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August 10, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Analyzing your game, you served very good and you returned serve from Roddick very good. But from the baseline, basically, you didn't play aggressively with unforced errors, and you basically waited for Roddick's mistakes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, first of all, it's true that I served really well, and probably was my best element in the game today. And it was very important against a player like Roddick to hold a serve and have a good base, which I managed to do.
But I returned well, especially in the second set, and I put quite a lot of pressure on him because he doesn't expect so many returns in from the players the way he serves. He's, you know, probably the strongest service player ever, so he gets a lot of free points. But I managed to get in his serve and just make him play.
But on the other hand, my biggest weapon, you know - forehand, backhand from the baseline - that's my game, that's what I do best, that wasn't going so well today, as you said.
I got into the match really nervous, because if you play against a player like Roddick, and you know that he has really fast and precise serve, and he puts a lot of pressure on you, then the player like me, you know, I have to hold my serve. And I know on his service games when I get the opportunity to play from the baseline, I have to use it because it's not assured that I'm going to get another opportunity really soon.
So there was -- that fact was putting an extra pressure on me. And that is probably the cause and one of the reasons I didn't play on my level from the baseline as I usually do, as I did in the first two matches.
But again, it was a very difficult match mentally to play, and I survived it. And it's always good to win the match when you don't play your best.

Q. Did you get used to Roddick's serve after you had seen it a few times?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, knowing that he's one of the best serves ever, and strongest, it was putting a pressure on my self. But I never played against him. This was our first meeting, so it was difficult for me to get into his serve. You know, I was practicing with him a couple of times, I was watching his matches, but still it's not the same as when you are on the court in an official match against him.
So I was trying to get used to it. In the first set he got a lot of easy games on his serve. And on the other side I didn't serve so well, but especially I played bad from the baseline, which was causing a lot of struggles and troubles for me in my service games in the first set.
So he had a lost opportunities; he didn't use them. And right after, I used my opportunities, I can say, when I got them. Exception is that 6-5, on 6-5 I had the service for the set, and I was a bit nervous. He played a couple of good shots. But in the tiebreak, I played pretty solid.
You know, I was just trying to get his serves back. That was one of my goals, just to make him play, you know, because I know that I have probably better shots from the baseline, and I have more chances from the baseline. So I was trying to get him on that.

Q. If Nadal wins, which is, you know, he's favored to do, so you're going to have a totally different challenge ahead of you. And considering he stopped you on a couple of big occasions recently, can you talk about the perspective of this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, I played him five, six times. I just won one time, he won five times. So he's the more successful than me head-to-head. And we know each other pretty well. We played basically on all kinds of surfaces. This year we played a lot of times.
The positive thing, if I play him, of course, for me would be that the last meeting on this surface, I won. So we played two times. I lost Indian Wells and right away in Miami I won a really good match, probably the best match of my career.
So there is no secrets, basically. I know his game, he knows my game. It's going to be a difficult match, even if you know that he -- even if you know his strokes and even if you know that he doesn't have a great serve. But still, he makes you play, he makes you run. He's a big competitor. He plays every point. And mentally, he's tough to get through. And you just have to hold on and stay every point with him.
But, again, as I said, he has to overcome Frank Dancevic, who is playing in front of his crowd, and it's going to be interesting to see him.

Q. What do you know about Dancevic?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I know he's related from Croatia. It's good. Djokovic, Dancevic, as long as it's 'vich' it's good (laughing).
Well, he's a great guy. We are friends for a couple of years already. And I didn't see him so much lately. He was playing mostly on the challengers. But he start to play much better, and I see that he got to the top 100. He's been playing some great tennis, especially here, he's playing in front of his crowd. He has a great support. And obviously he has an extra motivation to succeed and to do well, which he did.
You know, he got to the quarterfinals. Now he plays against Nadal, No. 2 of the world, he doesn't have anything to lose. So it's going to be interesting to see how he's going to play.

Q. How would you judge the way you're playing right now compared to where you were in Miami and earlier in the year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said before, it's the same surface, but still it's different courts. You know, in Miami, it's not so fast. Here, it's faster. So the points are not so long and you've got to be really focused.
But comparing my game with Miami, I think Miami was the best tournament on my career by far. Here I played two matches, first two matches, really great. Again, today, as I said, from the baseline I didn't play my best. But you know, I won.
So I can say that here I'm serving better than Miami. But still I need to get it together, get all the things. So far the things are going great so I hope I can finish as I did in Miami.

Q. How did you become friends with Frank?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, on the tour. You know, on the tour we've seen each other. You know, even in the junior tournaments, junior events. But mostly on the challengers and ATP events.

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