"It was hard. The beginning was brutal - Kei came out smashing return winners and I had to make some adjustments trying to turn it around in that first set".
Yet the remainder of the contest had just enough flourishes of pure brilliance from the eight times champion to make it a worthy occasion for him to become the sole male member of the Grand Slam 100 club.
Nadal simplified his challenge immensely by getting an early break of Querrey's serve, the 6-foot-6 American's most potent weapon, and serving exceptionally well himself to advance, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. Federer's transition from back court to front court is better than Nadal's and I see that being the reason for the Swiss master having more success at Wimbledon.
Federer continued to breeze through his service games in the third set while making Nishikori fight for hard holds.
Moreover, Djokovic gets to sidestep Federer and Nadal, who boast 38 majors and 10 Wimbledon titles between them, until Sunday's final, assuming he defeats the tournament's 23rd seed, Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, on Friday. I've just checked and can confirm it starts at 5:30pm but is now on Channel 5, which I can also confirm is still a real channel.
"It's great", said Nadal of meeting Federer again. "I stay calm", said Federer, whose ability to stay ice cool under pressure seemed to be the only part of his game still functioning in the first set. Gofin took only four points on the return in three games and couldn't do anything to impose his shots and move Novak from the comfort zone, suffering three breaks to drift further away from the finish line.
"It's special. It's been a lot of years I've been coming here".
"I had planned to be in Ibiza right now".
Expressing caution at the rumoured price tag, Nadal actually went on to say that Madrid could do without the player if it means that they have to pay through the nose for him in today's inflated market.
In chalking up his 100th win at Wimbledon, Federer became the first player to reach the career century mark at any of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
"It was hard. The beginning was brutal". He nosed ahead after 33 minutes by breaking to go up 4-3, then jogged to the sideline with a raised fist. The 21st-seeded Goffin, in fact, was the first seeded player he faced.
The crowd sat dumbfounded as Nishikori despatched a delicate volley to break in the opening game and watched on bemused as the Japanese created another three break points in the third game and one more in the fifth. Grass should be even more favorable to Federer, and that should give him even greater confidence entering this semifinal. But Djokovic thinks Bautista Agut could be even more unsafe on the quicker surface.
"I sincerely hope, " Djokovic said, "that my opponent feels like he's got to work twice as [hard as] against any other opponent to win a point".