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July 8, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Roger Federer for you.

Q. When you were serving at Love-2, 30-All in the fourth set, Nadal hit a ball that was inches long. You, Carlos Ramos, the umpire, and I saw the ball clearly long. Nadal challenged it, and the Hawk-Eye simulation showed the mark touching the line. Have you changed your mind as to whether Hawk-Eye is accurate since you told me last week that you think that it is?
ROGER FEDERER: What can I say? If I'm going to go against it, people will always say he doesn't agree whatsoever, you know.
I don't know how they developed this machine or whatever, you know, if they took all possibilities into account: You know, the way the ball travels, the way it bounces, 3D, the whole thing.
I told the umpire I was happy Nadal was going to challenge because I knew the ball was out. Then to see that it was in on a 30-All point, which was such a huge point, I was shocked of course it was inside.
But, you know, doesn't matter what I think about it anymore. It's in place. It's the way it is.

Q. I was struck by your comment after the match on court that you had to win these while you could. Do you really feel like Rafael is breathing down your neck here and all over the circuit?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, he's playing phenomenal tennis. He's definitely improved yet again I think. He was more -- he had more of a game plan this year than he had last year. I think last year he came out, nothing to lose, kind of hit hard but didn't know why.
This year around, he's changed his game a little bit. Plays maybe a bit more aggressive, knows the game of grass much better. That's why I think he's not only just a good clay courter, he's a good all-around player.
That's what's going to happen anyway in the future, that everybody will be able to play on all different surfaces because it's slowing down so much. It was almost impossible to get to the net from the baseline because you neutralize the opponent so well.
What I meant with it was just because he came so close today that, you know, I think he deserves a title here. You know, he's not getting any worse, I think. It was a tough match and I have the highest respect for him.

Q. What do you think you'll remember most from this match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, just the occasion. I mean, it was a huge occasion for me, huge pressure. Bjorn Borg sitting there, Jimmy Connors sitting there, John McEnroe sitting there, Boris Becker sitting there. You know, for me it's a big moment for me.
Then in the end, to lift the trophy, it's a very, yeah, special memory. I'll have it for all my life.

Q. You're going to leave out Jack Kramer?
ROGER FEDERER: Was he there, too? I didn't know. Sorry.

Q. You had to be happy with the way you served on big points.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I was happy. It was my entire game. I think I did pretty well. I concentrated really hard on my serve, you know, so I didn't get under pressure there.
Unfortunately, I got broken in the first set after I broke early on. But, you know, he played well. I think returned also pretty good. He started to pick up on my serve midway -- beginning of the fourth set, I thought. I really couldn't get the aces I wanted to. That made it hard for me today.
But from the baseline he was not outplaying me, but I always thought he had the upper hand for some reason and I couldn't really play that aggressive like I wanted to maybe like last year.
But my serve kept me in, and I definitely won the big points today, which was most important.

Q. How would you describe the meeting you had with Bjorn Borg after the game?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was very special, you know. Gave each other a Swedish hug, you know. Yeah, it was very nice, you know, because I think we like each other very much, you know, from far away sort of to speak.
So to see him after the match it was very fitting in my point of view. So to see him waiting there was great.

Q. What was going through your mind at the very end and you collapsed?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was almost crying already when I was up 5-2, so I had to kind of just stay pretty relaxed. And then, you know, the game starts with Love-15. I'm like, Oh, my God, this is going too well. Then all of a sudden, of course, he's got game point and I'm just trying to stay focused.
But it's hard, you know. So many things go through your mind. On match point, you know, I had one beforehand. I played it well. He had a good slice on that.
The second one, I said, Let's do it again, play aggressive on the second serve. It paid off, so I was thrilled.

Q. You practiced with Goran Ivanisevic before the final. He's a lefty. Does it help you against Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's good to have hit at least half an hour with a lefty before the finals because I've played against six right handers.
So, of course, it's hard to come into a match and you play a lefty. Especially on the returns, I always feel it. The entire points are played in a different manner. Where usually you go backhand cross-court, with Rafa I have to go backhand long line.
I asked Goran yesterday if he wanted to hit with me. He said, Sure, I'm around. I was very happy he did that.

Q. You obviously enjoy playing with the legends of the game. Can you step back and compare the incredible moment in Australia with Rod and then meeting Tiger last fall and then here today with Borg?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's special when greats come around and watch you, you know. Of course, I got very emotional in Australia last year, you know, when I won. Rod Laver gave me the trophy. Only really then it sunk in that he was there, it was his arena sort of to speak, and I realized I really won the Australian Open because I was so exhausted, you know.
This was different. Of course, I didn't expect Bjorn to come down and give me the trophy, but I saw him up in the stands. Maybe it made me a bit more proud of myself. But it was more just, you know, the mental pressure that went away the moment I won match point. To celebrate it with my closest friends, my girlfriend, it was very special and important to me.
Then, of course, to see Bjorn after that, it's very nice to share a moment with a person like Bjorn.

Q. You've played him four of the last six major finals. Pretty clear this is a rivalry. Do you like this, or do you prefer when it was Safin one big match, Roddick the next, Hewitt, where you didn't know where you would play in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: No, look, I don't mind it. I win my share. He wins his. It's a good rivalry, I think. We've been at the top for over a hundred weeks together. It is like building up to one of maybe the great rivalries, I don't know.
But we sometimes haven't lived up to the expectations in the past, in our matches in majors especially. I think maybe that was maybe a bit of a problem. You know, but you can't always play five-set-match thrillers, you know. I'm happy it happened today. I left as the winner. Was perfect.

Q. You have achieved so much in your career. What ambitions do you have left in tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Many. I haven't won Paris, Davis Cup, the Olympic Games, many other tournaments I'd like to win again. But, you know, if I don't win them all, it's okay, too. I'm having a great run, you know.
I just want to enjoy tennis as well and not just put myself under pressure all the time. That if I don't win, whatever, the Olympic Games, I won't be able to sleep the rest of my life, you know. That's not the way it is for me.
I'm just happy with such a great run, especially at Wimbledon, the most important tournament of my life. I'm loving every moment of it, that's clear.

Q. You're only three titles away from tying Pete Sampras. Does it seem to be getting more realistic? You're a young guy.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Obviously it's on my mind, you know. But, again, it's not like anything where I say I have to beat this record otherwise it's no good.
Pete Sampras is maybe the greatest player we've ever had. So to come out and break his record, it's not the easiest thing, I know that. It takes me five Wimbledons and three Australian Opens and three US Opens to just get close to him. So it just shows you what a great player he was.
I don't know how much longer I can keep it up, you know, but I definitely feel like I'm mentally and physically still fit to go on for many more years to come. But that's not going to make you win trophies. You've got to put yourself -- give yourself occasions and possibilities.
That's what I've been able to do. I'd love to equal his record, let's put it that way first. To be on the same level as Pete Sampras, my former hero in a way, is already very nice, but I'm not there yet.

Q. I don't know how much you saw of Bjorn Borg's early career on video.

Q. Any similarities between your games?
ROGER FEDERER: Not much maybe (smiling). Just got to go through his game quickly. No, I don't think so much. I think it's more in the attitude on court, and that's not playing. In the playing style I don't think so much.

Q. When you were at 1-All, 15-40, 2-All, 15-40, in the final set, did you fear the match was slipping away from you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, a little bit. Of course, you know (smiling). I was like, Oh, my God, it's slipping away (laughter). No.
It was a tough moment to be in. I was nervous. I was thinking I'm probably maybe going to get out of the first one. When the second one comes around, you're like, Oh, my God, let's do it all over again.
I don't know if I can do it. You need a good serve on grass. From the baseline, he kind of had the upper hand towards the end of the match.
But, no, I served well and played smart, took the right decisions. So that's what it comes down to. I was so happy when I came out of it because I knew that now he probably missed his chance. If I'll get one, I'll probably make it. That's exactly what happened.

Q. You have Swiss and South African nationality. In 2003 you created a Roger Federer Foundation to promote sports in South Africa. How is that progressing?
ROGER FEDERER: Very good. I'm able to generate a lot of money to help good causes, like the project in Port Elizabeth in South Africa. Very happy to be supporting almost 60 kids for better education, for food as well.
We have a similar project now in Ethiopia, as well. I'm trying to, you know, of course generate more money and give kids a chance because they are the future, our future. If I can help a little bit on the side next to playing tennis, I'm very happy because I don't have too much time yet, let's put it that way, because I'd like to invest more time in it in the future.

Q. Do you want them to play tennis or just school?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy if they can go to school and have a decent life, you know. Same thing with UNICEF. I'm trying there, as well, to be a goodwill ambassador. I went to India last year to see the tsunami relief efforts. It was very interesting.

Q. Aside from the fact that it was your fifth and all the history, was it also special because you were tested so much? You haven't been tested that much in most tournaments, and even in the finals here you'd never been to five sets. Did that make it that much sweeter, just the battle it took to win it?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I think it's my first Grand Slam final I win in five sets. That obviously alone is going to get emotions out of you because you're drained towards the end, you know, mentally and physically.
You fought your heart out, you know, the whole way. So in the end you want to come through as the winner because otherwise it's so disappointing because you came so close, you know.
So the record was on the line and everything just adds up and even puts more pressure on you. So for me, because I haven't played many five-set matches in the last few years, if you look at my statistics, because I've always been able to either win clearer and then would lose more clear.
But I haven't lost many best-of-five-set matches lately. I knew that was a big occasion, maybe the biggest occasion of my life so far on a big stage. I was very happy to come through as the stronger.

Q. This week you practiced a few times with a Portuguese junior. Could you tell me a little bit about his game?
ROGER FEDERER: I already practiced with him for about 10 or 12 days in Monaco, yes. Very nice kid. I think he's a good player. Maybe I'll see him again in the future for practice because I like his game very much. He's got a nice forehand, nice backhand. I think juniors, when they work hard, they can improve a lot.
I hope I'll see him on the tour soon.

Q. It the fourth set when you talked to the umpire, was that the closest you came to losing your temper since you were a kid?
ROGER FEDERER: I doubt that. I've lost my temper. Just to speak to the umpire in a normal way is not losing your temper. Losing your temper is different. I can show you once if you like. You don't want to see that (laughter).
I was just frustrated because already I got broken first up and then to be broken this way was for me very irritating. Umpire told me, too, he saw the ball out. He couldn't believe it was in. For me it was kind of a shock.
I was like, all of a sudden, anything you challenge now is just going to go against me. You feel like things are just not working out for you.
So it took me a few games to kind of forget about it and I was ready for the fifth, thank God. So that was okay.

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