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July 5, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: First question for Novak.

Q. Happy with those stats?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just looked. I didn't take a look.

Q. Very tough match, though, today. Very physically testing for you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was actually. I was aware of the fact that he's one of the probably most difficult players in today's tennis to play against on this surface. He won Wimbledon already. He knows what it feels like to play a big matches in front of the full stadium.
I knew I had to be really hundred percent physically on the first place ready if I have any intentions of winning this match.
As you all so, it was one of the best matches in this year's Wimbledon. So this win means a lot to me. It's probably most valuable win I ever had on this surface, so I'm very happy for it.

Q. You were doing a lot of slipping out there. Was there a lack of traction on your sneakers? Do you have another pair?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I got the critiques already. Yeah, I did some, you know, slipping, sliding, whatever. So it was a bit dangerous.
Yeah, I can say that I was supposed to change my shoes. On the start of the match it was okay, but then in the end you don't notice it because on grass you don't notice that the shoes are -- you know, you can't use them as you could use them when they were new.
It's all normal. But, you know, I'll take care for next time.

Q. So you didn't have an extra pair with you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I did have, but I didn't change. When you're playing against a guy who makes you play every point two minutes and then a lot of stress mentally, we play for four and a half hours.
I was thinking about it, but I had a lot more important things to think about.

Q. Did you injure yourself? Did that cause the injury to your back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it didn't have anything with my injury. It's not nothing really serious in particular. It's just that I felt a tightness in my lower back. I felt it sore.
So, you know, I could serve but I felt it's getting tighter and tighter so I decided to call the medical timeout. My intention, of course, was not to interrupt his game or something like that, it was just to help myself and try to, you know, serve and play better.

Q. Could you have played in a fifth set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I can't say right now. I'm not thinking about it. You know, I was trying to finish as fast as I can.
But, you know, Lleyton Hewitt is, as I said, one of the most difficult players because he makes you play every point. He doesn't give you a lot of free points. So I knew if we got to the fifth set it would be very difficult for me.

Q. Were you in discomfort because of the injury?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, a little bit. Yeah, sure. I mean, if you're playing four and a half hours, four sets, will be probably -- if we got to the fifth set we would play another hour. It would be one of the longest matches in the history of tennis.
You know, I'm really happy to get through in the four sets.

Q. Lleyton was asked about the difference between here and the last time you played in New York. He said he felt you had all the shots then but you weren't trying very hard. He felt like you were fighting it out more. Is that a fair comment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Like I said before, you need to be physically very ready for him and mentally as well. He doesn't give you free points. You got to earn your points. You got to make a lot of -- you need to be aggressive, but in the other hand you need to stay patient.
In US Open last year, in that third round, I didn't recognize myself on the court. I was really trying to make winner out of every position, and he likes that. He likes to play rallies. He likes just hanging in there on the baseline and wait for the opponent to make mistake.
And today was difference. Of course from every match you learn something new. I knew I have to be very patient, but in the other hand to try to get to the net more. I managed to do that.

Q. How much did the rain delay slow your momentum?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not too much. Not too much.

Q. You've had some pretty memorable experiences already this year. In terms of the prospect of playing a quarterfinal, a semifinal, and maybe a final in successive days, do you think you're in good enough shape to contend for that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was saying in the last couple of press conferences I don't, you know, still imagine myself as a Grand Slam winner. That's for sure one of my goals and dreams.
You know, I played the French Open semifinals. I played, as well, French Open last year quarterfinals. Another quarterfinal of the Grand Slam. First of all, I'm very happy to do well on the more important tournaments, the most important tournaments, the Grand Slams and nine Masters Series, which are the most important tournaments in tennis.
You know, now it's going pretty well for me. I feel good. I'm in a good shape. This is the best match I've ever played on this surface. So I'm getting in with a lot of confidence in tomorrow's match.
Now the question is if I'm going to be ready enough for another difficult match 'cause Baghdatis is a very good player, very talented. He showed his quality last year. He played the semifinals here. He beat Hewitt in quarterfinals.
Is going to be very tough for both of us. I'll do everything and we'll see what happens.

Q. We were watching so many different matches this morning. So much was going on. But it didn't look like you wanted to attack very much. At times it seemed like you attacked even more on clay or hard courts earlier in the U.S. this year than you did today. Was that to prove a point that you could beat him from the baseline?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can't exactly say. In the first and second set I think I was going, you know, pretty much on the net. I was using my chances, trying to be aggressive, especially in the first set.
But then, you know, I lost my serve at that point in third set. Things little bit changed. If you want to be aggressive all the time, you got to stay mentally strong all the time with him from the first to the last point because he plays every point like it's the most important one.
I knew that he likes rallies on grass. He likes to, you know, play with you, make you run. He likes to run, as well, because he has pretty flat shots from both of the sides.
You know, I think I have pretty strong baseline strokes to hurt him from the baseline, as well. I knew that. So I was trying to, you know, be at the baseline but in the other hand use my every opportunity.
I think I did well. Honestly, I could do more. I know that. But I'm still working on it. You know, that's why this is one of the things why I started working with Mark, as well.
We are trying to work on the volleys, slice, these kind of things, especially for this surface. It's a matter of mental decision in the match, so I have time. I'm really not worried so much.

Q. In the best-case scenario, Saturday will have two men's semifinals and a women's final. If you were doing the schedule, how would you organize that? Would you have the men playing at the same time or one after another?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I don't have particular answer for this question 'cause I'm not the one responsible for the schedule. I said yesterday after the match the only thing I can complain about is that why they didn't play on Sunday.
Even though they knew the conditions were really bad, they knew the conditions were going to be bad, they didn't play on Sunday, which is not understandable for me and the other players.
But, you know, it's a difficult position. You have five out of seven days rain all the time. It's tough from both of the sides.

Q. Do you enjoy the pressure of a tiebreak situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it pretty interesting how many tiebreaks I won in my career and how many I lost. I think I didn't lose much. I have much more success in tiebreaks, which is very encouraging and positive thing for me, considering the fact I'm only 20 years old and I'm not playing forever this professional tennis, I'm playing for only three years.
It's always good to see in most important moments, in tiebreaks, most important points, I played my best, especially against a player like Hewitt to win the three tiebreaks is a big success. It's a good thing.

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