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January 29, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Tsonga
6-2, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That was a pretty relaxed and amusing interview you gave Jim Courier. Is this as relaxed as you've been going into a Grand Slam final?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I don't know. I mean, obviously I feel good about my game, you know. I didn't expect something even close to this kind of scoreline, so obviously it feels great.
Crowds were rather on the quiet side towards the end because, you know, also they were a bit surprised I think how fast it went.
I thought make it a bit more entertaining maybe in the on-court interview after. So it was fun, you know (smiling).

Q. Are there days - maybe this was one of them - that you can feel it in your bones you're going to be Roger Federer plus?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe after a few games, you know, I felt like this could be a good match for me. I'm hitting the ball well. You know, I'm not panicking. Because, you know, Jo, he's a talented player, with a lot of potential. I'm sure we're gonna see much more of him in the future. This is probably the last easy match I have against him.
I felt like right from the start I was hitting the ball well, even though the prematch feeling I have or the on-court warmup I have, they don't predict anything to me. You know, it's really only after maybe the first four sort of two service games each. Then I have a little bit of an idea where it can take us.
But I felt good, you know. But then I didn't expect the second and third to sort of be able to be able to run away with the score the way I did.

Q. It's actually only 74 years since we haven't won a Grand Slam.
ROGER FEDERER: How many years did I say?

Q. You said 150,000.
ROGER FEDERER: I missed it by a little bit (smiling).

Q. Can you imagine what it is like for a nation to have wait for so long to win a Grand Slam?
ROGER FEDERER: You could be one of those nations that never had a Grand Slam champion, you know.

Q. Feels like it.
ROGER FEDERER: No, it doesn't (laughter).
No, I mean, it's just funny, you know, because that's the question he probably gets asked quite a bit. Wouldn't be surprised if he's a bit fed up by it. I think he's done really well, you know, handling the pressure and considering, you know, sort of the media in England is very strong. So I think he's done great, you know, under the pressure.
Maybe US Open you could think he crumbled there under pressure, being in the finals the year before. I think once your game is good enough, even on your off days to come through, I think that's what he's proving here at the Australian Open now. He's one match away. I'll make sure it won't happen. We'll see how it goes.

Q. Normally the guy who plays you has nothing to lose at all. Andy is in a slightly different predicament. Do you think that will affect his game at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, don't know. I mean, look, he's in his second Grand Slam final now. I think the first one's always a bit tougher than the second one. But now that he didn't win the first one, I think doesn't help, you know, for the second one around.
Plus he's playing, you know, me, who's won many Grand Slams prior to that, been able to win here three times so I know what it takes and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage.
I don't feel like the pressure's really on me having to do it again, because I did it before. I think he really needs it more than I do, you know. So I think the pressure's big on him.
But we'll see how he's gonna handle it. It's not going to be easy for him, that's for sure.

Q. Do you still feel a need?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel a need for myself that I spent three weeks here and I don't want to just give away a match. So I will make sure I will make it as hard, as tough as possible for my opponent. Hope I can play another good match.
I'm really where I want to be. Being back in a Grand Slam final is always an amazing thrill for me.

Q. Given the fact that Andy has had another 24 hours to prepare and rest, how important was it for you tonight to be off the court early, 90 minutes, done, finished?
ROGER FEDERER: Not too important going into the finals. I mean, if we would have played, you know, 150,000, 250, 5,002, you know, I don't know. Then it would have been obviously very different.
Look, I'm ready to play seven times five sets. If I go three or four, that's great. But it's the way it is. Last year the two days didn't happen. Rafa played a rough five-setter, came through in another rough five-setter against me to win.
I'm happy that I don't have to change my schedule around. I got one day off. It's the same thing I've been doing for the last two weeks now. But I don't think anybody has an advantage, you know, having one or two days off.

Q. Some of your shots you seemed to change mid-stroke.
ROGER FEDERER: What do you mean 'mid-stroke'?

Q. You were going to play a dropshot and you played a longer one.
ROGER FEDERER: Once, I think.

Q. How much is instinctive and how much is thinking during the rally and during the shot?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, tonight was definitely one of the nights where I felt like I had that extra split second more time to think where I was going to play, what I was going to do with the ball.
So you always feel like you almost have a second option. Then you also tend to do stuff like this. You have to be careful you don't overdo it. You still go with the right plays.
You know, usually when you do the dropshot, you're also going to hit it. You're not going to fake him and play long, because then you can make mistakes. Sometimes we know how it is: one point can change an entire match. So you have to be careful.
I felt like it was the right shot. I ended up winning the point. But he was there. I got a bit lucky on it.

Q. On nights like tonight, does it ever bother you at all that it might be a boring match to watch?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I don't think for myself it wasn't boring at all. For me it was very challenging bringing it over the finish line. Last time I played him, probably most of the entire stadium didn't know I was up 6-1, 5-1 and ended up losing.
That wasn't a boring match for me either. Ended up being a horrible match. I didn't want the same thing happening. So for me it was trying to put the hammer down and like finish him off. I was able to.
Here I am sitting very relaxed and excited about the finals, not still battling it out there. It was a great match. I'm happy.

Q. You were not expecting anybody from the corner of Muhammad Ali to throw the towel in the middle of the match?
ROGER FEDERER: No, never thought of that. That was only you with those ideas, you know.

Q. He got you to run around a lot early on in the game. You matched every challenge there. Besides hitting a thousand tennis balls in practice, what do you do to keep yourself so aerobically fit?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought the beginning was extremely physical. I felt quickly the pulse was racing. It was a tough few rallies we had early on. I think it was key to stay with him there and even take control of the match.
Of course, I work extremely hard in the off-season. I was joking a bit with Courier, but I do work hard. I do all kinds of stuff. I think that's what's nice about us tennis players. It's not very sort of how you say always the same thing. It's not just running and that's it.
We do a lot of agility work, weights. You name it, you can combine it with tennis and conditioning. I do all sorts of different things, you know. So it's worked out for me well over the years.
You know, I'm a strong believer that the tennis player needs to work on what he needs on the tennis court. Before maybe running sand dunes and stuff like this, it works for some players. But I believe you work on the court and it's going to benefit your tennis more than running sand dunes.

Q. What has been the maximum number of hours in a gym in one day in your life?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know in a gym. Three hours maybe. Three hours in a gym. But then do tennis, as well, you know. Maybe on a tennis court four and a half hours in a row.

Q. You've won finals against Andy, but he's got the better record. Why do you think that is?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, because, first of all, he's a good player. I don't think otherwise you're just gonna start having good records against me.
But, no, without having any -- taking anything away from him, but I think a few times he played me I wasn't at my very, very best. I think I played him on a couple of occasions. Dubai the first time we played, I just came back from resting, my mono, and everything. I know some don't like to hear it. Some still don't believe me for some reason.
I played him maybe at times when I wasn't at my very, very best. We had some close matches on many occasions where I thought I was in control and I ended up giving the match away by making errors of my own. That was definitely because of his play and the way he plays.
So I think the head-to-head could be quite different. But that's why I don't really care too much about how the head-to-head stands. Every match is played differently. Best-of-five is anyway very different. He's done well against me to win so many matches when he was able to beat me when he was supposed to.

Q. Has he improved since the US Open final from what you've seen?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he's still as good, you know. Let's put it that way. He was already an excellent player back then. I just think now he has more, again, more matches in his body. He knows what to expect from the crowds, from the opponents, from the conditions and everything.
And I think that's a big step, just playing a lot of tough matches on center courts. He 5knows his fitness more now, where maybe in the beginning it was unsure if he was fit enough for tough matches.
This is stuff that Tsonga went through, for instance. He knows more where he is now on a physical level. I think Andy knows that now. I think the last two years have given Andy many answers.

Q. The last two matches where you did beat him and stop the four-match losing streak, were there any things in Murray's game that you found that you could exploit more now?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I always felt, you know, if I played well, I had my chance. If I don't play well, I'm gonna lose, you know. It's been against many sort of counterpunchers, guys that keep the ball in play.
Hewitt used to be that way. Nalbandian used to be that way. I knew if I was not going to play a good match, you know, you could just walk off the court and shake hands and say, Well done.
But I usually don't play bad matches anymore. If I do, it's maybe a few games here and there like everybody else.
No, I mean, you know, he's consistent. He's one of the best return players we have in the game. He's been able to improve many things in his game that make it harder today to beat him. I just think I played a good match in London. He didn't maybe catch his best day. So it was one of those matches I got the better of him.

Q. When is the last bad match you played?
ROGER FEDERER: Last bad match? I don't know. A long time ago, I think.

End of FastScripts

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