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September 4, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/G. Muller
7-6, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much of a relief was it to get through this in straight sets knowing you have two days, maybe three if it rains, Saturday to prepare for the semis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, I'm happy I won, first of all. After a tough match I had last time, you know, it's nice to get through straight. This was a tough opponent who has been playing very well this tournament, and, you know, showed why he was so dangerous today.
He served great, you know, takes big chances from the baseline, and wasn't a whole lot of rhythm out there. Made it just more difficult with the wind and the sun today.
I'm very happy with this result.

Q. Set points in the first set and break points throughout the match. Created a lot of those opportunities, but you weren't able to take advantage. As those are accumulating, are you frustrated, annoyed, angry?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I didn't create that many. I mean, I had a few to win the set in the first set. Five minutes later I win the set, so you forget those. I was a little bit annoyed maybe not getting the 15-40 head start in the third, you know, where I got a bad call. That can happen. I still got the break point at 30-40, I think, and maybe another one then.
It was tough today, you know, especially to break against the wind. It was almost impossible, you know. He's a big guy. He gets great angles and he's got a lot of, you know, safety in his serve, especially the first serve. He does have great variety.
So I always knew it was going to be hard to break against that, and it makes it frustrating in itself, knowing on that side you're not going to have much of a chance. That's why I was really happy coming through in the third set tiebreaker, because I had to serve to stay in the set against the wind and then start the breaker against the wind, which I knew was going to be really dangerous and tricky.

Q. Do you feel you're moving as well as you have in the past?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, today it was tough, you know. I couldn't get a great read on his serve, you know. I think that's where I don't think it has nothing really to do with movement. That's more with reading the moment. I never played the guy, so it was always going -- it can be tough on that.
Otherwise I think my movement is okay. I think it's more the coordination and the wind. Sometimes that's a factor. I always have that, so it's okay.

Q. For your great winning streaks at the majors, this is the one that's still intact. As you move closer to the final do you feel more pressure because of that to keep it going?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I'm happy to keep sort of the semifinal streak alive, you know. That's a huge streak, you know, for such a long time.
I played well this tournament, so I'm really happy to keep it alive and give myself an opportunity again to be in the final four. I hope this time around I can take it a step further than I did in Paris or Wimbledon.

Q. You've been showing more emotion in this tournament than in years past here in New York. Can you kind of describe some of those cries you had out on court, what language they were in, and what you were feeling at that time?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, look, I mean, I'm in good spirits at the moment because the Olympic gold definitely helped to sort of, you know, not be more happy on court, but maybe more outgoing, because I'm always like this, especially in the practice, you know.
So I guess for a while I put my head down in the matches and just tried to keep that unbelievable run I had going instead of trying to disturb myself with, you know, any sort of reactions really. Maybe it's a time where I can show a little bit more and it comes out.
So for me it's not a big change, because I practice more than I play matches. It's normal, really.

Q. I know it's always satisfying to win a major, but if you're able to defend here, given the circumstances of this season, would you consider it one of your most satisfying wins?
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. Speculation, right? So it depends on the moment, after match point how I feel right then, so I can't answer that right now. I mean, I wish I could talk about it, how great it was winning the US Open, but I'm not there yet.
So the focus is trying to beat Djokovic or Roddick, so I'm really excited to see what's going to happen there tonight, and then I'll start preparing for that match.

Q. Andy Roddick was saying it actually helped him when he saw people picking Gulbis before he played him. Do you ever derive any motivation from people picking against you, or is your personality just different?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I never heard anybody picking Gulbis over Andy, but it was always going to be a tough match. But, I mean, I guess some players get a kick out of that and want to prove people wrong and stuff.
I mean, I'm not that type of person, you know, to go through life just wanting to, I don't know, prove myself. I'm past that point, you know.
I think that those days were five years ago maybe. Didn't enjoy those times that much, so I'm very happy I had a sort of more relaxed five years where I could enjoy tennis and not really have to deal with really tough situation and moments with the press.
Now I'm in a totally different situation that, you know, nothing really bothers me anymore. I do my thing and I love tennis, and, you know, I hope I can always put on a good show for fans. That's really where my focus lies at the moment.

Q. How much of your success in the next round is going to be based on form, and how much of it is going to be based on fight and experience?
ROGER FEDERER: Don't know. I mean, I really don't. I mean, I've played Andy here in the past, and Novak, so there's no really surprises between the two of us. The only difference this time around is if I were to play Andy he's won the last match, so there's a little bit of a change because I had his number for so long.
You know, that's maybe a little bit of a difference. I don't know if that's better or worse for anybody. But in slams it's a different situation, again, because I've been so dominant the last few years. Whereas Novak, he's been, I don't know if the best hardcourt player this season, but he's been very good, and that's why either one it's going to be really difficult. So I don't know what it's going to come down to, but I like to say when the best play each other it's usually day form.

Q. When you speak of your change and emotional outlook, you sound more and more like Pete Sampras. Are you starting to identify with Pete, who in the beginning of his career did keep his head down and then began to show emotions in the latter stages?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, I mean, I know a little bit of his career, but I don't know everything. I don't know how he went through the demeanor on court, how it happened throughout his career.
But for me, it's all about being myself out on the court, you know. I had a tough time just sort of getting my act together out on center court, you know, trying to behave properly. I don't know if he ever had a problem with that. For me, that was a big deal.
Finally when I got my act together and I started to relax a bit, results came, so I kept on, you know, doing that. I've always tried to show emotions as much as I sort of could, you know, without really disturbing my concentration, you know.
Who knows, maybe it is just a couple of weeks and I'm going crazy, and after that you'll see me more relaxed again.
I don't know yet. But, no, I mean, I've always been very relaxed guy, so this is nothing really, too drastic of a change.

Q. How would you compare the way you feel now in terms of the tennis as you did last year and the year before, say?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, let's see, last year I thought matches were really difficult against Lopez and Isner. I was really relieved coming through those matches.
Looking ahead in the draw I was quite worried, you know, playing, who was it? Andy in the quarters, which was a tough draw, and then Davydenko in the semis and Novak in the final. I didn't drop a set anymore.
That's sometimes what happens. You know, all of a sudden you turn it on, and you look back and say, Wow, I struggled in the third round or fourth round, but then didn't drop a set till the end. That's sometimes how the slams go. I've hopefully created again for myself an opportunity to do that, and didn't, you know, use that much energy after all. The Andreev match didn't take that much out of me, so I'm happy with my mindset going into the semifinals.

Q. Last year in the finals you met with Djokovic. There's a chance you might see him again soon. He's changed over the year, not imitating so much on the court. How is it different now if you were to play him compared to playing him year ago in the finals?
ROGER FEDERER: Only played twice since, Australian Open and Monaco. We haven't played that much really. He gave up in Monaco, which was only one set on clay. Really the only one we can look back at is almost the Australian Open.
But there I didn't think I did my really very best. I hope this time around it's going to be something similar to the US Open, you know, hard-fought tennis from the baseline.
You know, if we were to play, he's definitely gained in experience. You know, he's played in bigger matches and, you know, deep into the tournaments he's been very consistent with his young age and won his first slam.
So things have changed for him, no doubt. He's never won the US Open, so I have that over him in case I play him. Andy knows how to do it, so there goes a bit of experience, you know, in Andy's favor, for instance, or in mine.

Q. You said in the on-court interview that you were actually trying to relax yourself by saying, Well, if we go to a fourth set, that's okay. Would you be conceding that maybe even mentally perhaps last year or a couple of years before, have you come to terms with perhaps the idea of not being invincible anymore?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's not like I'm happy to go four, you know, or anything like that kind of attitude. It's just like it looks like we're going four, so let's just try to do your best in this set still. Let's try to make the guy doubt and, you know, let's try to still play my best tennis. If you turn it around it's incredible.
My mind has always been like this. I'm not like a dreamer where I'm, like, I'm 4-2 up or I'm 4-2 down. I don't try to put myself in the lead just for mental sake, you know.
I've always been very realistic, you know, where I am at, you know, in the match, and today was tough. You know, the third set tiebreaker didn't look like I was going to win it, so that's why I was real excited after I was able to.

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