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November 21, 2015

Novak Djokovic

London, England, United Kingdom


6-3, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A simple question. Who do you wish to play in the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't wish to play anybody. I'm just going to see whoever I play against and then prepare for that match.

Q. Today during the match I tried to observe what is your best skill in the game. I wanted to ask you, in your opinion, why are you so much better than the other players? For example, the management of the recovery between one shot to the next, one point and the next?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's very technical obviously. It's hard to say or point out something that separates me from other players. I mean, every player has his own pros and cons. I feel like over the years I managed to improve my transition from the defense to offense. My serve has gotten better, not in terms of speed, but in terms of precision and accuracy. That was obviously one of the parts of my game that worked well today. I got more than a few free points on the first serves.

I know I can rely well on my defense, but I also wouldn't like necessarily to stay in the back of the court for most of the match. I know that the matches against the top rivals at this level are won when you are aggressive and when you're taking the ball early.

The first shot, serve, being aggressive and constructive in the right points, that's what I focus on.

Q. I know it's still not the end of the tournament. If you have to use one word to describe your 2015 season, what would that be? If there's any room for improvement, what would that be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's the best season of my life, I mentioned that before. Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's match, the season will still be the best that I had.

There is always room for improvement, so that's something that honestly excites me and motivates me to keep on going. I've had a terrific career and I'm very proud obviously with my team to be able to achieve what I have achieved in the last 10 years of professional tennis. But I still feel like I want to do more, and I can do more.

Hopefully the health, fitness serves me, the fresh mind, and I can do more things in the future.

Q. Rafa made a comment about you a little while ago and said you're almost 'unbeatable' at the moment. When you're playing a match like you did today, everything is flowing perfectly, what does it feel like for you on the court? Do you feel unbeatable?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't feel unbeatable, but it does definitely feel great when I'm playing the way I played today, when I feel like I'm dictating the pace, the match itself, most of the rallies, I feel like I'm on top of my opponent. There are days when you don't feel great, where you have to find a way to win.

I've had so many wins this year that, of course, make a difference in terms of the approach, the optimistic approach to the matches and the confidence level I feel on the court. It's quite different when you know you haven't lost too many times. Especially against Rafa, I won the last, what, three times we played against each other. That all plays a major role in the mental approach to these matchups.

Q. Talking about the mental approach, how do you explain you won seven matches in a row in 2011, then you lost six out of seven in 2012, now you're winning eight out of the last nine? How is it possible to explain to the public why these things happen? What surprised me today, second set, you only put 47% of your first serves in, but you made 16 out of 19. That also is almost unbelievable.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think over the years it's kind of normal to expect in the rivalries like I had with Nadal. In terms of matches played, it's the greatest rivalry we had in sport because we played 46 times against each other and we still keep on going.

It's normal that you expect that you have some kind of periods or swings where momentum goes to one player, then it moves to another player. There is really no other rational explanation for that other than the one player getting the psychological edge over the another if he starts winning more than two matches in a row.

I served well especially in the first set. Second set maybe I dropped that first-serve percentage. Again, I was not too skeptical about the fact that I dropped the percentage of the first serves because I was backing that up with the baseline play, especially the quality of the first shot was really good today. Even though when I was missing first serves, I knew that with a good second serve, you know, I give myself a very good chance from the back of the court with Nadal today, even though he has played well given the results and the matches he won during the week. I still felt like today I could have done most of the things that I intended to do.

Q. Rafa was saying earlier on that when you were beating him in the finals in 2011, he got a sense towards the end he was doing things that would help him come back and win later on. When you were losing to him in 2013, did you get a sense of seeing what you had to do to beat him? Did you get down whether you could work out how to beat him again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, over the years I think we both adjusted and tried to understand what it takes to win against one another. I think my game overall has improved. I became more solid.

I think the defensive tennis was always good, something I could rely on, as I said before. I managed to turn very quickly from defense to offense in tennis. I think that's one of the biggest improvements I had. The fact that I can get some free points on the first serves as well helps when you play against Nadal.

Again, it depends which kind of surface you play. But also the amount of matches I won in last couple of years against him gives me that maybe advantage, mental advantage, coming into the matches.

Q. You tied Nadal in the head-to-head today. You could potentially tie Roger if you play him in the final and beat him. How important do you consider that statistic in terms of generally looking at history? Secondly, could you talk about playing either one of those players in the final.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously after 46 matches and 10 years of professional tennis, I managed to tie my head-to-head score with Nadal. It took a lot of time. Again, I think I was a few levels under him at the beginning of my career when I started playing professional tennis. Nadal was alongside Federer dominating the tour. I just couldn't really do much against him.

But because we played so many times I had a chance to really shorten the gap, and now even the score. With Roger, it's also really close. He's winning by one match.

Even if I don't manage to do it tomorrow, I feel like these two guys will still keep on playing tennis for years to come. So hopefully I'll be able to have many matchups with them.

In terms of importance or priorities that I have in my mind, this is not at the top, the head-to-head. It's more about obviously winning major titles and some other things.

I've lost against Roger three times this year. When he's on, it's hard to play him. I think he also like playing me because he has a variety in his game with the slice, he comes to the net, I takes away the time from me, so forth. We always play matches with a lot of tension. There is a lot at stake. I know I have to be on top in order to win against him.

Hopefully I'll be able, if I play him tomorrow, to play better than I've done a few days ago. But the performance today definitely gives me reason to believe that I'll do that.

Against Stan, I've lost Roland Garros final. That was obviously a well-deserved victory from his side. He played some amazing tennis. Last couple years he's playing the best tennis of his life, two Grand Slams, beating Roger, Rafa and me in the big tournaments. I don't think he's overwhelmed by the big stage. He knows how to play in the big matches. I'm sure he's going to play well tonight.

I'm going to play a Swiss player tomorrow, so let's see which one that's going to be.

Q. You won so many matches this year. In your mind what was your best performance and why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's hard to say. I've had some matches where I've played some really flawless, incredible tennis. But in terms of the highlights of the year, I would say those were the Wimbledon and US Open finals that I played against Roger. Winning those two Grand Slams obviously against the best player in history was something that stands out as the achievement of the year.

Again, I had many wins that I will definitely, when I look back, remember in a positive way, and hopefully use for the next season.

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