Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: HONG KONG
Re: Roger news and articles
R. FEDERER/G. Monfils
7-6, 6-2, 6-4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. Simple question: How did you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I was very happy to be back in thesemis here, and having played a good match against Gael. I think it's been my most consistent match ofthe tournament so far, and of course it comes at the right time because I knewthe danger of Gael.
Q. What was your impression of his game? Do you think he suffered a bit from the home crowd? Depression?
ROGER FEDERER: We're all nervous at this stage of thecompetition. I felt it. Yesterday I felt it, and I felt it againtoday in the warmup, when I warmed up before the match. I was tired, I was nervous, and I didn't feelreally good.
Then once out on court,you know, I get my act together with the experience. You know, I think things will be allright. Sure, maybe he's put too muchpressure on him. I doubt it, you know,because it's part of our job and we're used to it.
He definitely didn't play the best ofmatches in the second, but I think the first set was very high quality, and sowas the third. So I still think heplayed a pretty good match.
Q. Howwas the crowd for you? I had theimpression the French crowd is almost behind you.
ROGER FEDERER: I think it was fair, you know. Of course, I'm delighted to see to whatextent they are supporting me. You know,I feel like they've almost adopted me, you know. I obviously, you know, thanked them for that,and I'll try to come up with some other good performances hopefully.
Q. Against Del Potro in the semis.
ROGER FEDERER: That's great. You are watching the matches. Yeah, it's a good matchup. I'vehad some success against him, especially in Australia. I played a great match.
That's not the kind ofmatch I'm looking at. I'm looking moreof in Madridit was a closer match. I think claysuits his game even more, and he's really improved a lot in the last year orso. I'm sure it's going to be adifficult match.
Q. It looks as if Gael Monfils had some very warm words for you at the end of the match. Do you get the sense a lot of people are pulling for you this week, that they'd love to see you finally doit on Sunday?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I feel it since a few yearsnow, to be honest with you. But thisyear even more extreme. When I walk onthe streets or drive in the transportation or I go for dinner, everybody islike, This is your year. You've got todo it.
They're screaming fromtheir scooters and out of the car. Theyeven get out at the red lights and want me to sign an autograph or take apicture. It's quite incredible this lastcouple of weeks.
It just shows me that everybody is watchingthe French Open here, and it's great to get the support. You know, once out inthe stadium it's amazing. I mean, wedon't have a grand Slam in Switzerland,but I definitely feel at home in the Grand Slams, and especially here.
Q. How do you deal with that yourself knowing thatyou're only two matches away from finally realizing your dream? It must be exciting, and clearly every nowand again you have to let yourself think about that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's also one of the reasonswhy I was nervous going into this match, because, you know, the whole storiesof, you know, Nadal losing, Murray losing, Djokovic losing, maybe opening upthe draw a little bit.
Obviously they alsoplay with my mind, even though it doesn't affect me yet. Now it does because I'm not playing Djokovicbut I'm playing Del Potro. But even thatwould have been an okay draw as well playing Novak. I've also had some good success against him.
It's nice feeling the support. You know, it can only help a player, to behonest. I'm very thrilled and excited tobe back in another semis and giving myself the opportunity. Doesn't mean because I have a great recordagainst all the players left in the draw that, you know, I'm going to win this,but I'll definitely try everything I possibly can to do it.
Q. Thegame and even the attitude you showed in that first set, some of us think wehaven't seen that from you in recent times. Did you feel that way too? Didyou feel you're back on a track that hasn't been running as straight as it hasin the past?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought I played great in Madrid, you know. I was mixing up my game really well. I think this last four matches I think havebeen rather on the difficult side, just because I had some tough starts to thematches. Instead of maybe going ahead abreak I was down a break or down a set.
You know, being down a set is never really a comforting feeling. That's why for me it was important to get off to a better start today,and thank god I got the first set. Forthe first time I could play a bit more relaxed match.
I think I showed it today. I was able to hit through the ball more. Everything just started to click. That's something I haven't had a whole lot atthis tournament yet.
Q. Whenyou talk about the nervousness you felt, tension and stuff right before thematch, was that something that maybe you needed actually to be able to respondthe way you did?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don't like it, but I know that onceon center court for the match I'll be okay. That's where I think experience helps me in a big way. If I would have never been in a quarterfinal***efore, I think I would have maybe crumbled under the pressure or played awrong game plan or mentally been fragile.
But knowing I've beenin this position so many times, and it doesn't matter if I'm zero nervous or100% nervous, I know I'll always play a decent match in the quarterfinals stageof a Grand Slam.
Q. That's 20 Grand Slam semis in a row for you now, but you talk aboutbeing nervous. Are the nerves muchgreater this time, because this is the one you so desperately want to win?
ROGER FEDERER: That's what you guys say. No, I mean, I get nervous from time to time,you know, on some matches. There's no reasonbehind it, you know. But when you maybesometimes want to do maybe too well, that happens. Or just because you know it could be a toughcrowd or maybe you're not 100%, you know, sure about your game yet.
That's how I feltbefore this match, for instance, you know. But I could go into the semifinal match feeling zero nerves, youknow. That's not always a good sign,either. For me, it's good to be able togo through those moments where I still do feel nervous. That means I care for the game and I want tostay around for a long time.
Q. Earlier in the year when you weren't playing your best, kind of pointout what you think was preventing you from doing that? And were you positive that your best stuffwas just around the corner?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I thought I played great in Australia. For some reason, just because I lost in five,people think I played terrible at the Australian Open. It's not the case. I played great in Australia and ran into Rafa whoplayed phenomenal tennis. UnfortunatelyI didn't play a great fifth set, but he took advantage and got it.
After that, I agree that many times I had the match on my racquet, like against Murrayin Indian Wells, Djokovic in Miami, and so forth, and also in Rome.
But I didn't play that many tournaments yet,let's not forget. I had a back problem Ihad to deal with. You know, I just hadto get back into the tournament swing.
That's why I was actually prettyhappy the way I've always been playing. I think it would have been different if I would have lost first andsecond round all the time, but it wasn't the case. I always played semis or finals, basically.
For this reason, I always knew therewas no need to panic. It was justimportant to keep on working extremely hard and do the right things, and I'mhappy that the hard work is paying off, you know, more and more.
But still I have some more work todo, you know, to stay where I am rightnow and hopefully get the French Open title and then hopefully move on to thegrass in a great spirit.
Q. Yousaid that people were screaming at you at red lights and getting off theirscooters. Have you ever had this kind ofemotional, sort of raw emotional support? And secondly, do you think that's a little bit dangerous?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I enjoy it, to be honest. They'reall very happy to see me, you know. Ifelt this way now for a couple of years now, and in New York as well where I gotunbelievable, tremendous support. Ithink they really wanted to see me do well, you know, after maybe sort of arocky season last year.
I think they reallywanted me to win the US Open. I felt ita little bit in New York,to be honest.
Q. Your next match will be against Juan Martin Del Potro in semifinal. Could you please tell me something about thismatch, your feeling about this match, about Del Potro?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he's improved in incredibleways since, let's say one year ago. Ithink he was only ranked 50 in the world this time last year. Just shows how quickly things can change intennis.
With a lot ofconfidence and a good game plan and good physique and good mental, you can govery far in tennis. But it takes a lotof hard work, and I think that's what he has put into. You know, at his young age to already achieveregular quarterfinals and semifinals of Slams is a great effort.
I expect a very difficult match against JuanMartin. I have a lot of respect forhim. Yeah, I have a good record againsthim, but it doesn't mean a thing right now because it's too big of a match, toodangerous, and he's playing too well at this tournament to underestimate him.
THE MODERATOR: French questions, please.
Q. You were very consistent in your game right from the first rally, so howdid you prepare for this match mentally to be in the match at all times?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hoped I would start better thanduring the last matches when I put myself in difficult situation either becauseof my opponent or because of my game. But quite fortunately today the tiebreak was good. I played in a very aggressive way.
I managed to go by thetactic I had planned. When I can dothat, I feel very confident, and I felt confident. And then my shape was getting better andbetter all along the match. I'm veryhappy with my performance today.
Q. Was experience important today?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe. I didn't talk about the match with Gael afterwards. I didn't listen to what he said. But as far as I'm concerned, whether I'm nervous or not before such a match, I know that these are key moments, and these are the key moments when I play the best.
I have new opportunityto reach the semifinals here in Paris,and I can do better.
Q. You said it at least 10 times today that you were nervous. Were you nervous because he was a French guy,because people said it was the most difficult match for you on your way to thetitle? Was it "the" opponentyou had to defeat to win the title?
ROGER FEDERER: No, those guys reaching semifinals deservemore than those who are not. Maybe it'sa combination of everything, but it can also be a feeling you have, you know,deep within yourself.
You think, okay, I'mnervous. I don't know why. You can't sleep well, even though before itwasn't a problem. But you don't manageto eat well, you feel a bit dizzy, and you don't know exactly why. You know, there are days like that on thetour. That happens.
It's also true that there's a lot ofpressure with all those who lost before, and I was facing a French guy. So quite normal I had a bit of pressure, butthat made no difference once I was on the court.
Q. Whendid you understand that you actually won the match? Was it during the second set or during thethird set when you had this forehand down the line?
ROGER FEDERER: No, that was when I had a break game at 5-4. I knew I was in an optimal position, andyet you always have a huge respect for your opponent. You can't help but thinking, well, with hisstyle, with the support of the crowd, he can still win the third set, and thenwe'll have to play a fourth set and it's going to be hard.
So it's 5-4, 30-Love,and you feel a bit more relaxed than if you have to play a tiebreak.
Q. In English you said it was your best match here in Paris. Maybe your best match on clay this year. Why would you say that? What inyour game are you particularly happy about today?
ROGER FEDERER: A bit of everything. I managed to implement my tactics. I wanted to be aggressive, and I managed tobe aggressive, even if I made mistakes at the beginning. But I went by my plan and it worked out, soI'm happy.
I had good coverage ofthe courts. I'm happy. I know that Gael is the kind of player, youknow, when he wants, he can play incredible tennis. When he doesn't, he doesn't.
He has these ups and downs, so that makes itdifficult to play him. But today itworked out well, so I'm extremely happy about it.
Q. Youmight be playing a final against a Swedish guy. What can you tell us about Soderling's game?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, wonderful. He's defeated Ferrer, Nadal, and Davydenko,one after the other, not even playing five sets. I think it was four sets, four sets, andthree sets. I just played him in Madrid. It was an easy match, two sets. But he's in pretty good shape, so he's gotlots of chances in semifinals.
Q. A week ago, would you have imagined you'd be the super favorite of thetournament? If we told you that like 10days ago, would you have believed us?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, at this stage, you know, I expected Iwould be in semifinals, but I was not expecting Rafa to be out before thesemifinals.
But once you've reachedthe semifinals, those four guys have an opportunity to win the tournament.
Q. That's a huge performance. That'syour 20th semifinal in a Grand Slam tournament. That sounds crazy. What do youthink about it?
ROGER FEDERER: It's the "in a row" that seemsincredible to me. Twenty semifinals isincredible, but twenty semifinals in a row? It's even more incredible, even to me. Sometimes I lose sight of it because of all the tournaments and matchesI play all along the year. You losesights of these records, but that's probably the one I'm most proud of.
I still hold it. So, yes, that's big. That's huge. I'm really proud of it.