Roger Federer: “There Is No Doubt About It Beating Novak In A Final Makes It Extra Special”
It was another glorious Sunday afternoon for Roger Federer and his fans. The Swiss played some of his best tennis of the season in a 60, 76 win over rival Novak Djokovic to win the Cincinnati Masters 1000 title.
Federer finished the tournament without losing serve once, holding all 47 service games in his first hardcourt event since Miami.
The win was also his 6th of 2012, 9th since turning 30 and 76th of his career. And it was also his 21st Masters title tying him with Rafael Nadal for the all-time lead.
Federer will rest up for the US Open where he’ll again be the top seed. Roger, though, hasn’t won in Flushing Meadow since 2008.
Here’s Roger’s presser, video interview and highlights from his big win Sunday:
Q. Your fifth title in Cincinnati and your first as a 31 year old. How do you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: Feels great. I’m obviously very happy. If I remember correctly, this was the first win here I had also after I had twins, right?
So it’s great coming back here. I’ve been able to win five. It’s obviously incredible because I remember the first few here I struggled. Now looking back it’s just unbelievable. Plus this was probably the best week ever here in Cincinnati for me never dropping my serve and all that stuff and beating Novak in the final.
This was very sweet. No doubt about it.
Q. How good was the first set? You have a plane to catch or something?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know, look, I was hoping for a good start, but not like that. I’ll take it. I tried to stretch the lead. Obviously Novak had a hard time finding his range on the serve from the baseline.
But the combination just made it all work out for me today in that first set. It was a tough first set for him. Then the second set I obviously always knew it was going to be a difficult one.
I started forgetting that I had never dropped my serve for the entire tournament. I was just focusing point for point mentally. I think that got me through at the end.
Q. You said before the final that winning would be quote/unquote helpful for New York. Winning a dominant first set like that and eking out a tight second, was that an especially helpful win for you?
ROGER FEDERER: What I like about the win, I mean, there is no doubt about it beating Novak in a final makes it extra special. But also just in Cincinnati, I like to play here. But then also the reaction after losing in the Wimbledon final for me to come here somewhat rested, to be honest, and then to play a great finals after playing a very not good one at the Olympics where I went ton lose, what, nine games in a row?
But I came here and never dropped my serve. That’s the kind of reaction I want to see from myself. I didn’t have a letdown.
Even though I reached almost all goals already this year by securing a medal, winning Wimbledon, and getting back it world No. 1, it’s important for me to push forward and give myself the best possible preparation for New York.
Then if I can win tournaments, that’s even better. I really didn’t expect it. Same for Novak, I don’t think. We both didn’t expect to play so well right after the Olympics, even though we are world No. 1 and 2.
I thought it was great effort by him and also for me. Obviously this is a fantastic week.
Q. Do you feel pretty much going into the US Open that physically and in terms of the way you’re playing that everything is in place now? Nothing to focus on?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I rarely do crazy things before slams anyway. I feel like the work is done before so there are ways of‑ how shall I say‑ preparing maybe more physically and mentally New York or the slams. And there are others where you can do it more by playing matches and a lot of practice.
I guess I did the matches route because it was the only one this year. I’ve done that one many times, when you do play well, you have enough matches. When you don’t win so much, you have more time on the practice.
So it’s going to work out either way, I think. Just have to be confident that whatever happens on the match courts you’re not going to be too affected. If you lose, you just take the confidence with you and you just then manage your schedule for me now next week before the Open.
Q. You didn’t face a break point throughout the match, but you did find yourself one point away from going to a third set. Is that an unusual’ thing? Does that occur to you? Are you aware of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wasn’t sure if I had to face break point. Now that you say it, I look back and I don’t remember facing break point, that’s true.
Novak did a good job staying with it, starting to raise his game even though things weren’t going well for him. He also had a couple tough situations to come through, which he did well.
I thought as the match went on it was going to get more difficult. It was important for me to get out of that second set, even though I wouldn’t have been worried about the third set. Anything could have happened there anyway, but it would have given Novak that much more time to get into the match and maybe try out a few more things and get comfortable.
He did a good job to come back in the breaker, and he did definitely start to play some of those amazing shots we know he can do towards the end of the second set.
I don’t want to say that got me worried, but I could see he was finding his range and making it super athletic the way he likes it.
It was a special breaker, and like you said, one moment I think I got it; then he thinks he has it. At the end I just snatched it.
Yeah, it was nail‑biting is at the end.
Q. Do you think that he was mentally fatigued in the first set, and have you ever experienced that kind of letdown in a championship match?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know what he said, if he’s been to press or not. I don’t know how he felt.
Q. He said he might have been.
ROGER FEDERER: Might have been. Exactly. Like me at the Olympic final. I might have been. I don’t know what I was. Just maybe not so sharp.
Then when things go bad for you they go worse. That’s the problem. On top of that, when you play another fellow top 4 guy who likes to be in the lead, like myself, Murray, Rafa, Djokovic, becomes that much harder.
Then it’s not so much’ how you play, all of a sudden it’s double effect how your opponent’s playing, too. It was a tough first set for him but he was able to pick it up, so maybe he’s not that disappointed. I don’t know how he feels.
Q. How much do you notice the body language of your opponent? Novak is demonstrative. He does facial expressions; he’ll fist pump. Do you notice when he’s not making intense faces and things like that and making noise?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I’m aware little bit of what’s going on. Today I think I was playing very much within myself and trying to focus. Then it’s hard to fist pump if you make a great shot at 5‑Love against you.
Same problem for me at the Olympics final. I wasn’t going to go crazy when I finally, on my own serve, make a great shot to go 30‑15. That’s a waste of emotion almost there.
You have to find a way to get yourself back into the match. This is where players sometimes are criticized for not trying hard enough. It’s silly to act like you’re fighting like crazy if the score is so against you. Usually you do get pumped up when you’re hitting good shots on your opponent’s serve or when it’s very important.
Because he never broke, he never really got a break point so he never really got that opportunity to really go crazy. That’s in my credit, I think. But at the same time, today just worked out for me and not him.
Q. The Slovak and Czech language are the only languages in the world which have a special language in tennis language when you beat somebody 6‑0. Do you know this expression?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know it.
Q. You’re married to a Slovak lady.
ROGER FEDERER: We don’t talk about 6‑Loves in our relationship. Maybe it’s going to start now.
Q. They call it to give somebody a beautiful bird, a canary.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay. I’ll ask her if she knows it.
Q. Do you remember how many times you give somebody canary in a tournament like this?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. Do you?
Q. No. That was the loudest crowd I heard this week. You probably hear some loud crowds. Do you ever get goosebumps in the middle of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I definitely do. I don’t remember when exactly they happened. I got extremely excited last year I remember when I finally had match points against Novak at 40‑15 in the last set. It was 5‑4 or something. I don’t know what the score was anymore.
There I remember the crowd, there was a massive roar. I thought, Man, I just got to the finish line, and then bang, bang, bang, everything changed.
So I think I kind of wait with my emotions to go crazy. That definitely happens from time to time. Here in Cincinnati fans are great. They enjoy their tennis and they know where they’re coming to watch it. They feel all very I think fortunate he they the ticket and they can come see us play.
You do feel that as a player as well and you appreciate that, so it’s been a great from that standpoint. Record crowd is something you want happening every single week, but it doesn’t. Honestly, crowd attendance has definitely gone up since I came on tour.
Obviously there has been a lot expansions, and here you’ve had a great way sa well of improvements over the last years now. We appreciate that. Obviously looking forward to coming back next year again.
Q. You had some amazing half‑volleys. Do you practice that shot?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t, but it’s one of my good shots in my repertoire. I don’t know where that comes from. I really don’t. Maybe hard courts at a tiny bit easier because there are no bad bounces‑ or there shouldn’t be‑ so it’s easier to hug the baseline and play half‑volleys either backhand or forehand. It is something that always came very natural to me.
I think that’s very often also the big difference between the top 4 and the rest. I think all the four absorb pace really well and redirect it and don’t get beat with pace that easily deep down the middle. That’s what we do a tiny bit better than other players on the tour right now.
Q. As far as keeping a level of play going into the Open, is it a matter that you’ve got to keep this level, or will you relax a bit and build up again?
ROGER FEDERER: I’ll take anything, as long as I’m getting through my early rounds. It’s is completely different atmosphere in New York. The pressure is going to be different. There will be a lot talk from here until the first ball is struck over there.
I hope that physically everything is going to be fine, no injuries coming along in the next days and all that stuff. Then the night session over there, maybe it’s a day session, extremely windy or humid. It can you very hot.
Then the draw. I mean, I know I have a great record against guys outside of top 30. I would think that’s who I’ll face in the first round. But it nevertheless could be a tough matchup. I have to look at that match and really not a whole lot further.
You do look at the whole draw and good draws from the first rounds on, but I’m not going there just to win the first round. I’m going there to do very well and go very deep into the tournament. The focus needs to be on the first round and not beyond that in the beginning.
Q. Outside of the top 3 guys, is there anyone who you’ve seen over the last couple months of form who will be a surprise challenger or a dark horse at the US Open? Anyone particularly caught your eye in terms of their form?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I definitely think Ferrer deserves a lot of credit because he’s always there and he hangs around and goes deep now on all surfaces. He’s become extremely good other hard courts.
This was obviously a tough one after being on grass for so long and coming here on the’ quick hard court and playing Stan. It was always going to be a tough first‑round match for him.
I think him, Tsonga as well. I thought he played great at Wimbledon. Maybe lost at the Olympics because of that incredible match he had with Raonic. He played really great against me in Montréal last year and won the tournament in Doha at the beginning of the year. He’s got it on hardcourts, and I played him in the quarters in the US Open last year. He knows how to go deep in that tournament.
Then there is obviously all the other guys ranked within 5 and 10. Del Potro, Berdych. Those guys will have the best chance to go deep.
Then maybe some of the younger guys, I hope they can make the a move as well.
Q. With what happened with Nadal against Rosol, do you think the top guys are going to go into the first week with a heightened awareness?
ROGER FEDERER: I think normal. I mean, I can only speak for myself, but I have big respect for the guys ranked whatever they are ranked. Doesn’t matter. I know the margins are small. Guys come and watch a tennis match and they say, Oh, this was not so easy and it was two and three. I’m like, I know. That’s how every match is being played.
A few shots here or there and five centimeters in or out can make a huge swing, and lucky or unlucky can make a match extremely difficult.
I think particularly at Wimbledon, I think we all felt threatened right after Nadal lost just because it was incredible how well Rosol played and how much he believed in it.
I do hope this more guys ranked where Rosol is or even better ranked, they do believe more in beating the top guys on the big stage. It’s been happening not very often. It was just refreshing to see that it was possible for a guy like Rosol to come through.
Q. At age three, do your daughters already realize you as a champion, or when do think they’ll understand that?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe next year. I don’t know. Right now they know I’m a tennis player, or they know I play a lot of tennis. That’s about it. Can’t tell the difference between matches and practice, I don’t think, yet. But I think they’re getting there. We’ll see how it goes.
Roger’s On-Court Interview:
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