11/28/09 6:13 PM | Cheryl Murray
Read Roger Federer's press conference after losing to Nikolay Davydenko for the first time ever.
Q. Last year in Shanghai you couldn't get to the semis. In any case, the match was played so quickly, can you explain what happened there? You usually never lose with Nikolay.
ROGER Federer: Yeah, not so far. So, sure, it's disappointing. But not to lose against him; just to lose the semis. Coming so far in a tough group, in a tough tournament, I had hopes to get through to the final and maybe win again.
But I missed the start again, and I guess that's what cost me the match at the end.
Q. You started very fast. I think you won the first seven points. What happened then? Was it concentration?
ROGER Federer: No, I think I picked sometimes wrong choice of shots, you know, right from the start, that let him sort of recover, not be a break down.
After that, I didn't serve very well in the first set at all. So that gave him obviously opportunities to start to find his range from the baseline. So that was pretty much the story in the first set.
Second set, it was more a story of just trying to hang on, you know, get through to the third. As the match wore on, I actually started to feel better and better. I was starting to feel better, which made my life easier throughout the match. In the end, you know, indoors, you never know what can happen. It could swing either way. I was a couple of points away, but just couldn't get it done.
He did well. I thought he played strong throughout, even though I don't think it was our best match we ever played against each other. That wasn't the greatest for quite some time.
Q. Everybody expected Davydenko would be tired after yesterday's match. How would you estimate his game today? Was it just luck for him? He managed to beat you for the first time in his career.
ROGER Federer: Well, I didn't think it was a particularly physical match. So that's why I don't think it had anything to do with fitness. We're professional tennis players. We're used to playing many matches in the same week. These are not best-of-five-set matches. Doesn't usually come down to a lot of fitness. It's just a long season. That means that you're more maybe mentally fatigued for some.
But he missed quite a few months of the season early on, before. Really the season was sort of already into Miami and stuff before he started really playing. So I think he also has got some reserves left.
I had the same left, although I had also tough matches in my group. So for this reason I don't think it was played on fitness, you know. I think we were both fresh. Niggling injuries we all have when we're playing. It's just how you handle them. I thought today he handled them well.
At times he did look a little bit sort of wrong-footed. Maybe he had some issues, but he's definitely not going to tell them to you before the final, so don't even bother asking him (smiling).
Q. Nikolay has finished top five in the world for the past four years. Do you think he gets the respect he deserves?
ROGER Federer: Well, I don't know if you guys have. I have. I think it's most important that he has respect from his fellow players. I think he didn't have the easiest of last few years, you know, where people suspected him of doing bad things in the sport, you know. He had a cloud over his name for quite some time, which was not very fair at the end now. I think he handled it very well towards the end.
To be able to continue playing this well by being asked always the same stupid questions must not have been very easy for him. So I respect him not only for that, but obviously for the player he is. Proved it was worth hanging in there. He finally beat me today. I wish him all the best for the final.
Q. You talked about fatigue. Could it have been the other way: you haven't played a whole heap of tennis since the US Open? Could that have been a factor today?
ROGER Federer: How do you mean? How should I be tired?
Q. I don't mean tired.
ROGER Federer: You said 'fatigued.'
Q. Not fatigued, going the other way.
ROGER Federer: Not enough matches?
ROGER Federer: I had three here before. Three three-setters. No. I don't know how to answer it. It's just the wrong question. Sorry.
Q. The Davis Cup final? Do you think the Czech Republic has a better chance after Rafael Nadal and Verdasco looks like they're out of form?
ROGER Federer: Out of form? Hmm. We'll see in a couple of weeks, huh? For some reason, I just still favor the Spaniards, even if they don't have Verdasco and Nadal, because they've got quite a few players out there in their arsenal.
Good luck anyway.
Q. We spoke yesterday already about your first sets here that were difficult. Another one today. Does it worry you at all or...
ROGER Federer: I tried everything to have a good start. I wasn't able to do it again, so, sure, it's disappointing. I guess the important thing is your serve works, you know. Maybe I just couldn't get my serve working, you know, in the first set this week. On top of that, you know, played top guys. It's just not easy.
But I think that definitely cost me maybe two out of the four matches, you know. You can't turn around every single match against top guys because then you don't have enough cushion anymore at the end. It's a game of luck at the end. Not that this one was one. But things swing so quickly, you know, at this pace we play at. That's why I think this is where I made my mistakes, just to hand him over the first set. It was a pity.
But looking at the bright side, I still had a great season. Looking how deep the game is right now. To finish on top for me is phenomenal. I don't know, I try not to look at too much what I did wrong this week or what I did wrong today. This is my last press conference of the year, so I'm happy (smiling).
I had a good season, and I don't have to answer any questions anymore.
Q. Have you spoken to Tiger Woods since his accident? How worried were you when you heard the news?
ROGER Federer: I haven't spoken to him. And I heard it's not too serious, which is a good thing.
Q. What do you say about Robin's performance here, his progress during the last six months?
ROGER Federer: Well, he's been very good, you know. I thought he played a great round robin. He's still in the tournament. He's got everything to play for. Sure, there's no easy matches now in the semis. Against Del Potro, I thought he was playing really well. But still I give him an outside chance. You never know.
He's definitely made his move now. I think next year is his year where he needs to prove himself even more, again and again. That's how tennis works. I think he's done exceptionally well. I think he can be proud of himself.
Q. Since it's the last press conference the year...
ROGER Federer: And the last question, so this better be good (smiling).
Q. I'll try my best.
ROGER Federer: You're known for good questions, so I'm really excited (smiling).
Q. So what is the best moment of the year? Roland Garros? Was it the memory you will always remember of this year, 2009? What is the worst memory of the year, if there is any?
ROGER Federer: Well, the best one from a tennis standpoint was definitely, you know, winning I think sort of that combination of Paris and Wimbledon back to back, coming from so far back in so many matches in Paris. I think those are incredible moments in my career.
Worst moment, I don't know. I mean, didn't really have many. I always play at a very high level usually at the end of tournaments. When you go out, if it's five sets or three sets or straight sets, I know I put in the best effort I could. And then you don't walk away too disappointed.
I finished No. 1 in the world. So I don't have many regrets.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
ROGER Federer: Pleasure. Anytime. Find me somewhere.
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