Federer and Djokovic’s Interviews after Quarterfinal Wins.
MONTE CARLO, MONACO
R. FEDERER/D. Nalbandian
5-7, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The best match of the year 2008 of Roger Federer or not?
ROGER FEDERER: I rather would have won in two sets, then maybe would have been the best match of the season.
So, no, it was a good match. I was happy with my performance.
Q. Did you expect you would play so well after the first two matches?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I did – obviously.
Q. Is your game lifted with this match? Has it come up a bit since the past couple of matches?
ROGER FEDERER: I think the level of play was excellent today. We had some really tough, you know, games at the end of the first set. You know, it was warm out there. You know, it was tough rallies.
I think I definitely played my best match of this tournament. You know, no doubt the first one was a grind, you know, against Gaël. Everything was a bit more difficult after that first-round match.
But today I think it came together and I was just happy the way I moved – especially, you know, because on clay that is a big thing for me. Could have served maybe a little bit better here or there. But my statistics, I think, were very good.
So it’s always nice playing against David, but also beating him.
Q. Was it especially nice beating him after he’d beaten you the last two times?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, don’t care really, to be honest. No, no. Simple answer (laughter).
Q. Still he’s a player who has beaten you eight times. So should give you a little more satisfaction.
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, because of the great player he is. He’s a wonderful ball-striker. Great movement, great anticipation. You know, we go way back to the Orange Bowl semifinals. That was for the No. 1 position in the world in juniors. Finals of the US Open juniors, as well.
I mean, like I said, it’s always nice playing against him. And when you beat him, you always know you’re playing well because he’s not just going to hand it over to you.
Actually, he beat me here years ago 6-1, 6-2. So it’s nice to get him back because of that, I guess, more that than because of Madrid, or whatever that was.
Q. How do you explain the difference between the way you played today and the way you played on Wednesday?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, getting used to conditions, you know, sort of having a few days here of practice, having a few matches under my belt here in Monaco.
Many times in my career have I, you know, maybe not played so well throughout the tournament, but then tied up some really good matches towards the end of the tournament. It’s a normal thing, you know. But being obviously so close from defeat, you know, is an unusual thing.
But, you know, remember I played well coming back against Hidalgo. So from them on, I’ve had some really good tennis, you know. Also against Gaël, I thought, yesterday.
Hope I can back it up again tomorrow.
Q. How long does it take you to get back into the full swing of it on clay?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess a couple of weeks I would think. You know, I mean, I really like this victory today, as well, because I think David’s already played in South America on clay, he played Davis Cup on clay. So, I mean, he’s used to this stuff. You know, he hasn’t, you know, not played on this surface for a long time.
So, I mean, he must be also playing well. So it gives me big satisfaction from that end, as well. And I think I, you know, have much more information after this tournament and then practice, you know, a few days, and hopefully everything’s hopefully going to come together in Rome, Hamburg and Paris.
N. DJOKOVIC/S. Querrey
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Seemed like another very composed performance from you. Can you talk about how you played.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure. When I found out that I’m playing against Sam instead of playing against Gasquet, it was certainly a better draw for me considering the fact that Sam is not a clay court specialist.
And today I was in control of the match most of the time. I didn’t face any breakpoints and I was really comfortable on my serve. In the other hand, I had a lot of opportunities the first set I didn’t use. But in the end I managed to break him and then hold the serve. After that, it was more or less routine.
Q. Do you have to adjust when you’re playing someone who isn’t a clay court specialist? He must look very different to most people you play on clay.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, true, true. You always, of course, try to prepare the tactic according to the opponent you are having that match.
Today I knew that I’m gonna be facing a big server, so I needed to be really focused on my returns, just wait for my chances, try to open up him a little bit more, try to open the court and then have the opportunities to finish with the winner.
Q. It seemed quite easy. Are you ready for a big clash now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I’m ready. Physically I didn’t spend so much energy in these three matches. Mentally it was exhausting. But, anyhow, I cannot complain about long matches and long points because I didn’t have those. So I can say I’m ready, you know.
I just need to try to be myself tomorrow. Even though I’m playing the first player of the world, I played him many times. The only time we played against each other on clay was here two years ago, and it was three sets, tough match.
So I think I have a good chances. I showed enough quality throughout all the tournament this year. We’ll see what happen.
Q. Do you think the fact that it’s on clay makes the job slightly easier in any way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it might be. But looking at his match today, you really don’t try to think in the way that you have advantage if you play him on clay ’cause he plays a great tennis on clay, as well. He grew up on clay basically.
He didn’t have as much success on clay, as much as he had on hard courts or grass. But, still, he is No. 1 player of the world. He played two finals of French Open. He won Hamburg. He was more or less everywhere in the final.
So for sure he’s No. 2 in the moment on this surface.
Q. Were you surprised by his reaction today? As you said, he played a big match against Nalbandian.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He played a fantastic match. It was really impressive. I watched a little bit. Even Nalbandian had a great performance. But, you know, when you have such a great performance and you lose 6-2, 6-2, second and third set, your opponent had to be really, really great.