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November 5, 2013

Roger Federer


N. DJOKOVIC/R, Federer
6‑4, 6‑7, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You found some great levels tonight.  Is he the hardest person to beat defensively?  Is he as strong as anyone you've played in defense?
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I mean, it's a different type of defense than we know from Rafa or Andy Murray.  So it's just different really.
I mean, he does really well.  I think tonight was different than other times I've played him, like last week or last year this time.  I thought the match was probably a higher quality.  But that's normal because that was the first round today and not a semis or a final where you can play yourself into form really.  So I think that was tough.
But overall, clearly he's known and he proves it time and time again that he's one of the best defenders in the game we've ever had.

Q.  We saw some mistakes.  Are you playing more irregular?  Do you take more risks?
ROGER FEDERER:  Slow here and it's the first match, so there's going to be errors.  There's a lot of neutralizing going on.  You have to take a lot of chances to get the ball past Novak, like I mentioned.  Eventually that draws errors out of you.
I didn't think it was that extreme.  But maybe for you guys it was.  I don't know.

Q.  How delighted were you by the reception you received tonight?  Like a home Davis Cup tie for you really.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, it was very nice, you know, to get the support I get all around the world.  O2 is special to me just because it's nice being the last eight of a tough year.  Great stadium, great light show.
I really appreciate all the support I get anywhere really, but particularly here in London where I've celebrated some of my biggest victories.

Q.  Can you talk about playing the terrific tiebreaker, then going into the third, sort of it slipping?  Also comment on how slow the surface is compared to last year.
ROGER FEDERER:  Last year I was, what, five days before the event.  I didn't play Paris.  I was comparing it to Basel, I guess, last year.  Coming in this year, I'm comparing it to Paris.  Paris is definitely quicker.
It's just, yeah, I wouldn't say way different.  It's different.  You can tell.  It's harder to get the ball past a guy.  And you just got to line it up differently, with more construction again of the points, not so much shooting through the opponent.  So that takes some adjustments.
I think Novak also struggled, you know, for a long period of time tonight.  So did I.  I'm not even sure if we played our best in the third.  It's just one of those matches you try to take advantage when the other guy's not 100%.
He clearly probably wasn't physically or mentally because of the tough last few days he's had, and same for me.  This is not a great preparation, as such, other than we're just confident from playing well the last couple of weeks.
It was a really interesting matchup, I thought, you know.  And I guess the surface is very similar to last year.  I'd be shocked if it was slower last year actually.  Feels the same.

Q.  After this loss, you have more pressure entering the next game.  If you don't win, you can go home.
ROGER FEDERER:  Maybe.  So what do I do in those situations?

Q.  Yes.
ROGER FEDERER:  I try to win.  So thank you for the reminder (smiling).

Q.  Does it sting a little bit more because you lost to him twice in three days or is it just a case of a loss is a loss?
ROGER FEDERER:  At this point, no.  This doesn't sting more or less.  I thought I had a chance today.  So that's the part where I'm unhappy about, that I wasn't able to take advantage of it.  Because I was actually feeling much better than I was in Paris overall physically.  I was struggling much more over there after playing, what is it, nine matches in 12 days or something.
Again, I was able to recover from all those matches and actually felt physically somewhat fine.  But obviously it's been a tough season overall.  So I guess I'm just rattled at times, you know, with my level of play consistently.
So I regret not having taken my chances better maybe, maybe played it a bit tougher, a little bit more solid overall.  But there was some good tennis out there as well at times.  There is something I can definitely take away from this match.  We're all in the same situation.  All four of us have played three sets, so we're getting used to the conditions quickly, instead of just racing through a 6‑2, 6‑2 match, which maybe you get less information.
Look, it's a tougher loss.  Then again, still a lot to play for for me.  Now I hope I can take it to Del Potro and Gasquet.  I don't even know who I play.  So it goes.

Q.  You have two tough rivals in the group.
ROGER FEDERER:  Three tough guys.

Q.  What do you think you have to change, improve and keep to have a chance to reach the semifinals?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think at this point it's very mental, just making sure I don't get too negative on myself because of the loss today.  I mean, it was against Novak after all.  It's not against some journeyman.
So I feel like it was very close, but then again didn't make it.  It's a positive that it was three sets.  Don't really care.  But I just have to make sure I stay positive right now in my mind, which I am.  And I'm looking forward to the next matches.
And I'm happy how I recovered from Paris.  That was really key for me to see today how I was going to feel.  Maybe I did have some ups and downs, but that's more towards the season I played and more I think a lot of matches.  Then I just got to play my game.  It does remain indoors.  So I think I have to just make sure I take it to my opponents rather than trying to make the plays too often, what I was trying to do today.

Q.  It's obviously disappointing today.  In the general scheme of things, having had an inconsistent year with the back problems, to take a set off him twice in three days, isn't that positive in terms of the message you'll get at the end of this year?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, sure.  Let's see it that way.  Great, we're positive.  It was great to win two sets off Novak, and losing four.  Losing a match, it's really exciting.
But I don't know what to tell you.  The season's not done yet.  Let's talk about this stuff in hopefully four matches.

Q.  I'd like to ask you about Rafael Nadal.  Tomorrow he will get No.1 if he wins.  What do you think about his season?  What adjective would you put to his 2013?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, fantastic comeback, you know.  I expected Rafa to come back strong.  I didn't believe that maybe he was going to make it.  You know, he's too good of a player.  And I think he's so tough on the clay, and he's improved so much over the years on the other surfaces.  He's proved himself everywhere.
He was always going to be part of the top guys if he was going to feel fine physically, and he was not going to return other than if he was going to feel great.
I'm happy for him he was able to take the time and happy for him that things went probably much better than actually he thought himself.  It's been a terrific year and clearly he would deserve world No.1 after the season he had.
But then again, Novak did play the full season from January on, so you could debate that he would deserve it, too.
Only one can get it.  It's an exciting finish.

Q.  Rafa said here yesterday that he thought the World Tour Finals should be played on a different surface every year to reflect the fact that you qualify for this tournament by playing on different surfaces throughout the year.  Do you have a view on that?
ROGER FEDERER:  Sure.  I mean, that's a view to have.  I can understand where he's coming from, you know.  Keep it exciting, different, whatever you want to call it.
But then again, I must also make the point we have lost another Masters 1000 on indoors.  Used to be in Stuttgart, used to be in Madrid indoors.  Now we're playing Shanghai outdoors.  I know it's got a roof so it could be considered indoors at times because we have some rain there.
But I truly believe the World Tour Finals should stay indoors, and I think indoors deserves a great event.  Because also what's good about indoors, you know what you're getting into.  Matches are going to be played, not delayed like we had in Houston one time.  The finals was going to be on the Monday, best‑of‑three instead of best‑of‑five, because of so much rain.  That wasn't cool.
I've been there, lived it.  That's where I believe indoor clay is not something we should look at.  That's why probably it has to stay indoor hard in my personal opinion.  But then again, who knows what the changes are going to be in the future.
I kind of secretly hope maybe it could stay here at the O2, but that's for somebody else to decide.

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