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July 6, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger Federer.

Q. Presumably this last week has been your most bizarre spell at a Grand Slam.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's been nice for me. I've been okay. I knew the danger of, you know, my first match after the long break again, of course, so it could have been an advantage and a disadvantage.
Now that I'm through, I think it's definitely a bit of an advantage. Conditions were really difficult today on top of that. You know, that you haven't played maybe doesn't help as well. I think it was a tough match.
I expected. Ferrero is a good player. He served very well in the second set. I missed a couple shots. But it's been kind of a strange week, no doubt.

Q. What have you been doing during your surprise holiday?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not much really. Waiting, huh, like all the other guys. But instead of the locker room I was at home, which was a bit more cozy.
Yeah, I went to the city once or twice. Went to the hairdresser. Watched movies. Played cards. Hanged out (sic).

Q. Did it give you a lot of time to think about what you were trying to do here?
ROGER FEDERER: Not at all. I wasn't really focusing on the matches too much.

Q. Do you feel the pressure of defending the title now or was it an easy match for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I'm very far in the tournament already, so of course I started dreaming about winning the tournament once again here. That was my big goal already basically one year ago when I won my fourth, try to come back and win my fifth here.
I'm very happy with my progress. The matches are not getting easier, that's for sure. But I'll try to play another good match tomorrow.

Q. Did you feel dissociated from the tournament, not being around?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I was around practicing every day. For one hour I always tried to catch a dry spell, just hit the ball a little bit, because all of a sudden if it rains really a lot, you couldn't hit at all, then all of a sudden you lack in tennis coming into an important quarterfinal.
But, no, I mean, I felt good in practice. I felt good also in the match, as good as I could with the gusty winds.

Q. You seemed to find your game in the third set. What did you go through after losing the second?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he served extremely well in the second set so it made it hard for me to break him. He had games where he almost didn't hit a second serve. I felt it was really difficult.
Then I think I had this one game when I missed maybe two kind of easy forehands to go down Love-30 instead of going up 30-Love. That was a turning point. I got broken after that. He served it out.
It was a bit of a pity, but he's a tough player. After that I think I just improved a little bit on my backhand. I made more returns because I was just missing the crucial returns in the second set. 30-All point, up the T, I couldn't block it back. Usually I make it. I kind of gave him a few too many free points in that second set.

Q. Even your uncle is here from South Africa. What has the family support been like?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been nice. He doesn't come to many tournaments. Same with my mom. She actually went back after the Safin match, came back on Wednesday. She didn't miss a thing, which is good.
Yeah, I have many friends around here because obviously Switzerland is not too far away.

Q. What do you make of the level of criticism that the club has taken from some other players about scheduling, not playing Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I hear a lot about it. I read it.
I don't think it's really the right way to go after the tournament. You know, I mean, it rains a lot here sometimes, so we do have that problem. But Wimbledon is doing so many great things next to it.
They've risen prize money. They're building a new roof over Centre Court. They built the millennium building in 2000. Then we're not upset when they do those things.
When it rains once, we have a scheduling problem, I don't think we should start going after the club right away. I disagree with the players, what they said.

Q. Could you comment on your upcoming opponents. You haven't played Andy since the Australian Open. Gasquet has given you a bit of fight in the past.
ROGER FEDERER: Andy, we go way back now. We've had great matches, especially here at Wimbledon. Thank God they all went my way. I always had tough times beating him. It's always intimidating to play against him. He's got that massive serve.
You just always have the feeling if you're not right on your game you can't take those chances which are going to come by once in a while, you'll have no chance because his serve is just unbreakable sometimes.
But for some reason I always found a way against him. I enjoy playing against him because I think we both try to look for the net as much as we can. We play aggressive. On grass I think it's even more entertaining.
With Richard, I think he's a wonderful player off the back of the court. He now mixes it up very well, coming to the net much more. He's got a nice slice, fantastic backhand. He's really improved. I think he's going to be one of the good players in the future.

Q. The Australian Open final, do you consider that an aberration in terms of your and Andy's career series and how one-sided it was? Was that a very severe exception to the rule in your matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, sometimes when you're playing at such a high level, day form decides. I saw the ball like a basketball. I mean, that was my advantage.
You know, I think I had a tough kind of first few games, then all of a sudden I started cruising. I was up two sets to love. Then, of course, it's always going to be hard for him. I was playing exceptional.
Sometimes you get these matches. But I always go into the match a bit worried against him.

Q. Does Borg's presence here for the weekend add pressure or more incentive for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, no pressure. I've played in front of him. I think always the first time, somebody you admire, who you like, it's intimidating to play them. I've had him sit maybe at my first Dubai finals, I think. He was there.
You know, it's different when you know he's sitting there, you're trying to play well. You're not trying to prove yourself, but in the back of your mind you always know he's there. I've played a couple times in front of him.
I don't think it's going to matter much. I take it more as an enjoyment. I'm happy he comes back to Wimbledon, he didn't come back for such a long time, until the parade. I think he's fantastic.
Obviously to maybe equal his record would be fantastic, him maybe watching my match.

Q. Do you have a cold or sounding a bit nasal?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, a bit of a cold, but not bad.

Q. Rafael Nadal's progress in this tournament, so opposite to your experience. Have you analyzed the different effects it might have on both of you?
ROGER FEDERER: I think he played fantastic, you know. I mean, that's my look at things. I mean, he had a really difficult match with Soderling. He got unlucky he missed that forehand wide on match point.
He could have then rested, but he had to come back day after day. It was hard on him. Then he got maybe a bit lucky against Youzhny. But, my God, he came back very, very strong. So that impressive stuff again.
And then today in the gusty winds to beat Berdych who has been a tough opponent, he's beaten three very strong players. I would take him as a finalist pick on the other side of the draw.
I'm not surprised. I say every time I think he's a fantastic player.

Q. Have you read the comments from Pete Sampras about the style of play in this era, the lack of net play? If you have, do you have any comment on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't read it, so I don't know. We have to have more time to talk about it then, some other day.

Q. What did it feel like yesterday after so many days of not playing when you did finally get on the court and hit the first ball?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, felt good. I wasn't even particularly nervous about coming back out on Centre Court really, to be honest. I felt good. I think it showed. I went up with an early break.
But I would never have guessed we would only play 10 or 11 games. I really thought we could finish the match. Then all of a sudden once we were back in the dressing room, there was no way we were ever going to come back.
That was quite disappointing. I was happy I could win that first set today at least.

Q. Can you talk us through the mental process after the second set. It was almost like you flipped a switch and went back to being the best player in the world. Was losing that set a wake-up call?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, look, you try to hang in there every point. In the second set, I think it was basically getting used to the conditions because the first set was over in a few minutes. He missed a lot of forehands in the tiebreaker and also before.
In the second set it was both of us trying to find how aggressive we should play, should we just keep the ball in play. That's basically what we were doing. Then I missed a couple shots and he got the set.
I decided in the third set to just play a bit more offensive, go for my shots a little bit, hit a couple of up-the-line backhands. I started to serve a little bit better and didn't make those unforced errors. Then the match turns around in your favor.
But you got to decide what you want to do with the ball, not maybe let the opponent dictate play from the baseline. I think that's the most important decision I took today on the court.

Q. Is there a certain pressure from history trying to catch guys who aren't even playing any more?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't see that as a pressure. I see that more as a fun thing, a challenge really. It's a dream come true in a way because I never thought I would chase down former greats.
My dream was to play at Wimbledon maybe once. If then the dream comes true, maybe win the once. It all came true.

Q. Tommy Haas when he pulled out said he could have been dangerous for you.

Q. How do you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: I agree with him. He's a great player.

End of FastScripts
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