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March 17, 2012

Roger Federer


6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Does this mean that you're back?  Rafa said you played fantastic.  What are your thoughts about this match?
ROGER FEDERER:  Um, just very happy that a tough week like this gives me an opportunity to win the tournament.  Really it's unbelievable that I never thought I would come so far.
It's been a great week so far, and it's another opportunity tomorrow to make it even more special.  Obviously conditions were tough today, and against one of my greatest rivals, it's always nice if you come out on top.
So I'm very, very happy.

Q.  Do you missthat time playing against him and playing these kind of matches and beating him?
ROGER FEDERER:  Don't forget I beat him in London not that long ago, only three months ago.  It's not like I haven't beat him in 10 years.  (Laughter.)
Also in Australia I thought it was a great match we had against there each other, and I think also in Madrid we had a pretty close one.  We haven't been playing maybe as often in the past, but when we do play each other we both usually play pretty well.
Tonight I think that was the case again.

Q.  When you're playing as well as you are now, does that mean that conditions are not that important?  You can play through anything, considering the wind and...
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I have been on tour for too long not to be able to play on some surface.  I think I have proven myself on the surfaces for so many years.  I used to win basically every tournament there was out there in North America there for a while.
World Tour Finals were in Houston back then with all the great players in '03, '04.  I was able to win basically all of them in a short period of time.  So I think just because you win a few indoor tournaments doesn't mean you can't play on clay or hard courts anymore.
Sometimes people think so much in the short term.  It's a bit unfortunate.  But, um, it's nice that I'm putting together a lot of wins in a row at the moment and just that I have shown also great reaction after the tough loss I had against Djokovic at the US Open, because that obviously hurt.
But I'm very happy with my game and happy that my body is holding up and mentally I'm still fresh, which is very surprising, so I'm very, very happy.

Q.  Of all the experience you have had in your career, how interesting was the one where you're about to serve for the match and it starts raining, you have to sit there and wait for match point?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, look, it was tricky.  I have had some, you know, some tough situations to handle in particular.  It just actually did happen against Rafa at the Australian Open.  I don't remember what happened, but...

Q.  Fireworks.
ROGER FEDERER:  There were the fireworks and I came back and couldn't play anymore.  It was like unbelievable.  Fireworks and rain are not the same thing, but it was an interruption, even though I didn't think of that too much.
I just hoped that I did have a chance to give it a go even if it was going to take 10 minutes.  But I was just really hoping that we don't have to go off court, because that would have really been tough on the fans, too.  That's what I was thinking about the most.
So it was tough, you know, but at the end, once match point was over, everything was short‑lived.¬† It was, you know, one of those great moments that me and Rafa shared again, you know, after having already had so many great matches against each other.

Q.  Especially the momentum from the previous point, which had probably been the best of the match, to play a point like that and then have to stop...
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, gave me a chance to recover and regroup.  (Laughter.)
But, no, I agree.¬† The momentum was tough, you know, and that's why I guess the 30‑All point was so important for both of us.¬† Didn't even realize during that point because I was doing so much hustling that actually the rain started to get more intense.
The match was over and I was recovering and looked down on the floor and there were so many rain drops, I was like, Okay, this is not going to work here.  We have to wait it out real quick.
Yeah, so it was fine.  I managed, which is good.

Q.  When the match finally ended, what was it like?  Was it just a sense of relief that it was actually over because of the conditions and things were getting so tight?  What was that emotion like right at the very end?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, they would‑‑ I guess they would have been different would I have won 3 and 2, you know, just close it out, straightforward, you know, no I didn't go, all that stuff.
But then he played a great game to come back into the match, and he played also a good game at 5‑4.¬† I knew it was going to be tough serving it out.¬† Obviously there is a bit more relief on top of that with the wait, having to wait at 30‑40.¬† That was special in itself.
So I know how well I played tonight, so I'm just really pleased with my performance.  That's how I felt at the end of the match.

Q.  It hasn't been obviously that long since you played John at Davis Cup.

Q.  In this tournament you seem to get all the big guys, Raonic and Del Potro, as well.  What kind of challenge do these gigantic players pose for you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, look, I'm sure Djokovic answered tons of questions.  I'm sure you drilled him.  But, you know, there is sometimes only so much you can do against a player that serves that well.
You can go out of a match like this and feel you actually, you know, played well or great even sometimes, and that's how I felt at Davis Cup.  I didn't feel I played that poorly just because obviously there is a lot in John's racquet.
It makes it tricky for him, too, against all the rest of the guys, or for that matter for all the other big guys too that they have close matches against a lot of the players.  They rely so much on their serving, and that makes it tough for them to move up the rankings maybe potentially a bit faster.
Because everybody is a threat to them, as well, but John has definitely taken a right step in the right direction.¬† I'm not surprised he's playing so well.¬† He should have within in the finals in Paris‑Bercy last year when he had match points against Jo‑Willy Tsonga.
He had three match points, a couple of second serves.  He ran around them, but he was a bit afraid to hit them, I guess, with the crowd being for Jo.  That's what makes you do that stuff.  Here in America he believes in it.  That's why I expect a really difficult match against him.
It's nice seeing him do so well and entering the top 10 I guess at this point.

Q.  You seemed to execute a pretty similar game plan to the one that you had in London where you hit a lot to his backhand and then opened up the court for a...
ROGER FEDERER:  You're talking about Rafa now?

Q.  Yeah, not John.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, exactly.  I was wondering.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Exactly.  But then in the Australian Open again in the first set you seemed to be executing the same game plan and then it sort of went away from you.  Can you compare what happened tonight to what happened in Australia, why the one plan worked and the second one didn't so much?
ROGER FEDERER:  I haven't analyzed it that much, to be honest.  I just know I had in it in my racquet in Australia in all the sets, and things just didn't work out for me.
I definitely didn't play as well in Australia as I played at the World Tour Finals and then here today.¬† Conditions are obviously completely‑‑ I wouldn't say different. ¬†It was an outdoor, hard court match.
But the winds, the coolness to it, is completely different.  It makes Rafa also maybe not go for the corners that much.  Same for me.  You just play within the lines a bit more.
But, you know, I don't want to say I always try to play the same way, but Rafa has also a big say on how the points are being played, and I thought he played again great tennis in Australia.
He'll have another great season.  There's no doubt about it.  After not having played for a while, he's playing great tennis already.  He'll be extremely tough to beat in Miami.

Q.  In tennis there is always something to deal with.  We have been talking about the fireworks, and today the wind and the odd delay at the very end.  Talk about your ability to sort of think on yourself, to coach yourself on the fly.  Is that a real strength, do you think, of your game?
ROGER FEDERER:  To coach myself?

Q.  Yeah, to just deal with what comes up in the moment.
ROGER FEDERER:  Oh, well, I mean, I guess every player has to do that, right?  We don't have coaching during the match, or we're not supposed to, anyways.  I don't.  I know that.
It's just, you know, something you learn from junior times is to be out there by yourself.  I guess that's one of the reasons why I really enjoy tennis.  You can get all of the input before the match, you there by yourself and you try to remember and try to adjust and actually be creative out there, because it doesn't always happen the way you think it will.
That's the beauty of our sport, I think, and obviously I've gotten the hang of it.  For a number of years I also played without a coach, so I think that helped me out as well to get me to learn myself as a person, and I guess also myself as a player.
You know, out on court how is it to not having to always look up into the player box and be so dependent on where is my team sitting?  How do they sit?  What do they do?  Do they look at me or not?
I couldn't care less.  As long as they're happy watching me play, and I know they care about me before and after the match, that's what I care about.
They can sit there as relaxed as they want to be.  So for me, that's what's important, is that I can rely on my strength and my mental ability to basically weather any storm, like, for instance, one there was tonight.

Q.  Just following up on that, you have had some great wins against Rafa, but obviously some tough defeats.  When you go out into a new match like tonight, are there any doubts walking on court, or you say, No, new match; my game is gonna work and if I execute I'll be fine?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, I mean, I have had doubts in the past against Rafa.  It's just normal, I guess.  If you get destroyed like in the finals of Paris, next time you play him around, which for me unfortunately was the Wimbledon finals, that epic one we had, of course you'll be affected a little bit, even though now you are on your favorite surface potentially.
But it did take maybe potentially take me a set or two to shake that off, and then it cost me the match in the end.  So sometimes I've gone into matches with Rafa where I knew it was gonna probably gonna be difficult at this point because either maybe he's coming in on an incredible hot streak or I'm coming in from an end where I know I probably shouldn't be winning this match tonight just because I'm not feeling right, my game is not up to par.
I've maybe come through some other matches against other players, but against Rafa it's a different story.¬† So tonight I felt good about my game.¬† I guess I had a no‑lose mentality.¬† You know, I've not felt great this week.¬† I didn't expect myself to play so well tonight, and this is sometimes when you can pull off the biggest wins of your career.
That's where I'm happy I gave myself a chance this week.

Q.  You played John Isner first at the '07 US Open when he was a wildcard.  He took a set off you pretty much off the serve.  Now a month ago in Switzerland he beat you playing two consecutive return winners to end it.  How much more dangerous and diverse has his weaponry gotten?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, he serves more consistently better for a longer time.¬† Back at the US Open I remember his serve sort of started to fade a bit, but already there he showed some amazing serving and potentially shot‑making at times.
I will be interested to see how it goes tomorrow.  Without taking anything away from John in Switzerland, the conditions were extremely tough for both of the players.  It was altitude, it was a clay that was virtually unplayable.  Every second bounce had a bad bounce in it.
At the end when he was up, whatever 5‑2 in the fourth with a break in hand, what's the point of pushing the ball in?
He went for it and hit a couple of return winners.  He had an amazing fourth set, but it was difficult conditions for us to play.
So tomorrow hopefully will be a bit more normal and I can answer your questions, because the only match I can look back to is the tough match at Davis Cup on indoor clay, which normally doesn't happen.
I know how difficult it's going to be tomorrow.  John is playing great tennis at the moment, and I'm sure for a long period of time.  It's great and exciting for American tennis, and I'm happy it's happening in the finals, this rematch for me.  So I look forward to that a lot.

Q.  What's the coldest condition you have ever played in?
ROGER FEDERER:  Maybe Hamburg.  I put even a long sleeve on then.  But I don't know.  I think it was indoors sort of they had like this tent over it against Gaudio potentially.  I don't remember it.

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