Q. How did you right the match, and what was the key to the win?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I had a great start. That helped a lot. I mean, I thought that I played really solid out there tonight. I thought level was high throughout the match.
I had a couple good games where I served really well in the first set, and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the second one. I was moving well and getting a lot of balls back and making it difficult for Andy to get the upper hand from the baseline. That was kind of what I was hoping for.
Q. You had more aces than Andy, so you must have been pleased with the service game.
ROGER FEDERER: It’s happened before that I served more aces than him. I thought tonight ‑‑ he still got a lot of service winners. They don’t show, but he got a ton of those. That’s frustrating as well, like the aces.
No, I mean, I served well when I had to. So many times at 30‑All I came up with big aces, and that saved me from a lot of trouble, which was good, because Andy was returning well and playing aggressive.
Q. Is there any chance of getting one of your towels?
ROGER FEDERER: No. We don’t have that many. They’re for my friends. I don’t know you. But good try.
Q. You’re getting to be a master of the challenges as well.
ROGER FEDERER: You need bad linespeople. They got to help you out.
Q. You had two on successive shots.
ROGER FEDERER: There was some really bad calls from the linespeople. The umpire missed them as well. I guess tonight is one of those nights you’re happy there is a challenge system in place.
Q. Back in another Grand Slam final. It’s a great start to the year for you, and so different, I suppose, than the feeling here last year.
ROGER FEDERER: Like I said on the court, I think I played well throughout the tournament last year as well, you know. Just kind of came up short against Novak. I thought he played a fantastic match against me. He was the aggressive one. He was serving his spots so well that night that he kind of made that difficult.
Even maybe if I would have been in perfect shape, you know, I think he deserved to win last year. I struggled maybe a bit. Maybe the draw was a bit better for me this year playing Andy in the semis who I have such a great record against.
I do feel better mentally. I’m obviously more healthy so I can focus on playing well. I’m really pleased about my performance so far in the tournament. The draw was difficult and dangerous if you look back on who I had to play.
Q. Last year you said you had created a monster of expectations. Has that faded for you given how you played in the year since, or do you still feel that weight?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I’m still surprised how quickly the mood swings with the media, with the fans, with everybody.
If I lose a set or two sets against Berdych, everybody is like, Oh, my God, he’s not the same anymore. And then you beat Del Potro and everything is back to normal. It’s just not the way it’s supposed to be, I don’t think.
You don’t lose your edge that quickly. It’s just not possible. I know I’m playing well. I feel good. I know sometimes you can always run into a player that’s hot and you can lose. I’ve been able to control my opponents, and definitely got close against Berdych.
I still think I fought hard and deserved the victory in the end. Came up with two great victories now against Del Potro and Roddick, and usually that’s when I start playing my best: Towards the end of the tournament. I think this is where you should judge a great player.
Q. Rafa is the best player in the world at the moment. It’s fair to say you’d pretty much rather play him in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Depending what you look for. I’d like to play Fernando because he’s never played a Grand Slam final before. I have an edge there. Playing Rafa is obviously, you know, more exciting because of the history we have playing in so many Grand Slam finals.
Him being the best player in the world at the moment, it would make it a very intriguing match.
Q. When you said you were able to control your opponents, what was the game plan tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Tonight, I mean, there was not that much of a game plan. Against maybe other players here it’s more about, Let’s get the return back and then let’s see what you can create. Concentrate on your serving so you always maybe get off to a good start, 15‑Love, or you get the first shot and you can be aggressive.
So that’s what it’s about with Andy. It’s a game that comes down to a few shots here and there, and then you hope you come up with a good passing shot when you have to. That’s my game plan, and it’s worked well.
Q. When it was 5‑2 in the first set and the chair engaged with Roddick, how did you cope with that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I’m used to Andy’s attitude on court. He’s got a great attitude. He has a lot of energy and he always likes to talk to the crowd, make jokes, talk to the umpire. He’s a funny guy. I like Andy. We go way back. I enjoy those moments more than they disturb me, really.
Q. What sort of advantage have you got being the first through? You got the extra time now to maybe see the other game.
ROGER FEDERER: That’s an advantage you mean?
Q. Do you think it’s an advantage?
ROGER FEDERER: Not if Rafa comes through. He’s had pretty simple straightforward matches. He’s as tough as they come. Fernando looks fit, too. He had a five‑set against Murray, but four sets against Tsonga at night. He’s into the thing. He might be more mentally drained because of the pressure.
I don’t think it’s going to come down to fitness on the final day.
Q. You obviously heard the criticism after the Berdych match. Do you get motivated by the swings you’re talking about?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think that it’s criticism, just opinions. Everybody can have an opinion and everybody can say what they feel like. I know I didn’t play the perfect match, otherwise I would have been able to beat him more easily.
But I can take criticism, no problem, any day.
Q. You’re obviously very proud of what you achieved. How does it feel to be on the verge of some other new achievements?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I didn’t know I reached my 18th finals in a Grand Slam. I’m very happy and proud about that. Like my consecutive semifinals I was also able to achieve. Shows how long I’ve been able to keep it up and stay in good shape, stay healthy.
That’s really key for success really, at the highest of levels. It’s nice to be at the same level as Ivan Lendl and the same as Pete in terms of Grand Slam wins. I hope I can win the next one, too.
Q. Do you have any of those sort of things in your mind when you came into the start of year?
ROGER FEDERER: No. More maybe kind of the thing starting the year well at Australian Open, winning maybe potentially your first French, getting Wimbledon back after the epic I had with Rafa there, and then winning my sixth at the US Open.
That’s kind of what’s in my mind. And then with good play at the ATP events, at the Masters Series, which I didn’t play great last year in, I hope to pick up few of those to get my No. 1 ranking back. That’s my mindset going into a new season.
Q. What was the key for you to play well early in the season at this Australian Open? What do you think is the key for you to play well here?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think there’s a real secret to playing well in the beginning of the season, to be honest. You go out there and try hard. You know, I mean, I’ve had ‑‑ I always make sure I have two to three buildups during the year, not just one in the off‑season.
I usually take one in February and one after Wimbledon and then one at the end of the season. So I basically have three buildups of two, three weeks where I can work really, really hard.
For me, in a way, the season never stops. It’s just ongoing. I start playing some tournaments, you know, having not played for maybe sometimes five, six weeks. So I go through that occasionally. A new season means, Okay, let’s go from zero maybe, but not a whole a lot of change to my mind.
Q. Before you mentioned the fact that sometimes the media puts you too much down.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t say only you guys. There’s many people.
Q. Then sometimes too much up if you win easily. Most of us make a lot of noise about the fact that you could equalize the record of Pete Sampras.
ROGER FEDERER: I’m thankful.
Q. But there was somebody called Rod Laver who couldn’t play twenty Slams in five years, and Rosewall didn’t play 11 years, so 44 Slams. So, you see, press sometimes emphasizes something. What’s your reaction thinking about Laver and Rosewall and your record and Sampras?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m very well aware of the problems the old generation of Laver and Rosewall and all those players faced. That’s why I always said I’m one of the players who’s most thankful to them of what they’ve done for us. Look where prize money is today and the great sites we have.
Now there’s even more money being pumped into the Australian Open. That’s all thanks to them for not playing a lot of money and missing out on twenty Grand Slams. Back then, nobody knew what tennis was going to become, so it was also easier to say no to those kind of things.
Probably never quite know who was the greatest of all‑time in tennis, and I think that’s quite intriguing as well. Of course, if somebody goes off and wins 35 Grand Slams then you made your point as a player.
But, still, I think it’s fantastic that they named the center court after Rod Laver who did so much for tennis. Yeah, I mean, 14 is more ‑‑ the new generation, the Open era, I could maybe become the greatest of all‑time of that era, but never of all‑time.
I’m very well aware of that. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to do well.
Q. Did Andy throw any new look at you today? There’s been a lot of talk about his footwork improving. Can you empathize with a player who’s trying to get better in mid‑career?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought he played a bit more aggressive with his backhand. I think he already tried to do that against me in Miami. Played a bit more flat, so the ball goes through a little bit more.
I really think he improved the returns. The second serves he takes more easily. I have the feeling he’s improved at the net. He’s a bit better mover. Before he didn’t run a whole lot for dropshots. Today I didn’t play 25 dropshots, but I still felt he was running for every ball. He wasn’t always doing that. That’s also a big key to his game.
012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images