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November 22, 2011

Roger Federer


6‑3, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I think we're all probably a little stunned by that.  Do you get stunned when you play quite as well as that?
ROGER FEDERER:  A little bit, I do, yes.  Very happy.  Of course, it was a great match for me basically from start to finish.  I was able to do what I was hoping to do:  dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well, take his time away.  I was able to do that tonight.  Hasn't always worked.
I also felt the power of Rafa in the past, so this is a great match for me, a nice win, clearly.

Q.  Did you exorcise some psychological demons against Rafa tonight?
ROGER FEDERER:  I always knew I could beat Rafa.  The question is sometimes it was hard to do because he has a big say, as well, in how the matches go.  The quicker the court, the more I favor myself.
But conditions are not so fast out there sometimes.  Not even this is so quick.  But I'm happy I was able to play and use the conditions to my advantage.  Maybe Rafa didn't play his very best tonight.  But on an indoor court, it all happens very quickly as we saw at the end.
For me it was an exciting match to play.  Very excited after a tough loss in Miami this year and a close one in Madrid that I was able to turn it around again.

Q.  What do you feel the differences are when you play Rafa indoors compared to other surfaces?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, obviously on clay and on grass, you have the bad bounces that come into play more, so it's harder maybe to play some half volleys off the baseline.  Today I hit some crucial ones off my backhand side.  In key moments I was able to stay put, not move backwards, to give myself time.  That helps on the indoors, even though you do have the occasional bad bounce as well on the indoors.
I don't know.  Usually it just plays faster indoors than the other surfaces, so I think that's the biggest difference.

Q.  The score is unbelievable.  You never beat him so easily.  I'd like to know if you remember when you lost to him so badly in Roland Garros 2008.  Do you think these scores, when they are so severe, there is something strange?  One of the two is playing at his best and the other at his worst or is that not the case?
ROGER FEDERER:  Look, I mean, we've played so many times, sometimes it just derails for you, like it derailed for Rafa today and it did for me at the French Open.
I mean, you know what good front‑runners, the top guys are.¬† Once you start rolling, it's hard to stop the player.¬† So for him it was hard today.¬† It was maybe even harder on clay once you get behind because the serve doesn't help you at all anymore.¬† And then everything you try doesn't work for the guy who is down; for the one who is up, he's taking more and more chances, all of that is working.¬† Next thing you know, you're facing a debacle.¬† Yeah, that's what is tough.
I don't know how much it is mental.  Once you're down a set and a double break, you're not even playing to win anymore, you're just hoping to stay in the match.  That's what was for me the case when I was down two sets to love because I did have chances in the second set at Paris.  Nobody's ever going to talk about that moment anymore (laughter).

Q.  This year you started to win tournaments when others started getting tired.  How much is that down to being in better shape at the end of the year than the others?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I mean, I've gotten unlucky towards the end of the season.  I've had a back issue.  I've had a quad issue.  The year I beat Ferrer, I had mono already at the Masters, but I came through that.  So, I mean, I don't know.
Look, it's always worked out well for me.  I guess I'm tough in taking, you know, hits as well with my body.  I know how to handle them.
My body, even if it's injured, it can still play really well, whereas maybe other players, if they are injured, it doesn't work anymore.  But that's because I play offensively, and I think that's an advantage, too.
Many matches in my career I've played hurt, as well, but was able to somehow find a way to at least compete or sometimes even to win.
Yeah, then scheduling is one thing, but I don't think I'm doing all the right things either the whole time.  I've also made my fair shares of mistakes.  Yeah, since ever I qualified for the World Tour Finals, I've been pretty much fit except for the once when I had the back issue.  Well, I also twisted my ankle once.  I had a couple where I was struggling a lot as well, actually.

Q.  The crowds here get very involved when you're playing Rafa.  How do you manage to blank out the noise or do you find it actually lifts you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, it does.  I've said in the past as well, sometimes these big occasion matches are tough to handle.  There's so much pressure on both of us players, you don't manage to play well.  Sometimes it lifts me up crazy like it did tonight.
I very quickly felt the crowd was into it after one or two points already.  The crowd was cheering his or my name.  I felt it was a good atmosphere out there, good energy.  They were really excited and ready to see this match tonight.  It definitely got me fired up.  I'm sure it made me play better.

Q.¬† When did you last feel you played that well, especially against Rafa?¬† Also, where would it rank in your all‑time comprehensive victories?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it's definitely one of the nice ones, that's clear.  I had some good ones, you know, in my career, my lifetime.  This one ranks high because it's against my biggest rival probably.  It's the World Tour Finals, where it really matters.  That I've been able to come through so convincing is a bit of a surprise to me, but it ranks extremely high.
It's not the finals, I know that, but it's still a steppingstone, hopefully, to the finals.  I'm one match away from that now.  I'm very happy to have qualified, because also that pressure is gone now.  So I can really look forward now basically two, three days, which is nice as well.  But I'll be my very best for my third round robin match and give it all I have.
Other than that, there's not much more to say.  I'm just very happy.

Q.  This was your first meeting with Rafa in a round robin.  Did that give you a little bit more freedom maybe in the way that you played?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  Possibly he struggled more early on indoors, only the second match back from five weeks.  Clear he's always going to struggle a touch.  But to come through so convincingly is great for me, because we know Rafa has a certain standard which he does not go below a certain standard.  That's where this victory, still for me, I can still rate this extremely high.

Q.  You said one of your goals was to take time away from Rafa.  I don't know if you could elaborate on that.  Why is that important on a match?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I think he's one of the best players if you give him a nothing ball in the middle.  Any ball that's not very well struck or is not hit with a purpose or into a certain corner will be dominated by Rafa.  I mean, I think he's the best, top two, three, whatever right now of all time to be able to take advantage of all these balls that come in the middle of the court with not much power in them.  So you have to be very focused.  It makes you play differently against him.
I've been able to do that tonight.  I struck all corners of the court extremely well.  That was the key today, so I'm very happy.

Q.  After playing Jo and then Rafa on this surface, who do you favor in their matchup?              
ROGER FEDERER:  Jo against Rafa?  Don't know.  I mean, you can never count out Rafa, right?  It's to a degree an open match.  I still favor Rafa just because of who he is, all of his achievements.  I guess every match he does progress or has in his body, he'll only start to play better.  That's my personal opinion.
But Jo played convincingly today.  He was extremely dangerous against me in the first round.  He'll definitely have his chance.  Indoors, he serves great.  If he gets on a roll there, he'll slap a couple from the baseline, and that could always be dangerous for Rafa.  This is where it's going to be an exciting match.  I hope to see it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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