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September 9, 2009

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/R. Soderling
6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was kind of a tale of two different matches out there from the beginning, and as things progressed, his game certainly got much stronger. Talk about your feelings on how things changed, where the transition was, and being pushed so hard by him toward the end there?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think as a player you always like it to go the other way. Like against Robredo, for instance, you have a close beginning and then you sort of start dominating instead of the other way around just because spectators kind of, you know, get a little bit quiet when one guy starts dominating in the beginning and they actually get excited when it gets closer.
That then can make it difficult to play by going through, let's say, two hours of calm conditions, and all of a sudden the crowd goes crazy. You know, you haven't had that for the entire match, and he takes it as a positive sign for himself. And you know, well, let's try to close him out.
It's a difficult thing to go through. Doesn't happen very often. Especially I think night session here people really get into it. It made it difficult. From my side, I think I played a great match. I had dream tennis there for a while in the beginning. I was able to dominate like I've never done that before against him.
Then, you know, he started to get better, started to serve better. He got -- you know, he got better, sort of more confidence from the baseline, and then it was more difficult to stay with him.
But I'm very happy to have still come through, because it was close.

Q. Obviously you would have liked to have continued the way the first two sets went, but do you think in a way there are dividends when you're facing what's likely to be a tough match against Novak to go in there and have a guy pound against you and sustain that and come through?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, we'll see how it goes against Djokovic, I guess. That's what will really answer the question. At the same time, Djokovic plays differently to Soderling, and Soderling plays differently from Robredo, and Robredo plays different to Hewitt.
Every match is different. Conditions today I thought were very difficult. It was very breezy down on the court. I was quite worried going into the match seeing how much wind was on the court that I was actually going to hit good the ball, and all of a sudden I'm 6-Love 1-Love up.
I don't know what happened, but it's one of those days where everything kind of goes right for you. It was good that I had maybe a bit of a test, but it's not something I'm really looking for. The hoped I could close him out in three. I should have.
In the end, I'm lucky to be through in four.

Q. Your serve was never broken, you hit 28 aces. I think you were pretty consistent anyway.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I was playing great. There's not much more I could do. I guess I could have taken maybe the first breakpoint opportunity I had in the beginning of the third, and I should bring it home being up 4-Love in the breaker in the third.
Those are the missed chances I had. You see how quickly tennis can change around if you don't take those. I think he did well to hang in there, because it wasn't easy after what he had to go through in the first two sets.
So I have to give him a lot of credit for hanging there and playing so well in the end.

Q. When it was getting really close in the end, did you feel like the match could go to a fifth?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, sure. I was serving twice against the set at 5-4 down and 6-5 down. In the tiebreaker I wasn't leading either I think a whole lot.
So I had to come up with some good serving to go ahead a couple times, and he right away answered himself, as well. So, sure, you're ready to go five, but it wasn't a very long match yet, so I knew it wasn't going to come down to fitness, but more to who's going to play better.
It would have been hard, because he would have had momentum on his side. Not having been broken and being in the fifth set it's a tough thing to go through, so I'm happy I was still able to come through.

Q. How hard was it to get the ball away from his forehand the last set and half of the match? Seemed like he was trying to hit a forehand any time he could hit the ball, basically.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, I mean, I tried to actually go into his forehand sometimes because he has a tendency to spray there a little bit at times. Unfortunately, he didn't do that anymore towards the end.
I just think he started to feel much better. He had nothing to lose anymore at the end, so obviously that kind of sometimes makes it a bit more easy to play.
Whereas maybe the beginning I was making great shots at 30-All, 15-30, he was coming up with those shots. That's why I couldn't make the difference, you know, in the third and fourth set.
But, you know, I think his backhand is a more solid shot. He can direct the ball really well. I think also on his forehand he has the same capabilities, but just there he sometimes has a tendency to hit a few more unforced errors.

Q. How close were you to thinking, oh, this could be the time he actually beats me?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was playing great, you know. There was no reason to panic, really. Because I was, I think, making, you know, great progress in the match and offering myself many opportunities, you know. I just knew I had to hang tough and, you know, keep pushing him. That he had to come up with great shots over and over again and try to break him that way.
It wasn't happening, so I was ready to go five, but, you know, mentally I was feeling great. I thought I was moving excellent, as well. I came up with some awesome shots, and I couldn't ask for more, really. I was just trying to stay calm, because, you know, we went through like what I explained before, like two completely different phases.
In the beginning it was quiet. People wanted him to come back in the match, and all of a sudden it gets super exciting. So it was a tough match to get through.

Q. You've said in the past how much this streak of 22 in semifinals means to you. Could you explain a little bit why that's so...
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't really say that. I think it's just a wonderful record. It's not important, but it's nice to have, let's put it that way.
It's something I never ever aimed for, that's clear, but it's probably one of the greatest records that I've created in my own personal career.
Just this year again reaching semis in all four Slams, if not finals, we'll see about that on Saturday. But it just shows how lucky I've been that I could stay healthy, you know, always create opportunities, and here again I am in the semis and have a chance to hopefully win the tournament again.

Q. Next year the World Soccer Cup will be held in South Africa. I know your mother is from there. You also have a foundation there.

Q. Can you say how important is the event for the country and about your foundation.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think it's wonderful that South Africa got the World Cup, first of all. I remember seeing them win into the World Cup for rugby. It was a great thing for the nation, as well. Of course I hope that Switzerland is going to be there too so I can support Switzerland and South Africa, too.
The foundation is something that's very close to my heart with my mom. I mean, I still have the South African passport. But it's something that I enjoy doing. I wish I had more time, but after that I still -- I know I'm going to have plenty of time after my playing days are over.
But, you know, we try to generate as much money as we can. And it's not only South Africa that we are, you know, helping kids, but also in other countries in Africa. So obviously the continent is very close to my heart.

Q. Can you just look ahead to Novak for the semifinals. What kind of a match are you expecting?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously a tough match. I mean, obviously I think he's done well to come through. I mean, there's no reason to impress, I think. You know, getting through to a semifinal stage of a Slam it's just getting there, and then hopefully saving your best for last.
I think he's put himself in this position. I think today he played a solid match. I didn't see a whole lot of it, but what I saw I thought it was good from his side. He's done well against me in the past, but I beat him in Cincinnati and I hope I can build on that, and try to beat him again here on Saturday.

Q. How surprised were you to lose the second seed last night, and does it go back to what you said about Murray, that he doesn't have what you have, which is 22 consecutive semifinals and dig yourself out of the business end of a tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean I don't think -- it's just not easy to win Slams. I mean, it's just that simple. (laughter.)
Okay, you might think I have a lot, but I played many before where I didn't win, as well. And semis or finals just doesn't give you the win yet. It's a tough road, and you have to finish the deal and it's a hard thing to do.
I mean, now I've played great, but if I crash out in the semis, it's a pity, you know. I think that's what he went through. He had a great summer, and leading into the US Open he was one of the favorites. Of course it's disappointing I think for himself that he didn't come through. I think he definitely has the game to do much better than losing yesterday against Cilic in, what is it, the fourth round.
It's tough. It happens like that. You have to move on from it, get stronger, and give yourself opportunities. That's exactly what I've been doing, you know. There's many good guys out there right now, Cilic is one of them, Del Potro. They're making a name for themselves. It's not that simple right now to dominate, I think.

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