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Interview with Roger Federer after his win against Mikhail Youzhny

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16. June 2012

Q: Roger, talk about the match?

FEDERER: I thought Mikhail started a bit slow. Obviously the two double faults hurt him a lot in the game at 2-1 down. Then the key of the match for me was coming out of the 0-40 whole then holding and going up 4-1. That was a big ten minutes for me. Then, once in the lead, I played a bit more aggressive, just continued my stuff. He was missing quite a few shots and made it a bit easier for me. But overall I thought I played a really good, tough solid match and it was nice coming out and playing some decent tennis after yesterday’s shootout really.

Q: How do you feel your game is today versus the first time you reached the final here?

FEDERER: I don’t remember even how I played back then. I remember the emotions I have but I don’t remember how my forehand, backhand felt. Obviously, today I feel as a much more complete player, I expect myself to win more which can be helpful at times whereas maybe when I came here you don’t know really what to expect. So, I think it’s been always a very successful tournament. I don’t think I lost early in the tournament. I always reached the quarters here or better. I’m happy it’s been such a great hunting ground for me, not only the Centre Court and the atmosphere there but all the surroundings, the Weber family. So many things make me play well here that I’m always very happy to come back. But this year I think I’ve been playing really well. It’s been a good tournament so far, a tough draw in particular with Mayer, Raonic and also Youzhny. They are all very good grass court players on any given day. That’s why it’s a great effort for me to make it to the finals.

Q: In view of what you said can you think back on the emotions the first time you were here in the final?

FEDERER: Yes, because it’s always special winning a title not far away from home. I remember my parents came up to watch me play. It’s a long way. I think I rode back with them to Switzerland and then I would go to Wimbledon. I always played very well here in the final actually. I never had a bad final. I hope it can be again something similar tomorrow.

Q: You were serving and volleying a lot more ten years ago. Are you trying to build in more serve and volley in the game given how much more fierce the returns are of guys like Nadal and Djokovic are.

FEDERER: I didn’t want to start serve and volleying off the back and then knowing that maybe Wimbledon played a bit slower, particularly in the second week. Then when you stop playing from the baseline you completely lose that rhythm. So, I wanted first to start my game here this week with a solid baseline game, with a good serve, good forehand, good backhand, take time away from the opponent to make sure I get into the tournament first before I start trying out things. Today obviously I did throw in the occasional serve and volley but that’s more something I’ll practice again next week. This week, I’m just trying to make sure I move well, serve well and return well and then the rest will automatically lead me to the net and depending on who I play I can maybe serve and volley a bit more. Obviously it’s something particularly on the grass I should be using more often as I go deeper into the tournaments.

Q: Two years ago you were slightly injured against Hewitt. When did you stop having the back problems because they were with you for some eighteen months, weren’t they?

FEDERER: I don’t think it was the back. I think it was my leg that was hurting but I was still able to play. I should have won on 0-6, 4-4, 0-40 and then he hit a net cord on one of his forehand. It’s a pity because I was in control, I was playing well, I created the opportunities I wanted. I don’t think he would have broken me at 5-4 and then he played really well I have to say in the third. He started to return me really well and he just got into another gear which was great to see. But it was still a good final for me. But my back has been under control for maybe somewhat over a year now. Obviously it always flares up from time to time like for any other player. When you change surface maybe you feel it a bit more but it’s not like you cannot play. But sometimes it gets too bad like for me in Doha or maybe for Murray in Madrid, he didn’t come. I mean you’re able to play somewhat okay but it’s just not a whole lot fun playing with it. I’ve been very happy with my back for about a year now or so.

Q: You’ll definitely play a German now in the final. Coming back to your score against the Germans: it was ten years ago when you last lost against a German. If you win tomorrow you will have won the fiftieth time in a row against a German. What is it? Is it that you are that god or are the Germans that bad?

FEDERER: No. Of course, I’m surprised. Not to lose in ten years that’s awesome. Somebody told me in Paris after I had beaten Kamke. Then I beat Mayer and thought about that in the back of my mind. Of course, that this cycle won’t end tomorrow (laughs). I’m looking forward to the final against Kohlschreiber or Haas. It’s going to be great. It’s interesting how four one-handed-backhand-players made it to the semis here on grass. They are both good friends of mine. Of course Tommy and I share many years together on the tour and also our families are close. I’m happy for both of them that they made it so far and beat such top players.

Q: Did you think that Tommy would show such a great performance the whole week?

FEDERER: Yes, I did. But that’s no guarantee, especially on grass. Everything is down to a few shots. It’s different than on clay or hard court where the difference between the players is bigger. So I hoped that he’ll find his way into the tournament and will have a good run. He’s very dangerous on grass. So, it won’t be an easy final for me. And Kohlschreiber won the title here last year and I played him once in the final here. He’s really good, too.

Q: Did you think that it would be that easy today?

FEDERER: I always prepare for a tough match. I have enough rackets with me, enough t-shirts and two pair of shoes. I’m prepared for everything (laughs). But if suddenly the match is over within an hour, I don’t really mind.

Q: Nicolas Kiefer said yesterday that you had promised to become Number One again. Is that right?

FEDERER: No, I didn’t promise that (laughs). I was happy to see him here. Sometimes he writes to me whether it’s about football or tennis. It’s nice to keep in touch with your former rivals. It would be nice and I’d be extremely happy. I’m aware that I’d be very close if I won one of the next Grand Slams, Wimbledon or US Open. But first I need to play well. Now, the focus is here in Halle and not anywhere else.

Q: Does the number 77 tell you anything?

FEDERER: Not a lot.

Q: John McEnroe’s tournament victories. You have 74.

FEDERER: Yes, I knew he had won 77 but I’m not always aware of that.

Q: Is it a goal to overtake him?

FEDERER: I hope that I will otherwise my next years don’t look too good (laughs). We’ll see. Tomorrow I can make another huge step. But John McEnroe is a huge legend. I think he also won 78 doubles titles. So, I’m glad that he is still in tennis by working as a commentator or by playing exhibitions. He knows how to move the masses. It would be great if I caught up with him but it’s not one of my main goals.

Q: What about your management? Tony is no longer with IMG. Will you stay with him or with IMG?

FEDERER: I intend to work with Tony. I will decide and organise things when things are more peaceful. But my goal is to work with Tony.

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