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January 23, 2013
R. FEDERER/J. Tsonga
7‑6, 4‑6, 7‑6, 3‑6, 6‑3
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions, please.
Q.¬† How pleased were you with your reaction, especially at the start of the fifth set?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I mean, look, it was a tough match from the start really.¬† A lot of ups and downs on both sides obviously.
I mean, more good ones than bad ones, because ups and downs you can see the negative way, too.¬† But I thought we always played well to get back into the match.
And then obviously in the fifth you never kind of know where it goes, so you feel like you need to step it up once more; I was able to do that and get the first break.¬† I also had opportunities and it was close.¬† I had to be really patient and play good till the finish.
So I'm very happy.¬† It was a good match.¬† I enjoyed it.¬† Could have been four.¬† Could have been three.¬† I could have lost it.¬† So at the end, I'm just happy I won in five.
Q.¬† How is your body feeling after that much tennis?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, it's okay.¬† I mean, obviously tonight has nothing to do with the rest of the week, but it's important to recover and rest up.¬† You know, I did some massage already just trying to recover.¬† I feel pretty good, even though I had to defend quite a bit.
Jo was really pressing forward today, playing aggressive, pushing me to come up with the plays and get one more extra ball back.
I think I did well.¬† I've been moving well all week, or the last couple weeks.¬† You know, I guess also not having played any tournaments leading in, today was tricky because I haven't been in a match like this for some time, and I'm happy I came through.
Q.¬† Have you been working specifically on defense?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, it's very much become a game of movement today with the slower courts and as quick as we are and all that.¬† It's very important to be able to rely on your defensive skills.
I didn't necessarily work on my defensive skills, but I've finally had again a few weeks of practice, you know.¬† It just shows, you know, practice is good to have in your body, especially when you come out at the other end you feel you're in good shape, you feel stronger, you trust in it more, you believe in it more, and that then makes you play better in the process if you go deep into the tournament.
Obviously we're coming out of the same situation.¬† I don't know what the other guys did in their off‑season, but mine was pretty straightforward and I worked hard.¬† I'm happy with how I felt and how I'm moving, so it's important.
Q.¬† How much will the Wimbledon and Olympic finals matter coming into this game?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I think those two, but the World Tour Finals and Shanghai, so those last four matches, that's what I'll probably be looking at with my coaches and sort of go from there.
Obviously then the two Wimbledon matches are different.¬† It's grass and you play different.
But, yeah, then the Olympics was playing much faster.¬† So was Shanghai.¬† This is a bit different here, but obviously I've played Andy now sometimes in the last sort of six months or a year since he's, you know, won the gold, won the US Open.
So I know what to expect; whereas it would be different if I hadn't played him.¬† Because he has changed his game around a bit.¬† He's playing more defensive.¬† I'm looking forward to it.¬† Obviously a great player, and I was very happy for him when he won his first Grand Slam and the gold.
So I'm expecting a tough match, of course.
Q.¬† You had a lot of rivalries with a lot of players.¬† What makes the matchup with Murray stand out for you?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, I've always enjoyed playing against him.¬† I had some tougher runs against him in a short period of time.¬† I played him in a few weeks or maybe a month or two I played him three, four times, was on some sort of losing streak, so that was sort of hard.
But I always enjoyed the matchups with him because it gets to be very tactical.¬† Wasn't a straightforward match.¬† He would make you doubt and play very different to the rest of the guys.¬† I kind of always enjoyed that, you know, when it's just not every point's the same.¬† We used to mix it up against each other.
Now it's changed a bit because he's playing more offensive.¬† The rallies aren't as long and grueling as they used to be.¬† We both can do that.
There were times when we also played against each other in semifinals when Rafa and myself were 1 and 2.¬† Same as Novak.¬† We played a lot in the semis.
My rivalry goes more into the semifinals always with Andy than more in the finals, even tough now at Wimbledon and the Olympics we played in the finals.¬† I think it was nice for us for a change to play in finals against each other.
Q.¬† I know you would like to win in three sets, but you expressed this sort of gratitude, if that's not too strong a word, for being part of a match like this.¬† Is that the sense you have?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I mean, look, absolutely.¬† All the straight‑set matches eventually become a bit of a blur, no doubt about it; whereas the five‑setters stand out more.¬† I've had some great ones over the years here at the Australian Open.¬† I love watching night session tennis.¬† Whenever it goes deep into a match, I want to not miss it.
I'm sure there's other tennis fans out there who like to see me and Jo Willie battle it out.¬† So I always feel it's a privilege to be playing so late at night, on a center court, the crowd getting into it.
We were really playing good tennis, so it was even more enjoyable in the process.
Q.¬† You never lost to Andy in a Grand Slam match.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Now that you say it, I look back and, yeah, it's true.¬† But I don't go into it with a mindset that I've never lost to him in slams.¬† He's beaten me so many times.¬† He's beaten me more times than I've beaten him.
But I'm happy you've given me the positive news (laughter).¬† Good vibe.¬† I'll try to remember that when I walk out, but it doesn't play a huge role for me.
Q.¬† He made you cry at the last two Grand Slams.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Okay, so we haven't played so much the last few years now, but he's obviously a different player today.
I like the matches with him.¬† I think a lot of them are very close.¬† I very often have come up with some great playing against him in the slams when it mattered.¬† But we'll see if I can produce it again.
Q.¬† You say Murray has a more offensive style now.¬† Does that, in fact, play to your advantage in a way, because in the past when he was more of a defensive counterattacking player, he was often very effective against you.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, he was, exactly.¬† It's a fine line of being overly offensive or overly passive.¬† It's hard to explain, but it's in the details, I guess.
I think the same goes for Tomic really.¬† For instance, you want to be able to know that you can play offensive when it sort of presents itself.¬† I think he's proven his point, that he can do it time and time again.
That's what matters I think the most for him now.¬† In the moment itself, how offensive can you play when the ball is coming flat and hard into the middle, whatever.¬† You have to know also when to back off.
He's very clever at all these things.¬† He knows how it works.¬† But I think it's especially on the return that you see the biggest significant change in his game overall if you look back now.
Q.¬† Given who you've beaten here, who you have to beat to win, can you remember as difficult a run in terms of players?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I mean, no.¬† I've played too many Grand Slam matches to remember exactly each draw right now going past me like this in my brain.¬† I don't remember them all.
But I think I mentioned to someone that I remember when I played Gasquet in the first round at Wimbledon, to play Henman or Soderling I think it was.¬† Henman won in five, and then I played Tim there in the second round.
I don't know how it went after that.¬† That was a draw with three grass court players on grass which makes it much more difficult.
So obviously this one has been very interesting, as well.¬† Paire plays very flashy and so you don't know what to expect. ¬†Davydenko has great potential.
The two young guys obviously are always very dangerous in the play‑ups.¬† Now Jo Willie, we know what he can do.
It's been a tough draw.¬† I made it to the semis, which I'm very pleased with.¬† As you mentioned, it's not getting any easier from here.¬† I'm excited that I'm in the semis, and that's what I'm supposed to be, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q.¬† Is it any different not having Rafa in the draw, not going deep into a tournament such as this?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, I haven't thought about it too much actually.¬† Now that you mention it, I remember our great semifinals we had here last year.¬† This is maybe the moment where you do miss him a little bit to a degree.
So it's a pity.¬† We know that.¬† The game's obviously stronger with him than without.¬† But you kind of move on.¬† It's a very fast‑moving sport, you know.¬† But my feeling tells me when he is back, he will be strong and he will be very difficult to beat.
Obviously on the clay he hardly loses any matches.¬† We're looking forward to that moment.¬† It's going to be good energy for the tour.
Q.¬† You said you haven't played a match like today's for some while.¬† Is it an advantage that Andy Murray hasn't gone beyond three sets yet in this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No, not really.¬† I would probably rather be in his shoes.¬† Has he lost a set?¬† I don't think he has.¬† That's exactly how you want to approach a semifinal match, in my opinion.
But there's also some positives to take out of a five‑set match.¬† I did play very well today, but I had moments as well where I could've done a bit better.
I toughed it out.¬† That also gives you confidence when you have to go through those matches.¬† The physical stamina was there, the focus with there till the very end.¬† So it does give you a lot of confidence moving forward from here.
I didn't play any leading‑up tournaments, so that's exactly maybe what I needed for the semis.¬† Then again, I may be totally wrong.¬† Time will tell.
Q.¬† The top four seeds once again made it to the semifinals in the men's tour.¬† Why do you think that is?¬† Secondly, it almost never happens on the women's side.¬† A few thoughts why they're so different.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† They're not that far off.¬† Of course, Serena's ranking wasn't always what it was supposed to be, let's say, so that obviously broke the mold.
For us, like I said, it's become very much a game of movement.¬† Maybe the top guys just move a tiny bit better than the rest of the guys.¬† I'm not sure about that, but seems like it.
And I guess in the best‑of‑five, down the stretch, it just seems that we do find a way.¬† I don't know how to explain it.
Jo‑Willie was close today; Almagro was unbelievably close against Ferrer.¬† I mean, what a match that was.¬† And then obviously Stan almost got Novak.
I think it's nice to see how close the guys are coming.¬† I hope they do believe a bit more in beating the top guys.¬† I mentioned that already in London or at the Open or Wimbledon, when Rosol beat Nadal, that there should be a bit more belief from the rest of the guys trying to beat the top guys instead of being sort of down already before the match, even though they enjoy the moment.
Q.¬† We're talking about advantages.¬† Do you think it's an advantage to have played four in a row at night, whereas Murray has played none?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No.¬† Because really we had a day off in between.¬† Doesn't play that different after all.¬† It wasn't scorching heat and stuff.¬† If every day would have been 35 degrees it would have been a different story, but it wasn't.
I think we know the reasons why that happens, because of my draw more than not.¬† It's hard to juggle all these things.¬† I don't think it's an advantage, to be quite honestly.¬† I don't think it's a big deal.
Q.¬† You said it's a transition for you before the tournament.¬† Have you surprised yourself with the level you've played at?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Not really.¬† Look, in the past every time I go on sort of a buildup, I go to work, you know, physically and tennis‑wise, I come out stronger.¬† Usually pays off rather quickly in my situation for some reason, which is great.
You know, you go, work hard, you come back, and play great in the process.¬† I've done that many times at Wimbledon, come back and played amazing at Wimbledon and the American summer as well.
Also in Australia, this is I don't know how many semis in a row.¬† I've always been super consistent in the beginning of the year, so I can build trust in that preparation and the process will decide whatever I want to do.¬† I know I will more likely than not play good tennis.
It doesn't matter about my preparation really, how many tournaments I play beforehand.¬† That gives me flexibility, which is obviously huge looking at the calendar which sort of makes you play certain events.¬† But with my ways of being able to adapt, it gives me some flexibility, which is important.
Q.¬† How much of this is work for you and how much can you really enjoy?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Uhm, I mean, I enjoy everything about the traveling and the tour and the matches and the rivalries and all that stuff and the records, you name it.¬† So I see almost basically positives really.¬† I really enjoy it.¬† Back in the day when I was trying to get a feel for how the tour was working, things were much more complicated.
Now it's pretty straightforward.¬† So it's important to mix it up sometimes, change it up with who you practice with, where you do that at the tennis sometimes, how can you make it fun.¬† That's why I always love it when friends and family come around.¬† Obviously I have my kids which totally changed my life in the last three years.
It's really enjoyable.¬† It's really nice.¬† So I like it.
Q.¬† Djokovic said after the long game last time he had to go to sleep like 5 a.m. and had an ice bath.¬† I want to know what will you do tomorrow?¬† You will go to sleep very late and also get up very late, skip the breakfast or something like that.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, I've skipped breakfast for two weeks now.¬† Seriously, that's what it's been.¬† I've been going to bed at 3 a.m. every morning and wake up at noon.¬† Is that a nice life?¬† I don't know.
I enjoy playing on Rod Laver Arena, but in some ways I'd rather have the day session because that creates a normal rhythm and a normal life.¬† Going to bed at 3:00 in the morning and getting up at noon is not what you're supposed to be doing.
But I'm happy to do it.¬† It's going to stay that way for another few days, but I'm happy to get back to a normal schedule again.
For me nothing changes now because next match, again, is going to be at night.¬† I'm in perfect schedule here basically.¬† Might be 3:40, 4:00 a.m.¬† I might sleep till 1 p.m.¬† It's okay.¬† I'll handle it.¬† I'll try to sleep in, do some stretching, massage, and then come out again and play well hopefully.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports