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September 8, 2011

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Tsonga
6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Are you happy that the men's final is Monday and that you'll get that extra day of rest?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, for me, I guess at the end of the day it wouldn't have mattered that much. But out of fairness to the bottom half of the draw, I think it's definitely the right thing to do.
What I mentioned out on court, the problem lies elsewhere, though. This is the fourth year in a row I think we're playing a Monday final. Might as well just make it a Monday final, right? (Laughter.)
Or you have to change up a few things. I think the three early first rounds is not working, and then the Super-Saturday I just think is not feasible. In all the Grand Slams you do not really have that competitive advantage over another player, which I don't think should be the case here.
I'm sure that there has been many finals played here where one player had a huge advantage, and I don't think that should be happening before such a huge match here in the final.
So I think that's where, you know, it was a good decision to make it a Monday final again. But without the roof, I just don't think Saturday/Sunday is feasible any longer at this point.

Q. The McEnroes were saying on the air that during the semi against Djokovic last year maybe it crept into your mind that if you had won you would have had to turn around and play Rafa the next day, back-to-back days.

Q. If that's true, how much does the prospect of a Monday final take the weight off you going into the semis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, like I said, yeah, it's good. It's better for sure for my match now for Novak, for both of us, for that matter, just to be able go out there and play that match instead of thinking of something else.
I mean, look, at the same time, I have to fly down to Australia on Tuesday or whatever to get there Thursday to play Friday.
So is that good? No, it's not good for anybody who has to play the following week to play Monday. It's just something that, you know, that the tournament and everybody is trying to come up with to at least make it somewhat fair.
It's a very difficult situation at this point, but like I mentioned before, the problem lies elsewhere. It is true that I did think of the Rafa final and the prospect, you know, trying to get there without maybe losing too much energy. Maybe that was one of the reasons I was not able to stay tougher in two of the sets I lost, actually.
Still should have won the match maybe, but it's just a tough prospect. You never have it that we have to play back-to-back best-of-five-set matches, and only here before the final at the US Open. It just somehow doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Q. What are your thoughts about the discussions the last 36 hours of the players organizing, perhaps forming a body to have more of a say in the government of slams, et cetera?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, look, I'm obviously the president of the player council, and we work very well together. I mean, we are always very aware that there is the tournaments and the players. We try to make it the best for all of us.
We know that if we put a little thing over here, then something moves over there. But we try to, you know, be as friendly together as we can.
With the Grand Slams, it's a whole different story. They're much further away, we have much less leverage, and I find sometimes they abuse that situation just, you know, a tiny bit.
The French Open was something we were not happy about, that they started Sunday. They did. Here they have a Saturday/Sunday final. The players are not happy, but we're doing it.
So we have, you know, not much say in Grand Slam play, and that's without even talking about the revenues and all that stuff. So there is a whole lot of other issues we need to work through with the Grand Slams and the ITF.
But, look, nobody hopes for rain, you know. Unfortunately, in these times there's a whole lot of other issues that come out, up, and about, you know, and the press has a frenzy over it. I was happy to see that the players spoke, you know, and said something together and showed that they were not happy.
But in some ways, I always hope it doesn't have to go there, especially during a Grand Slam. That we can resolve issues like this on the side.
But unfortunately it has to happen at times that we do come together and speak as a, you know, big voice, all the players together.
That's why actually me and Rafa, and also Novak in the beginning, you know, took an active role in the player council. Because as I said, it's enough of those things that we find out later. We should play an active role.
If we don't want to complain, we should have to take an active role. That's why Rafa and myself we are where we are on the player council and at least working through the issues with the ATP. Then like I say, there is the whole ITF Grand Slam issue, whish is a tough battle to battle.
We just hope that they understand the issues, you know, and the protection of the players are very important. Whatever that means, you know. I think it's very important that we do get to a table and speak, which never actually happens.

Q. There has been a lot of talk about the needs of the players in the last few days, but there was an article in the Times I think two days ago that the gold badge umpires make 250 a day; I know Rafa was quite upset yesterday with the decision of the umpires to bring them out on court. What do you think of that number?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I don't know if those are real numbers. You're just telling me this right now.
I mean, isn't this the same in soccer? They're not all of them 100% professionals out there. I think they're doing a good job. I think Hawk-Eye has protected them to a degree, as well.
I don't think we have a huge umpire issue. I really think they're very good. I know we have a lot of courts, and usually the smaller the court, the less experience the umpire has, and also the same thing with the linespeople.
But, I mean, look, you've got to cover tons of courts here, and you're always gonna get the occasionally bad call. You just hope the umpires and the referees have it under control the best possible way.
What I like about tennis is that actually the umpire doesn't have all the power like maybe in soccer where you feel, okay, here is a penalty; here is a red card. It doesn't have such an impact in tennis. I don't think it's an issue in tennis right now.

Q. How do you see your game plan against Novak? You know, his weakness, is there a weakness?
ROGER FEDERER: It's pretty straightforward, you know. I think we're both gonna play aggressive. He's moving well since years now. He's probably taken his game up to a bit of a higher level, but mostly in terms of confidence I think.
But I think when we do play against each other it's always exciting. We have great rallies against each other. You know, I like playing against him because it's a battle of the baseline a bit if you like.
He's been having an amazing season so far, so it's a challenge right now in the men's game. That's what I like, who I like to play against.

Q. To what degree do you think what happened here in the last day or two must be a catalyst for change?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, like you say, I'm not happy to see it happening right now during a Grand Slam, especially during the US Open where it's, how do you say, it's going towards the crunch time, really, in our sport.
Instead of talking about the good play we have had so far or what's about to come, we're talking about all these other issues. Maybe it is a good catalyst to what's to come. We'll see what happens. It's all up to the Grand Slams, how they are willing to make changes and move it around in the future.
Because the way it is right now, it's not a perfect scenario. Will they have a roof, that would be different. We're not asking them to spend tons of millions of dollars, even though -- would it probably be a good investment in the next 50 years? Yeah, probably, but it needs to make good business sense for the US Open at this point.
We can't tell them, Gotta put a roof otherwise we're going to be very unhappy. I think the natural change would be to eliminate the first three rounds and forget about Super-Saturday, even though it's been good, it's been nice.
It's just the way we have to play physical and it's -- I don't see that happening. Or it shouldn't happen anymore. And I don't think TV should dictate just to have the finals on Sunday and the semis on Saturday and not have the true champion hold the trophy up. I just don't think that's the goal here.

Q. In Cincinnati you talked about following the presidential race and being sort of amazed by...
ROGER FEDERER: The player council one? (Smiling.)

Q. No. Being amazed by the brutality and the length of it. I'm wondering if there are any parallels to be drawn with the brutality and length of trying to win a US Open title at this point? Does this Super-Saturday and Sunday usually...
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think you can compare the two.

Q. Playing with no roof.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't compare the two.

Q. Can you compare it to the other slams?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, this takes a long, long time and becomes very personal, I find, at least; whereas I think in tennis it stays, you know, very fair play, to be honest.
At the end of the day, it's just sports, you know. Bit of politics once in a while like we're having right now, but it's not what we like to do.
Yeah, I mean, it takes a while, you know, at the Grand Slams, but, you know when they're over; and when they're over, they are, and then another tournament is happening. The Grand Slams are not everything. They are big tournaments, but the tour goes on and we have other chances and other very important tournaments that mean a lot to us.
The year is not over after the US Open, so still have a lot of things to really look forward to for us.

Q. What were you thinking when you were up two sets to love? Did Wimbledon cross your mind?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit, yeah. Why not, right? (Laughter.)
Little flashbacks, you know, forehand goes by, serve I can't reach.
But I felt like -- I was returning way better this time around, or his serve wasn't going through the court as much as at Wimbledon, and I just felt I was in control from the baseline, from on my serve, on my return.
I just felt like I had my teeth in the match. Sure, it could have changed. I felt the same way at Wimbledon, but obviously at Wimbledon the margins are a bit smaller, I feel.
Today I felt I took the right decisions out of the matches we had in Wimbledon, and especially in Montreal where I was very unhappy with my game. I think the Montreal match was actually key for me winning this match today.

Q. What do you need to improve upon to make sure that you handle Djokovic the way you want to? I know you've only lost one set; Djokovic lost one set going into the match. What do you need to make sure that you focus upon to make sure that you come out victorious in that match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, one day of practice and I'm not gonna practice on anything. My game right now needs to be good enough to beat him, and same for him.
Can we go and hit a few extra serves? Yeah, we can. But at this point, the season's sort of climaxes a little bit. We know -- we've played over 50, 60 matches. We know where our game is at. We know where we are physically and mentally. We're going to go out there and give it the best possible shot, at least myself. I can only speak for myself.
I don't know where Novak is coming from. These last two weeks he's had a pretty easy trip to the semis. Me too. I have been very dominant in my matches. I hope I can take all the confidence I have been able to build here during this tournament and use it against Novak.
I'm looking forward to it. Like I said, it's always a great matchup between the two of us. We've played over 20 times, I think. So there is no real secrets out there. We have had particularly good matches here at the US Open, and I have the feeling it's going to be something similar again.

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