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An Interview With: Roger Federer

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Q. Can you explain what happened tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: It's fairly simple: I think Marin played great. I maybe didn't catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell. If that's what you mean.

Q. Is this leftover at all from the Monfils match where you had to go so long and so late? Were you tired?

ROGER FEDERER: No. No, I was feeling good, you know. I was feeling fine, you know. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, you know, I felt like there was a proper match going on. But I think him playing with the lead he played with, you know, no fear and just full-out confidence, which clearly everybody at this point sort of has in the semis of a slam. I think he served great when he had to. I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.

Q. When you lost the first two sets, were you thinking you were going to plot a comeback like the other night?

ROGER FEDERER: I wasn't as confident this time around, because Marin played more aggressive. He was serving huge. From that standpoint I knew that margins were slim, you know, even though I still believed in my chance. The reaction was there. I did break straight back like I did with Monfils, as well, but I knew probably this comeback would be tougher just because of the risk he was taking and, you know, how big he was serving really.

Q. Was it more his serve or your return that today wasn't at the best?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he's been serving well for some time now. I'm definitely not happy the way I was able to return his serve. I expect better from myself. Especially on his first serve, you know, at least get the feeling like I know what's going on, I know where it's coming. Today that didn't work at all. But, you know, like I said, credit to him. He served big; he served close to the lines. When you do that, there's only so much you can really do. Then I need to focus on my own service game, what I did well against him in Toronto. I didn't get broken for all three sets, I think, and for two-and-a-half hours. So today I probably had to manage something similar. But I think he was also playing really well from the baseline, so let's not only talk about just his serving. From the baseline I think he was hitting the ball very well, as well.

Q. Cilic and Nishikori will be going to their first Grand Slam final. How do you see the future of tennis shaping up?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it's exciting for the game, you know, to have different faces from time to time. At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches. But I think it's definitely refreshing to some extent. It's big for Croatia and big for Japan I guess on some level, especially on sporting terms and tennis terms. Everybody who gets to this stage of this kind of a competition deserves to be there because they have put in the work and they hoped for the break, and this is it for both of them. I hope they can play a good final.

Q. We have seen some guys knocking on the door, but not necessarily these two. Are you surprised that these are the guys that are now in the final?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm more surprised with Cilic, to be honest, because he's older. I think he is, anyway. He's been around for longer, you know, but he's really been able to make a nice transition in the last few years in his game. There is a significant difference in how he plays. Whereas with Kei I always thought unbelievable talent way back when I played with him for the first time when he was 17. Just wasn't quite sure that in a best-of-five-set tournament if he could get all the way to the back end of the tournament. But he's beaten, you know, myself twice already, other top guys, you know, before. He was destroying Rafa in the finals of Madrid. He's shown what he can do, and that's why with Kei I'm not surprised, really.

Q. You have been outspoken person about antidoping. Are you at all uncomfortable losing to somebody who only last year was convicted of an antidoping violation?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm fine with it. I truly believed he didn't do anything wrong in the sense that he did it on purpose. Was he stupid maybe? Maybe. You know, yeah. But I feel like I know him well enough, and I don't think he would ever do it. I don't quite remember what the circumstances were, but I feel more bad for him than anything else. So for me, when I see him it doesn't cross my mind in any way. And, no, I think he was becoming the player he is already way before that, so from that standpoint no problem for me.

Q. Kei advanced to first time Grand Slam final. What do you think his possibility to get the title?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's interesting situation, you know, where you have two players who have never been in a Grand Slam final before and in a way they have nothing to lose. Who is the favorite? Nobody really knows. From that standpoint I think it's quite an interesting situation. I think Kei played amazing tennis, you know, this tournament. And Marin now, as well. I don't know who is the favorite really going in. That's why you've got to watch it. (Smiling.)

Q. For you personally in the pursuit of more majors you, how does a day like today and the deeper field perhaps affect your thoughts?

ROGER FEDERER: Not in a big way, you know. I'm just really disappointed after how well I have played this season, especially here also at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament, you know. Obviously that's not gonna happen. That's why there is always disappointment. Clearly I'm happy for Marin. I told him so at the net, as well. I'm happy for these guys, you know. But, you know, comes at the cost of me losing, and it's not so much fun. I'm an athlete. I want to win, you know. So unfortunately wasn't my day today. Tennis there is so many highlights thankfully, so I have something to do next Friday already again. I'll be, you know, very preoccupied with that starting right now. And after that I'm going to hopefully play a good end to the season. I don't know exactly where I'm going to play yet, but I'll definitely play the indoor season at the end of the year. Qualified for the World Tour Finals, so that's on my mind as we go along.

Q. You have always prided yourself on the way you have shaken off defeats. How do you think it will be for this one knowing that it's quite a while for the next major?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, which is good, you know. I'm happy that grass can grow over this, you know, even though I'm not too disappointed, you know, in the sense that I think this match gets forgotten very quickly. I just think conditions were fast; he served great; it was one of those matches like old school tennis. It was just like full swing from all sides: forehand, backhand, serve, return. No holding back from his side. I just couldn't hang with him for long enough to create some doubts in his mind. Didn't play good enough overall. That's the bottom line. I think when a match is like this I think you can actually move on very quickly.

Q. Talking about the game transitions for a while now, specifically how has he changed in your eyes?

ROGER FEDERER: I just think he was quite erratic before. You know, especially from the baseline. I think in some ways his game has little margin, I find, because he takes the ball early. If he doesn't feel well on the half volleys it's tough for him. But I feel like he's cleaned up his return game to some degree. I think he's serving much more consistent throughout an entire match and entire tournament; whereas before he could have a good day, bad day, good set, bad set. I think his mental approach has been one of always a true professional, always super fair play on the court. Always well-behaved. Always a guy I kind of liked watching play.

Q. This is the first time in a long time without either you, Nadal, or Djokovic playing final. Does that mean something or...

ROGER FEDERER: You create your stories. You said the same in Australia, everybody; and then we know what happened at the French Open final, Wimbledon final. But this is another chance for you guys, you know. So you should write what you want. I don't think so, but...

Q. During your Grand Slam career of winning five-setter and you have to come back from 0-2, this mean the mental challenge for you in the third set? Go into the third when you never win this kind of back to back five-setter, come back from 0-2? Have you ever thought about this?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't even know about it. (Smiling.) If I don't know about it, I can't think of it. So I was confident today because I woke up yesterday feeling perfectly fine. Woke up today feeling perfectly fine, ready to go. Yeah, it was credit to him for playing well. Today wasn't because of my fitness I lost. That was the least of the problems.

Q. Do you think the results of the match before yours could have an impact, whether it was giving Cilic more belief or sort of unsettling you a little bit? That was a pretty unexpected result.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I thought that Kei was going to have a chance, to be quite honest. He's playing really well. For me it doesn't have an effect. Sometimes you watch one of those matches and you feel like, yeah, that's good or that's bad or like, ew, I don't know, it gives me extra energy or kind of deflates me because it's somebody I care, I don't know what it is. But I felt pretty much, you know, focused on what I needed to do today. I was fine, you know. Sure, there was a bit of a reset after the rain. I don't know if that changed anything. I didn't think so. I felt like I had enough energy and I was ready to go. Because I remember how I went out against Granollers. I was a bit flat in the beginning and then I came back the second rain delay and was full of energy. So I really made sure that I was ready to go, and so there was nothing I could have done different really in my preparation.

Q. I will not see you before next Thursday. Davis Cup against Italy semifinal. What do you expect from Switzerland? How important is for you? What do you think will happen in that match? 5-0 for Switzerland?

ROGER FEDERER: 3-0 is enough for us, but if you want 5 we can make it 5, you know. (Laughter.) No, as long as we win, the rest -- it doesn't matter who wins and how we win as long as we do. Obviously I think we are the favorites, which is always a nice feeling to be. So 18,000 people in Switzerland is something very special. I think it's going to be record crowd for Swiss, you know, Swiss tennis crowd. I'm looking forward to be playing at home, especially after the run I have had as of late, you know. I think people are quite excited to come see Stan and myself play, regardless of who it is against. Neighboring country I think adds something special to it. I have had some memorable ties against Italians in the past. For me it was the first tie I ever played as a player in '99 against Sanguinetti and all those guys. I'm happy we have a chance to play all the Italians again.

Q. Were you surprised at times at how he controlled the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I was. I mean, just how consistently he was able to pull it off, forehand and backhand. Yeah, I was surprised.

Q. How important it is to get an 18th Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, not to my life. I don't need it to be more happy or anything. But the moment itself, it would mean a lot, you know. I keep working hard to win titles on the tour, not just No. 18. I was very happy to get to No. 80 the other week, so that was huge for me. You know, I'll give it a go again in Australia; hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It's been one of my most consistent slams. I hope to, you know, get another chance at it. I can't do more than try really hard, which I'm doing.

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