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April 26, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
6-3, 3-2 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seem to have these guys in the top four falling in front of you, not finishing their matches.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don't know what to say, you know. It's strange. This happens three times in four tournaments really that somebody pulled out. So it's unusual.
You know, I mean, if you look back, I haven't had that many walkovers throughout my career. But it's obviously more strange against top players, like Nikolay and Novak.
There's not much I can do about it. From my end, I played well today. It was a solid performance. I'm looking forward to the finals, obviously.

Q. Was it obvious to you he was ill?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I didn't see anything anyway from my side till when he called the doctor. It made me remember that, you know, he really sort of had at 40-Love at 5-3, I think it was, he just let his head hang a little bit. I thought that was more in disappointment, you know. So maybe it was more also because of the sickness. I don't know.
But I didn't feel like he was playing, you know, too sick. Obviously after calling the doctor, you know, you have a tendency to have him under the microscope, you know, and then you might see some signs. But then, you know, I'm in a moment where I try to block that out and continue the way I did play.
I didn't think it was that extreme. Same as Davydenko last week. I mean, I didn't see any big signs till the moment they all of a sudden retired.

Q. You seemed to be very free with your forehand. You're also starting to hit your backhand. You're in the groove.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I served a little bit better today even though the serve percentage wasn't, you know, that much better than yesterday. But I just thought, you know, I served well when I had to.
Yeah, I'm consistent from the baseline. You know, my backhand's working well. My forehand, I'm using it the right way. You know, I think that was my best match maybe moving-wise. So, uhm, yeah, I mean, it was a good performance today and I'm happy the way I'm playing.

Q. Comparing the other matches with Nadal, which one do you think you played the best, the one you won or even Rome where you didn't win but you had match points?
ROGER FEDERER: Totally different matches, obviously. Hamburg was best-of-three. Rome was best-of-five. I think the level of play was very high in Rome throughout. You know, five sets, five hours, I thought was one of the greatest matches I ever was part of, you know. Same as like the Safin match in Australia where I lost 9-7 in the fifth. Stuff like this means a lot to me.
Hamburg I think I played in a good way, but I'm aware also he came into that match maybe a little bit tired. After all, you know, he was on an 81-match winning streak, so he didn't come to the finals hoping to lose. I played excellent, especially first set and a half. So it's hard for me to tell. But I've played well against him on clay, and also at the French Open when I won the first set at the French 6-1.
I guess for me it's important to be able to tie it all together, you know, and do it over three or four or five sets.

Q. How do you think you match up with him tomorrow, given the way you've been playing?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he's been impressive, no doubt. I think he's been playing excellent. I think there's only, if that, a handful of players who can really beat him on clay, you know. He's that dominant. The way, you know, he moves around the ball especially, but also himself, it's great to see. It would have been interesting to see a third set against Ferrer maybe, you know.
But the matches he wins, he grinds them out. Even if he wins today 2-3, it's still a one-and-a-half-hour match, which is quite surprising. So it shows you you'll always get your chance against him. I'd like to be able to push him tomorrow and see what he can come up with at the most important moments.
I think it's going to be an interesting match because I'm playing well again. I'm definitely going to have to use a better and a good game plan tomorrow than compared to last year where I thought I played pretty disappointing.

Q. On clay, would you rather play in five sets or three sets?
ROGER FEDERER: Almost five sets, honestly. Best-of-three goes so quickly, you know. You're down 6-4, 2-Love, whatever, it's over in a heartbeat and you never really got into a match on clay. That is sometimes a little bit disappointing.
So, I mean, I like the five-setters. Unfortunately, we don't have enough of them any more on tour. It helps us to stay more injury-free and go to more places than maybe, you know, beating each other up in one event. So it's good to have byes and best-of-three-set matches because of that.

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