Roger Federer Interview - September 3Posted on September 4, 2007
September 3, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Lopez didn't realize that you had won that many points on your serve. Were you aware of it as you were doing it? 35?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. What are you talking about?
Q. From the time you were down Love-40 in the first game of the third set, you did not lose a point of your serve until that mishit.
ROGER FEDERER: That's awesome. What, that last game or what?
Q. That last game.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, come on, what have I done? I should have broken him to win 6-3 so I wouldn't have to serve it out.
I was feeling great on the serve, my God. I was serving well and playing aggressive, and things really turned around for me. Yeah, it was an awesome match. I really enjoyed it because he did play very well. Right off the bat was hitting his best shot, and that was tough for me. I was relieved when I got that second set, no doubt.
Q. What was he doing in the first set? Was he playing out of his mind or doing something specific that was bothering you?
ROGER FEDERER: Just going for it. He's a big server so you can expect him to hold his serve, but he had this one unbelievable game where he broke, and I had one or two break chances maybe. I wasn't quite in the match yet, but he was serving 110, 115 second serves, like Isner. He's a lefty; I haven't faced a lefty in a while.
It was tough and he was taking chances when I had mine, serving really big and using his forehand well and played some incredible volleys. That was work and was enough. I was under a lot of pressure tonight.
Q. Is part of your thinking in a case like that, Let's see how long he can keep this up, or I don't expect him to keep this up?
ROGER FEDERER: For me, of course it's frustrating to be down a set and 3-, 4-all. Of course that's always a difficult situation to be in. But I haven't been playing bad so far. I've had one game where he broke me where there was not much I could do about it except maybe serve -- you know, more first serves. But you got to be able to win your serves also over your second serve sometimes.
And the way he did break me there, there was nothing I could do really. That's why there was no reason for me to become frustrated, and I just hung in there. And I was hoping to get an opportunity to serve, but first and foremost I had to make sure I win my first service games, and that's why I'm happy I got on a roll.
Q. After that first set the way he was playing, did he kind of make you play your best tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I would think so. I had to come up with some very good passing shots to create opportunities. Sometimes if a guy misses a ball or all of a sudden you have Love-30 and you don't know why, he wasn't really giving me that too much. I had to play good tennis to create opportunities, and then maybe almost got a bit lucky at some stages.
I think I forced the issue more and more at the end of the second. Once I got the crucial break in the set I started to read his serve better. He wasn't clocking them that well, and obviously it was going to get tough for him.
Q. Were you happy to be tested that early in the match given how far along you are in the tournament? You've got Roddick coming up next. Was it good to be pushed a bit?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought that I was pushed against Isner already. I didn't really need another match. In the end, seriously, I'm just happy I won.
When you do lose a set like that, you know, the other guy is playing unbelievable, you just start to wonder, you know, maybe tonight it's not going to work out for me.
I came back strong, and I'm happy to be back into a quarterfinal here.
Q. At the same time, you always seem to be extremely patient: Isner, Lopez, when Andy won a set last year. You're not trying to go for too much. Was there a time earlier in your career where you would get down and perhaps panic in that situation?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess back in the day today I would have started to serve and volley. I would have felt like my service games, I was doing something wrong that he broke me.
So I would be scared maybe to get into the baseline rallies with him for some reason because he would chip and come in. So I wouldn't want him to come in -- I would have wanted them to come in and the whole thing would have changed.
I would put really everything on the line early on in the match, and if he could he would break my second tactic I would probably be done. I don't do that anymore. I'm patient like you said. I wait and I hope it turns around. There's never a guarantee.
Q. When you beat somebody 13 out of 14 times like you have with Andy and you're going into that match, do you just expect to win at that point, or can you block that out of your mind, that you've beaten somebody that many times?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I hope I'm going to win, but I don't expect myself to win. That's a big difference. I know the danger of Andy. I've had some very difficult quarterfinal matches here over the years. This is not the most difficult one. I've had Agassi, Nalbandian, Blake.
At the US Open they always come tough. For me, It's great to be in the quarters. I feel like I'm in great shape and moving great, and mentally, you know I'm not getting rattled at all.
So I'm ready for a good match. You know, I think it's going to be really entertaining.
Q. Is there any mystery to Andy's game anymore? Do feel like you know absolutely everything he can throw at you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I pretty much know his game. Yeah, I do. But, again, you know, he's played in different ways against me. He's obviously tried a lot: Returning from far back, returning in, chip and charging, serve and volleying, playing from the baseline with me. He's tried everything, so I hope I won't get surprised next match.
Q. So has your game plan against him changed then in the last couple years?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, because of my game really, because I started to become a better player, more confidence, my serve grew, you know. I was starting to get much better off my backhand side, where in the beginning it was a big weakness for me I felt.
So, yeah, I don't know, my game evolved. Actually I always do concentrate on my own game especially Andy, who's got an incredible serve, maybe the best in the game. There's not much sometimes you can do about that.
Q. How much stronger is your backhand from, say, a year ago? How much have you really focused on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's been really in great shape in the last three or four years, to be honest, since I became No. 1. Maybe that's one of the reasons I became No. 1, because my backhand really improved. I can really rely on it on passing shots in tough moments, on my slice. You know, it won't break down anymore. Yeah, I know how to use it now, and that's most important.
Q. You said after the Isner match that you don't underestimate anybody anymore, and that's something that maybe in the past you used to do. Was that a big problem for you in the past, or a problem?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was actually, because I mean, I knew I was kind of talented and good. I had a nice technique. When I were play a guy whose technique didn't look that nice I would think I was to huge favorite and I would think that that technique can't really work.
I would find myself down a set and a break and not realizing why and how to come back, and fighting spirit wasn't always at its best when I was younger. I always hoped that some magical thing would happen and I could turn the match around. I wouldn't realize that you really need to fight out there to turn it around sometimes.
So I did struggle a lot in the early days with opponents, but I had some guys I couldn't really beat in the beginning like Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi, Henman. And then once I started to improve and understand why I was losing I became a much better player.
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