Federer: ’I Didn’t Know If I Was Going To Ever Be In Another Halle Final’

Nine-time champion Roger Federer beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert Saturday to reach the NOVENTI OPEN final, giving himself a chance to play for title No. 10 at the event. A year ago, Federer was upset in the final by Borna Coric. And despite that being his 12th championship match at the ATP 500 tournament, the Swiss didn’t know if he’d ever battle for the trophy in Halle again.

“I get a chance a year later because after my loss here last year, I didn’t know if I was going to ever be in another Halle final,” Federer said. “You always leave with a bittersweet taste where you had a good tournament and yet you’re frustrated you lost the final. So I'm happy I’ve got another opportunity to win this tournament I like so much, and of course it will be special to win a tournament for the first time ten times.”

The top seed knows that if he defeats David Goffin on Sunday, he will lift his 10th trophy at this event, a feat he has yet to accomplish. But the 101-time tour-level titlist also understands he needs to win the match before thinking about that.

“Somebody tough is going to be there in the final to make my life difficult. So I’m really just going to be trying to focus on the match,” Federer said. “I know it sounds boring but that’s what I’ve got to do, block out all the rest, and I did that exactly today as well. I was just really focussed, a point-for-point mentality. I think that is what’s going to get me over the line tomorrow.”

Federer - Most Finals By Tournament

 Basel  14
 Halle  13
 Wimbledon  11
 Nitto ATP Finals  10
 Dubai  10

The fact that it’s the 13th time he will compete for the Halle trophy isn’t particularly significant for the 37-year-old, whose personal record for number of finals reached is 14, at his hometown tournament in Basel.

“It’s just that it is another final on top of all the finals that I’ve played here, that I get another chance after last year's loss against Coric,” Federer said.

In the semi-finals, Federer faced an aggressive player in Herbert, who likes to come to net often. They had never played before. But Federer knows Goffin well, owning a 7-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Belgian, including a victory in Halle three years ago.

“Maybe tomorrow I can expect again more like the Bautista Agut match, tough baseliner, moves super-fast and that’s where his qualities lie, to be able to dominate the baseline,” Federer said. “I think today was good. I was better in first-strike tennis, I was able to stay out of trouble on my serve and utilise my chances when I had them on the return. So I was very happy.”

Federer - Most Titles By Tournament

 Halle  9*
 Basel  9
 Wimbledon  8
 Dubai  8
 Cincinnati  7

This is Federer’s first grass-court tournament of the season, whereas in the past two years, he also competed in Stuttgart because he did not play on clay in those years. Federer has not been put off by the transition, though.

“So far, I’m very happy,” Federer said. “My game is there where I want it to be.”