Presser after the SF
February 25, 2011
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
R. FEDERER/R. Gasquet
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Some of that tennis you played tonight was so sublime, wasn't it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was very happy about my performance from the start. I felt I was hitting the ball well. We played each other just in Paris a few months ago where conditions obviously were quite different. Even those it's rather fast here, too, in Paris it was rather lightning, really.
So I had to take some adjustments, you know. But he's been playing well here. And to play him in the later stages of a tournament I think always makes him somewhat more dangerous just because he's found the groove.
It seems like he can control the ball on any surface. He can play on clay, on grass, on fast courts. So he's a great talent. He's one of the guys I really enjoy playing the most on tour. He's got a wonderful backhand, great shot-making, and always creates great points playing against each other.
I thought tonight I played the right way. Obviously should have gone or could have gone three sets, but I was able to avoid that. Then he had a bit of a slump towards the end, which I was able to take advantage of.
Tough match. I'm happy with my performance.
Q. How confident now you think that you can secure your No. 2 ranking right now?
ROGER FEDERER: 2 or 3, 4, honestly, not my main priority. I don't think it's Novak's either if he is No. 2 or 3 in the world. I think he wants to get to No. 1 for the first time in his career. I've been there before, so that's obviously my goal. If you jump from 3 to 1 or 2 to 1, honestly I don't think it matters a whole lot.
But, look, I'm confident that I'm playing well. I haven't played poorly the last six months. I've played really well and very consistent. Always semis at least, if not better. Have another opportunity to win a tournament, so it's a good moment for me.
Q. How did you size up the final playing Novak so soon after the last time?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's happened to me even worse here before when I beat Safin here in '04. We played each other in the finals of the Australian Open, and we played here in the first round. That was a rather tough draw.
So, no, this is not similar, because we actually didn't play the finals against each other in Australia. He's but been playing well. He hasn't lost a match yet this season. Obviously we're not that deep into the season yet, but he's the one who won the Australian Open and he's been playing great.
Maybe a bit of an up and down perform here this last week, but he's been playing some day matches, some night matches against some tricky opponents, and that obviously makes it harder. Berdych has been playing well lately as well. I always expected that to be a tough one.
Look, again his class showed. He made it to another final. He's obviously looking to get the hat trick here; I hope to stop him and get my fifth. See how it goes.
Q. Do you regard yourself as fortunate to have played every match at night?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. Look, it might have cost me the Australian Open having played Stan the during the day and then losing at night, whereas Novak had all the night matches just before that. Sometimes you get lucky; sometimes you get unlucky.
What happened in I think Toronto as well, I played too very late, tough matches against Berdych and Djokovic, and then played during the day against Murray. Yeah, I mean, I played a good match, but sometimes you just get lucky and sometimes you get unlucky.
I think this one, maybe I got the night sessions because he had the doubles the first day. A little doubles can actually have an impact on the remainder of the week.
It's been easier on the my sleeping habits, even though the night I played second after, I don't know who it was, after Novak I guess it was when he played three sets. I went to bed at 3:30 in the morning.
That's in good schedule either. We know how to deal with it. It doesn't matter if I play at 8:00 in the morning or 10:00 p.m.
Q. How did you think the court conditions differ here? When Novak played in the full glare of the sun, would it have been a lot quicker?
ROGER FEDERER: I would think so. For sure the ball would've been flying out of his racquet more. I just saw a little bit of his match. You know, the things is, you just don't hit the ball right, it's just going to go boing, it's out.
So that's where it's tough during the day. It feels like when you're playing the first round, doesn't matter if it's day or night, you just feel the same way. You just feel the same way. You just feel that you're not completely in control of the ball and you just start sort of pushing, making sure you just make the shots.
I think that's how he played the end of the first set. I didn't see the rest of the match. But I'm sure he was able to turn it around - or Tomas had some issues, I don't know. But, I mean, he'll definitely have to take some adjustments. But it's not like he hasn't played at night here. He finished early, so he had a good rest.
It's going to be an even match tomorrow.
Q. When get in a situation like tonight, 5-3 down, we've seen you turn it 'round so many times. How much of it is down to you upping your game, and how much do you think is opponents just feel the pressure?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, sometimes there's just games where maybe the opponent - like let's say me - who's under pressure more than he is, doesn't even do that much. He starts with double fault, and then I play a good point. Next thing you know, it's Love-30.
From then on really the game starts. We're not even that deep into the game, but all of a sudden the pressure has shifted his way because he doesn't want to be the guy that gets broken serving for the set.
So I think the first couple points can be crucial in a game like this. They all of a sudden happen quickly. You got momentum, you're just not careful, and right away you're under pressure. From then on, it's tough. It's happened against me; it's happened for me.
I guess you're just trying to play solid points. And especially if you're not the biggest server, like Richard and myself, you have to rely on different strengths. We go those, but sometimes it just doesn't work and you take the wrong decisions.
After that, things just happen to be that that game doesn't work well. What you don't want happening is what happened to Richard afterwards, that you get broken a second time. You just finish sort of on a big low, especially having played such a great tournament and a good match actually. Just just feels look you missed a huge opportunity.
Yeah, I think this is where mentally that shouldn't happen. You have to stop the bleeding, and you couldn't do that tonight.
Q. Other than winning, do you have any objectives for tomorrow's match, something special?
ROGER FEDERER: Like hit a few inside-out forehands, his some short cross...
I don't know. I mean, look, I want to win. It doesn't matter how. As long as it's fair play and as long as Novak is at 100% as well. I don't want to beat him at 80%. Just want to beat him fair and square.
See how it goes. I'm excited about the match. I'm sure we're going to see great rallies. I'm excited about it.
Q. Just a question on Grand Slams. It came up during the Round Table. When you look at the stats, and you Nadal have one 21 and 23, do you have any sympathy for the guys out there that are trying to look up and see really a glass ceiling trying to get?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, kind of, I guess. It's not all about the slams. Slams obviously make you somewhat famous and a superstar or whatever you want to call it.
At the end of the day, it's not the only thing we do, you know, is to play Grand Slams and only practice for those and only schedule around those. I mean, I play about 20 tournaments per year, and only four of them are slams.
So that's why I'm saying like even if you -- you know you make it then also sound like semis is no good anymore. So only winning is good enough, and that's the problem sometimes these days.
At the end ever day, if you look at it that way, it's loser's sport, because only one guy out of the whole field is going to win. The rest all leave on the plane feeling bad because they haven't won. They actually lost their last match they played in that city.
That's why it can be tricky the way you portray the tournaments, the matches played, the season, how it unfolds. Sometimes you read too much into it. But there are many guys out there have potential. I just believe guys that give themselves opportunities after opportunities, they'll eventually get there.
There are a few guys out there that have gone deep in slams now and are definitely good enough to win the big ones. Maybe it's just a matter of time or a bit lucky. Just got to push it one last time.
Q. Obviously you got great support in the audience. Do you take it as an advantage, or also you get disturbed from time to time?
ROGER FEDERER: Disturbed? No. I mean, sometimes the wave takes a bit long. I'd rather have it go four more times than never to see a wave. So don't get my wrong, I'm very excited when the fans get into it.
We practice enough on the little courts with no spectators where I guess we miss the fans. I guess that's what keeps you out of there the extra few years if you're a top player, is to play in front of full stadiums.
When it then does happen, you take it to your advantage. Even if the crowd is favoring the other player, that's no problem either. I just enjoy good crowds. They make it fun. Gets adrenaline going. Gets you excited. Nervous maybe at times.
But that can then really trigger your best play. So I really enjoy the crowds here. First match was fantastic. People standing at the top and everything, it was great. And then again tonight.
Also the other matches were fantastic. Tomorrow I'm sure it's going to be quite exhilarating. So I'm sure it's going to be a nice match.