September 9, 2021
New York, New York, USA
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Berrettini
5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on the match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, best three sets I've played - second, third and fourth - in the tournament so far. I think I managed to raise the level of my tennis. When I dropped the first set, I just went to a different level and I stayed there till the last point. That's something that definitely encourages me and gives me a lot of confidence prior to semifinals.
Was a great battle. Always is with Matteo. He's very powerful player. He's got one of the best 1-2 punch in the game. Forehand from any position really. Serve, one of the biggest serves we have in tennis. Just difficult player to player against. He likes the big stage. He brings a lot of energy, a lot of intensity on the court. Was a great battle.
I feel like my game, I stepped it up, and my game has improved definitely during the last couple matches. It's going in the right direction so far.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. These guys are younger than you. Matteo is bigger than you. You guys are wrestling, we'll see what happens.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't want to wrestle with him (laughter).
Q. 220 pounds.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Exactly.
Q. Can you explain exactly what you have to do when you're going into a battle like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I know what my strengths are. I stick to them. I've worked over the years to perfect my game so that my game can have literally no flaws. Every player has some weaknesses in his game. There's always something you can improve. I want to have as complete of an all-around game as I possibly can so that when I'm playing someone I can adjust on any surface, I can come up with different styles of play, I can tactically implement the game that I need for that particular match in order to win.
Of course, I want my opponents to feel that I can get any ball, that I can play comfortably from back of the court, on the net, serving, returning. Over the years working on perfecting the game has really helped me I think just be very adaptable to anybody's game and to any surface.
Some guys, like Matteo, they need to feel strong because he serves big, he needs to feel his forehand, that it gives him a lot of free points, that he can dictate the play.
My kind of constitution of the body, I guess my work on the court and also fitness-wise, has always been based on equally paying attention to every aspect of my physical abilities, whether it's strength, flexibility, agility, speed. I always want to have everything on a satisfying level so that I could always come up with the element I need in that particular moment.
Yeah, so I think I managed to do that very well today. First set I had some chances. He made a break in the 11th game. He deserved to win it. He deserved to win the first set. There were just a lot of emotions and things.
I was just calm at that point. Said, Whatever happened, move on. Then I felt I kind of reached another level of focus and calmness at the same time that helped me, I guess, read his game better, perfect my game. It resulted with a win.
Q. (Question about playing Zverev next.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, the Olympic Games have been tough ending for me emotionally. But I did dominate the tournament to semifinals. I was 6-1, 3-2 against Zverev, who was also playing very well. Just I played great, great tennis. Then unfortunately game fell apart. It happens.
I just started to doubt my shots a bit. He started to read my serve well. He has a tremendous serve. He got a lot of free points on his service games. Next thing you know he won it. He won it comfortably in the end. Deserved to win a gold medal obviously with the way he was playing. He hasn't lost a match since.
He's in a fantastic form. Next to Medvedev, best form. But it's best-of-five. It's Grand Slam. Of course looking at his results in past few years, he's played very well here on this court. He was a couple points away from his first slam last year against Dominic.
I know it's going to be battle, even harder than it was today. But I'm ready for it. Look, these are the hurdles that I need to overcome in order to get to the desired destination. Result is something that I can't predict, but I can definitely put myself in the best possible state of mind and body to perform as well as I can.
I know his game. As I said, I know his game very well. I've seen him play. He's been playing very, very well. Again, semis. When we face each other, there's nerves, a lot of things on the line. It could go both ways. I think very few points will really determine the winner there. Let's see what happens.
Q. Why didn't you want to touch that question that was coming in the on-court interview about history?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Because I've been getting that question quite a lot recently, which is understandable. But I had enough of answering that. I just said millions of times that of course I'm aware of the history, of course it gives me motivation. If I start to think about it too much, it burdens me mentally. I want to really go back to the basics and what really works for me mentally.
Again, I'm in a position that is very unique. I'm very grateful for that. I'm inspired to play my best tennis. But I know what works for me to win just the next match. So that's the reason why I stopped Patrick. I hope he doesn't mind. I know that a lot of people want to hear me talking about it. But let's talk about it hopefully on Sunday.
Q. You alluded to the mentality of the five-set match versus having a three-set match. How does that affect your approach? When you lose one set, how does it affect your feeling in the moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I like to play best-of-five, especially against the younger guys. I think the experience of being on the big stage so many times does help. Physically I feel as fit as anybody out there. So I can go the distance. Actually I like to go the distance. The longer the match goes, I feel like I don't have any issues. I think I have a better chance than any other opponent. So that's all.
Of course, I want to start off well and win in straight sets. Don't get me wrong. But sometimes it happens that you go through ups and downs during the match, particularly when you play against the best players in the world in the latter stages of Grand Slams.
I'm going to be ready to go five sets, five hours, whatever it takes. That's why I'm here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports