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March 19, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/F. Verdasco
6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much has Fernando improved over the last six months?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it was two sets. What was it, one hour and 20? So, I mean, you don't get a clear idea. I mean, I think we've both played better in our lives, you know, but it was one of those matches where you tried to get the first hit in and kind of see what happens.
You definitely see that he's much more calm on the court. I think that helps him to stay more focused and, you know, be more solid throughout a season.
Um, and other than that, I've played Fernando when he played poorly. I've played him before when he played great, you know. So I just think today he was quite consistent. Maybe not as dangerous as in the past just because he's trying to be solid. It was interesting to play him, because he's a wonderful player.

Q. Can you compare playing Fernando with Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, they're both lefties, so obviously there's some similarities. But, yeah, I mean, I think that's about it. They're both -- have a spin, whatever. But I still believe they play quite differently in their approach and in their, you know, their capabilities physically.
It's just -- they're two different people.

Q. At 4-2 in the second set, you seemed to be in control of the match, and then there seemed to be a string of games where you lost timing on both the forehand and the backhand. Can you say what happened?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, I don't think I served great, you know, in those games, and I think he got some good hits in. You know, he started the rally off neutral and was able to neutralize me. Because he's got such big shots, especially his forehand, you know, he can, you know, put you under pressure quickly.
I think he knew that was his last chance, you know, that he had to play well and not make mistakes, and he was able to deliver.
And I struggled with my rhythm on the backhand, you know. I don't think I played the best match of my life, but I think it was solid. And, you know, when it got tough I couldn't come up with the backhands I wanted to, so I think those kind of let me down.
I got lucky to get back into the match. I played a good breaker, so good luck I snuck out of it. But I hung in there and I put him under pressure early on so I did have a chance. If I were to break back I could still win the match.
It was difficult. I wasn't quite happy with the match today, but for a while there I actually was playing okay.

Q. Can you just talk about Murray? Obviously the great victory in New York, but the last three times he's played you pretty tough and what kind of challenges he presents to you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, we've had some tough matches and good matches, you know, in the last few. Shanghai is a tough one for me. I was sick and injured going into the match, but still actually played a great match under the circumstances.
It wasn't a great situation for him, either. He was qualified and playing me, and he was a bit -- not 100%, but still very dangerous. So it was an exciting match, you know, but hard to judge.
And I think Doha he played well. Same as in Madrid. I was happy the way I played there, and, you know, every time I won the first set he kind of got stronger and stronger as the match went on.
I've just got to make sure I finish, because I know it's not physical, the end of the matches. Three sets, it never really becomes physical. It's only maybe in the fifth set if that that were to happen.
But, no, he's improved. He's mentally very much the winner type, and, you know, I like that. It should be a good match again in a couple of days.

Q. You've won well over 50 tournaments. That's a heck of a lot of trophies. If I could just ask you, what do you do with all your trophies and plates and all of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, I have a trophy room. It's rather tight, but I have the most important ones out there, and especially also the Laureate Sports Awards, sports awards you know, Swiss awards, sports awards from Switzerland. I've got all those out as well.
Especially the Slams, Masters Series, the big tournaments. Some tournaments I don't get trophies some other ones with just too big to put anywhere. And the finalists, those I'm not a big fan of. I put those in the bottom and sometimes I just put those away. (laughter.)
That's where we are right now.

Q. Just to make a point, you've won so many important -- I mean, from the Orange Bowl, Hamburg was a turning point, Wimbledon, of course the gold medals. If there were a fire or something and you could grab one, two or three -- make it one. Whatever. That's more interesting. Which one would you grab?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, definitely would grab one of the Wimbledon trophies. I'd put the Olympic gold around my neck. That would be easy, you know. I could save a hand and probably grab one of the US Open trophies.

Q. I think Andy might have beaten you the last three times you guys have played. Do you have some business to do there? Are you surprised he has that record over you?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, not really, you know. He's a great player, you know. Great players are tough to play against. He's young, so still have to figure him out a little bit. He's changing his game, you know, as time goes by. Every time you play him he plays a bit different.
Whereas for me it's different. He knows what to expect. That's the advantage of a youngster. There are disadvantages that they're a bit more inconsistent, but he's been very consistent, you know, at a young age, which is impressive to see.
So, yeah, I'm aware that he has beaten me more than I've beaten him, but on big occasions, I think I came -- you know, I came through. I have to build on that and make sure I play tough and good match against him. Anything else is not going to do the job against him.

Q. Is he not one of the more difficult guys you face on the tour?

Q. What do you like about his game?
ROGER FEDERER: What I like or dislike? (laughter.)

Q. Both.
ROGER FEDERER: Um. Well, he's got a great backhand. I think one of the best ones in the game. He's improved his first serve a lot, you know, and he's very much all around, so he can come to the net, as well.
When I see a player doing that, I always think that's nice, you know, because that's been lost a little bit these last few years.

Q. Could you break down like what happened there with the 5-5, you know, your serve got broken, and then you were able to break it back. Can you take us through those two games?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he had momentum on his side, obviously. 5-All, I knew he was kind of tough and I hoped for a good start. I don't think I got it. I was down Love-40, and, you know -- yeah, I wasn't serving great.
You know, like I said, he was neutralizing me, and he took my confidence away. I held back. He stepped in. That's usually what happens when you're struggling a bit. But I was still up a set, and 5-All is still not a bad situation to be in.
I tried to get out of it. Couldn't. Then I actually got off to a good start on his service game, up Love-30. I was up a couple of points. That really energized me. I started to hit through the ball a bit more freely.
I think I had to save maybe one, two set points. Those were crucial. I realized he was holding back on his serve. Maybe instead of going for it, he tried to play it safe, which could have paid off. Not in this case. I think I was able to use that bit of uncertainty in his game, you know, to get back on level terms.
Once the tiebreaker came, I think the momentum was back on my side, and I think that made the difference.

Q. Are you saying, Roger, that your confidence in the one game goes on and off like a light switch?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, you do feel it. Crowds get into it, and especially -- I think against a player like Verdasco who is such a streaky player sometimes who can put you away from the ball, you know, very easily.
I think he's a moody player, you know. When he's on he's super hot, and when he's not playing so well he kind of gets frustrated and doesn't play so well. Then of course you react in a similar way against a player like this.
If the guy is more like a Hewitt or Nadal, you don't also go up and down like this, because you just can't. But against a guy like Verdasco it just happens more easily, or against a guy like González. Streaky players are tough to play against.

Q. I used to feel you would go through tournaments and maybe have one double fault or zero double faults. In Australia and here, two or three per match. Is that something that's troubling you, or not?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I'm not happy about serving three crazy double faults a match. You know, it's true. I rarely served double faults. When it happens to me, it's also not fun, you know.
But it's maybe just -- I've been away six weeks. Coming back and still looking for that special kick that sometimes it just doesn't quite click. But, you know, all in all I'm still pretty happy the way my serve motion is, the way I'm feeling the ball.
Today I think I clutched important serves when I had to, and those really, how you say, give you a lot of confidence. That's what I'll need against Andy, as well, in the semis. I have to make sure I serve well against him, that's for sure.

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