J. DEL POTRO/R. Federer
6-2, 6-7, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You've experienced many strange things in your varied career, but being two points from going out and a round robin qualification decided by one game, how curious is that in terms of curiosity?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously the focus is completely on my own qualification. I knew I wasn't looking very good at whatever, 6-2, 4-All, let's say. Still trying to find my game and everything. It reminded me a lot like the first couple matches I played in the round robin. I just started slow. Never really found my game.
Also had a tough start to the breaker. Just tried to hang in there. I mean, he served a great serve at 5-4, then missed that forehand. I knew I couldn't lose in two sets because I knew that was going to knock me out. That's why I was very excited having won the second set.
It was disappointing to lose at the end, you know, against Juan Martin, who I already lost against at the US Open. Had chances, you know, at 3-All. Had a couple of break points. Had him on the down the line backhand and stuff, so it was unfortunate.
I thought he played a really good match. I thought he was able to lift his game after the first two matches where I just thought he looked a bit weary.
So for me it's a tough loss. But, sure, I'm happy I'm through. That he got so close with the other two guys, it's quite incredible. I am - how do you say - in a way surprised myself it came down to a couple games.
Q. Are you aware during a match like that of all the mathematical probabilities and possibilities that are going on or do you just play the match without knowing or taking that onboard at all?
ROGER FEDERER: The only thing that was important to me was the set I needed to win, trying to win the match. The rest you block out and you concentrate on the match because I don't want to lose against fellow rivals. It's not something I enjoy doing, to be quite honest. A lot of money, a lot of points on the line. So it would have been nice to go through. It was a clean sheet to the semis. I missed that. But it was against a good player today.
Q. I'd like to know, after winning the second set, you had the knowledge that by winning one game in the third you were qualified for the semifinal?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I didn't know that.
Q. You didn't?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Otherwise I would have been gone on the ground and celebrated it, right (smiling)? I didn't do that.
Q. The end of the match was quite confusing. Juan Martin was left on the court for some time.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't see that.
Q. Waiting to find out who he'd qualified.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay.
Q. Obviously you didn't know about that.
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't see that, no. I was doing something else.
Q. What do you think about the qualification system in general? It's obviously been very confusing tonight for at least one of the players. Andy Murray also tweeted that he was confused waiting for the result to come through.
ROGER FEDERER: I think I answered the question before. I mean, it's - how do you say - there are certain rules and these are the rules. Sometimes unfortunate, sometimes fortunate, you know. These times are very hard for Murray, who didn't get through. But he got so close.
How can we imagine that we all play three sets and it comes down to a couple of games. He had it maybe on his racquet when he served against him at 5-1 down in the third. You have to go back there, that maybe if he held that game, all of a sudden he gets through. That's not the way you can think.
I definitely tried to push myself to close out matches as quickly as I can against fellow rivals because you never know when you might need those games. They might come back in the match and turn the match around completely. It happened to me once this year against Tsonga. I was up 5-1 in the third and I ended up losing. You always have to push yourself. The system is the way it is.
Q. Through to the semis, do you prefer one of the three guys that you can face?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know, again, the scenarios on the other side. I think there, it's a bit more straightforward. I hope anyway (laughter). No, I mean, preference? Not really. I think whoever I play probably is in good shape, you know. The guy who I play also has probably won two matches, I'm sure, so he's on a roll, as well, same as Del Potro and myself.
Yeah, I'm excited to be through. But I wished I could have won today. That would have given me extra confidence. Now it's the way it is. But I got a day to rest, which is probably a little advantage.
Q. You said you know Del Potro could raise his game. To which level? Are you surprised how good he could play? Do you think he could be better, something more?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, time will tell. It's not disrespectful at all, but I think he's done incredibly well the last six months, let's say 18 months. I think he's really, really improved a lot. I didn't think he was going to become that good, to be quite honest. I played him a few times before, that's why I have a very good record against him still, because back then, he was playing very strangely, I thought. With his size, he was playing more like a guy who is like a little guy
. Today he's finally using his size to his advantage.
It's going to be interesting to see how he progressing. I was already wrong once. So I don't know where it's going to take him. Seems like the sky's the limit for him at the moment. He seems very consistent, very tough mentally, too. Those are definitely good attributes to have for the future.
Q. You had those three break points at 3-All. At the start of the following game, he had the lucky net cord that put you down Love-15. Did you have a bit of a mental letdown after having missed those three break points and then the net cord?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, I thought I actually played -- I remember especially one breakpoint - I remember both actually. I thought I was unlucky on the first one, too, hit the net, gave him the advantage in the rally. The second breakpoint, I thought I played it very well. I had a down-the-line. Hit the net there, didn't go over.
Sure, it was unlucky. But sometimes, you know, games go very quickly. You seem unbreakable for a long time, and then you just need, you know, one sort of unlucky spell or one bad couple of serves in the first two points and then you're down Love-30. That's what happened to me. I don't think I should have missed the overhead either. I underestimated that it was going to go longer than I thought it was. That would have been a 15-All game then instead of being a Love-30 game. Then I needed to push it and force the issue. I couldn't do it.
It was a bit of a pity because I thought I was starting to figure him out actually. So, yeah, he caught me on the finish line, I thought.
Q. Do you feel sorry for the spectators who didn't know at the end of the game who had qualified? There must have been thousands of people who didn't know Murray was out, that Del Potro was through? Maybe some of them didn't know you were through. Do you feel sorry for the spectators who paid money to watch you tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't see what happened after the match. Like I said, I had other things to do, like a doping test and showering, stretching and stuff, getting ready for Saturday, when I heard I was through.
Sure it's confusing. It's hard for Murray. Yeah, I mean, I asked Juan Martin myself at the net, Did you make it or not? He said, I don't think so. So that's the story I got. Of course, you got to feel sorry for the guy who didn't make it, you know.
At the same time, Del Potro beat the No. 1 player in the world, in the group, and I guess also deserves to go through. There's only two places, and that's the way it is. It happens very, very rarely. But I still think there were a lot of Federer fans there, a lot of Del Potro fans there, who were there just to enjoy a match and didn't really care who is going to make the semis. Then, of course, the ones who also really care about who is going to make it there. For those, it definitely was quite a rollercoaster match then, too, the ones who were there with the calculators. I wasn't one of them (smiling).