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July 6, 2007

Novak Djokovic



Q. When you sank to your knees at the end of the match, there must have been exhaustion as well as delight.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously, yes. If you are playing a five-hour match today and then four-and-a-half-hour match yesterday, what I have been through in these two weeks, I even don't know how did I manage to hold on and get to the semifinals.
I'm really happy with my achievements. Right now I'm feeling pretty exhausted and tired. But, you know, I won, so that is the most important thing.

Q. How is your fitness playing Nadal tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When you play those long matches with guys like Hewitt and Baghdatis, four-and-a-half, five-hour matches, nine and a half hours in two days. If you're human, your fitness is not right, that's for sure.
Now I'm really trying to recover and then get ready for the next one.

Q. Was it a back or hip problem?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a back, as well, like yesterday. I had this treatment. Today I felt it, that lower back is getting pretty tight. So I decided to invite the -- to get the medical timeout. After that I felt pretty good.

Q. What does it feel like to be part of probably the best match at Wimbledon this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It feels great. The crowd, especially in the last two sets, was absolutely fantastic. I can say Marcos had great fans. Even though they were cheering even on my mistakes, which was a bit, you know, frustrating for me. But what can you do?
At least you see they are some people which are bringing atmosphere. I think the people saw that the match is really close and we are playing great tennis. It was full stadium in last two sets. They really supported me, as well.
I'm not from this country, and I had a lot of sympathies in the crowd. I'm really happy for it.

Q. Does playing two tough matches like that, might that prepare you for Rafael Nadal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I could wish, I would wish to finish both of the matches in straight sets, that's for sure. But, you know, when you play these two matches so long and so close, of course you are really happy to win close.
I think you are more happier when you win a close match because, you know, you are on the edge of losing and then you win. I think the emotions are stronger.
But unfortunately this year the weather and schedule -- the weather has been a big problem, and the schedule is like that, that I have to play every day basically.
From the start of the tournament, I don't know if I had one day off. Maybe I had one or two. But basically I was on the schedule every day.
That is not, you know, really the encouraging thing for semifinal. But he was kind of in that situation as well, even though of course he spend much less hours than me on the court. But he was on schedule every day, as well.
You know, he's physically probably the most prepared player in the world. We all know that. But, you know, I'll try to do my best and recover.

Q. It's fitting you sang "I Will Survive" in that karaoke.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Now you know why I'm saying that.

Q. Does that have any sort of meaning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Honestly saying it doesn't have anything to do with my behavior or something like this, with what I feel inside. It's just that before the start of the French Open I was having this song in my head for a couple of days and I decided to have that one. It was accidentally all, you know, came together.

Q. No one's asked you to record it professionally?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm really disappointed in all the guys. Nobody asked me to have a CD.

Q. Do you ever step back and say, This is a nice surprise? What have been the one or two things that have allowed you to have this incredible run?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: One thing is for sure, this is the best tennis I played in my life. These six months have been incredible for me.
I think one of the biggest reasons why I did really well on the first half of this season is that I had very good preparation period, which was five weeks long.
I had preparation on mountain first two and a half weeks, and then I went to Monte-Carlo for two and a half weeks. I had the really good preparation. I think that is, you know, the basic things which you need to do.
I think the players, tennis players, are traveling all around the world 11 out of 12 months, so you basically don't have enough time to prepare and rest. You got to make really good schedule. In today's tennis, everybody's playing. There is a lot of points.
You know, you got to think about a lot of things. So I think the preparation period is very important. That was, I can say, my base. Winning that first tournament of the year in Adelaide gave me a lot of motivation.
Since that moment, especially from Miami when I won against Nadal, I won the tournament, especially from that moment I started to believe more in myself, in the way that I can get to the final stages of the major tournaments.

Q. You trained at a mountain.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Mostly physical part, fitness.

Q. Which mountain was that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was in Serbia, Zlatibor. Then it was the exhibition tournament I played in Austria. I stayed there for seven, eight days. I used that as a preparation.

Q. Do you feel that's helped with your stamina?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it helped. Of course it helped. As much as work is important, rest is important as well. Tennis is very unique sport. You got to take care of the all body because you're using every muscle possible on the tennis court.

Q. Is it true you've already learned seeing what Nadal is doing in practice, the work he does physically?

Q. The work he does, that you've learned from him as well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I don't know where did you get the information.

Q. Semifinal in the French and here. Do you think you're ready to win a Grand Slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I still don't want to think about winning the Grand Slam. I mentioned many times before, especially here, that I want to go step by step, go match by match, just think about my next opponent.
Why not? I mean, why shouldn't I think about winning a major tournament like one of the Grand Slams? 'Cause I won already Miami, played finals of Indian Wells, played semis of French Open. I showed enough quality -- I showed to the people I have enough quality to be there.
I deserve this position. So I am one of the most consistent players this year. You know, I hope for the best in the future.

Q. Same stage of a Grand Slam, same opponents. Playing against Nadal, what will be different this time, the strategy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wimbledon grass is much slower than it used to be, that's for sure. The baseline players have much more success than the serve-volley players in the last, I don't know, five to ten years.
Nadal is a baseline player who is very strong, big competitor, kind of mental -- he has mental strength kind of like Hewitt because they both play every point. You know, they fight for every point like it's a match point.
I can't expect, you know, a lot of easy points from him. But, you know, we going to see what happens. I'm just most concerned about my fitness, that's all. Clay is his favorite surface, so I expect a different match here.

Q. Two things: In the fourth set when you broke, got broken back, you seemed to lose your spirit. I don't know if that was the injury or what happened, but it took a few games until your really got your spirit back. And second, your footing, you had problems on the baseline. Was that the condition of the court or your shoes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I look on that way, that I'm losing my spirit, that I'm not playing well, I think it's totally normal for the tennis player to have ups and downs during the match.
Of course, you know, if you're playing the quarterfinals of probably the biggest tournament in sport against a very dangerous, very talented player, motivated player, it's normal to have some oscillation, how can I say, ups and downs.
I played bad in that end of the fourth set. But, you know, I managed to stay calm and just get all the power.
I was kind of, you know, more saving my energy on his service games. I didn't move properly. But, you know, I was trying to focus on my service games and wait for the opportunity. I got that opportunity 5-All and I used it.

Q. Is it right you do an impersonation of Rafa? Any chance you might do it tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I think it would make him angry. He smiles when he sees it off the court. On the court, I think it would make him angry. I don't want to see him angry.

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