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September 6, 2008

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So this very declining Roger Federer, three Slam finals and one semifinal. How do you comment on it?
ROGER FEDERER: Did you write some of that stuff or not? I hope not (laughter.)
I hope not for you. No, I mean, look, of course I'm happy to be through to another Grand Slam final. You know, I've been on an incredible run at slams lately, and this was a big match.
I knew it from when I saw the draw. If we both get to the semis it was a huge match, he's seeking the No. 2 ranking a little bit. You know, he's been playing very well on hardcourt for the last one-and-a-half years.
I knew it was always going to be difficult. I'm very happy with the result, obviously.

Q. You hit the first serve of the ball game on the T. You seem to have a fondness for that spot.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, depends on -- I did serve it well there, yeah, no doubt. But I think it's important to have variation and to be able to hit all four corners on the court. That's what great servers do.
Then of course it's important to choose the right ones when you have to. I think my serve got me out of trouble a few times today.
Yeah, it's hard to break against the wind, you know. It's basically impossible. I knew that, and it was just important to be really concentrated against the wind.

Q. Was that your best serving in a long time?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought I actually served very well throughout the tournament already. Of course Novak is a different caliber of return player, so I always expect more balls to come back from him, especially when I saw how easily he returned Andy.
You expect him to return me even more easily, because I don't have the power that Andy has. But I got maybe a little bit more variety. I can sort of hide my serve better, you know, so it's harder for him to read. And that doesn't give him the confidence from the baseline, then.

Q. When was the last time you played a set as cleanly as you played the first set today?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably in Toronto in the first set. I played very well there as well. I hit winners all the way through. It was important, you know, to stay grounded, you know, because I knew that tough times were going to arrive, and that's exactly happened in the second set.
You don't hit your first serves like maybe you do usually, or the way I was hitting them in the first set. I knew I was always going to get in trouble against such a good player like Novak.

Q. Especially after being down 5-4 in that third set, you seemed to break more than just Novak's serve, also his spirit with a lot of help from the crowd. Do the ovations like that mean more to you this year given some the troubles you've had this season?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I said it from the start. It would be great if I do get, you know, a lot of fan support. I don't count on it because I'm not American, but I feel a little bit New Yorker right now.
So it does feel great. I definitely appreciate, you know, the effort from the fans, you know, supporting me and pushing me forward. I definitely feel it's helped me throughout this event.
I had some tough moments against Andreev, again today, and they were definitely on my side, which is always very nice for me.

Q. Given the expectations you have of yourself and everybody has of you, now that you're in your third straight slam final, how would you describe your year?
ROGER FEDERER: Let's wait another day and then I will answer that question.

Q. How will you describe it if you win at the end of that?
ROGER FEDERER: You can't wait, eh? (laughter.)
Yeah, I don't know. Give me 35 hours, and then we'll sit down with something to drink and I'll tell you everything (laughter.)

Q. Out on court, you mentioned that it would be nice if you played Rafa again. He's in big trouble now. Is your thinking on that just it's a great rivalry, it's good for tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, what we went through at Wimbledon and, you know, in the past, in Paris and all the tough matches we've had over the years, it's just always nice to play against him, even though I have a losing record against him.
I mean, I'd like to play Andy, as well, but obviously he hasn't been as good as Rafa for the past years, you know. But I'm sure he will be, you know, at the top of the game for a very long time, because I always thought Andy has incredible talent. He's a great player.
I won't be surprised if Andy would beat Rafa, but just I think the meaning would be more to play against Rafa here at the Open, you know. But we'll see what happens. Still, it's not over.

Q. Can you identify, say, a key or "the" key moment in this match, the turning point, moment?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the way I played the first set was the key moment, you know, get the first set. I had a feeling he was looking a little weary, a little bit tired. I had a feeling like what the other person said, I think I broke his will as well when I got the third set. I think he let his head hang a little bit.
I needed to just play really tough now, and maybe all of a sudden play my best again with the lead, I knew I could get it in four.
For a while it was almost looking like I was going to win it in three actually. There were a couple of key moments. The end of the third and just the entire first set.

Q. You said the other day you are becoming more emotional. You are showing more of your true face out on the court. Seeing your reaction after the win today, it looks like there is pressure on you to prove to people that you are a still there. Could you dispute that or confirm that?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, you have to -- let's not forget what type of matches I won here. I beat Stepanek who I lost to in Rome, you know, the last time we played. So that was an important win for me.
Andreev was a five setter. Never played and entire five setter on center court in a row, so that was always going to be emotional.
Beating Novak today was big, you know. And then also Gilles Muller was a tiebreaker in the third set. A point here and there and you go to the fourth. Like this you can just be happy you won.
Those are the reasons I had to four times show a lot of emotion at the very end. But it's true that I am trying to push myself, you know, not to be actually more emotional, but to try to play well.
I have been struggling on hardcourt, you know. I have no problems admitting that. But here it hasn't been a struggle because I played well on clay and on grass, so maybe that's why I'm more emotional.
I'm trying more and more to push myself forward and playing well here at the Open, because that's what it's all about right now.

Q. A common observation right after the match was you looked like your old self. How do you react to that, and do you feel like your old self?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, I had moments out there where I really felt, This is how I normally play on hardcourt, you know. Half volleys, passing shots, good serving, putting the pressure on, you know, playing with the wind, you know, using it to my advantage. All those things.
I definitely had moments during today where I thought, This is how I would like to play every time. So it was a very nice feeling, actually, to get that feeling back.

Q. You looked very good physically. Are you feeling as good or better than you ever have coming into a final here at the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I'm feeling fine. It was humid today. That's why we're sweating absolute bullets out there. Other than that, it was no problem for me. I could have easily gone a fifth set.
It's always tough, you know, the Saturday/Sunday, semis/finals. I'm happy the way I feel now. I don't feel like I need extra sleep, extra treatment, which is obviously key for tomorrow.

Q. You weren't around when we had all the airplanes every day. Was that a distraction, or did you wonder what was going on? They had the to use new patterns across here.
ROGER FEDERER: I had a feeling they were trying to get as many planes out as possible before the rain came. No, it is a little bit disturbing, you know, not to the point where you're like, Oh, my God, another plane.
The things you don't hear, the shot, you don't hear, you know, the other guy moving around, so it's just different type of feeling out there. It's like if you play with music. It's just completely different than when you play in a normal tennis setting.
So it's -- I don't know. I had no problems with it today. I didn't think it was that extreme. I don't think it was from the start, either.

Q. But you had heard about how it used to be?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, and also in practice the week before the Open they still go. Yeah, that's sometimes a bit annoying.

Q. Is this your house?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I like to call Wimbledon my home, you know, a second home. I've had so much success over there. But I could equal my five Wimbledons here tomorrow, so this is a big moment tomorrow.

Q. You did a little dance out there at one time.

Q. Yes.

Q. On the big point.
ROGER FEDERER: A dance? Oh, my God. I was a bad dancer, because I don't remember. I don't remember.

Q. That's good.
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe you spotted a talent, you know, I don't know.

Q. You've fallen a little bit behind in your course to try and equal and also pass Pete. Do you feel like getting a victory in the final would really kind of get you on course for '09? And also, just talk about the history of potentially being not only be the person to win five straight here, but also in Wimbledon, what that means to you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but I think at the moment the focus is trying to get my -- defend my title here and get my fifth. I think that's what it's about right now.
I know the Pete thing is obviously still very much alive and everything is possible. But, I mean, I'd like to obviously focus on that, you know, on the five in a row right now, you know.
After that, you know, sure. I mean, if I win, it's great. I'm back sort of in the race and things aren't that bad like everybody's saying.
But for this, I first need to just get the win tomorrow. That would be huge, you know.

Q. I heard in the past you describe when you're playing well it feels like you're flying.
ROGER FEDERER: Um, in one of those planes, right? Loud, too.

Q. Did it feel that way in the first and fourth sets today?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I felt like I was in control of how the points were constructed. I felt very smooth, great coordination. I think that's also very important, you know, that you hit, you know, the ball smoothly, not that many miss-hits and stuff. Even though in the wind it's always going to happen.
But I definitely felt for a while out there like that's how I want to feel. That's what I explained before. I definitely had that feeling out there today which I had quite often in the past.

Q. If you do play Andy tomorrow, do you remember what it was like to contest for your first major, and can you put yourself in his shoes a little bit?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess it's less pressure for him to be in the finals here than at Wimbledon. There's no doubt. I mean, even though over there he would have, you know, tremendous support. I still feel he's maybe even better on grass than on hardcourt, you know, so that just shows you what a great talent he is, you know.
But, I mean, I remember I came in as being the favorite actually for my first final. So that's obviously a big difference, you know, to how he would go in, even though he beat me last time.
It will be interesting to see how he handles it, but I have a feeling he's a guy who plays well on the big occasions. That's why I need to be very, very careful how I play tomorrow if it is Andy. Match isn't over yet.

Q. It seems ridiculous to even suggest that after all your Grand Slam success that there's any hint you have to prove yourself, but given this year after the things that have been said and written, do you feel any pressure to prove yourself tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, the pressure is off. I think now you can look forward and just try to win, really. Because I think the pressure is always on in the early rounds, coming through and not getting an upset early on.
You know, there was a couple of tough opponents early on, so this is -- I think once you get to the semis you can maybe play a little bit more freely again, because you're also playing opponents who you know most likely have a better chance to beat you.
You also know them better, so it's easier to play against them, as well. I don't feel like now I need to prove myself in the finals. I think if it's Rafa, I mean, he's No. 1 player. I don't want to put pressure on him, but that's how it was for me. I was always expected to win.
I had maybe a little bit less this year, but nevertheless I'm defending champion. I know what it's all about tomorrow.

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