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January 23, 2008

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you give us your thoughts on the match?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought it was a good match, you know, entertaining. It was obvious, actually, to be honest. Playing against James it's always great fun.
Traded breaks a couple times in the first and second set, which for me maybe wasn't necessary, obviously. But he's dangerous when he's even behind in the game. You miss a couple of first serves maybe or he shoots from the hip. It happens.
But I was happy the way I came up with great shots in the great tiebreaker especially, was able to wear him down. So I was happy.

Q. Any reason why you changed the outfit tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: I wear it at night. Wore it in the first match, Baghdatis. No big change, really.

Q. Tomorrow this place is going to be a buzz with talk about yourself playing Djokovic. Do you get a little bit extra excited when you have young challenger coming up in a Grand Slam?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, look, I concentrate on what I have to do. The press might write a lot. I played him already last year. There was, you know, something written about, you know, our match obviously because he was up-and-coming.
I played also Youzhny in the third round. I played a lot of these guys actually last year who did well again this year. So this time around, instead of being a fourth round, it's even bigger occasion, being in a semifinal. I think always when the top three, top four guys play against each other, it's always entertaining for both of us.
I think it's great that Rafa made it through, as well, with Novak. It's good for tennis. People can relate to always seeing the same guys at the top. It's not just one guy, but it's a few guys now who have been playing very consistently. It's going to be interesting to see. I'm excited playing against Novak, no doubt.

Q. What do you make of the talk that some of these younger players are getting closer to matching you more consistently?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know. I always said there was a great group behind me. You know, Rafa obviously leading the way, with Novak now. Incredibly great amount of juniors behind me, Berdych, Baghdatis. All these guys can play great tennis. It's a matter of putting it together in the majors. And Rafa has been able to do that on many big occasions, and now Novak, too.
It's what I expected. Murray, as well, is coming up. Tsonga, the same thing. This time around there's three really young guys in the semis, except older guy like Andy or Hewitt or something.

Q. Does all that talk fire you up with these guys coming in behind you?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I'm looking at history, looking at my own game, I'm No. 1 in the world, so I'm more concentrated on that than the youngsters. There's plenty of guys around who are also older than the young guys who are good.

Q. The way you approach the play like Djokovic is different than a player like Nadal? What are the differences in terms of preparation? Does it change anything or just in your mind, you know, that the game would be different?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, I usually concentrate on my own game. That's what's happened over the last few years. And I go a lot with my feeling throughout the match. If I need to adjust something, I'll do that during the match, to play more aggressive or more defensive, playing counter-punching. You can always decide during the match.
I used to concentrate much more when I was younger, my opponent, where does he serve, what is his better wing. Right now it's all automatic. I don't actually have to necessarily change my game a whole lot.
Obviously with Rafa it always changes because he's a lefty. But that's the only difference. He's a lefty. You have to adjust a little more where you serve, where you attack. That's not because it's him; it's against any lefty like that.

Q. Did it surprise you that Novak won in straight sets against Ferrer, who is a consistent player?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I guess, yes and no. But they played already at the US Open, maybe quarterfinals, as well.

Q. Semifinals.
ROGER FEDERER: Semifinals, sorry. But, you know, David plays very well from the baseline, but Novak is a better server. In the end that's what sort of gets David. If he can sneak away with one set, Novak might get a little tired, a little bit nervous. But he didn't allow that today. I think he played a good match. I didn't see all of it because I was practicing, coming to the courts.
But I wasn't too surprised. But I wouldn't have been surprised, as well, if David would have gotten the better at Novak. At that stage, it's a lot do with day form. And Novak had a better day today, so he deserved to win.

Q. How do you think your game is compared with this time last year?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm happy with the way I'm playing. If it's as good, I don't know. I don't compare years. It's been a year. It's a different surface and different type of opponents.
I'm just happy to be back in the semis, really, and looking forward to this weekend.

Q. Are you still feeling any lack of match practice from not having any lead-in games?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I played plenty now on this surface. This is what it was about, for me to get matches on Rod Laver Arena. I got plenty of that especially in the third round. I'm very happy the way it's been going.
I played, you know, two very dangerous and tough opponents with Berdych and Blake. And to come through and beat them in straight sets, I'm really pleases about that score.

Q. Novak himself says he still gets really nervous in matches. Is it important for you to get started on him and get pressure on him?
ROGER FEDERER: No, look, again, it's going to be a matter day form, who's going to come out of the blocks better and after that who's going to come back on the other guy. It's going to be interesting to see, who chooses the right tactics, those sort of things.
Everybody tends to get nervous. Sometimes you feel a bit more nervous on some days and some days you don't for some reason. But it's something you can't really control. Depending on the spectators, on your opponent, what shot selection, what's the score line, it always changes, because you don't control it yourself. Your opponent always has a say, as well.
So it's going to be interesting. I'm hopefully going to be able to enjoy the match not tomorrow but the next day.

Q. You seemed a bit more vocal and frustrated on court. Is that right? And how come?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really.

Q. Couple of line calls, or Hawk-Eye?
ROGER FEDERER: Not more than usual. So, no, nothing we can talk about there. Sorry.

Q. Your mind is in Australia, but will you play Davis Cup against Poland in Switzerland?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I announced that already. I won't be playing.

Q. The ranking system, the anomalies of it, could have meant if you lost tonight, you may have lost your No. 1 ranking. I was just wondering, are you happy with the ranking system the way it is at the moment?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think it's very good. I don't complain. But, no, I think it's fair, seriously. We used to have the rankings going as well as bonus points. I don't know if you remember that. But you beat top -- I don't know how it works. All the way down to maybe top hundred guys, you'd get an extra few bonus. If you beat a No. 1, you'd get an extra 50 points. That wasn't always the best situation. I don't know if the ladies still have that. Maybe they abandoned that, as well.
For me it was good because I was a dangerous player when I was younger and beating the best. I could do that on any day. I think it's good you only get points if you go deep into a tournament so you have to back a good win, back it up with another good one after that.
And I think it's good, you know, being able to defend points from the year before. And if you haven't played that week, you can make points. So I think it's very fair, the system.
The race we have is interesting just to see who's been playing best from the beginning of the year, and the end, sort of meld together, and that's interesting for the fans, as well. And I think for us, there's absolutely no complaints. So I don't think we should change, no.

Q. Talking about points, what is your reaction to the fact that Nadal has now more points than Sampras has ever made in the ATP, and he's still No. 2 after 130 weeks?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, I don't know if the ranking points changed a whole lot since Pete played. Maybe Rafa or us, we can maybe make more, too. I don't know if that's possible, you know, with the Masters. And I don't know if they gave points before. I don't know the whole thing, how it worked with Pete.
But, no, Rafa has been playing incredibly well. We saw it again this week. If I lose, he wins, he becomes No. 1 in the world. He's been very close to me. He's a terrific player. It will only give him more confidence knowing he's close now.

Q. When you hear Novak saying, I think I can win the tournament and there's a feeling Roger is beatable, do you get the highlighter out and circle that or say, I just heard it before?
ROGER FEDERER: Heard it before and don't read it anymore because it's the same thing over and over again. Look, it's the way, I told you the same thing, it's like reliving this whole thing. But this is the way you're supposed to think out there. You are not coming here to lose in the first round. You're coming here to hopefully do well and then win tournament if you're one of the top 10 guys. That's reality. That's nothing new. That's not cocky. That's confidence. That's just a normal tennis player.
With Rafa we have tendency to hear different things. He's not that vocal. He's not that open. He always thinks I'm the greatest. It's just a different type of talk. He has more problems with the English language, as well, so he's never going to be that confident.
But I have absolutely no problems with what Novak has been saying or apparently been saying. I really don't care because he cares about his game, I care about him, and it's good when we play each other.

Q. You were saying on court to Courier that it's kind of exciting, all the young guys from the semifinals, that you have the experience. Does experience really that matter or is it really form on the day?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think experience can be a benefit, you know. Knowing, having been there, not getting so nervous anymore. I remember when I made my first Grand Slam semifinals or my finals, I was so nervous, you know, back in 2003. And now it's been so many that it's almost become some sort of a routine for me. That's helped me a great deal being able to cope with those moments.
For instance obviously with Tsonga, it's a totally new situation, whereas Rafa has been there. So he's, in my point of view, obviously experienced. I was obviously also joking a little bit. Novak has been there four times in a row, as well. First time at the Australian Open. And it's a different situation, and maybe they blink a little bit in those important moments, whereas maybe usually they wouldn't.

Q. Just back to the US Open final, Roger, did you feel you played your best in that match and can you bring an even higher level when you play him on Friday?
ROGER FEDERER: Did I play my best? I don't know. The opponent always plays the way so you don't play your best. I try to do the same thing to my opponent. I thought it was a high quality tennis match, with obviously a lot of back and forth. Both had their chances.
He obviously had seven set points in the first couple of sets and hurt him big time. But I think level was very good. So actually was the level at Montreal when we played against each other. And we usually have always very good matches when we play.
I don't look forward to playing my best tennis with Novak Djokovic; I look forward to playing to win. That's what my mindset is, really.

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