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January 27, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Davydenko
2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After the Hewitt match, you described yourself as a great frontrunner and the importance of winning first sets. How deep did you have to dig today to get out of it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, very much so. Was in a tough situation at 6-2, 3-1 down and 15-40 on my serve. I knew I wasn't looking very good, you know.
But that's the beauty of best of five sets. I wasn't panicking, even though I maybe would have lost the second set had I lost another point there at that stage.
But, you know, I just relaxed and thought, you know, maybe if the sun goes and his level drops just a little bit, the whole thing might, you know, change for the better. It did. I couldn't believe the way it changed.
But I'm happy the way I was able to go on an incredible run and get the cushion with the extra break at the beginning of the fourth.

Q. What was happening with the sun?
ROGER FEDERER: It was just tough to play, I mean, for both players, you know. When the sun comes from the side, you get the feeling that obviously the one side's in the sun and the other one is in the shade because of it.
The ball seems half the size and is just hard to hit. Then there was a bit of a breeze and he was playing terrific. That was just more psychologically trying to be positive more than anything else.
We play in conditions like this all the time at the US Open, Indian Wells, and here. Just something you got to get used to.

Q. Serving for the match in the fourth and Davydenko fires those two rocket returns; what were your thoughts when they came back and he broke you?
ROGER FEDERER: It's not necessary, I thought. I was like, Why now? You could have played those some other time when it wasn't so important. I remember it happened once to me before. I hit a great serve on match point against Alberto Costa in Miami. I had flashbacks. I was like, Oh, my god, I had match point there. I served a great serve wide. He blocked it back. I didn't have a chance or I didn't have a play on match point. No regrets really.
And all of a sudden you're against the wind, he's starting to play better, and it was tough. You know, especially also the Hawk-Eye call at deuce. You know, that was unfortunate, too, maybe.
But I believed still that even if it's maybe through the breaker or maybe even if I have a slight chance to break that I was gonna be able to win it. I'm happy that I believed in it and played great.

Q. 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals. Where does that rank in your accomplishments, and can you believe it?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's incredible looking back on how many years that is now, you know, I'm able to deliver at Grand Slam play, especially, you know, this year. I think looking at the draw with Hewitt in the fourth round and Davydenko in the quarters, who has been on fire the last weeks and even today, you know, we saw big signs of it, why he's, you know, such a great player.
So for some reason I was just a bit worried I was not gonna make it this time in the semis. You always believe the streak is gonna be broken. I stopped thinking about it after the second round on and just started focusing on the tournament.
It helps once the tournament starts. You focus match for match and point for point, so I forget about the record. Now obviously that it's safe again and I've been able to add one. It's amazing. Definitely one of the most incredible things I have in my resume.

Q. So many incredible records. This one today is one that maybe nobody will ever remember. You won 6-Love in the third set hitting only two winners. How does it come? How do you explain it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, if you look at the match it's pretty easy to explain. You know, he hit so hard form the baseline and so flat, and it's hard to look for too many angles, you know. We had many, many forced errors.
That's why I never look at the - how do you say it - the stat sheet. You know, some are fanatics about it. How many aces and double faults did I hit, how many points won, or first serves. I couldn't care less about all those stats.
Same with winners and errors did you hit. I don't care if I was in the positives or the negatives. What matters is how you play your opponent, and the wind and tactics and everything. There are so many more important things, you know.
I thought through the second and third set we were playing extremely hard from the baseline. He was just missing a touch earlier, you know, so I didn't have to go for that much more. I was just happy with serving well and playing sort of exceptionally tough tennis.

Q. When you were on the run today, so you feel that was that some of your best tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, sure, winning that many games in a row against a player that's been on fire like this, it's a great sign. I've always had those spells, you know, if you look back at my Grand Slam play, that all of a sudden went on a terror and I was able to sort of dominate and create the difference this way.
I remember a few years go here, maybe in 2006 when I won against Baghdatis in the finals that year. I went on -- I think like in three matches I went on an incredible run. I'm happy I was able to do it again against a wonderful player.

Q. Do you feel you can get better still? Does that drive you to make your game better still?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, if we would have more practice, you know, I think I would have many more opportunity to improve.
You got to sort of deal with what you have. We have a season that goes from January to November. What makes you tough is normally matches, not practices. It makes you fit, but not tough. I'm happy where I am.
And when I have practice the few weeks of the year, I try to improve my strengths and my weaknesses and see where it takes me. What's important is I believe I can always improve. I think tennis is a very unique game because you're always on the move and you're always adjusting.
So you can practice two or six hours. Sometimes it doesn't matter. It's about the quality.

Q. Do you feel like you can still get better, though?
ROGER FEDERER: Same question, right?

Q. Yeah. Just be clear.
ROGER FEDERER: Is that your headline, or...

Q. Can you talk about how your game matches up against Tsonga and Djokovic?
ROGER FEDERER: How I match up. Let me think. Tsonga I think I've only played twice as far as I remember, so I don't know that much about him. I think he's only played his first five-set match of his life. It's quite amazing at this age to only be pushed there, or for himself to be in that situation.
So it's interesting to see how he's gonna hold up and come out and play Djokovic, one of toughest guys we have on tour. But, yeah, he's a dangerous player. Very athletic obviously. You know, good athlete, both of them really. So regardless of who I play in the semis it's gonna be tough.
Safe bet tonight is Djokovic because he's been there before. But I think Tsonga has a pretty good record against him. But I think Djokovic maybe hasn't been tested that much in the tournament, so it's gonna be an interesting match for Novak as well.

Q. Are you the sort of character that seeks revenge given that Novak beat you last time here?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, no, I'm not like that.

Q. Now that the defending champion is out, are you feeling a little bit less pressure?
ROGER FEDERER: Who's out? The defending champion, Rafa? You know, not really. I mean, I was -- I think that changed. That was the only time in my life I think I went through this was the French Open. Thank God I was able to win it, you know.
That was a huge affect. It had a huge affect on me that Rafa lost at the French, you know, just knowing the opportunities I had and being already occupied with my own game and opponents. It was -- that was -- had a big impact on me.
But not that Rafa lost this time around. I've won the Australian Open before. I thought Murray played a wonderful match. I think I had my hands full today with Davydenko, and I knew that last night watching it.

Q. There are many players that don't read much and don't know much about tennis. You come here and you say that you know Tsonga played for the first time five sets and you know that Tsonga beat four times out of six Djokovic and things like that. That means you read a lot? You like to keep yourself informed on what happens during a tournament? You read papers?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. Some days I do and some days I don't. Then I just like to listen to the commentary as well and see what they say. It's actually not really to study opponents. I watch it more as fan, I think.
I didn't watch last night's match going, Like, Hmm, that's interesting, you know, how they're playing. I couldn't care less. I just like to see a good tennis match and see how they battle it out and see the intensity of both players, you know, and watching how important it is for both of them to come through.
So I see it more that way than, What's he doing exactly when I play him next time? That would be for me way too stressful watching every single tennis match just thinking of my own game, how it would match up.

Q. As a fan, who is your idol apart from Roger Federer?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think idols for me were the ones sort of reaching for the stars I thought were untouchable, such as Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras. You know that. I liked also Marcelo Rios' game as well when I was coming along. I was lucky enough to play him a few times as well.
Now I just enjoy watching the other guys play, too. Obviously I liked the net rushers back then like Rafter and Henman. But, yeah, no, I just watch it because I like tennis.

End of FastScripts

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