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July 6, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
6‑3, 3‑6, 6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I want to know about how this affects your confidence maybe moving forward?  And also, what does this tell you about your game, where you're at, from being still one of the elite players on the planet?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I've played a lot of tennis lately.  I'm maybe the guy with most matches played this year, so it's not like I've been on the sideline.  I think that helps, you know, building confidence and momentum really.
Obviously you want it to pay off in the big matches against the best of the players.  Didn't happen for me in Paris unfortunately, but it was a tough tournament overall for me.
Then it's nice that, you know, it worked today.  Obviously I'd love to win the title.  I have one more match to go.  I'm aware of that.  Still it's always nice beating someone like Novak, who has done so well here last year, the last couple years.
We've never played on grass.  It was obviously a big occasion.  These matches only help my confidence.  I hope I can use it then for the finals.

Q.  I can't imagine you felt you had anything left to prove about your career at this point on this stage.  I'm wondering, did you feel when you walked onto court, was there a statement you wanted to make, a point you wanted to make with your play?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, not really.  All I hoped for was a good match from me, to be quite honest, to give myself a chance to be in the finals, have a shot at the trophy again really.  I missed being in the finals here the last couple years obviously.
It was big news when I lost to Berdych a few years ago.  Not that I started doubting myself after last year's quarterfinals, but I played so well in that quarterfinal against Tsonga it was a hard one to sort of accept to lose.  But Jo did great.  You have to wait another year for your chance, and now I am finally back in that final.
So it's great.  That's what my goal was going into the match, not looking ahead of trying to prove a point or anything like that.  Because I felt like I've played, like you said, plenty of tennis over the years and had so much success that I don't think I really need to do that.

Q.  What was the difference?  Was there a single thing you felt was the tipping point in the match?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, I think the surface obviously does make our match quite different, to be quite honest.¬† We barely had rallies in the first couple of sets, which was surprising for me to see, as well.¬† We did a lot of first‑strike tennis; a lot of service winners out there.
That obviously changes momentum of the match.  Doesn't make it maybe as physical.  It's more explosive.  Maybe a touch unpredictable.  I thought when I missed my chance early on in the third I might pay for it dearly.  Almost did towards the end of the third set when he had breakpoints.
So I think overall the surface made the match play differently and potentially in my favor.  I was able to be very aggressive, particularly once I did get into the third set where I thought we both played our very best.
Now looking back, that was obviously the key to the match.

Q.  What were your thoughts before the match about the roof being closed?
ROGER FEDERER:  Uhm, honestly I tried not to think too much about it.  I spoke about it with my coaches.  I asked them is it better for me or not.  Nobody knew (smiling).
I mean, now I guess it was.  Who knows.
But it's really the things ‑‑ like now for the Murray and Tsonga match I didn't know it was open.¬† They barely knew 10 minutes before the match.¬† You just go through it.¬† There's another rain delay, you wait it out.¬† It's just what we do as tennis players.¬† We adjust at the very moment.¬† It was the same again today.

Q.  How would you describe what Pete Sampras' record and legacy mean to you?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, everybody knows what a hero he is to me and how much I admire what he's been able to achieve in tennis.  I mean, I don't think he ever lost a Grand Slam final here at Wimbledon.  He won seven out of seven, which is just incredible, particularly in the times he played against all these big servers, when things were a bit more unpredictable, let's say.
So I'm very proud to have a shot of equaling Pete, but right now the focus is obviously resting and preparing for the next match.

Q.  His example, how he achieved it, how has that affected the way you've approached your career and your play at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I particularly remember obviously the end of his career, because before that I was honestly following more Becker and Edberg.  But I admired, you know, how he stuck around, how he tried to win maybe one more, maybe two more.
Obviously was a big surprise and a shock that I was able to break his five Wimbledons in a row here.  I went on to do it myself.  It was quite odd actually.
But for me it was an inspiration for sure, as well, you know, to see somebody while I was coming up dominating the game and breaking the all‑time Grand Slam record.¬† I'm sure that inspired me in some ways.

Q.  Can you talk about your two prospective opponents in the finals.  Andy's record in Grand Slam finals is consistent but not great.  Is that a source of hoe for you?  And Tsonga, presumably you have unfinished business with him at Wimbledon after last year.
ROGER FEDERER:  I've played him many times since.  I lost to him in Montréal after that, then beat him at the Open, and then beat him I think three straight times in two weeks at the end of the year.
So we've played many times since, which I think helps me, to be quite honest, because I was still affected by that loss, I do believe, in Montréal, because he came out and, again, played amazing.  I know he can do it again.  That's why I also respect Jo in a big way.
And then against Andy, obviously I have I think a losing record against him.

Q.  Not in finals.
ROGER FEDERER:  Okay, fine.  That's something for you to talk about.  But for me I know how good Andy is.  Finals are or finals, I've had my tough losses with him as well.  I remember the losses I had against him, in the finals particularly in Shanghai where he crushed me, and in Toronto I believe it was.
I had a good win against him in Dubai which was on a quick court.  Honestly, we haven't played much in the last couple of years because of us being ranked 3 or 4 for sometime now.  We always ended up in Novak or Rafa's hands and one would win but not both usually, so then we wouldn't see each other very often.
But if I do play Andy it's quite interesting, because we haven't played each other very often lately.

Q.¬† Having just beaten the defending champion in a high‑caliber match, do you have to build yourself up again for the final and guard against any complacency?
ROGER FEDERER:  No, not for me.  I'm aware that the tournament's not over yet.  I didn't break down crying and fell to my knees and thought the tournament is over and I achieved everything I ever wanted. (Laughter.)
Honestly, it happens faster than you think it does.  Then all of a sudden you come out the next match and you're not the same anymore because you're emotionally too drained already and you think it's been a great tournament.
I know it's been a great tournament, but we'll assess that once the tournament is over.  Right now I want to try to play the best possible final I can.

Q.  You said before that nobody told you if the court was in your favor or not with the roof.  But do you hope the final will be played with the roof or not depending on your opponent?
ROGER FEDERER:  Outdoors, I hope.  That's what it's supposed to be here.

Q.  How do you explain the fact that the first two sets, the serve was dominating the match, and then suddenly you start to play a lot of rallies which you were losing?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, we didn't have that many long rallies in the first couple of sets.  It's always hard to find rhythm maybe, let's be honest.  Well, I mean, it's hard to fire bullets the whole time, so you try to also find some range.  If he tees off first, it's hard to defend obviously.
It is grass, after all.¬† It's just not as easy to take that many balls out and, you know, come up with amazing shots time and time again.¬† That's why I kept on attacking ‑ particularly I started to return much better as the match went on ‑ because I played a decent first set in return.
In the second set I wasn't very happy and I tried to take some adjustments, particularly on the second serve, and all those things worked really well.  Then I was able to be the aggressor once I got into the baseline rallies, which wasn't the case in that second set, for instance, and maybe a little bit of the first set, too.

Q.  The crowd clearly wanted you to win today.  Who would you rather face in the final?  If it is Andy Murray, do you think the crowd will be as supportive on Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER:  I thought it actually was very respectful towards both players today.  That's the feeling I got, particularly the first set, first couple of sets.  I don't want to say there was that much to cheer about, but the points were awfully short.
The guy that had the break was in control.¬† There wasn't that nail‑biter feeling quite yet.¬† That started to come along in the third and fourth set, I thought.¬† But I did feel big crowd support towards the end.¬† You felt like they really wanted me to win, which is obviously a nice feeling.
Now for the finals, of course I'd love to play Murray.  I always say in whatever country I am I like to play the local hero, I kind of call them, and Andy is exactly that here at Wimbledon.
So I hope the match comes along, even though I like Jo very much.  Here it would be very special playing against him.
I don't know.  I hope I have some crowd support, but it's not the very most important thing right now.

Q.  What is your biggest challenge going into this match, considering you've been here so many times before?
ROGER FEDERER:  Uhm, I mean, I wasn't nervous at all today before the match.  I was almost a bit surprised I wasn't more nervous.
But then again, I think that's good sometimes.  That means I'm in a good place mentally.  And you got to be that for the finals, as well.
Of course, there's a lot on the line for me.  I'm not denying that.  I have a lot of pressure, as well.  I'm looking forward to that.  That's what I work hard for.  I've worked extremely hard since I lost that match point against Novak last year at the US Open.  My run has been extremely good.  Now I have a chance at world No.1, at the title again all at once.
So it's a big match for me and I hope I can keep my nerves.  I'm sure I can.  Then hopefully win the match.  But we'll see about that.

Q.  You spoke a moment ago about Andy being the local hero.  What have been your observations over the years on the weight of Murray mania and the country's attention to this tournament and this player?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it reminds me a little bit of Australia maybe because you don't have the amount of players you do have from, say, from France or from America.  So the focus is more on one player or maybe a couple.
So I think this is what is so particular here in this country is that there's so much attention on that one player, which is Andy Murray.  Let's be happy that he's such a great player that he lets that sort of hype last because he always remains in the tournament for so long.  I think that's what's particular about it.
He's only going to get better as time goes by.  That's what he's been proving.  It's going to be interesting to see if he's going to make it to the finals.  I'd love it, you know.  Yeah, so I think he's actually handled it very well from what I've seen from afar.

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