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August 3, 2012

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Del Potro
3‑6, 7‑6, 19‑17

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How tired are you?  How satisfied are you?  How difficult was it for you when you didn't win when you were up one break before the end?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, emotionally obviously I'm extremely drained from serving against a match so many times, basically being down in the score for the entire match except the one time where I served for it.
Yeah, that was a tough moment, as well, for Juan Martin when he got broken.  There was used balls, against the wind.  Same thing that happened to him, happened to me right after.  I didn't play a poor game.  So obviously it was hard.  That made things even more difficult at the end of the set.
Well, I guess I'll feel it tomorrow.  But right now I'm somewhat okay, I guess.

Q.  What were your emotions at match point?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Uhm, well, very much so, because I had the big chance in the first match point where I ended up missing the volley, had two really good chances with my forehand, couldn't finish it.¬† Then having to make an extra round of serving at deuce, then again at advantage through second serves and all that stuff, it was obviously nerve‑wracking also for myself.
Obviously being aware, as well, it's the first medal for Switzerland during this Olympics, it was a big thing that carried me through.  I mean, just the level of play throughout was amazing, you know, especially from Juan Martin.  I've never seen him play so well, to be honest, from start to finish, particularly on grass.  He should be very proud of his performance.
I felt very bad for him at net.  It was an emotional hug we sort of gave each other.  It's not over for him yet.  I hope he can make the turnaround and play a good bronze medal match.

Q.  You mentioned how difficult it was serving second.  Did that make you feel you know what it must have been like for Andy Roddick here in the final three years ago?
ROGER FEDERER:  Maybe.  At the same time you feel when you do get broken, you're probably going to lose.  I know the one time it saved maybe Juan Martin, and it has maybe different effects on different players, serving first or serving last.
I think I've been around the block and I know how to handle it.  I think if you're good enough, you can do it.  If you can't, you can't.  Sometimes it's just not meant to be, and sometimes it is, like today, for me.  But I'm happy not seeing a break for so long in the match that finally I was able to get it, lose it, regroup and still win, yeah, it was quite something.
Very emotional end, of course.

Q.  Do you think actually being on Centre Court, the many times you spent on this court, gives you a slight advantage?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I wasn't thinking of that at 15‑All, to be honest (smiling).¬† I mean, maybe.¬† Who knows?¬† Of course, I like the dimensions of the court.¬† I feel good out there.¬† But then again, there's so much on the line.
Maybe that's what's helped me over the years, just being in that situation time and time again, you know, playing for something really, really big, playing for records, history books, big wins, titles, all that stuff.  Maybe that's what kept me calm, to be honest, more than actually being out on Wimbledon Centre Court.
But I thought he did as well.  Of course, we were both getting a little bit tired towards the end, but we kept on playing great.  Just kind of hope as an opponent that the other guy is just going to choke and play bad.  But that's obviously not how you want to win, but at that moment you don't care anymore.
It just was not happening.  You really had to go get it.  It was hard.  Conditions are quick out there.  If you serve 200 up the T, it's difficult to make the return.  Once he gets that in play, he probably has the first strike.  It was a very difficult match to come through.

Q.  Are the sensations that you were feeling out there, both physically and emotionally, identical to those in a Grand Slam final or would you make a distinction?  Is your ambition the same, would you say?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, look, I definitely got a sense that this was something special we were both going through, with Juan Martin.  The deeper we went into the match, the more I thought, Wow, this is so cool to be part of a match like this.  I'm happy we don't have long sets every tournament we go to because I know the generation before us, a few generations before us, they played long sets every set they played.  You can, all of a sudden, just be endless out there.  That makes it very difficult.
But for me, yeah, it was somewhat equal to a Grand Slam final for sure.  The emotions I felt were as strong as winning a Grand Slam almost.  But of course you have to hopefully save some for Sunday so you can't go overly crazy.  But I was very, very touched at the end.

Q.  At what point do you put this match behind you and start thinking about Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, this is like a Grand Slam situation now.  If you play a tough match, you get a day off, come back on Sunday.  Today you reflect on the match, watch the other guys battle it out, and then hopefully get a good night's sleep.
Then from tomorrow on, you warm up the way you usually do.  Hopefully you wake up and don't feel too stiff and on Sunday hopefully play a pretty good match.  It's pretty straightforward from here, to be honest.

Q.  You just used the word 'calm.'  How calm were you really as that third set unfolded?  Were there butterflies, nerves?  Did you manage to just keep your mind at an even keel throughout?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, make it sound like it was more easy than it actually was.¬† I was very tense at certain times.¬† I think you heard it.¬† I was pushing myself, trying hard.¬† I had to clutch serve as well, many times.¬† That's what he did so, so well today.¬† Every time he needed a big first serve, he got it, except one time, when I broke him at the 15‑40, second serve.¬† He did better than me in that department, clutch serving when he needed to.
But I was tense.  I was nervous.  Obviously I was seeing myself as the loser many times during the match.  But at the same time also I did see myself with medals.  So you go through many emotions.  You just hope somehow you come out on the other side as a winner and secure yourself a medal, which is now the case.
I couldn't be more happy and more pleased.  It's a big moment in my life and a big moment for Switzerland because we don't have a medal yet.  I hope that also inspires other Swiss athletes for the Olympics now.

Q.  Would you be kind enough to imagine that you will be playing Andy Murray on Sunday.  Are you confident you can replicate the final at Wimbledon?  Do you think the partisan home crowd could be an advantage?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, could be.  Look, he got amazing crowd support in the Wimbledon finals.  I was able to handle that.  But there's never a guarantee.  I don't know how much the crowd, you know, plays into the outcome of the match really because he's such a great player anyways.  I've been around, as well.
I think should be a great match regardless now of Murray and Djokovic.  I don't want to be disrespectful because they haven't played yet.  He has his hands full with Novak.  That's a great semifinals for me to watch because they're some of the best players on tour.
Of course, I would love to play Andy.  I also would love to play Novak.  This is obviously great playing either one in the Olympic final.

Q.  You feel like home in Wimbledon because you secure your first Olympic in men's singles after so many years, you feel like home here?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I guess a little bit.  Now finally true that I have an Olympic singles medal.  It's been a long time coming.  I was exactly in this situation 12 years ago.  Missed the semis against Tommy Haas, lost the bronze medal match.  That was a rough turnaround for me, rough couple matches at the end.
But it was a great tournament as a whole in Sydney.  I'm happy I took it a step further, have secured a medal now.  Plus I have the opportunity for gold.  I feel very much at home here at Wimbledon.  But that's been the case for a very long time.
That's why I know I'm very fortunate, our generation is fortunate, we all are, that the Olympics are taking place at Wimbledon, a place where I have many great memories from.

Q.  Do you have a new appreciation for Mahut and Isner?  Do you like this format?  Were you wishing at some point to go to a tiebreak?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No, no.¬† Because it's a long set, it makes it so much more exciting at times, not that we should have long sets the whole time.¬† That makes things so much more difficult to travel the world, you know, on a daily basis almost, play well week in, week out.¬† If you play every match all of a sudden four hours, I mean, you just can't sustain playing at the highest of levels at all times.¬† I think at times it's great to have best‑of‑five, long sets, all that stuff.
I don't need to play this to respect John and Nicolas.  That was a joke.  That went over three days.  At one point I thought of them.  I thought, we're not even through the first day yet.  They did something extraordinary.  I hope for them it will never be matched.

Q.  Taking you back to the doubles when you lost.  Were you surprised, disappointed?  What was the feeling like?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I was very disappointed.  We looked like the winners for a very long time, and then they snuck out on us in the second set.  And in the third set, you know, just didn't work out for us.
Now, looking back a bit, I'm not too happy with my performance, particularly on the return games.  It was a bit unfortunate after such a good start to end up losing.
They did well.  They were the better team at the end.

Q.  I wonder what, if anything, has struck you about playing here and at Wimbledon itself, playing in the Olympics?  Lack of ties in the Royal Box?
ROGER FEDERER:  I was thinking of that for one second today.  Not that many ties around.  I don't know if that's a good thing.
I mean, I do hear many babies scream from time to time.  Makes me feel right at home.  I don't think kids are allowed during Wimbledon into the Centre Court, what, under 10, 15.  So I think that's what struck me the most over this last week or so, the kids screaming in the stands.
It's actually been good for me (smiling).

Q.  Can you tell us what you remember of the joy that you felt four years ago when you won the doubles medal?  Do you think that could be surpassed on Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, it's going to be quite different just because I don't have someone to hug at the very end.  That will always be unique because it was the first Olympic gold.  It was the first one that I shared with a friend.  With Stan, it was just an amazing feeling.  To go through it together as a team, it's not something we do so often.  It was unique in so many ways.
So, no, it will not be repeated.  I hope I can get to gold again, and that it's going to set free some great playing on Sunday.  Then we'll see if I win or not.  I'm sure the emotion's going to be extreme.  But we're not there yet, so have to stay very calm right now.

Q.  Talking about people crying.  With which opponent you destroy on this court was more close after the match, Roddick, Murray, today Del Potro, who was almost crying?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, look, everybody has got different character and different feeling.  Everybody takes it different.  You know, maybe some it stays with them for weeks, some it affects them right then, right here, then they move on very quickly.  So it really depends on your character.
But, yeah, I mean, it's never nice seeing go down like that, particularly when he was so, so close.  He means the world to somebody.  You make it sound like I've never been on the other side.  I've been there plenty of times as well.
I think you move on.  You grow as a person and as a player.  There's not only just negatives in a loss, to be quite honest.

Q.¬† At the end of this match you went over and put your hands on the net.¬† Could you rate your level of exhaustion physically, mentally compared to some of these epic five‑setters you've had in your past?
ROGER FEDERER:  It was an emotional drain, time and time again get up to the line and serve big.  I do serve well, but it's not my number one strength, I don't think.  Just trying to match his height and his pace time and time again.  I knew maybe the bigger server had a slight advantage.  So maybe you could favor him potentially.
Then again, I have experience.  I have the records here at Wimbledon that hopefully is going to somehow have an effect and carry me through.
I was drained, very tired, and at that moment I think also very relieved at the same time, very proud and happy.  There was a mixture of all those things happening all at once, to be honest.

Q.  You just spoke at length about the possibility of playing Murray in the final.  What if it was Novak?  What are your thoughts about playing Novak?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, tough match obviously.  I played a very good match against him here in the semis just recently.  Yeah, I'm not surprised to see both of them again in the semis and playing so well, even though we all had a bit of a fright during the tournament.
But I think that was somewhat predictable because the margins are so small in best‑of‑three set tennis, and on grass.¬† Actually the courts play very quick.¬† There's not much margin for all of us.
Novak is a great champion and athlete.  If it were him in the finals, I know how tough it is.  It would be obviously great to win against him because I think we would be playing for world No.1 again, this time for him to get it back.
There's always a lot on the line when the top four guys play each other at this point.

Q.  What did you say to Juan Martin after the match?  He was crying and very sad.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, he was sad, very touched.  Yeah, I mean, I felt for him in a big way because I've been there, as well.  I know how much this meant for him.  So I told him he should be very proud.  I thought he played such a great match, that I hope he's not too disappointed.
That's all we kind of had time for actually.  I hardly remember what he told me, to be honest, because there were so many emotions, and it was so loud from the crowd.
But, yeah, it was a strong moment, of course.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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