Federer interview after the match against Del Potro


Q. I think after two hours and twenty minutes of a women’s match, most of us were thinking we would be here until…

ROGER FEDERER: 5:00 in the morning?

Q. Yeah. That was pretty impressive. How do you think you played tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m very happy, of course. Things went much better than I expected. No, I mean, things were great for me. I was really happy the way I came out and played. I kind of felt good from the start. The longer the match went the more he struggled and the better I got.

Yeah, the difference was big in the end. So is was so surprising the way to have that kind of a score in the quarters of a Slam, especially having so many great players around at this stage of the competition.

Q. When was the last time you felt that good on the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, doesn’t happen very often. It’s nice that it happens sometimes against the best players out there. I guess it’s kind of what happens sometimes. You always play better against the better‑ranked players because they push you more and you push yourself more. It’s a cleaner ball. A ball you’re more used to.

Juan Martin, he hits heavy off both sides. He’s up and coming and dangerous. I’ve always played well against him every time we’ve played. Today was no exception. I thought it was going to be a tough match in the beginning. We had some tough rallies, and it really showed the direction of the match, I thought. I was very mistaken. I’m happy about that.

Q. Does that help for you to play a match like that after a tough last match?

ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I prefer these kind of matches. Just they’re more healthy. I mean, the other ones are nerve‑wracking, and you come out and you’re exhausted, just mentally and physically a bit drained. I kind didn’t pull up sore in any way from the five‑setter, which is a great thing. It means I’m fit and it means I’m in much better shape than I was last year.

That’s exactly how I was kind of hoping to feel. Today, no pain whatsoever. I came out and played great. All I needed was a good start after really messing up my start against Berdych.

Q. In a way, did you feel sorry for Juan Martin in the end?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like the last couple games are not that much fun, let’s put it that way. You want to almost put him out of his misery because you know how tough it is for him to come back.

He’s trying shots he shouldn’t be trying. He’s accepting defeat the last few games. It’s tough. You continue doing your thing on your serve. You try to serve well and mix it up. I was able to come up with some solid tennis, and I was able to pull it all the way through. I had to focus. I think I played well until the end.

Q. You’ve said on court that people haven’t given enough credit to Andy, but you always have. He’s lost some weight and he’s moving better on the court. You’ve always upped your level against him. How is that going affect your game plan?

ROGER FEDERER: We’ll see. We have played many times, which is nice as well. You go out there and you know what’s going to happen on the big points. Just a matter of who’s going to play better on the day. I mean, look, seems like he’s playing well. That’s always obviously dangerous.

On top of that, I think he beat me last time we played. Maybe now he’s in better shape. I should have no chance. It’s a tennis match. You never know what is going to happen. That’s why it starts at 0‑0.

I’m excited playing Andy. I’m happy for him. He’s doing well here again. Like I said, always sometimes people expect him to win 25 Grand Slams, and he’s one of my generation who was able to stay at this level for, what is it five, six years now?

Maybe even more, because he came up in 2003 and won there. So he’s already been up there for a long time and never really fell out of the Top 15.

Q. Top 10 for seven years.

ROGER FEDERER: There you go. That’s rock solid. That’s why I’m excited to play against him and seeing him create an upset in a big tournament. That’s what’s kind of been missing for him in the big tournaments lately.

Q. When you won this tournament two years ago, you played some near‑perfect tennis. How could you compare your level today and on Friday against Safin with two years ago?

ROGER FEDERER: God, I mean, I don’t know. It’s just so hard to remember how you played. It just all happens naturally. You go out there and you run and you hope you’re going to hit it in the corner basically. There’s no real secret. Just hard practice and a lot of talent. Being mentally there when it really counts.

I was able to play awesome tennis against him when I beat him in the semis here. Like tonight, I was so surprised how easy it went and how just everything fell into place at the right time for me.

Of course, I’m not going to expect a result like what I did today or what happened two years ago against him. I expect to be in a real battle.

Q. Were you surprised Novak retired?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, yes. I wouldn’t have predicted it after the first point, but I mean, he was looking wary. He showed signs of struggling with the heat. I don’t know what his problem was, I mean, on his body.

So it’s ‑‑ I think Andy forced him also. If Novak were up two sets to Love I don’t think he would have retired 4‑Love down in the fourth. Thanks to Andy that he retired in the end. Andy pushed him to the limits. Hats off to Andy.

Q. You’re not a man that normally calls for trainers. Do you have a view on the habit of players to call trainers and possibly stop matches in the flow of the matches currently and whether that’s right or wrong?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it’s a fine line, isn’t it? We’ll never find the perfect scenario for that. What shall I say? I never usually call the trainer. Exactly.

When I came out on the tour and I was young, and I ‑‑ back then the rule was different. You couldn’t ‑‑ what was it, a toilet break any time you wanted except obviously between the two games you were on the court. So you could basically take it at 6‑5 in the third set. So that’s changed. Now you can only take them on set breaks, which I think really works out well now.

But then with the trainer, I guess it’s a tough thing. I really felt when I was coming up the young players abused it, especially against a player like me. A little bit unsecure [sic] about finishing matches, you lose a set easy, and then you go to the toilet and call the trainer and strap your ankle.

Next thing you know, you’re twenty minutes extra out on the court. Things go through your mind. Then once I got out on center court, you know, I guess I got the respect I deserved. People stop doing it against you. I think that’s nice, in a way.

Probably on the outside courts it’s still being abused at times. It’s there to be used, so why not use it to give yourself a better chance to win? You don’t fly to Australia to not give it your best shot.

I’m almost in favor to just say, you know what, if you’re not fit enough, just get out of here.

But if something really bad happens, okay, it is just unfortunate, I guess. It’s a tough call. I mean, I don’t know. I guess we’ll speak about it and see what happens.

Q. How much is experience playing in your success these days, one Grand Slam semifinal after another?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess just knowing what it takes to win slams is just a good thing. You know, I mean, I guess just hanging around one tournament and sort of only playing maybe potentially seven matches, you know, in three weeks, it’s not what we’re used to.

We’re used to maybe playing five, six matches within eight days. It’s a different concept altogether here. Just knowing how to approach such a tournament, to keep momentum, to keep motivation, keep everything going your way, it’s difficult.

Only with age and experience and, you know, it comes. I guess with all the experience I have with all the center courts around the world, and having had matches like the Agassi match at the US Open where I came out and expected a tough crowd, but never something like this. Makes you so much stronger.

Going through experiences like this, I guess, you know, make me almost immune today to any sort of crowd. That’s a good thing.

Q. Novak was complaining about the schedule today. He had a late night the other night, and he requested for a night session today but it was turned down. Are you aware of that, and do you think he had a point?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, God, being a tournament director is the toughest job out there. At the beginning of the tournament you have a hundred players requesting something. You can’t always give the players everything they want.

Maybe Novak already requested something earlier in the week and he got it, and this time he didn’t get it. I guess everybody wants to kind of play at night when it gets hot. The night session is always maybe more fun. I don’t know.

I was the lucky guy who played tonight, but I would have been ready to play in the heat as well. I like playing in the heat. I always said I think my strengths really come into play in the day. I was worried conditions were going to be slower tonight and maybe going to favor Del Potro.

I still feel Novak had a day off. It’s not like he had to play the next day at 11:00 in the morning. He still had a day and a half off. I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

Yeah, I mean, it’s tough to go after the scheduling. I think they try their best for fans, media, players. I don’t think they’re there to hurt the players, no.

Q. Do you think it’s normal that you play so late at night more and more at the US Open and here?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I don’t think it’s normal, no. And I don’t think it’s good, either. But what choice do we have? I think it would be nice to come up with a concept that maybe the guys get a 7:30 start match one time. Because if the ladies, if they play long like today ‑‑ we started, what, 10:00? It gets late for fans, for media, for everybody.

You might have the greatest match taking place at the 2:00 a.m., especially if you have a featured match on the men’s side. Maybe you want to start that at 7:30.

I think that’s something that everybody is considering. It’s not something that we’re particularly pushing for on the men’s side. I think it would be nice if they would sort of consider that in all the Grand Slam tournaments, especially the ones that have night sessions.

012709 tuesday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

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