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November 17, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Couldn't be nearly as easy as you made it look tonight. Do you want to tell us about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, thanks. Yeah, I mean, it was one of those nights, you know, when I played really well and, you know, felt good. Similar as yesterday in some ways, you know.
I expected it was going to be a different match, you know, because of the different type of opponent I had to play today. I was really pleased with my performance for the last one and a half sets. Before that it was tough. Rafa had a bit of the upper hand. But after that, I got in the zone and played incredibly.

Q. This is the fifth matchup against Rafa this year. What does this matchup mean to you? Is it proving No. 1 or anything?
ROGER FEDERER: The end was?

Q. Is it proving No. 1?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I don't think one match proves the whole thing, you know. But it's definitely to some degree important for me to always beat the second best player in the world. We've been up there for so long now. Our rivalry has really grown, especially with the finals we had in Wimbledon, which was really, really close, you know, where he showed how great he also is on different surfaces yet again.
So for me to beat him on hard court indoors is a great result. And the way I played today, I wish I could play every time like this against him. But it's not that easy.

Q. In the first set, you were behind Love-40 and hit a lot of aces. How could you manage to do that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, you always fall behind in scores. All you got to do is think positive. I was serving really well throughout the week, so I knew if I hit a few good first serves, maybe I mix it up a little bit, it would be tough for him to win the game after all.
I was happy to serve I think it was 3-All, I don't know if it was four straight aces, because I think he might have touched the last one.
For me it was a great comeback. I was really pleased with my serving performance today. It was key to beating Rafa tonight.

Q. Some people were suggesting after you lost your first-round match and after you'd lost in Paris that maybe you were starting to slip a little bit. Did that motivate you at all? Because you've been so dominant the last three matches.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, look, I didn't read the press that closely and listen to what the people said that much. You know, I mean, I hear rumors, you know, that people are talking to some degree.
But I nearly hear nothing really from what is really is probably going on. That's the way to do it for me. I knew the reasons why I lost in Paris. I knew the reasons why I lost my first-round matches. It's very important to analyze it frankly and openly to yourself.
I'm very honest in my losses, why I lose. I think in the long run that is a good thing. I turned it around. That was also key. I played a tough match against Davydenko, you know. After all, that wasn't the easy one to win, you know, in some ways because of the way he played also against González.
I'm happy to have proved myself, you know, yet again. It was similar at the US Open. I was sort of struggling a little bit to get to the last 16 or quarters, and then I beat everybody in straight sets. Davydenko, Roddick and Djokovic. So here a similar thing.
But, you know, the big picture was trying to win here, not winning my group or anything. I'm exactly where I wanted to be. I got a shot at the title now so it's a great feeling, yeah.

Q. Another question about your service game. How big an improvement do you think you made in your serve compared to three or four years ago? Do you think you rely on your serve much more than before?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I think I've been serving pretty much the same than maybe still three or four years ago. I've had better times and worse times obviously. But my second serve has always been very consistent, very solid. I don't serve many double-faults. I have a very good kick, good variety.
For me key has been, you know, serving close to the lines and, you know, serving consistently over 55, 60%, you know, that's on a good serving today. So today I was way higher than that. I was way over 80%. I don't like to read too much into the statistics in any way, but it is important to serve well, especially indoors. It's going to give you a huge advantage.

Q. Watching last night's match against Andy, one was tempted to conclude he really lacks the tools and variety to challenge you, at least at the moment. If you compare tonight's match with yesterday's match, it's a similar pattern. When you're playing like this, are there any answers to your game you see on the horizon in the men's game? Is there any difference between the challenge you felt in the course of the match between tonight and last night?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, it's always been my big strength. Once I get on a roll it's hard to stop me. It's always been like this. Even in my young days, you know, as a junior, I was always so talented. Back then I didn't work hard enough yet to put it all together, you know, for, I don't know, let's say six games or, you know, two sets or something.
Now I can. Now I can even pull it even through even longer and against the best in the world. I've beaten Rafa before 6-Love in a set. I've beaten the best very convincingly. But for me it's great to do it over and over again, you know, over many months, many years.
When it happens again for me, it's not as big of a surprise because this is why I work my tail off basically. That it all pays off in the end, it seems it's paying off again, you know, with my good preparation, my good scheduling. It's always nice when you can beat guys like Andy or Rafa, obviously.

Q. Now you're facing David Ferrer, who is the best performing player in this tournament. Your record against him is 7-0. Do you think you're going to beat him quickly like this match, within one hour?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think one hour. If I would, that would be a big, big surprise because it's best-of-five sets (smiling). I've never kicked the one-hour barrier. Seems like I'm aiming for it, but...
David has been the best player of the tournament. He's been beating unbelievable players along the way, you know, to get so far. I've had my fair share of experiences, you know, with guys who beat the best beating me also in the end. I tried to stop that trend this week.
With hopefully the great record against him, I can use that to beat him tomorrow. But I've practiced with him actually before the tournament started. We had a great practice session where I thought he was already playing very well.
In some ways I'm surprised he made it to the finals, but in the end after all probably not. Because the way he played in the round robin and really beat Roddick today was fantastic to see. It's going to be a great match tomorrow with long rallies, tough rallies. Yeah, that's what I'm looking forward to anyway.

Q. You talk about it's important to analyze when you have the setbacks. Can you be pragmatic about it? Us mere mortals, if we have a bad day at work, we go home, worry about it, maybe toss and turn, sleep is a bit difficult. Can you put it out of your mind after you've analyzed it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what is a bad spell or a bad time? Losing against Nalbandian who just came off winning Madrid and stuff, for me that's not a bad time losing back-to-back matches. If I could have lost one match the entire year, it was probably the one against González I could really afford it.
It didn't really set me back that much like maybe people have thought. I wish I could have played better. But, honestly, Nalbandian was playing unbelievably in Madrid and Paris. Sometimes people don't like to face the truth. But when he's on, he's on. I've got to feel that eight times, you know, unfortunately.
So finally has been able to play against Nadal, because Nadal never played Nalbandian when he was at his best, and other players as well. So I'm happy they got the experience of playing against him.
For me, honestly, I was aware of how good my season has been, you know, how good I felt. I didn't have physical problems. I've been playing actually also pretty well. I was playing with confidence during Madrid, Basel and Paris, and now I'm playing again with my strengths, you know, with my best game.
Then obviously the best shots come out of me when I really do feel well actually, not just playing with confidence. That's usually when I actually do play very well. Sometimes after coming from a long layover, beginning of the year, I've had two, three weeks of practice sessions, and then I come in and I play my best. Look at the Australian Open this year. This is really when I could show my best.
No, I mean, maybe it takes a day, like I told you, a day or two. After that you move on, yeah.

Q. You're now playing David Ferrer. The head-to-head with him is really in your favor. Which parts of your game make it so difficult for him to play against you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, not to overrate, as well. I played him many times when he was just coming up, indoors, you know. I was No. 1 in the world, he was 50. I mean, you don't expect him to beat me right then, you know. So I've had probably three or four matches like that. After that, I had some tough ones. I had a tough one in Basel I think last year. I had a tough one against him in Hamburg this year, which was really close. I mean, of course, it was on clay, but I've beaten him on clay on many occasions as well. It's open on any surface I think.
He's really improved on the quick courts. He's improved his serve. He's way more consistent. Mentally I think he's also stronger, whereas before he would get down on himself very quickly. So I really look at only the last couple matches we've played, and they have been close.
Yeah, I mean, I think my variety, slice, being able to come to the net, you know, having a huge forehand, you know, being able to take, you know, time away from him, that's my big strength against him, against everybody. So we'll see how it is tomorrow because he's been practicing really well, like I told you.
Yeah, I'm also excited to see actually how we're going to match up this time around after him playing so, so well.

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