you compare that win with the win of tonight? Similar or not? Secondly, if you were a writer --

Q. Roddick was saying that he was closing the gap. Now we are all thinking this gap became the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean. What do you think it is?
ROGER FEDERER: What was the first question (laughter)? Seriously.

Q. Lleyton Hewitt.
ROGER FEDERER: Lleyton Hewitt, yeah. Look, that one was the finals. This is the semis. That makes a big difference already. I don't know. I mean, it's hard to really say what the difference is because, I mean, there's been quite some years apart of that now.
I remember also against Lleyton I was so much in control for one and a half sets, then all of a sudden he came back, whereas Andy never really came back once I was in the lead.
This one probably felt a bit easier because I wasn't in the second or third set challenged as much as I was in the first. Whereas with Lleyton, all of a sudden it got really close in the second set, and then just I raced away with it once again in the third.
What I said with Andy, I don't think we can be too harsh on Andy tonight because it was just one of those great days of mine. I just was playing so well, and he couldn't really get his teeth into the match once the first set was over.
Look, what he said, he might get closer. I felt that, as well. Now maybe things have changed again. I don't know. I mean, we got to wait again for the next match. Not to put him down or put him up or me up, I don't think that's quite fair. It was just one of those days for him to forget and me to remember. That's it.

Q. You've never won a Slam without dropping a set. Will you think of it on Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER: You remind me of it, so I'll think of it now, yeah.

Q. What do you think is the legacy you're giving to the game?
ROGER FEDERER: Geez, I mean, I just hope I'm remembered as one of the good guys, fair, kind of an idol to kids, because that's what I needed to get started. I don't know what it takes to be remembered for all these things. This will only be answered once my career is over.
I'm so happy the way things are going. I'm so proud of all my results and the way I kind of handled things. I mean, it's tough. All these interviews, all this traveling. Life's not always easy. But it's a great life, and I wouldn't exchange it for anything.
Yeah, I mean, I don't know how I'm remembered. You guys write the stories. Then you just have the fans around the world which I've had great support of. Again you saw it, the standing ovation. They really appreciate the hard work and that's great.

Q. For the past four years you've probably given 500 press conference. Is there a question that none of us has ever asked you that you'd like to answer?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm sure there's a hundred thousand questions you can still ask me. Those will come for the next five years or so.

Q. Rod Laver said today before the match that you're on your way to becoming the greatest player of all time. He also said that you're a modest champion. Is there something you can possibly say that could argue against those who don't believe you're actually the greatest yet? Are there things you need to achieve?
ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely. There's plenty I need to do before I'm the best of all time. So far away from beating the No. 1 -- weeks at No. 1, Slams I'm still five away. Jimmy Connors has 108 titles. I have 45. How can you put me in front of him in terms of titles? It's still farfetched. If I go at the pace I'm going right now, of course I'll break all records. Nobody's ever done that.
That's why I say, Let's wait and see. I'm definitely on the right track. I'm not injured. I'm playing well. I'm in another finals.
Yeah, maybe people haven't seen a guy play like I have, and that gives me a lot of compliments. That's beautiful, you know. But I got to do it over and over again, you know, for another five years or so. That's the tough part.

Q. What do you think about the impact of your coach Tony Roche and the impact of Jimmy Connors with Roddick in today's match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I speak pretty brief with Tony about how to approach a match. I don't know if Andy does one hour in the room with Jimmy going through the match, I don't know. Everybody's different. I'm pretty relaxed. I don't need a hundred thousand advice. I just need a few things to remember and I'm okay. The rest I do myself out on the court.
My work with Tony has definitely paid off. I've become a much more consistent player in all areas of my game. Yeah, that's why I hardly ever falter. Yeah, that's definitely thanks to him.

Q. Is your father going to be allowed to come to more Grand Slam tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER: He's retired. He's helping me out. I'll just take him to the nice places. There's many of them.
Yeah, he used to get very nervous when I used to play. He's relaxed more now. Same as my mom. Watching these matches, I think he likes 'em, you know. He always comes to the tournament in Basel, obviously. Then he comes to Davis Cup when we play at home. Sometimes they come to like final weekends of Grand Slams at the French or Wimbledon where it's close by to travel to.
Who knows, maybe they travel more because they're retired now, which would be nice to see them around more, yeah.

Q. You talk about your coach. What are the members of your team? Can you talk more about the nutritionist?
ROGER FEDERER: Don't have one. Physical coach is back home skiing. Yeah, I mean, next to Tony, my most important person is Mirka. Everybody knows that. I don't need to tell everyone. She's great. She helps me out a great deal. Has been incredible help over the last six years. Not only my girlfriend, but a great help.
Yeah, then I stopped with my physio back in April. I'm kind of seeing where it takes me in that respect. Yeah, my condition coach, Paganini, he's been a very important person in my career. He's really taught me how to practice hard off court as much as Tony Roche has learned me how to work hard on the court.
Very important people who really influence my tennis a lot. I thank them very much so.

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