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September 13, 2009

Roger Federer


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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Three times, right there at the edge. You've got him. He has a chance. He doesn't come through. What's the difference right there at 6-6, 6-5, 6-5 in all three sets?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well I thought conditions were tough. It was sunny in the beginning from the one end. Hopefully the same thing tomorrow, you know, sunny.
Then it got really gusty, and I think we both struggled early on with our rhythm. I think towards the end of the sets, you know, I got in some good returns, and that allowed me then to actually go after my shots a bit more.
Whereas in the beginning, if you're down 30-Love all the time on the other guy's serve, the other guy can hit freely. You've just got to make sure you kind of stay in the game. But then it's hard. I got off a good start on many occasions towards the end, and so I'm very happy that, you know, in those important moments I was able to come up with the goods.

Q. Quick question and a follow-up. The quick one is, was that the shot of your life?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I would think so. I mean, even though it's I think the third or fourth time I hit it in a match now, the way I was able to hit it, you know, with pace and accuracy, it's something that happens so, so rare.
You know, it was a semifinal of a Grand Slam after all. So to come up with that, to get match point against Djokovic here in the semis is amazing, and I think that probably is why, yes.

Q. The follow-up: Novak said in the press conference he senses as an opposing player a calmness in you that he attributes to the fact that maybe now that you are now a dad and you have the records behind you, you've reached those thresholds in life and in your career, and then I asked him to say, to clarify if that's really what he meant, and he said, Yeah, it is, but you'd have to ask him. So I'm asking you.
ROGER FEDERER: He's asking me a question almost? (laughter.)

Q. Yeah, he's using me as a conduit.

Q. So let me about the conduit.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay. I can answer him directly in the locker room afterward (laughter.)
Look, I mean, I think I've always been pretty relaxed on the court, just because, you know, I don't get too crazy anymore about great shots, bad shots, because I know I have so many more points and games and matches to play in my life.
But I definitely think from the media standpoint, I'm not getting that many tough questions anymore, you know, because the Paris question is answered, the 15 is answered. That allows me to just have more relaxed press conferences.
That can have a little effect on the, you know, on the match courts, as well. But, I mean, of course I'm relieved and happy that, you know, the summer went so well, you know, as a tennis player.
But, of course, more importantly, you know, that things went well with Mirka and the two kids, going through that pregnancy having twins was not something that was that simple after all. I definitely feel I'm relaxed today, but still walking out on court, you always have the pressure, just because -- I mean, you speak to Marat Safin. It's his last year, he should have nothing to lose, and you cannot play freely sometimes still just because it's not that simple to just start pounding every ball. You know, that's not the goal here. You have to play smart.
That's why I still feel the pressure, but it just doesn't show. I definitely enjoy tennis so much that I think that's what gives me that sense of calm really, I think.

Q. Rafa wanted me to ask you...
ROGER FEDERER: Anybody else? No, I'm kidding.

Q. Seriously. Are you having fun? Sometimes you get caught up in the emotion. Do you think you have a chance tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean I think Del Potro had a great match today against Rafa, because Rafa doesn't give you any easy matches. So for him to come through the way he did, it's, to say the least, impressive.
That's why he's not to be underestimated. He's had one of the best summers, along with some other guys, with Murray probably. He seems fresh, too, you know.
Even though it's his first Grand Slam final, of course now it's back to back. He got the early session, which now looking back is a good thing for him. But I'm feeling fine physically and mentally. I'm not worried about that for tomorrow.
But we had a great match in Paris, I thought, which was very close. It's going to be interesting to see how things turn out this time.

Q. But are you having fun?
ROGER FEDERER: I am having a lot of fun, yeah. Thank you.

Q. Actually, following up on your Paris match, you played five sets in Paris. What is different in terms of your game and in terms of Del Potro's game right now compared to when you played that last match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean to go back to the beginning of the year, I had a very easy match with him in Australia, which was very surprising to me, because he came -- you know, it was a quarterfinal match. I just found out Mirka was having twins.
I was going into that match like, All right, let's see how this is going to affect me. And it didn't. So I was relieved there.
Then in Madrid, and especially in Paris, you could feel like he was just improving every month. Every month he was getting better. He was hitting his serves better, from the baseline he was getting more confident. He knows much more now today what he needs to do on the tennis court.
Whereas maybe in the beginning, because he's so tall, he needs to figure out his game. And I think he did that in the last six months now. I don't know what's going to happen this time, because, again, Paris was clay. This is faster hardcourt. But he's got, you know, the all-court game. I think it's going to be interesting, I think.

Q. At Wimbledon you had a warmup suit signifying how many Grand Slams you won.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't know about, that though.

Q. Do you plan or is anyone planning for you a new number on a new warmup suit?
ROGER FEDERER: I doubt it. Well, just because I didn't know about the Wimbledon, and the Paris one when they gave me 14 and 15. So I have big doubts. It's not the problem here, I think. It's about playing a good match tomorrow.

Q. I know you probably don't think about the ball boys too much, but there is a guy named Harry Villaril (ph) who has been the ball boy in every one of your finals here, and he'll probably be the ball boy tomorrow.

Q. Is he a good luck charm? Can you relate to the ball boys at all? Were you ever a ball boy growing up as a kid?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was. I was a couple years in Basel, in my hometown, even did some women's matches in my club I grew up. You know, just prize money tournaments where Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder played.
I love doing it, being close to the superstars and, you know, throwing them the ball. Just being sort of part of it was fantastic, just being able to go see every match if I was off. They do a great job here. I have to say they catch the ball amazing, which I could never -- we were younger. We were like not even 12 years old. These guys are older and bigger than we are, you know. But they do a great job and have a great flow of game.
So I'm looking forward to seeing him, even though I don't know what he looks like.

Q. He'll be the guy with two black knee braces on.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay. Well, I see some familiar faces obviously now.

Q. Earlier in your career it seemed like you had some tough losses here, some struggles getting adjusted to the environment, the noise, the planes, New York. Was there anything that changed for you in the city, any match at the Open that changed maybe your momentum?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think getting crushed by Andre here one year, I think it was 2001 or 2002, that was definitely, you know, sort of a wakeup call, realizing that I still had a lot of work to do.
I actually think also back here in the juniors back in '98 I realized walking away from this Grand Slam that I still had a lot of work to do. And usually I sort of look at my game where it is after, you know, sort of all the four majors are through, and so the US Open has taught me many lessons over the years.

Q. Many players seem to be rushing to get married. Not many have twins. Do you think it's a problem?
ROGER FEDERER: What do you mean?

Q. All the competitors want to get married because they improve apparently. You played better since you're a father.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, yeah. Now everybody is going to have kids or what? I don't think so.

Q. The real question is another one. We like to see you very much in Italy playing, but are you coming to play Davis Cup in Italy? At this moment what are the percentages?
ROGER FEDERER: Where do you think my focus is, Davis Cup next or the finals tomorrow?

Q. I think it's probably tomorrow.
ROGER FEDERER: Exactly. So let's talk about that maybe tomorrow.

Q. What do you know about Big Bill Tilden besides the fact he won six straight here? How much reading of his tennis history do you do, if any?
ROGER FEDERER: Don't know too much about him, but I heard he won his first major when he was only 27 years old maybe, and played until he was about 50. That's what I heard.
He was a very confident man, I heard. Used to take four balls in his hand and say, That's all I need to win this service game.
So that's the story I know about him. I think, those are two pretty good stories.

Q. What are your observations of the Kim Clijsters' story, and what are your thoughts about what she's accomplished here?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, amazing. Coming back from just having sort of a -- not even a month's leadup till the US Open -- I'm sure she trained as hard as she possibly can, but it's not the same. So for her to have this incredible run is fantastic.
I'll definitely try to watch tonight, see how she does. Because this is a great story for women's tennis, that's for sure.

Q. And what were your thoughts on what happened last night with Serena Williams?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I don't know. It's unfortunate, I guess. But she foot faults at 15-30, I hit one through the legs. How crazy, you know, tennis goes sometimes. It can go completely for you or against you. Sure, she knows herself.
She probably shouldn't have reacted the way she did, but I don't think it should take anything away from what Kim has achieved. I think that's the story here. That just leaves sort of a sour taste for everyone, unfortunately.

Q. I know that CBS and Nike executives aren't happy that Mr. Nadal won't be your opponent tomorrow. Is there a letdown you won't be facing him? You guys are like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, Arnie and Jack.
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I think it would have been awesome to play him in the final for the first time after all the great matches we had at all the other Majors I think by now, yeah. And at many other tournaments.
So I think it's disappointing for the people who wanted to see that final. But at the same time, we've got an up-and-coming player now rising through the rankings and playing also some phenomenal tennis. I think it's going to be exciting to watch.
You can't always have the match you hope for. Tennis you gotta beat the guy across from you. I'm sure Del Potro is going to give me a run for my money.

Q. The great legendary player, Jack Kramer, has just passed.
ROGER FEDERER: I heard it.

Q. He really was a founder of pro tennis, the ATP, a great player, sold incredible amount of product for your sporting goods company. Could you talk about his incredible contributions to the game? And what kind of contacts did you have with Jack?
ROGER FEDERER: Didn't have too much contact, you know. I only saw him occasionally, but I heard what a great man he was and what an important person he was in the game of tennis.
So it's always sad, you know, on a moment like this. But you remember the good times and you remember everything, you know, he did for the game, and has a great family, I'm sure. Yeah, it's sad today, I guess.

Q. You've played five different players the last five years, and tomorrow you're getting a sixth different one. All the players are from different generations, actually. Does that give you some extra perspective about how consistent you are?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. Well, I mean, sure. I'm happy. I'm proud about my accomplishments here in New York. But then again, the focus is trying to win tomorrow. No matter how old they were or how great, you know, it's just a matter of hopefully I've got one more match in me now to get six in a row.
It will be absolutely amazing. It's something I wasn't able to do in Wimbledon, even though I was so close. So I hope things go well for me. I'm feeling great. I really hope I can do it.

Q. Going for No. 15 and the stress of that and what you've accomplished, is this a little different feeling inside? You have the record now. Of course a Slam is a Slam, but is it different, or no?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit different, yes. I don't think Pete's coming, to start off, but I think -- I mean, just knowing that he was there and you know, Laver was there and Borg was there, many of the greats. Maybe wanted to witness sort of maybe tennis history to be his written with maybe me getting 15 or just being there to see a great match.
I think it definitely increased the pressure, and so I feel a little bit different here. I mean, things go very quickly here. You play -- not Saturday, Sunday, but Sunday, Monday. You don't have much time to think about it. You just take it in your stride.
Right now I'm relaxed. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. I never know. I mean, it's a feeling that all of a sudden comes up. I was pretty nervous going to today's semifinal, you know, and it's going to be interesting to see how I handle it tomorrow.
But it will be great to get the first Slam as a dad sort of thing, keep the momentum going, win three in a row. It will be something very special.

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