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November 23, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/A. Murray
6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Roger, probably most of us were expecting a tight, tough, three-set match. I'm sure you were thinking that as well. Circumstances take you somewhat by surprise today?
ROGER FEDERER: I think if you play many times against each other, you can't go the distance every single time. It's just the way it is. I think many of our matches have been quite close, especially best-of-three set matches, except now Shanghai and now this one really.
Sometimes it's also hard to play a perfect match against each other when there's such a huge excitement around it I think. I've struggled with it in the past. Maybe that's what happened to Andy today, I don't know.
I don't think he played his best match. He came out and made some mistakes. Maybe it was due to my good play. From my side, I was obviously very happy. It was a good match. I played tough and solid from start to finish. That seemed to be enough today.

Q. Also not dropping a set today.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I'm surprised. I really am, that I was able to win my service games that comfortably. I heard I dropped eight points on my serve. That's not to the norm against Andy, who is one of the best return players, if not the best, in the game right now. So I'll take that is all I can say.

Q. Roger, Andy Murray in his interview mentioned his inability to really nail the serve and return was the reason for the way the match went today. Is that your reading, too?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, clearly. I mean, serve and return had a big effect on how the rest of the match is being played. After all, it's the beginning of the point. The serve is something you can somewhat control. It's really the only shot you can control because can take time for that and set it up.
He had a poor first-serve percentage, which he needs. It's a slow court, so any second serve here is right easy to be returned, you know, except if you're able to really mix it up incredibly well, with pace, with spin.
But I don't think the kick is the serve for this kind of a surface. So that's why I always knew when he was going to miss first serves, I was going to get into tough rallies with him and make him work hard. That's what I was able to do.
He just got off to a bad start with his serve, never really found it. That's what happens in best-of-three set matches. Those matches are over in a hurry and you don't know what happened.

Q. Andy has won eight of the 14 matches he's played against you, but you've won four of the five either in Grand Slams or at the end-of-year championships. What do you read into that?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a whole lot, you know. It's hard to say. I mean, obviously I expect myself to play some of my best tennis at the biggest events where I try to peak. That includes the World Tour Finals.
I think I've shown a lot of grit at the end of the season throughout my career. This is the ninth time I'm qualifying and the ninth time also playing, the ninth time I'm playing through groups. I have a great record in round-robin.
I find the extra gear at the end of the season year when the season is long. I've also been successful, winning it four times. I think that's something I have experience doing.
So these last two years I'm surprised I was able to beat Andy here because playing him in London should be really a tough, tough place to play against him. But then, look, I went through a run where he had my number, he beat me in Shanghai. No excuses, but I was sick and injured sort of just before. I mean, I was lucky I had a chance at all to qualify.
Then he went on and beat me in Doha, beat me in Indian Wells. He had just a good run there where maybe I was a step slow. After all, he played well and proved his point how good he is. Again now in Toronto and Shanghai. So for me it's good to stop the run he was on against me now again.
Now I think he's at a level where it comes down a lot to day form. Obviously I'm maybe always the one who is a little bit in control where I'm the aggressor, where he's maybe the counter-puncher still a little bit.
I enjoy the matches we play against each other. He's improved again the last year and had another exceptional season. I don't see any reason why he's not going to qualify here for the semis.

Q. How long does it take you, when a guy comes out and misses nine of his first 10 serves, do you pick up on that immediately? Does that help set the tone for you?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really, because the serve is not something I'm really controlling. Like I said. He's famous for being a bit of a streaky server. He's not going to serve 75% first serves. He can miss nine, but then make nine in a row. You saw today, when it's important, he hit his spots well. He can hit all four corners of the box with his serve. He's improved his second serve.
I didn't read too much into it. I was just surprised the amount of errors he was making early on in the match. But then again, that can happen. It was still a close first set, I thought.
Then the second set, he lost a few games that maybe could have gone differently, which could have really put him into the match. But being down a double break, things were always going to be tough for him, really good for me.
I was able to play a bit more freely, like he was able to do in Toronto and in Shanghai. So this time I was on the winner's side and I took advantage of it like he did.

Q. Maradona has been here the last couple days watching. He was watching your match today. Did you meet up with him later on? If so, how did that go?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I did meet up. Everything went okay. Thanks for asking. Really relieved that everything was okay (smiling).
No, look, I'm a big soccer fan. It's been a pleasure to meet him. I heard he's a big tennis fan, a big fan of mine. I think he was almost more excited to meet me than I was to meet him, and I was very excited.
It was a big pleasure. He said it's not the last visit. I think he's going to come more. I think it's nice of him.

Q. You've had lots of spells in your career when you've had a coach and spells where you've been on your own. How difficult is it when you have nobody to sort of bounce things off with after the game?
ROGER FEDERER: He has people I'm sure he can bounce off ideas. He has his friends, his team that has been with him for a long time, his mom, his girlfriend. Who knows? It sometimes doesn't take tactical advice. It maybe takes more of - how do you say - just a feel-good talk can be plenty or just a nice dinner. That can make the trick.
Tennis is not rocket science. You know, it's pretty straightforward. I think he's going to turn around and come back and play a real good match in the next round, so I have no doubt about it.
But as we know in tennis, only one guy can win. Today was a bad day for him. But it's far from over. I'm sure he really wants to get to the semifinal stage. He'll put everything into his last match here.

Q. After two straight-set victories, what are your thoughts going into the final match with Robin Soderling?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I got to qualify or not after these two matches doesn't really change my mindset a whole lot. I think on a level, I saved energy so far. It's been good. Plus I've had the days off in between, like in a Grand Slam. Plus I only having to play two sets, it's nice at the end of the season. I sort of enjoy it.
I hope, if I make it to the semis, then I'm fresh and really ready to go. Because last year I played four matches and they were all -- they all went the distance, that can wear on you a little bit at the end of the season. Maybe if not physically, mentally it's a little bit of a drag. This year it doesn't seem to be the case.
I'm excited to Play Soderling. I have a great record against him. I hope I can play the same level like I did the last two.

Q. How much do you think experience counts in this competition, the round-robin? Most of us are trying to work out who is going to go through, the arithmetic. Is it going out there playing, knowing exactly what you need to do, is that an essential part of this competition?
ROGER FEDERER: You can go a bit crazy about it, no doubt about it.
Well, I think last year was the most extreme situation I've ever had to go through, feeling like I needed a set maybe plus a few games and this. It was really working my mind a lot.
I just think through all what I've gone through, all the matches I've played, all the easier, tougher matches I've had to play through my career help you in a situation like this. Just to be able to maybe block not everything out, because sometimes that's just impossible, but at least the majority of it out. You say, Okay, let me play the match, go point by point. It all sounds easy, but it's complicated sometimes to do that when things are flying through the room like that.
I mean, I remember very vividly I qualified for the semis the first time in 2000. Agassi pulled out and I had to play Thomas Johansson. I already qualified. Playing for so much money, so many points. I don't really need this victory because I'm already through. That really taught me a lesson of just going out there, play solid. I was able to win 7-6, 6-3 or so. I was just so relieved.
I think after that, every other round-robin I played was very simple. That one really taught me a lesson, I think.

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