So the champ says..

R. FEDERER/R.Soderling

6‑1, 7‑6, 6‑4

An interview with:

ROGER FEDERER

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We would like to know if you felt moresuspense than we felt? You won the firstset, second set in the tiebreaker, third, set break immediately. So for you it was easier than you expected,or...

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, sure, I expected a tough match todayobviously because Robin's been playing well and it's a final of Paris, one thatI've never been able to win yet.

So I knew the difficulty of thismatch. I was hoping for a good start; Igot it, which then obviously relaxed me. I think second set was key to stay with him and not give him too manyopportunities on my serve, which I was, again, able to do.

I played one of greatesttiebreakers in my career with the four aces obviously. But it was very hard mentally for me to staywithin the match during the match, because my mind was always wondering, whatif? What if I win this tournament? What does that mean? What will I possibly say? I don't know.

You can'thelp it but to tell yourself, you know, once you win you'll get all the time tothink about all these things, but they keep on coming back.

I was verynervous at the beginning of the third set because I realized how close Iwas. The last game, obviously you canimagine how difficult that game was. Itwas almost unplayable for me because I was just hoping to serve some goodserves and hoping that he was going to make four errors. It was that bad.

So, yeah,it was an emotional roller coaster for me.

Q. It'sagainst our rules to applaud at a press conference, but you deserved it.

ROGER FEDERER: Thank you. Thanks a lot.

Q. Do you consider this, looking back to Australia andthen coming forward, a rejuvenation in your career mentally and physically andin every other way?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I just think it's an unbelievableachievement, you know. You know, I mean,I'm very proud of my career, obviously. You know, I achieved more than I ever thought I would. My dream as boy was to win Wimbledonone day. I won that five times, youknow, like one wasn't enough.

But it's just ‑‑ I think the FrenchOpen, like for instance this victory, sort of came up over the last few yearswhen I realized what a great player I could actually become.

After starting to actuallygetting to love this city and the people and the center court, whereas in thebeginning I had such a hard time getting used to the conditions here and justnot feeling right for some reason. I hada lot of difficulties playing well on center court because the court was sobig.

I've come along way. To get it at the end as thelast remaining Grand Slam, it's an incredible feeling. I'm, of course, very proud at this verymoment.

Q. Youwon Wimbledon at 21 and Australiaat 22 and the USat 23. Is there a value in life, agreater depth of feeling in having waited for something?

ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely, especially being so close for thelast few years. You know, maybe close,maybe far. It depends how you look atit. I think it was very hard, you know,accepting the first defeat in 2006 I think was my first final here.

I lost in the finals and I was like,Oh, my God. I got to wait one entireyear, and then I don't even know if I'll make the finals again. The last few years have been easier for meapproaching the French Open just because I've been more relaxed and more awareof what's happening around me.

So I think, yes, the waitingand the age definitely has a big impact on how important and how nice thisvictory actually is. It's been a longtime coming, and I'm happy I got it today. I'm very proud.

Q. Lookingback on spring season this year, I think you struggled with your play I thinkagainst Djokovic and Murray, but now you came back strong. So are you believing you could completecareer Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I did. You know, people talked a lot about me having lost the grip andstuff. To some degree I guess it's true,because I lost my No. 1 ranking. But Ididn't fall out of the top 10 or the top 1000. I still played very consistent, especially at the Grand Slam level. My record shows it there.

But important for me was to continueworking hard, you know. I had issueslast year. We all know what theywere. People sometimes don't give youtime to actually let them heal or let ‑‑ you figure them out, you know.

I'm not the type of guy who'sscared of going into sometimes matches not feeling great at all. I don't care if I lose three times firstround, I want to see where I'm at in a tournament situation.

I can also,of course, decide not to play for three months and then come back very strongagain. That's not the road I chose. I'm the guy who likes to face it and see ifI'm good enough or not. I actuallyplayed pretty good.

I was happywith the level of play. I thought Iplayed great in Australia. It was also a good tournament in Indian Wellsand Miami untilI played Murray and Djokovic and all those guys where all of a sudden my gamecompletely left me for some reason. I didn'tknow why. Maybe it was because my servewasn't helping me out, the back was still hurting me. I don't know what the problem was.

So I alwaysbelieved in my chances to win Parisor any Grand Slam. It's really for thosethat I tried to keep myself most fit. That was also sone of the reason why I took six weeks off after theAustralian Open. Let everything heal andlet everything settle, and then I came back very strong.

I'm very,very happy right now.

Q. Howmuch is important in this belief or in this win the fact that Mirka is pregnantand you're awaiting a baby? How muchimportant is in your mind to think about this?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel like it's two different issues,different things. You know, my privatelife is one part of my life. Theprofessional one on the court is another one. Thank God Mirka's involved in both of them.

I'm, of course, very happy with thepregnancy. Mirka is feeling great, andwe're looking forward to this upcoming summer and hope things go well for her.

But I don't know how muchthis victory has to do with it. It'sdefinitely nice to get it at this stage of my career. I think it couldn't have come at a bettertime. So obviously the timing is veryspecial with getting married and Mirka being pregnant.

Maybe it'smore emotional, but maybe not. I don'tknow how much it has to do with it, to be quite honest. I'm just happy that my life is in great shaperight now.

Q. McEnroenever won here, and Edberg never won here and Pete never won here. Are you aware there were a lot peoplethinking you sort of fit into that category and it would have been shame if youdidn't do it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I always tended to disagree withthose. I had the feeling I gave myselftoo many opportunity over the years at the French Open. I think Pete was maybe once in thesemis. Other players were maybe once inthe finals. I was in the final threetimes, one semis before, and I was able to win Hamburgfour times and be in the finals of Monacoand Rome, ofall those tournaments.

I knew the day Rafa won't be in thefinals, I will be there and I will win. I always knew and that I believed in it. That's exactly what happened. It's funny. I didn't hope for it,but I believed in it.

Q. Sorry to bring you on to not quite such anice event. You were confronted today bysome guy coming onto the court. It couldhave been a very nasty incident. Could youjust talk us through how you felt when you saw him? The security seemed to take an age to getthere as well and stop him.

ROGER FEDERER: First, I didn't know exactly whathappened. All of a sudden I heard thecrowd, and I looked over and he jumped over the fence or something. That gave me a fright, just like seeing himso close right away.

The good thing is like it happenedbefore, you know, so that's why I guess I didn't panic. It happened in Wimbledon before when two guysran out on the court, and once I think it was in Montreal when I lost to Roddick when I wasplaying for my No. 1 ranking in the third set.

Som it wasn't the firsttime. Normally they always kind of lookat me and go, I'm so sorry I have to do this, because they have some sort of areason for it, you know. (Laughter.)

I rememberthe English guy was actually quite funny. He looked at me and goes, I'm so sorry I have to do this. I was like, Okay, just don't touch me, youknow.

This guy, Idon't know, he looked at me and I was not sure what he wanted. It seemed like he wanted to give mesomething. So I was actually okay,because I saw he wasn't pulling for anything stupid.

Itdefinitely felt uncomfortable once he came close to me. Looking back, it definitely threw me out ofmy rhythm a little bit. One game later Ithought that maybe I should have sat down and taken a minute or two to kind ofreflect on what just happened. Was thatreal or what?

But I don'tknow. I mean, I wanted to play on andwhatever, get over it. But it was atouch scary, yes.

Q. SvetlanaKuznetsova, who won this tournament yesterday cheers for you. Do you know about it? And what do you think about Russian women andmen's tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was very happy for Svetlana that shewas able to win. Russian tennis has beenincredibly strong over the last few years. I always said I liked her game, so I was very happy for her, to see hersucceed here.

Yeah, they have phenomenal playerson both sides. I'm sure we'll see moreof that in the future.

Q. I know isn't your plan, but if you had toretire tomorrow, would you retire happy?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I would, yeah, because I feel like I'veput everything out there, you know. Ifought for this moment and stayed positive and calm when things maybe weren'tgoing so well, even though they were still going great.

So, yeah, I would ‑‑ I alwayssaid it doesn't matter when I retire, I'll be at peace. I can walk away from this game tomorrow, butI don't choose to because I love this game too much.

It hasn't appeared in my mindonce yet that I want to retire. Tennisis not forever; I know that. But I'lltry to definitely enjoy it as long as I can.

Q. Roger,with the rain and the history in your mind and the rain and this crazy guy, wasthis as mentally challenging a final as you've had to deal with? Obviously physically playing you weren'thaving a problem, but mentally.

ROGER FEDERER: I think it was difficult conditions, like yousay. I was hoping for ‑‑ I said it inthe press the other day I think when I spoke Swiss German. I said I hope for little ‑‑ no rain, becausethat would not be nice for anybody: me,the opponent, for the spectators. Therain interruptions are tough to deal with especially in a Grand Slam final.

Now, I do feel like it's ‑‑ itwas meant to be this kind of weather for me. Looking back, you know, especially I think I drew inspiration the wayAndre won here ten years ago.

I remember ‑‑ I don'twant to say how lucky he got, but how things turned into his favor when heneeded it the most. That's exactly whathappened to me the last couple weeks. We're not talking about the Haas house forehand I had to hit on thatbreakpoint down in the third set or other things.

But I wasin desperate situations during this tournament. This was just part of this tournament, this terrible rain today and thistough conditions, the swirly winds and the dangerous opponent. I think I was able to handle all of it fortwo weeks.

I also saidit many times that if you want to be a good clay courter, you have to be ableto play in these kind of conditions and in nice conditions, too. That's where I've had my success in claybefore, on bad ‑‑ in storms and in nice weather. I was able to show it these last coupleweeks. It's been very nice.

Q. Whatsignificance, if any, for you is there to winning your 14th Grand Slam titleand matching that record?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know. It almost gets forgotten a little bit, butit's really what ‑‑ I don't want to say it means the most to me, but it'san incredible feeling already having reached 14 and not having been sort of derailedby maybe losing a couple Grand Slam finals against Rafa.

That sort of I took my time and wasable to regroup and come up to equal Pete's record, you know, here, in Paris is unbelievable.

Andre giving me the trophy,who was the last man to win all four majors, it seems just very fitting in away. I played against both players aswell, and have the most respect for both of them.

I'm surethey're happy for me. I know it. It's a good feeling to have.

Q. Doyou think the most important point of the tournament was the breakpoint whenyou are serving in the third set with Haas?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it seems like it to me. But, sure, if you want to put it down to onepoint, let's put it down to that one. Ihad to play many tough shots during this tournament. Maybe one was also the breakpoint at 5‑4against Soderling when he shanks the forehand. Who knows if he makes it and gets to 5‑All. We don't know.

You have to go through manysituations like this. I'm happy I wasable to handle all of them. Like I said,I had tough moments against Acasuso, Haas, Mathieu, Monfils as well when he hadset point, and against Del Potro, and again today, as well.

So I always had to come upwith the goods, and I did great. Ireally did.

Q. Manypeople said that you are in the history and compare you and Rod Laver and PeteSampras and say that you are the best in the history. What do you think about that?

ROGER FEDERER: I always thought it's nice to be part of thebest. I feel very privileged and proudof my accomplishments in this sport. That's also why I thought I had to mention them on the court. I don't know if we'll ever know who was thegreatest of all‑time, but I'm definitely happy to be right up there, that's forsure.

Q. You are probably not yet the best in history,but could this be a goal for you in the next years to come before the end ofyour career?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, I just tried to have the best possiblecareer I can, and then I think it should be judged at the very end, youknow. How well did I do? Good? Great? Very good? Or medium? (Laughter.) I don't know. It's for other people to decide.

Right now, I'm still playing. I haven't retired yet, and I think I stillhave many more tournaments to go and many more Grand Slams. I'll give it my best shot to have the bestpossible career. I am not addicted bybeating all possible records, but I'm very proud of them.

I hope I can maintain recordsI have going at the moment, and I hope to break some other ones along the way. I hope to stay healthy, of course. That's most important. Because motivation and drive is not a problemfor me it seems like.

Then Ithink with the change coming in my life with the wife and baby, it's gonna bevery exciting next few years.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. Could you please tell us two things: This last game you were saying in English hownervous you were. Can you tell us thatagain? Second question, what did you doyesterday evening, and how did you manage the day before the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the last game ‑‑ I'm never afraid toserve for the match. It's probablysomething difficult to do, but I always felt that the best was to serve for thematch in the end.

When you a break or a double break,you to expect you'll be serving for the match, so this is why I've never beenafraid of that moment.

But it was so emotional toplay this first serve in the first game. I tried to serve four aces. Hewould make four errors, and that was done. So that's the ideal scenario.

But I alsoknow that this is not likely to happen, so I tried to remain aggressive. I tried to remain smart with regards to mychoices. Maybe I was not strong enoughon my shots, on my forehand at 15‑Love or at 30‑All.

But theseare things which are so difficult to achieve in those precise moments, and thisis why sometimes you see that the score is turned around. Well, I don't know. You know, mentally, I was elsewhere. I was not seeing myself winning, but I was sohappy I was in that situation. I had toremain so calm, and at the same time I had to try and do my best. So it was such a magic moment. It's difficult to describe why and how.

But as foryesterday night, I was watching the two matches I played against Soderling in Madrid and in Paris,Bercy, here last year. I had the CDs tosee what he does well and not that well to prepare. Then we talked about the match, and then Ihad dinner in my room with Mirka.

You know, Ididn't want to have a big group of people around me. I wanted to stay in my zone, in my comfortzone, and it worked out and I'm happy.

Q. What'sthe best for you, is it winning the four in one year or winning 14 Grand Slamtrophies?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the four are incredible. I mean, I don't want to comment myself, butif you've won 14 Grand Slam trophies, it means you've won the three others manytimes, which is difficult to achieve over many years.

Or if you win the four, you can dothat quicker because you're in good shape and it's the right time for you. Both are very difficult to achieve. Maybe it's easier to today to win the four inone year than it was 30 years ago when grass was much faster, when hard surfaceswere much faster, when clay was what it was.

In the past, you had clayspecialists and hard surfaces specialists. Now it's more mixed maybe to make it easier. But at the same time, it makes it moredifficult. I don't know.

Q. Soyou waited 27 years to win in Paris. Youwon the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open much earlier. Does to give a special flavor to this trophy?

ROGER FEDERER: First, I never waited 27 years, because 27years ago I was just born. My parentsnever told me, If you don't win Roland Garros we take you to the orphanage. They never said I had to win RolandGarros. It never came from them. They just hoped. They just wished I could achieve that.

But, having to wait gives you morepleasure, because a first victory, Wimbledon in 2003, that was a shock. Later on, you know what it's like winning,managing pressure, walking on the central courts, with the press, havingsponsors, being rich and famous. Yourlife changes.

Mine changed as from thefirst Grand Slam tournament I won in 2003. So today, yes, satisfaction is huge winning here in Paris after I was soclose many times in a row. So it was theoptimal moment for me to win Roland Garros.

Q. Why? Determination? Aggressiveness? Serve, didn't work in the other matches? Is it because of Soderling, or what?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't serve at 280 kilometers perhour. Each player is different. This is what makes tennis difficult. The conditions are different every day, andthe opponent is different every day. DelPotro, Soderling, and Monfils have a similar style, but they're different atthe end of day. They return differentlyand they have different favorite shots. They serve differently at important key moments. So you can't always serve or move in the sameway.

In tennis, you can lose althoughyou've played well; you can win although you've not played great tennis. Everything is possible. You need to make the good choices at theright time, and this is what I managed to do here. I'm very proud.

Q. What came to your mind when Soderling's lastball went to the net?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hoped it wouldn't come on myside. Then I had to play a backhand, andI hoped I would surprise him. But heplayed on the frame of his racquet. Themoment the ball hit the net you know it's over. You don't know what's going to happen, if you want to run around thecourt or fall on the court or just do nothing.

I had those same reactions. I just kneeled on the court. This is what I did when I won against Samprasin 2001. This was almost the same thing,because that was something that I dreamt. That's the best way for me to express myself, to really feel that I won.

Q. When Nadal lost, you didn't make manycomments about it because you had to remain focused on your nextopponents. You had to be focused on thatrather than on Nadal that was no longer there. But now it's over, so can you tell us if you thought, okay, this isgonna be a good year for me? Did it cometo your mind?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I knew I had bigger opportunities thanthe years before, because, you know, records against Nadal are tough forme. Even I had defeated him in Madrid, Iknew that if he was no longer in the draw, things would be easier for me. I was not happy he lost. That's not the type of guy I am.

This is also why I had to keep myfeelings to myself. The press wanted tohear me and listen to what I had to say. When the time came for the press conference, they wanted me to saysomething about it. But to me, it'simportant to have respect for Rafa for everything he's accomplished over thelast four years. He never losthere. That's an exceptional record, andit shows how difficult it is to win a tournament five times in a row.

That's something. I know. I've done it in Wimbledon and US Open. He tried to achieve it here, and it shows it's not easy to achieve. Of course, I was disappointed for him, but Ialso knew that it was a big opportunity for me. But it also increased pressure on me.

Didn't makemuch difference right at that time, but for the final it did because I was not playingNadal but Soderling.

Q. Whatdo you foresee for Soderling? Do youthink he can win a Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: I think he should be better on fastersurfaces. This is where he had thebiggest successes, on indoor tournaments. The US Open and Wimbledon are courts that should be better suited to histennis.

I think that it's important that hecontinues to work hard and take what's positive from this tournament and moveon.

It's difficult, but I guessit's something he can do.

Q. Twoshort questions: One, after you had beendefeated four years in a row, have you ever had any doubts you would make ithere in Paris? Second question, when youdreamt you would win here, did you dream these conditions with this light, therain?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I always had faith in my chancehere. Even if I had very tight rounds atthe end of tournament, I knew that I had the chance here in Roland Garros,because I'm too good a player not to have a chance at the end. That's one thing.

Second thing, I don't know if I hadseen the day would be like this. Iwanted to ‑‑ my dream when I was a kid was to win in Wimbledon ongrass. I was not dreaming I would winhere. This is something I hoped, but Ican't tell you I had any image in my head of how I would win.

Then I was so close and I sawRafa winning, and so I hoped I will achieve that one day. I was almost sure I would be kneeling on thecourt if I was to win here.

Q. Sincelast Sunday and the elimination of Nadal, there were great expectations onyou. Was it the longest week of yourlife?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, these were two long weeks, butespecially the last one, because it was as if I had to play four finals againstHaas, Del Potro, Monfils, and Soderling. The pressure is so big. Peoplereally wanted my to win.

It was very difficult to manage allthis. This is why I'm very tired rightnow. I think it's going to take me a bitof time to sort of accept this victory. It came as a surprise in the end because I've never won here, but thefeelings were great, absolutely great.

This is why I think it mighttake me a bit more time to realize that I made it.

Q. Soderlingplayed beautiful matches all along the tournament. Today he was almost absent during the firstset. What happened? Was it the pressure of the final? How do you analyze this?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, no, I don't think so. He probably didn't have the beginning of thematch he was expecting, because I was playing well. But when I analyze the matches he played andwhen I saw how he won, I said, yes, he won against guys who were playing veryfar from the baseline.

So this gave him time to organizeand he used his big shots. I never hadmany problems returning his shots. Iknew that there would be rallies, and it was important for me to be close tohim, to play hard against him, and use the advantages I have on clay.

This is exactly what I wantedto do, and it worked out. This is how Ibeat him the last nine times. I have thefeeling that the other opponents let him play too much. This is what I tried not to let him do.

Q. Iasked you the question on Friday, and you said, Ask me the question onSunday. I can't remember what it was,though. Well, it was about did you havesigns that it really was your year.

ROGER FEDERER: Yes. Well, the way I won the match against Acasuso and Tommy Haas gave methat feeling that this could be a good year. Then Rafa lost, and Djokovic had lost before that, so it didn't makemuch difference. But it allowed me tohave greater hopes.

But there were moments when I was soclose to losing. I feel it's just likeAgassi when he won in his days. It's notthat we're lucky, but we need to use luck when it's there. When I look at how I practice so hard,thinking I'm doing all this for Paris, for Roland Garros, everything came in atthe right time.

Maybe in some matches I wouldhave liked to have them earlier, but I managed to make the good decisions indifficult situations. Winning tightmatches showed me that, yes, maybe this is the good year.

This is whyI didn't want to answer your question. You never have any guarantees. IfI break my leg on the court, maybe it's not the good year. So I had to wait and see what would come out.

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