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November 25, 2010

Roger Federer


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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This year no problem with three victories for the semis.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm happy I was able to come out today and play a good, tough, solid match against a player who I thought was in good shape. I purposely didn't want to know the calculations before today's match, whereas I was in the loop very clearly what I kind of needed to do last year, which I think played on my mind a little bit. So I think, thanks to what happened last year, I was better prepared this year.
But I was also playing first up this time around, which then obviously still maybe needs some time to wait for me with the Murray match tonight.
I just wanted to come out and try to play as good a match as I can. Losing is never a solution to trying to win a tournament. That's why I'm happy that all three matches, straight sets, not wasted any energy. I'm playing real well. I'm through to the semis. So it's all real good right now.

Q. Obviously winning this event in itself is a big thing. Is there also a sense with you that you want to put down a marker as well in terms of next year to show that you're going to be right in there sort of breathing down Rafa's neck?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think regardless if I win here or not, I'm one of the big contenders with Rafa and other guys trying to win the big tournaments.
But obviously this would just help on - how do you say - a level starting the season great in Australia, finishing the season great in London would be, you know, the circle is sort of closed. Then again, I'm still two matches away, two really tough matches. I'm most likely going to play against top-five guys. Depends who I play, I don't even know yet. It's going to be a tough weekend ahead of me. That's my focus right now.
So far it's been good, you know. I won against top-10 players in straight sets. That's going to make me feel obviously awfully good for the weekend. But I hope I can keep it up. Tournament's not over yet. This is really when it starts for me.

Q. Your thoughts about meeting Maradona? We know he requested specifically to come to London to meet you. What did you say?
ROGER FEDERER: He was very nice. Very supportive. Big admirer of mine it seemed like. It was a great pleasure for me to meet someone who I think has an incredible life behind him already, and he's still got hopefully a lot to look forward to in the future. Obviously he's one of the best soccer players of all time, which I grew up admiring as well, you know, to a certain degree, even though him being from South America, obviously I always preferred European player. I still think he's probably in the top three of all time.
It was a big pleasure for me to meet him. I already signed a shirt once for him. Finally we got to meet. It was nice. I heard a lot of things through Del Potro, Nalbandian, and Gaudio. So it was a big pleasure for me.

Q. We heard last year you didn't win Swiss sports personality, year after becoming the greatest champion of all time. What are your chances of winning it this year?

Q. Why is that?
ROGER FEDERER: I am recognized. The other guy won two Olympic golds in ski jumping. That's probably going to do the trick for him. That's my feeling anyway.
Look, all I can try is to have a good season myself. One thing for sure, Swiss is not going to vote me ten times in a row. It's not just going to happen. I've already won plenty enough times. It's been nice to win. I hope I can take part live again because I've missed the awards quite a times because I've been practicing elsewhere than Switzerland, because usually it's in December, which I usually try to escape the cold.
I've got great admiration from the Swiss people. I don't think this award ceremony is - how do you say - how the Swiss people see me. Ask other Swiss people than the ones who vote. I don't know.

Q. You talked at the last match about the grit you show at the end of the year. Your record in this championship sums that up. In terms of matches you played, this one today was almost faultless. Could you possibly have played much better than you played today?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don't know. Obviously, you have to adapt your game against certain players. Today, Robin, he takes it to you, serves well, serves his spots well. Against Ferrer, he served 70% first serves, got many service winners and aces from what I've seen. He's very consistent off the baseline. I had to really come up with some variation that I usually do, be very solid on my own serve, which I was able to do, except the one game where I didn't serve well off the deuce side, and then he got into good rallies, I missed a few.
All in all, again, I thought it was similar against Murray. Very concentrated, very solid, just from start to finish, I knew what I wanted to do. That just gave me a clear direction of how I wanted to handle Soderling today, who always brings out a bit something different every time he plays me because he has to try different things. I was able to handle it well, which was a very happy feeling for me to have.

Q. Starting from Toronto, now you're making at least the semifinals for eight tournaments in a row. Can you share with us some thoughts why your level is obviously more stable in the second half of the season than the first half the season?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, my feeling, to be honest, is always going to be that I was going to come back very strong after Wimbledon, regardless of the score there. Indoor, it took me a little bit to get over not regaining the Wimbledon crown, not being in the Wimbledon finals for I don't even know how many years. That was a bit of a different feeling.
But I had a nice vacation. I had a great buildup and felt good right off the bat when I arrived in Toronto. So I was very confident that I was going to play well these next few months. Obviously, Paul has had somewhat of an impact, you know. Just talking to someone different for a change was nice.
But also a key to this whole successful thing I've been through now the last eight tournaments has been that Severin was part of it. He also knows me the last three or four years now. He knows me very well, which Paul doesn't quite know me yet. It's important to have both sides of the story so we can come up with the best possible plan for my matches.
I've been able to play how I usually like to play, mix it up, be aggressive. I probably got into a bit of a tendency to play somewhat passive, especially at Wimbledon. But then again, Berdych played a great match. During the clay court season I lost many matches in the rain, which doesn't make it easy to play in. I also thought Soderling played a phenomenal match against me in the quarters. Sometimes you have to accept that guys play well.
Obviously, I had a tough season losing matches with match points which hurts down the stretch. All in all, it's been another good solid season and I've been playing really well on the hard courts. I'm happy I'm still going in this one.

Q. I'd like to know what is your feeling once you won the first set? You know you qualified, you're number one in your group. How do you play after, more relaxed or afraid to lose concentration, or if there is a ball far away, you let it go or don't think about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wasn't a hundred percent sure that the first set already made me qualified. Honestly, I didn't feel that way when I sat on the bench that I was through and he was not maybe. I don't know what it took for him. Like I said before, I didn't want to know too much about it. So I would just play every point, every game the same. I was going to run after every ball like the way I usually do it, or not, because I try to save myself for later on in the match. I just tried to play smart, you know. That's what I was able to do today.
Yeah, my mind wasn't wandering too much in the second set. I was just really focused on trying to win the match because, like I said before, losing three sets all of a sudden is not going to do me any good whatsoever. I really tried to close him out. He's not just a journeyman on the tour. He does know how to play. He knows his stuff. He knows how to beat me as well. He's done it in a big match in Paris. I know the danger of playing him.

Q. Over the years you've had many different coaches at different stages of your life. What for you makes a good coach?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, obviously with me, my coaches, I always have to get along real well with, which has always been the case, Tony Roche, Peter Lundgren, Jose Higueras, Paul, Severin, they've all been good friends to me. I guess that's the number one priority that - how you say - the characters kind of match up well.
He was something new, something different. I don't mind criticism or new input, so that's kind of what it is, you know. I didn't feel like I always needed a coach because I also think it's very important to listen to your internal feelings, you know, not just let yourself be guided your whole time through your whole life, because eventually you have to grow up and do it yourself.
That's what I was able to do very early on in my career. I just turned world No. 1, which I thought was a huge thing for me to do kind of alone, obviously with the assistance of all the previous coaches I had. They had an impact, obviously I was in that position. But I did it myself at the very end. That was a great feeling to have and gave me a sense of security and know that I can always do it in the future alone. I never really stressed into hiring a new coach, which I think is the right thing to do, because the last thing I wanted to do was jump from one coach to the other. I never had to do that. I'm happy that I will never have to do it, and I will never do it.

Q. In terms of psychological learning, do you think this season was a bit different for you, where you had to deal with some harsh realities like, Perhaps I am not as ahead of the other guys as I thought, something like that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I won the Australian Open right off the bat at the beginning. That kind of keeps you going for a few months. That you sometimes lose close matches, that can happen. I had a lung infection in February. I only played a handful of matches all the way to Madrid really. You can't really say I was playing horrible. I was just losing some close matches. Next thing you know, it's like you lose in the quarters at the French Open, everybody makes a big deal about it. Then half of the season is almost over.
Yeah, so that's why I decided to play more at the end of the season. Paid off. Won a lot of matches. Now the tone is very different in my game, in the press room. So sometimes you've got to be patient. I'm not too eager about things coming because I work in the long-term always.
Obviously, the short-term is important to play well and to win tournaments. I mean, that's what it comes down to at the end for me. I don't want to just be playing, hanging around, playing quarterfinals all the time. I want to be part of the big-time. That's what I've been able to do again this year, so I'm happy.

Q. Just on the last point of the first set. Robin thought it might have been a bit of a miss-hit. Was it?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think it was, no.

Q. Your backhand that he left.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I tried to hit it shorter, let's say. But I was under pressure. I got a clean hit. It wasn't off the frame, like I have a tendency to hit my backhand with sometimes. So it was a decent backhand. It was just one of those kind of floater balls. Wasn't a slice. Wasn't a topspin, like you rarely see. The problem is if you doubt yourself for a second, like Roddick at Wimbledon last year, it's a similar thing. You can see, if you're not often at the net, yeah, it's just a funny thing to deal with. Obviously lets it go. Obviously it has to drop in. It all goes hand-in-hand. All those problems, they accumulate like within a second.
Unfortunate for him. But I should have maybe closed the set out earlier myself, too. But it would have been interesting to see what would have happened at 6-All, obviously.

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