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November 1, 2013

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/J. Del Potro
6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Can you tell us a bit about your level in the first set and do you feel you're getting closer to your best tennis?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I was very happy with today's match.  I think it was, like you said, a particularly good first set and a bit of a pity I couldn't break early in the second.  I think Juan Martin did well to hang around.
Maybe it was a frustrating first hour for him on the match.  He found a way to stay in there and take his opportunity that presented itself at the end of the second to fore a third set.
I think I did well today to start stronger this time around in the third set.  It was something I couldn't quite do in Basel.  I think I was just overall hitting a better ball again today and moving well and taking good decisions time and time again, so I was very happy with my level of play today.

Q.  You haven't played Novak this year; is that right?
ROGER FEDERER:  You should know that.  I don't know (Laughter).

Q.  Do you think he's moved forward again this year in the kind of roundedness of his game?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, yeah, because I haven't played him I don't quite know.  I haven't seen enough tennis, especially last few months.  I haven't been around enough.
But whenever I do see him play, he seems, you know, fit, quick, clear in his head, confident, all those things, you know, you would expect from world No. 1 or now world No. 2.
And clearly because he's been up there for some time now, it's natural and logic for him which decisions to take, and that makes it hard to play against.  Yeah.

Q.  Would you consider this one of your best wins of this year?  Is that fair to say?  Did you feel that way coming off the court today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Probably has to be, yeah, I guess.  My first top 10 win since January maybe.

Q.  First top 5 win of the year.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Yeah, it's been a while, you know.¬† But I have had some decent matches along the way ‑ maybe against less famous players than Juan Martin ‑ so I'm happy it worked out well today.
Like I said, I think it was a good match from start to finish.  That's definitely good for my confidence, because those are the kind of wins I need right now.

Q.¬† Secondly, just results‑wise, this tournament, Bercy, has had a lot more of the top players getting deep than usually here.¬† A lot of times there can be unexpected players here.¬† Does it feel different?¬† What do you chalk up the success of the top players here to?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Number one, we're all here.¬† Number two, it's nice ‑‑I don't get the sense that many players are like extremely tired.¬† You know, like I remember years, 10, 15 years ago we would come here, like, Oh, God, I just want to go on vacation, you know?
This year I don't feel like this.  When I speak to players, everybody is eager to do well and play well.
I don't know what it is, you know, but it seems like we are recovering quicker and really take every tournament extremely serious.
It's become super professional, as you can imagine it to be.  So it's less sort of up and down with the mood swings, as well.
Back in the day it was much more extreme.  I thought it was, you know.  When everybody is talking like this, like back then, it affects you more.  You're like, Yeah, that's true.  I'm super tired.  It's dark.  You know, all those things affect you much more.
But it's nice to see, and it's interesting to see the eight guys in the quarters also being the same eight guys at the World Tour Finals in London.  Well, I guess it's something positive, today's outcome, for everybody.  For the guys who lost, they have more time to prepare, and for the guys who won, they move on and gain more points and gain more confidence.
It's a good day overall for tennis and the players I guess involved.

Q.¬† The crowd was particularly behind you today, and up 4‑1 in the first set and during the changeover they applaud, etcetera.¬† How did you feel that?¬† The level of support we have the impression to be in Basel.¬† Did you have this impression too, this feeling?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think it was unbelievable support, especially early in the match.  They get involved midway through or towards the end.  I don't want to say it's normal, but they get into it, they get excited about good shots, they start deciding maybe who they lean to, who they want to win, and they want to see a close match.
But to get support already at 3‑1, 4‑1 in the first set was unbelievable, and I think that really lifted my spirits up, and, you know, pushed me to keep on going and feel the support was nice.
I had a very special year here two years ago, which I will never forget.  The crowd support I received here was one of the best I have ever had, to be quite honest.  Even in the finals against Jo here there was a divided crowd even maybe more in my favor, which was incredible to get, you know, knowing how popular Jo is here in France overall.

Q.  A question about Juan Martin Del Potro.  What do you think of the tennis of Juan Martin during these last weeks?  Your impression.
ROGER FEDERER:  I think Juan Martin has done very well.  I think the results speak for themselves:  Tokyo, Shanghai, Basel, now here again.  He's played a lot of tennis, so clearly he must be a little bit tired.
Maybe having a few more days off before London is going to actually make him more dangerous.  I don't know if it's a good thing I beat him today.  We will see how it goes for me.
It was clearly a huge victory, giving myself a chance to be in the semis here, and playing Novak is clearly very exciting.
But I think Novak has had a terrific year, and he's still got more to come in the World Tour Finals in London.  I wish him the best, as always.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  Can you talk about your rivalry with Novak, and what do you like and what don't you like in his game?
ROGER FEDERER:  I remember us playing many semifinals one against the other.  We were 3 and 4 and 1 and 2, but I think we always play well against each other.  When we play, it's very athletic.  We will both try to be aggressive and take the initiative.
So tomorrow, given the surface and the conditions here, it's also going to be the case.  It's interesting.  I always liked this rivalry with Novak.

Q.  I think I read somewhere that you would not go to South America like last year before next year, so what is your program?  Are you going to go to Abu Dhabi for exhibitions?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  You don't have the right information.  I'm not going to South America, but that was decided a long time ago.  I'm not going to play any exhibition in the end of the season.  I'm going to start playing again in Brisbane.  That's the truth.

Q.  The last three times you played Del Potro he won; today you won.  What changed today?  You were stronger mentally, or you believe he was not in his best condition?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Oh, you have to see the details.¬† The three matches, three times, were indoors in three sets.¬† In London I was qualified already ‑ or just one set was missing.¬† I don't remember.
So they were different.¬† And in Basel it was very tight.¬† I was a bit too nervous in Basel last year when I lost 7‑6 in the third.¬† He was just a bit better than I was during the third set, and I thought I wouldn't be able to win that match.¬† That was the case.
For this year it was very close.¬† In the beginning of the third set, that made a difference.¬† We can't say I lost those matches 6‑2, 6‑2.¬† They were very tight each time.¬† It's always complicated against him, especially indoors.
He's he much more confident now and he knows how he wants to play, and he can always play at a very high level and for a very long time.
And, again, it was the same today, but maybe I had a clearer mind today.  Maybe I was in a better day today.  It just depended on a few details.

Q.  Was it a sort of revenge today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, if you want, but I don't feel incredible, no.  I'm just happy.

Q.  The question was asked in English, but I would like to come back on this.  You were supported by the crowd today.  The fans this year maybe thought you were in a difficult position and your love quota has increased.  Can you feel that?  Are you touched by that?
ROGER FEDERER:  I'm always touched when I feel that support.  It's something you can't take for granted.  It's never been something normal for me to have that support.  I have been on the tour for a long time now and people saw me play many times.  If they come for the first time, it's a bit special for them.
But anyway, even two years ago the atmosphere was great here.  Even if you think it's incredible this time, well, it was normal maybe two years ago.  I know the crowd here is very emotional.  If they don't like it, they will tell you.  If they like it, well, it can be very special.
This is exactly what I felt in 2011, too.  I'm very happy.  I really hope this will continue tomorrow for tennis.  And if again they are behind me, that would be great for me.
But for that you always need to put something into it to play good shots.  I mean, you're fighting for that so that they will have a reason to support you.

Q.  A word about the fact that that was your first victory against top 10 since January.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I knew that.  I knew it was a long time that I had been able to do that.  Every time I played a top 10 I lost, but it was tight.
So I'm happy now I won against a top 10 again, especially just before London where I will have to play against three top 10 players in a row.
So it seems to be interesting, and I'm happy that I did that first step today.

Q.  Last time you played Djokovic was in the final of the Masters last year.  In one year, what changed for you?  How do you feel now compared with last year physically, mentally?  How are you?
ROGER FEDERER:  I prefer to play him now than four months ago.  I'm again more confident now and I believe again in my chances.
But if I had played a few weeks ago or a few months ago I might have thought that I was not sure.  I mean, it might have been more difficult.  I believe I can win more now.  I will try my best against him because he's again having a very good year.
He was almost the whole year the top one, and as usual, he always finishes the year very strongly:  Beijing, Shanghai, and he won London last year.  So he knows he has a chance again.
It's going to be a very difficult match, but it's also going to be interesting.  We always play very well against each other.  Personally, I like very much playing him.

Q.  About Dimitrov, he said it was not easy to play against your own idol.  So maybe it was not easy for you to play against him knowing that he used you as his idol or his example.  You managed the match perfectly well, but how was it for you?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Well, the match was tough.¬† He had three set points in the second set, 5‑3, Love‑40.¬† We might have played a third set, and then you never know what happens.
Anyway, it was a lot of pleasure for me playing against him.  He maybe plays a little bit like me, but he has his own touch.  It's not the first time I have been playing against someone for whom I was a sort of idol.
The first time it was extremely strange for me, because I remember how I felt when I played Sampras.  You see them on TV, and then suddenly you're playing against them.
I know it's a strange feeling.  I confess it's different.  You try to concentrate on the match.  Maybe it gives you an advantage because the opponent feels a lot of pressure, but at the same time, they don't have anything to lose.
So you don't know when it's going to happen to you.  Do you need to play safe or do you have to be aggressive?  I sort of chose a medium term against Dimitrov.  Fortunately for me, it worked well.
But I was impressed by his game.  He played very well.  I almost had to play him in the quarterfinal.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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