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October 31, 2014

Novak Djokovic


7‑5, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  We didn't see you in a Halloween mask today, Novak.  Too much a serious occasion for that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah.  I don't know what to say.  I didn't continue the tradition that I have here.  Maybe in the upcoming years, but not this year.
But tennis‑wise it was great.¬† Great performance.¬† Always going to be physical with Andy, and I know that we have a lot of rallies, very similar styles of the game.¬† Very few points can decide the winner.
So that's what happened in the first set.  Made a crucial break.  He was break up in the second.  I got a little frustrated there with a break point, so missed opportunities.
He was break up, but then, you know, I managed to come back to the match.¬† Played some ‑‑returned well.¬† When it was important, served very precise and used the serve as a weapon today.
You know, usually you don't get too many, let's say, easy service games against Andy because he's one of the best returners in the world.
But today I got more than a few, and that helped, obviously.

Q.  I think that's seven wins in eight matches against Andy.  Do you feel you've got a little bit of a mental edge over him at the moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there is a certain definitely percentage of mental advantage when you're approaching the matches against one of the biggest rivals knowing that you won, you know, three, four, five last matches that you played against each other.
But, you know, it doesn't play a most important role, I guess, in a match.

Q.  But do you feel you know how to beat him now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yes.  I know about his game as much as he knows about my game.  There are no really secrets.  As I said, we play very similar styles.  Our games are based on the baseline, you know, good serve and stepping in and aggressive returners.
So that's why it's a cat and mouse, I would say, game when we play against each other.  Whoever tries to maneuver the other player with some shots and just kind of stay emotionally calm and controlled and composed in the moments when result can go, you know, either way.
So that's, I believe, one of the keys to win in the matches against Andy.

Q.¬† Because you said at the US Open you said that you felt that if you stayed with him you'd have the edge physically, but then maybe he's ‑‑ all the work he's done the last five weeks maybe he's a little bit more conditioned.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yes.  You can say because of the hectic schedule he had playing six, seven weeks in a row, because he tried and he succeeded to qualify for World Tour Finals in London.
Definitely wasn't easy, because, you know, to play this many matches.¬† Of course he played Valencia final over three‑and‑a‑half hours and then comes here and plays well first two matches.
You know, the body suffers a lot, and I'm sure that he did try his best today.  If he was physically fit or not, I think he's going to answer that question better.  But, you know, I did feel like I was maybe fresher player on the court, and that's maybe something that I should use at this stage.

Q.  Obviously today's circumstances aside, do you feel like in general when you play against Andy it's physically more grueling?  Because you two have a way of making tennis not look very fun when you play.  It just looks painful sometimes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (Smiling.)  Well, you know, we know each other so well.  Sometimes we are very patient in the approach to the matches and we start, you know, pretty slow.  You always want to see how the other guy starts.
I feel like, you know, the higher the percentage of the first serve is, mine or his, the better that player will, you know, go in that match.
Obviously that doesn't necessarily mean that you will get many free service games, because both of us, we return pretty well.  But still, you know, to have a kind of efficient first serve is very important at this level.
I think his first‑serve percentage wasn't that high today, and that's where I looked for my opportunity to attack his second, put some pressure on his serve, and, you know, just hang in there, just stay mentally tough there.
Because we are both physically fit, we do play great from all over the court, but, you know, mentally you need to hang in there and wait for the opportunities.

Q.  You talk about your serve.  Milos Raonic had a great service game before you, sort of 240 Ks.  You don't get great speed, but you land it with amazing accuracy.  It's just a different style.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  Well, I miss 40 kilometers there on my serve, first serve.  But, well, I try.  You know, of course, it's obvious that I can't serve as fast as Raonic or some guys, so I try to use the accuracy rather than speed in the serve.
I know the first shot is always very important, so I want to allow myself to have an easier first shot if the return comes back to the court.  That's where I try look for my opportunities.
Raonic, I have seen a little bit of his match today.  You know, when somebody serves like that it's so frustrating.  It's very difficult to play.  He played some great match, and him, Karlovic, Isner, you know, those kind of players, it's very frustrating to play against because if they are on with serve they can win against anybody on any surface.  One or two points can decide the winner.
I'm very happy with the way I served today.  Not so last night.  So it goes up and down, but I try to work on that part of my game.  With Boris and Marián of course I emphasize serving and allowing myself to have as many free points on first serve as possible, or an easy first shot.  That's kind of a, say, tactic.

Q.  Do you expect much the same with David or Kei tomorrow compared to what you had tonight, or what do you expect from either of them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  They are baseline players.  Obviously they don't have big serves, but they do both return very well and they play some great baseline tennis.
So kind of similar to the match I played today, but with some difference, obviously.  David is somebody that is always out there and fights for every point.  Competes regardless of the score.
Kei is playing the season of his life.  Played finals of this US Open.  He won against me in semis, so I know how well he can play.  He's very talented.  He plays on a high level from both forehand and backhand corner and steps in on the second.
So, you know, now it's semifinals, and both of these players, whoever wins, deserves to be out there.  There is no really clear favorites.

Q.  Do you ever play photographer with Boris Beck?  He posts these sort of hilarious Instagram photos.  They are usually staged in some sense.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† He does.¬† Well, we have a different approach to the social world (laughter), let's ‑‑ least to say.
Well, Boris has his own deal, but he's very funny in his own way, you know.

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