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March 2, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Del Potro
7‑6, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I have to ask you about 5‑All down in the second set tiebreaker.  Incredible comeback.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it was a good comeback, especially on a quick court.  You know, obviously with his serve it's not really in your control.  Same thing almost happened to me in the first set breaker.  I think I was up 6‑2 as well, and he got back to 6‑5.
So it's tough sometimes when you know, okay, it's all about my serve, and then you get a bit unlucky.  You know, you clip the tape.  He had a couple of chances to hit the ball harder and maybe doesn't hit them as clean.
Yeah, I mean, it was a tough breaker for me.  The first three games were difficult.  I got down Love‑3, and from then on he had the momentum.  But I kind of felt like, you know, hang in there and see what happens.
I didn't believe I was going to come back, but at least sort of make him a bit nervous.  Next thing I know, I had a great point at 6‑All and I was able to come through.
So it was a great match for me.  We both served well, which was then difficult to get some rhythm off the baseline.  But overall I thought it was a tough match.

Q.  You've been serving very well all week.  Do you feel it's something that's been exceptionally working for you this week?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, I know that when you do serve well here in Dubai that the court helps you.  So I think everybody's serve actually is a touch better here.  It's very much about the focus.  You know, knowing when to serve which serve.  Making sure you do serve all corners all the time, so when the big points come around you have them all working.
Yeah, so it's kind of that stuff.  I've been feeling physically really well.  Like I said, I recovered well after Rotterdam, so I can swing as hard as I want as often as I want.  That's obviously very important in a tournament like this.

Q.  One step away from a historic fifth title here.  You have having four is history in itself.  How does that feel?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, sure, it would be wonderful to win five.  It's only happened at a handful of tournaments maybe in my career.  I've played here many times, so I've given myself also the opportunity to win more often here in Dubai.
But it's nice to be back in another finals.  That's what I kind of play for, to be there and get a chance to win a tournament.  I've played really well the last few months.  I've hardly lost.  It's great that momentum is on my side.
I'm really match tough right now, and I hope I can take it one step further tomorrow.  We'll see how it goes.

Q.  You've played Andy so many times, haven't you?
ROGER FEDERER:  But not in a long time.  Yeah, I mean, long time.  Depends what a long time is.  Is a year a long time?  I don't know.  I'm looking forward to that match.  Obviously last year was sort of hard to find each other with Novak sort of never losing.  He was either cutting my way off or his way, I guess.
So that's nice he had a breakthrough win tonight.  He played great, and I expect a really difficult match in the finals.  I think he has a winning record against me, but we've played each other so many times we know each other's games well.
I'm just excited playing against him again after such a long time.

Q.  You haven't played him since Lendl joined the team.  Have you noticed any changes since Lendl was brought in?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, look, it's a work in practicing, I guess.  Maybe there is an immediate change for him obviously, but then for the players, you're not that sure.  Obviously first it's got to work against all the top guys and so forth.
So far he looks rock solid.  I mean, before Lendl I announced that Andy was going to have an extremely good year.  With Lendl, I'm not going to change my opinion.
I just think Andy is an amazing player, and so far he's proved that this year.  He's in the finals now with a great win against Novak.
I remember when I lost to him back‑to‑back almost, sort in Toronto and Shanghai.  He was playing extremely well already.  He crushed me in Shanghai, and in Toronto was tough.  But it was tricky conditions with a couple rain delays and all that stuff.
But he did really well then.  I mean, it's not like he can only play tennis since Lendl came into the picture.  I mean, he's been a really good player since many years.
Yeah, so we'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

Q.  You've seen quite a lot of Juan Martin in the last few weeks.  Considering the ill fortune that he had a couple years ago, is he back there?  For a long time we've been thinking about the four.  Should we be thinking about the five soon?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I think obviously you look at the rankings and in points we are ahead, the top four guys.  Right behind us there is a very good, solid, tough group with Ferrer, Berdych‑ I hope I don't forget anybody.

Q.  Jo.
ROGER FEDERER:  Jo and so forth, exactly.  They get great respect from all of us.  I had a sort of, I don't want to say losing record, but I lost to Jo a couple times; I lost to Berdych a couple times; next thing you know, you're losing more against these guys than you're winning.  You're looking at maybe dropping outside of the top 8 if that trend sort of continues.
This is where Juan Martin is going to be now I guess seeded in the top 8 maybe by the French Open, I would assume.  That's going to be a big help for him just this terms of trying to avoid the big seeds before the quarterfinals.
That's what he did not have last year.  That's maybe also one of the reasons that he couldn't get his ranking up higher, potentially.  He did run into Novak early in the French.  He ran into Rafa at Wimbledon.  Then he ran into ‑‑ I don't know who else.  And then Cincinnati early against me.
So you can't really play your best and you're knocked out early just because you're running into someone that's maybe just a bit better than you still or has a bit more momentum.
So I believe he can be up there immediately very quickly.  I mean, he's had a tough week.  I mean, coming directly from Marseilles and backing it up after the finals in Rotterdam, this is tough stuff.  I'm impressed by his play right now.

Q.  It was a lot tighter today than your match in Rotterdam.  He says he feels he's improved since then.  What was better for him today?
ROGER FEDERER:  In Rotterdam he missed seven break point opportunities.  Overall didn't make a break.  So he did have potentiallymore ‑ I don't know more opportunities ‑ but he was very close in that match, too.  The first set.  I mean, I dominated except for the first game where I had to save couple break points which could have changed momentum.
But I knew there was always going to be sort of harder here just because it's harder to maneuver him around.  It's really quick.  It's first‑strike tennis.  With his serve and his height, it's always going to be difficult to break him.
So I'm really happy how I came out of it.  Any other match during the year we'll play conditions will be slower, which I am not going to say would work in my favor, but both players will have more opportunities.
Then it comes down to more of those long rallies from the baseline and defending and playing offense.  Here it's just, I don't know, go, try to withstand the sort of power that comes from the other player.

Q.  I apologize if you answered this earlier in the week; I haven't heard you answer it.  But in the past, you've said when you play tournament in Basel or here you prefer to stay in a hotel than home.  Is that the case this year as well?
ROGER FEDERER:  I am staying back at a hotel, yes.  I think I've stayed at the hotel for a number of years now here just because when you're on the road you try to stay at home, but then in Basel I always stay at the hotel now.
It's like at the Olympics, to be quite honest as well.  I tried in Beijing as well to stay at the hotel instead of Village really, which I've stayed already.  I just though, you know, you have to kind of stay in the routine that you have, otherwise it kind of plays with your mind.
I always said if I stay at home I feel like I'm on vacation for some reason.  It's like packing your bags out your normal closet just makes no sense to me sometimes.  I can do that plenty when I'm done.
I don't mind the hotel life.  Obviously it's a nice one here.  But it helps the focus just having everything every week it's like this.
Then obviously Wimbledon changes, and that's where it's tricky.  You want to try to make that work when you're renting a house, which is completely different again in itself.  But I've always done that over all these years at Wimbledon, so that feels sort of natural, too.

Q.  With Novak losing today, he made quite a lot of unforced errors against Andy.

Q.  He's lost early in the year as well.  Does that give you and others chasing him, does that provide sort of a chink in his seemingly invincible armor going forward in terms of maybe Grand Slams and the rankings?
ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, I got my hands full in the finals against Murray.  He seems a better, you know, player this week right now.  So I probably have the toughest finalist that you could expect.  Especially if he beat Novak, that means you're playing really well.
I expect Andy to be great.  I got crushed against Novak last year.  I hope I can make up for that and play a better finals this year round.
I mean, him going, what is it, over 40 matches unbeaten last year obviously is an amazing effort.  It was hard to do that again, so eventually he was probably going to lose a bit earlier this time around.
If it was going to happen, it was almost going to happen here, because you have eight out of the top ten players, best‑of‑three set tennis, it's quick courts.  If you don't quite get the right day like he maybe didn't get, against a great player of Murray, it's always going to be a difficult day.
So for me nothing changes.  I kind of watched that on the side and was just preparing.  For me, nothing really changed, you know, did he win or lose.  I'm here trying to play good tennis myself.
But Murray did well.  He just proved what I thought of him.

Q.  What do you remember about that match where you met in the first round five years ago now?
ROGER FEDERER:  With Murray?

Q.  Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER:  That was the time when I came back from mononucleosis.  I kind of felt better.  You know, might as well enter, and bang, I got Murray in the first round.
Actually didn't play a tough match.  It was just a tough match.  Three sets, I think, and close at the end.  Same thing.  Played him Monday, came to the press, and I was done.  Tournament was over in a hurry.
It's happened to me I think before ‑‑ I don't know if that was first or second round in Cincinnati.  I played him really early once before as well.  That was also a tough match.  I think he broke me seven times; I broke him five times.  So we've had some awkward matches early on in tournaments before.
This time around I think it will probably be a bit more consist because it's a final and we're in the tournament now.  Obviously things change because of that.

Q.  So far as the crowd is concerned, you're the local player.  You could hear that in the tiebreaker, I think.

Q.  Do you think that's going to help in tight moments tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not really.  I think he has great support here as well.  There's a lot ex pats here from Great Britain, so he's have his fair share of supporters.
I just think Murray and myself, we have a lot of fans all around the world where we go to actually.  It's been a really good atmosphere this week.  I've really enjoyed myself already, you know, even before the finals.
Murray's match with Djokovic as well I thought the crowd was a lot fun.  They were really getting into it.  The moment it's tight, they start screaming and clapping and shouting and stuff.  Really gets your pulse going and excites you.
I hope we can have some of the same tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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