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September 6, 2016

Novak Djokovic

New York, NY, USA


6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your road to the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm in the semifinals, so that's what matters for me the most; to be able to play as well as I did in fourth round and today in the quarterfinals for at least a couple of sets.

I thought that I came out with the right intensity. The quality of my game and level of performance has raised in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four.

I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As tournament progresses, I feel like I'm getting better. Of course that this Grand Slam is very unique for me. I never experienced something like this to have three retirements on the road to the semifinals.

I can only wish all of my opponents a speedy recovery. That's all I can do on my end. I obviously try to focus on things that I need to do; stick to the game plan. I notice Jo already midway through the second set was upholding his first serve and you could sense that something is going on.

So I'm sure it's not an easy situation for him to handle, playing quarterfinals and having to retire night session. But, again, it's sport.

Q. Did you sense that you broke him mentally as much as physically with just how sharp you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's I guess a question for him. On my side I said I tried to come in with high intensity, concentration, and trying to execute the game plan I prepared with my team.

I played Jo many times on the big stage. First Grand Slam final for both of us was back in 2008 in Melbourne. Yeah, played over 20 times against each other, so I know Jo very well. I know his pros and cons.

So I tried to analyze the matches that we had before, and as I said, get myself, you know, prepared the best way I could. I thought I did well on the return; put a lot of pressure on his second serve. First serve is sometimes a gamble because it's a big serve. Just tried to get as many balls back in play, move him around the court, and I thought at least that I have done well.

Q. Does the lack of match competition concern you at all going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. Actually, in this stage of the season, considering some physical issues I have had in the last month, month and a half, this was the scenario that I needed and I wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I'm feeling very close to the peak. That's the position where I want to be.

Q. But would a fourth or a fifth set maybe be a bit of uncharted territory for you in the current sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I mean, I have played so many times. I was so many times in this particular situation where I had long matches on the road to the semis of a Grand Slam. Also had some Grand Slams where didn't spend too much time on the court.

It really just depends how you feel, how your season has been, how many matches you have played throughout the year.

As I said, this scenario with easy was ideal at this stage.

Q. You played Del Potro in Rio and now he's in the quarterfinal here. How well do you think he's playing right now? How close is he to his form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he's playing very well. His forehand and his serve are two huge weapons. For somebody of his height he's moving very well. His anticipation is great.

At the end of the day he is very, very motivated, you can see that, to perform his best. He hasn't played for, you know, couple of years on the tour with those wrist injuries and surgeries and everything was happening.

I know him very well. Very pleasant, very nice person. He deserves what he's getting at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how he goes around in the big matches, you know, from quarterfinals, from tomorrow onwards.

Q. With sort of the lack of match play here, do you treat the next couple of days differently than you might at a different slam? Will you guys sort of talk through or walk through different scenarios that you might face, say, in a fourth or fifth set since you haven't been there now in a couple of months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm not going to practice for three or four hours just to feel that kind of potential for the fifth set scenario. Just keeping the routine as it is. I'm glad, you know, I have another two days now to work on things. You know, at this stage of the tournament and season, I think one of the most important things for a player is this freshness of the mind, of the body, and just having that right supply of substance in your body and the enduring strength that you need, the speed, the alertness.

All these things come with, you know, some time that you have around. Time management, most of all. You know, I'm really looking forward to come out on the court on Friday in semifinals.

Q. You go way back with Monfils. He's a player that a lot of fans like to watch. They think he's very entertaining. Obviously you have had the better of him in the record, but as a player, do you enjoy watching him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I love watching Gaƫl. He's one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.

He's very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.

I mean, this is - well, in my eyes - what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you're a sportsman or whatever. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That's why people like him.

But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year maybe he's playing the best tennis he ever played. He's very consistent. He hasn't dropped a set till semis. That says a lot about the level he's on.

Definitely expecting a tough battle.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, it's a question for him. I don't know Gaƫl that well to understand what's happening, what was happening throughout his life and career. Because, you know, sometimes the circumstances in your private life affect your profession. In this case, tennis career.

But he was always enjoying playing tennis, you know. In the end of the day, it all comes down to that, whether you're happy doing something. If you're successful or not, that's something that's is on the priority list of the society we are living on. Trophies, fame, money, influence, all these kind of things that I don't believe they are the best values that we all should share.

I think happiness intrinsic, really belonging to something and really being fulfilled doing something. That's what Gaƫl is bringing to this sport. I think he's a very valuable asset to tennis, so I'm really glad that a player like him is doing well. He's, you know, obviously bringing that energy to the court.

Q. When you say you're reaching your peak, do you mean in terms of your physical problems or in terms of form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm reaching my peak in terms of my form. I don't know how you understood that.

Q. Do you feel like 100% here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's what I said, yes.

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