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January 5, 2012

Roger Federer


6‑3, 5‑7, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Maybe you could talk a little bit about the match, especially the contrast between the first and second set.
ROGER FEDERER:  Especially...

Q.  The contrast between the first and second set.  You got out so quickly in the first set, and the second set was a bit of a struggle.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought I started well, like you mentioned.  I was able to play aggressive, not giving too much rhythm.  He was obviously missing more shots due to that.
In the second set I think he found his range a bit more.  I missed a couple of chances, but he was just better overall.  I then started playing a bit better to come back into the match, but then he closed it out nice, serving well at 5‑All and breaking well at 6‑5.
I thought he was a better player in that second set and deserved that set, and then the third set was close.  I had my chances; he had his chances.  But I was able to take mine, but at the end that was the small difference today.

Q.  What would you say was the difference in the end?
ROGER FEDERER:  Just I guess the head‑to‑head.  You know, I guess my variation and my power just was maybe a bit too much at the end.  I don't know.  Little things.

Q.  Can you answer, please, what happened with the lights today?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't understand the question.  What happened?

Q.  She's saying you hit a lot of shots into the net.
ROGER FEDERER:  Exactly.  I try to improve next time.  Sorry.  (Laughter.)
That's okay.

Q.  So you are one of the greatest players who has ever set foot on court.  Can you tell us which has been the most important match of your career so far?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  Maybe my first Wimbledon finals in 2003 against Philippoussis.  All of a sudden I was the favorite in the finals, and I went through, you know, some rough patches just before that.  So I think that one, I don't want to say turned my career around.  I still think I would have had a good career if I would have lost it, but it was definitely an important victory, looking back.

Q.  After strolling through the first two rounds, today was obviously a bit tougher.  You lost three service games.  What do you put that down to?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, numerous things.  I definitely think Seppi, he's a good return player.  When you give him too many second serves, he can take advantage of that.  You know, I had my ups and downs, as well, on serve.
Yeah, and then there you have it.  It's just pretty straightforward, really.  I had some chances, you know, to maybe not get broken a couple of times.  So often I had the lead in some of the service games where I did get broken eventually, and I hope I can sort of not make that happen so often.

Q.  I just want to ask an overall question about the tournament.  You have been coming here for many years now.  How big has that tournament become in the time you've been coming here?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't remember when my very first time was here years ago, but I always thought it was a nice start to the year, usually celebrated New Year's here, and then obviously the calendar shifts so sometimes we don't always have it here.
But I've always enjoyed my times here, and you see everything around from center court to VIP tent to fan, you know, things they do for them.
Also, for me, I think it's improved and changed over the years, which is nice to see obviously.  Also having had the Masters for the women here has also increased, you know, obviously the facilities and just the know‑how of how to run a tournament, but I always thought they made it very special for the players.  That's why I think we do love coming back to this event, because we do feel very welcome and very warmly received.
It's also nice to see that more and more fans also flock to the systems, because in the beginning it still took some time.  I guess it's normal in an up‑and‑coming hopefully sporting or tennis nation.  It was nice to see today many more people are coming to the stadiums.

Q.  Looking ahead to the semifinal, you obviously are up against Tsonga.  You played him quite a lot last year.  I think you won the last four meetings between you two.  What can we expect from tomorrow's game?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, both of us struggled getting to the semis now, looking back.  I struggled today.  He struggled in the first two rounds.  But I think when we play each other, it's more straightforward because we know what to expect.
On top of that, we really played a lot last year, maybe six, seven times, I'm not sure, or maybe even eight.  So we really played very often, and now there's no more such secrets out there, especially having played three straight times basically at the end of the season.
It's going to be pretty much straightforward for both of us, and I hope we can live up to the expectations and show a good match to the fans.

Q.  What did you like about what you did today?
ROGER FEDERER:  I thought my offensive play was fine.  Defensive, you know, I struggled a bit, but, you know, I thought I had pretty good variation.  I feel pretty good out there, so overall it was fine.

Q.  (Off microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER:  Okay.  I feel I have good timing, which allows me to go through the shot a bit more and take some chances.  Automatically I do use my variation with my slice well.  I think I'm returning actually really well, and that's always something I'm happy about.

Q.  We just heard yesterday that Tsonga says he wants to come to the net more often.  Nadal says he'd like to improve his return a lot better and get his serve back on track.  For you, looking ahead this year, what's the weapon you want to work on in the arsenal, or what do you want to do better than you were doing last year?
ROGER FEDERER:  I definitely think there's always ways to improve, especially serve and return, but then again, you know, you get tied up by your opponent serving, you know, the way that someone returns.
So I think it's important to just keep on working on all aspects of the game.  Obviously it's in anybody's interest trying to move forward, you know, in matches, and it's easier to do against lesser‑ranked players and it's tougher to do against better‑ranked players.  That always is a tough thing when you're going from one to the next.
But I still think, you know, playing some of these guys ranked outside of the top 50 or 100 sometimes for us is good, very good, as well, because we can actually move forward a bit more and we can work on that.  It's not that you're testing stuff out, but all of a sudden you do have a chance to move in more often, and you realize actually if you're doing it the right way it actually works more often than not.
I think that's why I like playing these kind of tournaments, because you don't just start, usually start with a top 30 guy like you do in the Masters 1000s, even though I did have Davydenko here in the first round, but in my last round, as well, I was able to do a few things which normally maybe I can't.
That's what I think is good.  You always try to look for new things, but then again, once you do play the best, you just try to win.  I mean, it's pretty simple, because they try to play you in a way you don't like it.  It's always kind of happened that way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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