Melbourne - Roger Federer admitted medical timeouts were "more mental than anything" after he went off for treatment at a key moment in his Australian Open semi-final with Stan Wawrinka on Thursday.
Federer said the injury break, for an upper-leg problem between the fourth and fifth sets, helped him clear his head before returning for the final set against his fellow Swiss.
Federer, who had lost the previous two sets, returned to win 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 and reach his sixth Australian Open final, setting up a shot at a record-extending 18th major trophy.
"These injury timeouts, I think they're more mental than anything else," the 35-year-old said, when asked if it gave him a chance to clear his head.
"For the first time maybe during a match you can actually talk to someone, even if it's just a physio," Federer added.
Medical timeouts have sometimes been controversial. At the 2014 Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka drew suspicions after going off at a critical point of her semi-final against Sloane Stephens.
Wawrinka also went off for treatment after losing the first two sets, and he returned to win the next two against Federer.
"It maybe relaxed Stan just to be able to talk about I don't know what. The same thing for me, as well," Federer said.
"You start chatting about it, how good or bad the leg is, how you hope it's going to turn around. That can leave a positive effect on you when you come back.
"I only really did take the timeout because I thought, 'He took one already, maybe I can take one for a change'. Because I'm not a believer in any way that we should be allowed to take a lot of timeouts.
"But I took it after the set break. People know I don't abuse the system. I hope it's going to stay that way in the future for me, too."
Wawrinka said he had no concerns about Federer's timeout, adding that he didn't think it had any bearing on the outcome of the match.
"Anyway it's a set break, so it's a longer break. I took one when I need it. We both know each other. We're not the players who take extra medical timeout," he said.
"If we take it, it's because we need it. I took it when I needed it; he took it when he need it... If you look at the end, the fifth set, I had some opportunity at the beginning. I don't think it affected the score."