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February 28, 2014

Roger Federer


R. FEDERER/N. Djokovic
3‑6, 6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You have kept your positive record against Novak now.  Among your three main rivals, he's the only one you have a positive rivalry against.  What do you think is the main reason?  His playing style suits you more?
ROGER FEDERER:  I don't know.  I guess when he was younger I was taking more advantage against him than the others?  I don't know.  Maybe that's the case.  I definitely think maybe early on the playing style matched up better.
We went in spells.  I don't even remember all the matches clearly, because we have played that many times.
Right now I'm just happy that I was able to win the match, and I don't care so much about the head‑to‑heads, anyway.¬† But it's nice to be in the finals here in Dubai again.

Q.  Saving that break point halfway through the second set was crucial, wasn't it?
ROGER FEDERER:  Was that the passing shot up the line?  I don't remember.

Q.  A good fist pump after that.
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I'm not sure which one it was, Man.¬† (Laughter.)¬† I mean, I remember there was a few very close calls and a couple ‑‑I think one was a passing shot and then the third set, it was a big serve, 30‑40.¬† I already saved 15‑40.¬† Then the edge of the line, which he challenged.
Just kind of the stuff sometimes that decides matches, and that's where you just need that extra confidence or need that extra, you know, mental belief that you're gonna win instead of losing.
I think that's what I got back right now.  That's why I think I have been playing consistently well for some months again.

Q.¬† Overall, how did you turn the match around?¬† A set down, and then the second set was close, Love‑30 on Novak's serve.¬† Then the rain came.¬† Then you really started to play terrific.
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I think I was able to play a bit more aggressive as the match went on.  I don't think I was necessarily passive.  I just think Novak was playing well when he had to.
He got the crucial first break, which is always big when top guys play each other, and he's better than anybody with the lead.
So I knew I was in a bit of trouble and not looking good at all, you know, because he has a tendency to really then run with it and then play more freely on your serve and he plays very dangerous.
So for me it was just a matter of trying to play consistent but remain aggressive.  Sometimes be also overly aggressive and see if it works.  If it doesn't, then you can always pull back a little bit.
Clearly it was close, but I think I got the right balance, just the right balance, and then I started to serve very well, something I haven't been able to do really this week yet.
I knew if I had a chance today I needed to serve well.  So I'm just very happy I was able to deliver that.

Q.  Before the tournament you said you're feeling your best tennis is right around the corner.  How close are you, do you think, to that?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I mean, I hope it's now.¬† It's all happening.¬† Beating Novak on the hard courts here in Dubai, it's tough, you know.¬† Clearly not best of five, clearly not the finals of some whatever tournament, but this is a big ‑‑this is a big step in the right direction for me.¬† Gives me a lot of confidence, I hope.
Physically I'm doing very well again, still holding up perfectly, and clearly it's been a lot of tennis now again this week.
I just hope I can finish it well tomorrow, and then we'll see how I handle the traveling, you know, getting all the way to Indian Wells.  Right now it's about just staying focused and in the moment for tomorrow.

Q.  By the end of January we have a new Grand Slam champion.  By the end of February, Novak hasn't won any title.
ROGER FEDERER:  Well, he's only played two events, but...

Q.  Plus obviously you're playing fantastic.  Do you have the feeling 2014 could be your very interesting and a little bit strange year in men's tennis?
ROGER FEDERER:  Not strange, but interesting, yeah, I think it's the right word.  I think that was already the case midway through last year when I had physical issues, Andy had back surgery, and things changed within the top 4.  We had the same situations now going into the American, summer clay courts, and probably also then Wimbledon and so forth.
So it's just not, you know, the regular four that we know are always going to be drawn, you know, two on each side.  Now it could be totally different, three on one side or one on the other.  That opens draws, and that doesn't mean necessarily playing worse than before, but now you might lose in the quarters, whereas other guys then make a run to the semis and the finals, and the points get adjusted in the process.
That's where now a lot of guys will have an opportunity like Ferrer, Del Potro, Stan, and all these guys, so it's going to be interesting to see.  I don't want to say who gets luck in the draw a little bit moving forward, but it would definitely be helpful not being drawn into the Novak or Rafa section at this point.

Q.  Tomas said earlier that he'd rather play you in the final, obviously because he thinks he can beat you.
ROGER FEDERER:  Oh, I'm happy he said that.  Okay.  Good for him.

Q.  He's obviously going into the final with confidence.  What are your thoughts?  He's beaten you here.
ROGER FEDERER:  Last year, yeah.  Very convincingly, too.  Yeah, he saved two match points, and I should have won the match and I would have been in the finals against Novak.  But I didn't.  He won.
He played really well in the third set, I remember, and I have had some troubles against him in previous matches against him.
I don't know if we have actually played after that, to be honest.  But it's been a bit up and down, you know, throughout.  And if that's the last time I played against him, clearly, you know, it's good for him.  I think he's playing very confident.  I think he played great in Australia, took advantage of his draw and making sure he made the semis and had chances against Stan.
Then here now he backs it up.  I think he won Rotterdam, too, which is great for him after not winning a title last year but playing a very consistent year and winning Davis Cup.
I think he's playing, you know, very well right now.¬† This is a big match for him tomorrow as well, getting back‑to‑back 500 events and moving into the 1000s.¬† Couldn't be a better preparation for him.¬† I will try to stop him and play a good match myself.

Q.  Boris was plainly there tonight.  I'm just wondering if you've spoken to Stefan tonight, when you're linking up next, whether there has been any dialogue this week.  Because that second and third set was the aggressive style that Stefan wants you to play.
ROGER FEDERER:  Right, but I didn't speak to him.  We were just texting each other.  We didn't speak before today's match.  You know, I have just been doing the whole week with Severin, and, you know, I don't necessarily need to speak to Stefan right now or Severin needs to keep him updated if there is anything very important.
I would like to focus on the work with Stefan.  In three days I will see him.  He will be in Indian Wells, and that's what I'm looking forward to.  When I'm with him, I'm really with him.  When I'm away from him, I want him to enjoy his life.  I don't want to be crazy like calling each other all the time and talking about nothing, you know.
So I'm sure this victory makes him very happy, you know.  I hope he likes what he sees, you know, and from my standpoint, I'm just very happy things are working out with Stefan and Severin and everybody involved  and that my results remain positive, which is important right now at the beginning of the season.

Q.  I wanted to ask about the same thing of Berdych.  You have been coming here for more than ten years and you have a home base.  Have you picked up on the Arabic language?
ROGER FEDERER:  What do you think?  (Laughter).

Q.  Not yet?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† Not yet.¬† No, unfortunately not.¬† Same with the Slovak.¬† My wife was born there, but I don't speak a word.¬† I don't know why it is.¬† I'm very much focused on my Swiss‑German, German, English, and French.
The rest just seems difficult.  But I do like to hear it and listen to it, and when I switch channels, I always stay on the channels and listen to it because I just think it's a nice and interesting language.

Q.  The fans seem to be on your side.  Did you feel that when you were playing?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† I don't know.¬† Honestly, I don't know what they were chanting, if it was, Nole, Nole, or Roger, Roger.¬† It was like a blur.¬† And I think it was like very ‑‑I just think they wanted to see a great match.
It was three sets.  That's kind of what I felt.  Maybe there were more fans of myself in the stadium or more of Novak, but I think it was a very enthusiastic crowd, polite crowd, and there was a dream playing in atmospheres like this.
I mean, they already trying to create a Mexican wave sort of five games in.  I don't know if that was because Novak was leading or it tried to pump me up.
But anyway, I thought it was a great atmosphere out here tonight and I hope for something similar tomorrow.

Q.¬† I asked you the other night what you think about when you sit in your courtside chair, and you talk about all your many languages.¬† When you're sitting in that courtside chair and you're telling yourself, Roger, come on, focus, do this, are you telling yourself in Swiss‑German, German, English, or French?
ROGER FEDERER:  I think probably a combination.  Not French.  I struggle with the French a little bit.
But it's more the Swiss‑German or then the English.¬† Yeah.¬† Depends what I think of, I guess.

Q.¬† There are suitable words in Swiss‑German?
ROGER FEDERER:¬† No.¬† It's not a bad language.¬† It's not so bad, I must say.¬† There are other languages that could be worse, but I don't know.¬† It depends if I think of my kids or maybe it's more Swiss‑German or more about the tennis, might be more English.¬† I'm not sure.¬† But, yeah.

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