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November 27, 2010

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your thoughts on reaching the final against Rafael Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been a great tournament so far, clearly, having not lost a set and beaten so many good players, close rivals. Today was another great match.
Obviously I'm really looking forward to playing against Rafa tomorrow. Who wouldn't? I'm no different.

Q. Earlier in the week, Boris Becker said you probably have to play at a higher level to win a Masters Cup than a Grand Slam. Would you agree with that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's a different type of tournament, playing first up against a top-10 player is not something that's going to happen at a Grand Slam, except if you're going to come down to Australia next year, and I play Juan Martin Del Potro. That would be nice (smiling). Then obviously it's a different story.
Usually this maybe requires a higher level of consistency from start to finish. But I think what the best players do best is when they don't play their very best, they are able to find a way to win. That was definitely something I was able to do this week.
I had moments when I didn't play my very best, but I was able to come through with a solid performance. That sometimes works against guys ranked 50 or 100 or 7 in the world. It's always the same. Obviously it's tricky playing best-of-three set matches which - how do you say - is a bit less in your control, where, in a best-of-five set match, mentally or physically, there's more ways to win I find anyway.
But I don't think it's as physical, you know, this kind of a tournament, like it is at a Grand Slam. So it's just quite different. But Becker is not very wrong by saying what he said.

Q. Final against Rafa. It means career Grand Slamer versus career Grand Slamer. I think this is new history. This is a unique matchup. What do you think about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure, but I'll try to answer. Look, what he's achieved is amazing. Obviously at his age to win the calendar Grand Slam or the career Grand Slam, three in a row, he has already now, is again, another great streak. And he has many other things which are amazing. So obviously he's a wonderful player. He's proven himself that he can play on any surface now. The ones who still call him a clay court expert, they still don't know much about tennis.
He's proven his point again today, how good he was under pressure. Pity obviously for Murray. I'm really looking forward to playing him for the first time in the finals of a World Tour Finals. I think I played him twice in the semis before, so it should be entertaining and exciting for both of us.

Q. What do you expect for tomorrow's match after Rafael has been running for almost three and a half hours against Andy, and even Rafael is saying he's very tired? How do you feel about that?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think it's going to have much effect on him, to be honest. He's been done for a few hours now. He might be tucked up in bed already while I'm still doing my press conference here. That's his advantage that he played early.
So I don't think there's much to read into him playing long, me finishing late. We'll both come out and give our very, very best. After this, we have a long break. So it doesn't matter if you hurt yourself much, you know, because you get a big rest. You don't have another tournament after this, except Novak. So go out and give it all you have.

Q. Do you remember the last match you played in London with Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Was it the finals?

Q. Wimbledon, the classic Wimbledon match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's the same city, a few miles away. Honestly, I didn't even think about that for one second so far preparing for tomorrow's match. It's more of a broad approach thinking back of what has all happened the last few months in my game, the Madrid finals possibly, even though that was clay and so forth, what caused him trouble so far this tournament, what have I done well. Try to put all those pieces together and hopefully find the right game plan for tomorrow.
Clearly you have to play well on the day, make the right decisions when you can. Like I said before, best-of-three set tennis can be over very quickly. 5-All seems like a close match. 10 minutes later it can be 7-5, 2-Love, and over. You have to be very focused and very sharp. That's what I'll try to do, prepare for tomorrow very good mentally. I think that's what it comes down to tomorrow anyway for me.

Q. Things went well for you today. Twice in the match, Novak was able to get back from Love-40 on his serve. Does that concern you for tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, I won the match. If I would have lost the match, it wouldn't be much of a concern because I would be out of the tournament and I would be in vacation mode already, and I'm not.
I thought Novak played a decent match. I was able to outplay him at times, play aggressive. I took it to him, exactly the way I was hoping to make it. Love-40, you feel those are the kind of games you should definitely win.
But these guys are good. They find a way as well. Maybe you just overplay some, some you're a bit too passive on. That's what I mean with being well-prepared, knowing what you want to do at certain stages of the match.
Love-40 is always a bit of a surprise to us, against such a good player. But overall that's what I look at. I thought it was a great match.

Q. You have to play Nadal, that listening to Murray, has a great second serve. Everybody says Nadal has a huge forehand, improved a lot the first serve. But Murray said he was in trouble to return his second serve. Is that also something that bothers you a bit, something that you noticed, that you suffer in a way or not?
ROGER FEDERER: I'll tell you tomorrow.

Q. Well, you played so many times.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but not in a long time. I'll try to take it to him, play aggressive, attack his second serve, see how it goes.
He's a left-hander. There's only a few left-handers in the game. It's somewhat unusual maybe. Now, if it's a great second serve, I'm not sure. He definitely wins a lot of points off second serve. But I think that comes down more to his great foot speed and his good coverage and forehand and backhand, baseline play, more than his second serve in terms of speed and accuracy and everything.
But, look, if he gets away with it today against Murray, he probably served smart, which you have to do.

Q. The competition between the top eight players is supposed to be very close. So far in this tournament, only two out of 14 matches went to the third set. Do you think it's coincidence that we have so many straight-setters?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it's a coincidence. To be honest, last year we had many close matches. Look, I played four out of four matches best-of-three sets. The other group was a bit more one-sided. I think Rafa didn't win a set last year.
Look, sometimes it's just the way it goes. If Rafa would have lost the first match against Murray, it would have been straight sets, 3-6, so forth. Look, today, all of a sudden you have a great match. I hope that stole the limelight because that is a great match, one of the greater ones we have during the season. The epic was Murray now. I hope we can live up to expectations tomorrow and really play a great match against each other again.

Q. Do you base your game plan playing against Rafa on what you know from being the other end of the court to him? Do you study him much when you're not playing? You often make the final, if there's a final, you get knocked out, you don't watch the final. Do you do much homework on television or tapes about Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't. That's why I have Paul and Severin doing that stuff. Like you say, when I'm out, he's in the finals, either I'm somewhere where they don't show it or I don't have the patience to go sit down and watch it and start studying it and going all coaching all about it. I can't do it.
You know, I've seen so much tennis. I love watching matches when I'm still in the tournament. I've probably seen here quite a few matches of Rafa. You just kind of try to, with any other player, I watch more as a fan. At times you're like, Look, he did that maybe a bit different. He played more to the backhand on this occasion.
I don't know. I mean, then of course I think back on how were rallies played in the past against each other, what has worked, what hasn't worked, what have we changed against each other. Obviously he's evolved. He hits his serve bigger today.
I've changed my game. I'm playing more physical than three, four years ago. Just try to put all that together, in split seconds break it down and take the right decision, which isn't easy because you have so much info. But at the end of the day, it's pretty simple. Just play a good match, hit the right balls, take the right decisions and start the games out well. We'll see how I go at it tomorrow.

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