Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic Thursday evening at the Australian Open men’s semifinals.
Q. Big disappointment. Thoughts on the game? What went wrong?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought he played a great match. I didn’t think I played bad myself, so it was a match played at a very high intensity for a long period of time.
Clearly it’s disappointing to lose, but what to do if he plays well on the big points, and potentially maybe I didn’t. It was a tough match.
Q. Physically how much did the match take out of you? Did you feel at any point you were getting weary, that he was wearing you down?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I’m feeling really good considering how intense it was. It was a three hour match over three sets and, you know, I don’t take much time in between points. It’s maybe even a longer match if you like.
No, I felt good. It was intense. We had long, tough rallies and played at a very high speed and everything. So sure, you feel it a little bit, but obviously I was ready for another two sets easily. Pity that I couldn’t push him there.
Q. You couldn’t defend the title. What do you think about this?
ROGER FEDERER: I couldn’t? Yes, I could not.
Q. How do you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel okay, because I’m healthy. I wish I had a chance on Sunday, but, look, Novak was the better player tonight. You got to accept that and move on from here.
It’s not the end in any way. It’s a start for many other tournaments after this. Sure, it’s disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself. I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time.
But wasn’t possible tonight.
Q. Do you feel like there’s anything tactically you could have done different or anything that you would have changed if you had to do it over again?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, the night session against Gilles Simon. Playing at night here makes it pretty tricky to actually move a whole lot to be quite honest, because as the match goes on and it gets a bit cooler the ball bounces less. So, the spinny balls don’t really have that affect so the flatter you hit it the more effect it has overall.
But then you get used to that. When it’s that kind of condition, every point is basically played the same way. It’s pretty tough, you know. But I wish it was a bit different, maybe use the kick a bit more and slices would stay lower through the air. But look, I’ve been successful here under all circumstances, night and day, windy and hot, whatever. When you end up losing you wish you had different conditions.
I think he managed the conditions well. He played great. He played well when he had to. Yeah, he deserved to win at the end.
Q. Will you watch the remainder of the tournament or will you give it a break?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s always a classic question. I don’t know why you care. I don’t know what my plans are quite yet. I doubt it because I don’t switch on the TV a whole lot when I’m elsewhere with the family, so…
Q. (Question regarding who will win the final)
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don’t know who is in the final yet on the other side. I fancy Murray’s chances to go through. Then again, it’s night. I don’t know how that’s going to match up against each other.
I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting final. I mean, obviously if Novak plays at this level, he’s got his chances; if Murray continues playing at his level he’ll have his chances too. Ferrer played a fantastic match yesterday.
Yeah, regardless it’s going to be a great end to the tournament.
Q. Tonight you had chances to win the second set. You were up. Then you played a dropshot on his breakpoint and you lost your serve. You were close to the net. Do you think you lack some lucidity?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the start to the game wasn’t the best one already. 5 3, I think, I was right away down Love 15, I think. I was always playing catch up until I had something of a chance. The dropshot was just adding one. Him getting the extra ball back in a tough way. He moved so well side to side that you have to try to get him forward too at times.
On that one he predicted it might happen and played it well. I should definitely not have given that game away. It was crucial for the remainder of the match clearly. But I’ve won matches in straight sets against him at the US Open where I should have never won in straights. I ended up doing it because things just fell my way and tonight was one of those nights it went his way. Every time I had slight opportunity, either I didn’t play my best and he played his best.
It was a tough night from this standpoint. Those are sometimes the way matches go.
Q. Todd Woodbridge after the match was sort of suggesting that with Rafa injured and you out now that it was something of a passing of the torch.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, they say that very quickly, so…
Let’s talk in six months again.
Q. Having played this first Grand Slam, how are you feeling about the rest of the year?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel very good. I’m very optimistic about the next 15 tournaments, however many I’m playing. I’ve barely lost matches lately really, so I’m happy with where my game is at, with where my condition is at.
I’m really excited for what’s to come. This is obviously a bit of a blow. At the same time, I played a good tournament. I have no regrets. I left everything out there. We’ll see what comes next.
Q. Do you think Novak has improved in any particular way?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, I thought he played a great end to the season as well. Played well at the US Open; played well before that, a little bit after that. His game doesn’t go away overnight either. I was able to sort of get the better of him on a few occasions in a couple of close ones.
I think I beat him four out of five times at the end of the season, and that obviously hurt his end to the season so it makes it look like he didn’t play great. Honestly, I think he was always there giving himself chances. Would he have maybe played at this level or would I have played a little level underneath that, he would’ve had an unbelievable end of the season.
But that’s sometimes how it goes. Doesn’t mean the guy that doesn’t win the tournament can’t play tennis. That’s sometimes how things are portrayed. I had a great season last year, and I think I’ll have another one this year.
Q. When you lost three years ago in three straight sets, 2008 here, do you see any similarity with that match and the one of tonight, apart from the scores?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, why compare?
Q. Just to find out if you played better tonight, the other time, or if he was playing different, if something changed or is exactly the same. Just an idea.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s not a greatest question, to be honest. What do you want me to say? I don’t know what to tell you. I think it’s irrelevant tonight.
Q. Two days ago, Novak said you are maybe the most aggressive player on the circuit. Do you think somehow he was more aggressive than you tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: I think we always try to play very aggressive against each other. Usually that’s what players do against me; the more aggressive you play, the more aggressive they will almost have to play.
Like I said before, conditions allowed it really to hit full blast through the ball, especially the one end that was with the wind made it a bit easier than the other.
Look, Novak has great assets in his game and can go up the line on both sides, forehand, backhand, moves extremely well. He’s a tough player to play against. You know, I felt that many times. He’s felt my aggressiveness all the time.
It’s a battle for almost who can play more aggressive. Tonight he was better and won the big points.
There’s many good players out there. Not just the two of us. I think we face off quite well against each other.
Q. Was he putting a lot of pressure on your backhand side? Do you think that was a winning tactic for him?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure if the match was won there, to be quite honest. I think was a few points here and there. If I had served it out in the second set, who knows what happens.
I was always going to be there physically and mentally. That’s what I was going to try to test with Novak tonight , but I just couldn’t do it. He snuck out on me on a few occasions. My bad a few times; his great play a sometimes. It was just bad combination for me tonight.
Q. You had a couple exchanges with the chair umpire. Was there anything about Novak’s tactics or crowd noise that was bothering you that prompted those exchanges?
ROGER FEDERER: He’s a nice guy, the umpire, so I kind of like to talk to him at times.
Q. Nothing bothered you?
ROGER FEDERER: No?
Q. After Doha’s final, Davydenko said if you play like that you would be unbeatable. How do you compare your form here and in Doha?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously completely different circumstances with playing best of five. I still think I played a great tournament. I had some really good moments here these last couple of weeks.
Like I said, I don’t think tonight was a bad match. I can move on from this with a good mindset, to be honest. That’s what’s important right now, that I don’t feel like I have physical issues or I’m not playing the right way and whatever.
So I’m really positive what’s ahead of me. I hope I’ll stay healthy this time around in February, which has been a bit of an issue in the last couple years. So I hope this time around I’ll be good, which then is going to help me through Dubai, Indian Wells, and Miami, and then going into the clay court season.
I’m playing well. Tonight, like I said, I just ran into a player who was a bit better than me tonight.
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