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August 18, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There were no bloody knuckles today, but it was quite the fight, wouldn't you say?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. It was quite a fight. It was a good match I thought. I think it was the best match I've played this week, no doubt. And he always makes you play good, too. He gives you the rhythm, and at the same time at one stage he gives you too much rhythm where you're going to have it to miss eventually.
I think he played well, too, you know. It was a pity I couldn't close it out in straight sets, but in the end I got to be happy I came through after all. It's nice to win a third-set tiebreaker after losing one last week.
Yeah, I kept pushing him and finally he kind of made started making some mistakes in the tiebreak at the most important moments, which was good for me.

Q. In the third set, it looked like after you went a break down you became more aggressive and went for a few more shots.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought -- the baseline rallies weren't going the way I liked. He was just being steady and eventually I would miss or he would play a little bit more aggressive and I would be in trouble.
Because I wasn't hitting the ball my best all week, but I just thought, I have to start unloading a little bit on the forehand or the backhand side long line, because I was hanging too much with him cross-court and he was beating me.
So then I was happy it worked. And on a couple of occasions I came back into the match and should have won earlier after having 15-40 a couple times. Yeah, but it needed a tiebreaker because he hangs in there. He's like a cat with seven lives, you know. Nine lives? How many do they have?

Q. Nine.
ROGER FEDERER: Nine. Yeah, I thought so. It was nine. Seven would have been easy. My God.

Q. But you served very well.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I knew that. Again, heading into the match I knew I had to serve well. Same thing happened in Montreal. Basically won the match because I served well and got free points once in a while where I really served pretty well and I make him work hard.
So it's good for me when serve well, because he does return great off my second serve even though it's a good serve. I often got out of trouble because of it, no doubt.

Q. Your 15-nil against the finalist, whoever that's going to be. 6-9 and whatever. How do you feel going in? Obviously pretty good.
ROGER FEDERER: For me it was to be expected that Davydenko and Blake were going to make the semis, even though Blake struggled. But really I don't know who to pick tonight.
Apparently Blake has a good record against Davydenko himself too, so I'd almost have to pick him. Especially playing in the States. James really plays well. But playing either one, they've been part of big tournaments, big matches. They'll handle the situation tomorrow without a problem.
I just hope I can keep a clean sheet, I guess, I against him and win the tournament.

Q. What does 50 mean to you?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of like, the number or 50 titles?

Q. I was talking about the titles.
ROGER FEDERER: It's a very special number for sure. Half a century is kind of cool. Had the chance last week. I was only a few point away. I'm back into a great position. Only one match away. Hopefully I can do it this time.
Haven't been thinking about it too much honestly the last few weeks or months, but it would nice to get it here. Absolutely.

Q. You said that Lleyton played very steady against you. But do you also feel that he tries to take the initiative more against you these days than he used to?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I thought he played much more aggressive actually last week. I expected him to come out and play aggressive today, and he didn't really do that too much today.
He played steady off the baseline. The court is really quick so you almost don't have to overdo it because the ball shoots itself through the court if you hit a decent ball.
So I was actually surprised how little he came to the net. But, again, because the surface is hard you just cannot move in and just come to the net. You have to come in on a about good ball too, because it's hard it make the opponent move.
So, no, I was actually a bit surprised to what extent he didn't play aggressive, but usually he does, yeah, more than he used to.

Q. How do you feel that he handled the adversity of the foot faults on some big points in the tiebreak?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, seriously I don't understand how that can happen to you. I stand behind the line so much that it's never going to happen to me. Almost every serve I think about it. Maybe cost him the match today. Who knows. He's got to change that.

Q. You said you thought this was your best match here this week. How difficult or not has it been to play here this week?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it went from night to hot day to normal day to today. So it's been quite a ride for me. But, you know, especially when it's really hot too. The ball bounces and maybe the ball will travels through the air quicker.
That's maybe also one of the reasons I struggled with Baghdatis was my rhythm. The opponent maybe played a bit differently, too. But, yeah, by now really I've gotten used to the court speed and I'm reading his serve, the opponent's serve, much better. In the beginning I couldn't read one thing, you know, so it always takes a while sometimes.

Q. Do you think after last weekend and the way you played today that Lleyton becomes one of biggest challenges to your title in New York?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I always see ten, fifteen guys being able to win every Grand Slam. But then again, I have to focus on round by round, and hopefully that's going to happen so I can get into the tournament.
Then if whoever Hewitt or Roddick or Nadal beat, seriously it doesn't affect me. I got to beat the guys that come around to play against me.
He's definitely one the guys that can win it. He's won it before. I think he's the last guy to win it since me. Maybe Safin or Agassi, Sampras, Roddick. Yeah, so there's not many guys playing the US Open that have won the US Open before.
And honestly, that's a Grand Slam that takes a lot experience in my point of view to win there. Humidity, the heat, New York, the city, the stadium, people, night session, day session. It's a rough Grand Slam and everybody's playing their best.
To me it always seems like if you can win the US Open you can win anything. For me that worked well, and I'm happy I was able to do that.

Q. Did you feel like he's back to somewhere close to his best, or has he always been around?
ROGER FEDERER: It's been a good two weeks for him now. He was close to beating Djokovic in Wimbledon. If he would have come through there who knows what would have happened. He would've maybe beaten Baghdatis after that and been on a great run, But he lost that.
I think he's playing well. I think he can win big tournaments. He knows that. He knows he can upset the best. That's what it's about for him. It's just about playing consistently throughout an entire year and giving your self the most possible chances. That's what he's been able to do this last couple weeks. Unfortunately he ran into me.

Q. What were your feelings in the third set after you got the a break back and you had a couple more chances and I think two games on his serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Felt good. But I was still worried because I missed the chances. Yeah, I mean, it happens. It was a hard-fought battle. I had to stay calm because I thought that second serve at one stage in the second set was out too, and it was. I saw the mark after.
That is rough. And I'm sure I would have broken him at 15-40. To go through these rough patches I really have to stay positive after a few rough stages of match today.

Q. Where does this rank on the Federer/Hewitt top 20 since you've played twenty times?
ROGER FEDERER: It's probably in the top 20. (Laughter) I don't know. I don't know what the rankings are. My favorite one is probably the US Open after all.

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