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August 12, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: I'd just like to say that Novak is the first player since Boris Becker in Stockholm in 1994 to beat the top three players in the same tournament. He's also the first player to beat Roger and Rafa in the same tournament. We'll open it up for questions.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wow (smiling).

Q. How does that feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That was pretty impressing, you know, just to hear that. Well, you know, where to start? It's been an amazing week for me, amazing tournament. Probably next to Miami, the best tournament of my career. I can say that this was even bigger success because I managed to beat first three players of the world in the last three rounds, you know.
I can't describe the feeling I have right now. It's like a dream come true, especially against Federer in the finals, to win those tiebreakers was just incredible. I managed to win these tiebreaks against a player who probably has the best score in tiebreakers, who is the strongest player mentally in the world right now.

Q. Can you take us through the match. You were in good shape in the first, bad shape, then good shape.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's normal, you know, to have ups and downs, especially if you play the finals against the world No. 1. He feels comfortable wherever he plays, on whatever surface he plays, against whoever he plays. He doesn't care.
For me it was, you know, a big motivation to play him in the finals, another experience. I never played him in finals. I played him couple of times before on different surfaces so I learned a lot of things. Just tried, you know, to maintain the high level of the play which I had this week, and I tried to stay with him every point because, you know, he's the best player in the world because he uses every opportunity. If you give him right away, he can win every game. He has all the strokes he needs for every surface.
It's unbelievable win for me. You know, sometimes he has to lose, as I said on the ceremony. He can't win everything (smiling).

Q. What kind of impact does a win like that have on the upcoming weeks going into the US Open on yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, you know, if you manage to win the tournament like this and to win against players like this, you get a lot of confidence, probably motivation for the upcoming tournaments and challenges. The most important tournament in this US Open Series is the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year. We'll all try to prepare ourselves as much as we can and to be hundred percent ready to perform well on that tournament.
As I was saying last couple days, for me it was very important on the start of the year to perform well on the most important tournaments, the major ones, which I did. I showed it again. I show my quality. I deserve to be here right now. As I said, it was very important for me to win against world No. 1, which I didn't manage to do last four or five times we played.
So I can say that now I have a little bit different picture about everything.

Q. What is your mindset for the six set points for Federer you fought off in the first set? What a turning point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, that first set probably was very crucial and it was very important for the both of us to win.
I lost my serve on the 5-All. Even I was 40-Love up, I lost it. You know, usually you expect from the player who loses such a tough game, you know, No. 1, to win easy the next one. But, you know, I was just trying to calm myself and not think about things that already happened. I was fighting really every point. It was really close. So, you know, I managed to get to the tiebreak.
Looking at both of the tiebreaks, you would say, wow, it was pretty easy. But nothing is easy if you play against Roger. You have to stay focused. You just have to stay with him and just play your game and don't get too nervous.

Q. You said coming into today that you would hope to learn what it would take to be No. 1 because you were playing No. 1. Did you learn what it would take?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's still a long way to the first place of the world for me, even though I'm third in the world. I can't exactly say that I'm, you know, thinking about becoming a No. 1 next year, in two years. You know, just try to keep my focus and do what I did till now: just stay on the right way.
Yes, I learn every time I play against Roger or Rafa. I learn from those matches always something new, try to, you know, improve on some things which I need to improve. Obviously, you know, from the past matches we had since then I improved and am really happy for it.
That's my lifetime goal, to be the No. 1 player of the world. But, again, I have a lot of time.

Q. When you broke early in the third set, did you start to get a little bit nervous, especially when you lost your serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I needed to calm myself after that second set which, you know, we finished pretty fast. After 2-All, it happened so fast, everything. I just -- he was on the roll, you know. He was playing pretty good. I just made some really unforced errors. I didn't serve well.
Of course, he used his chances right away and won that second set. It was important for me to take, you know, a break, whatever, just refresh and get to that third set ready, which I managed to do. I broke him this first game. You know, it was kind of like I started first couple of service games in that third set, I served really well, but then that game on 4-3, I put that pressure on myself without any reason. I was not supposed to do that. Again, you're playing the finals of a big tournament against the No. 1, so it's all expected.

Q. We're seeing Ivanovic, Jankovic, Djokovic. Are we seeing the rise of the Serbian golden age of tennis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's great to see the girls doing so well, and the guys as well. We have Zimonjic in top 10, we have Tipsarevic in top 50, a lot of guys still to come. Three of us, we are top five. It's unbelievable for the small country without such big tennis tradition. In last 15, 20 years, we didn't have everybody. Before that, we had only one player in men's tennis.
It's really strange, but everybody's wondering themselves how it happened. You know, probably it's in our water or something (laughter). Yeah, it's great to see. We are small country. Now everybody is supporting us. Probably tennis is No. 1 sport.
I can say that already we are showing our quality and we are showing that we have the highest possible goals, so it's always good to see that.

Q. You played him five times now. Is there some point when you started thinking you could beat him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. You know, every time I played him, as I said, I learned something new. I just tried to put away all the negative things I did and try to, you know, improve on some elements in the game so I can be dangerous for him the next time.
I'm really happy and satisfied with the way I played today. I was just struggling in some points. You know, of course it's normal to have ups and downs. For me the success is even bigger, considering the fact that I won two tiebreaks.

Q. You started out the week making, before the tournament started, a big impact in your underwear. Goran, when he went back to Split after winning Wimbledon, he stripped down to his underwear. Did that of come to your mind today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, if I win Wimbledon, I'm gonna get naked probably (laughter). I'm just joking. I don't know. I don't know what I would do in that point. I'm not thinking about it.
I can say, you know, I'm trying to enjoy as much as I can off the court. As I was saying before, that fashion show, all these things off court, off-court activities, are some of the things where you can just hang out and try to put your mind away from the court.
Not mentioning the underwear (smiling).

Q. Do you think it should still be called the Roger's Cup?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Somebody scream during the match, it's the Roger's Cup. I think it was the third set. It was pretty funny. Yeah, nothing against the sponsor, but obviously I'm going to have to arrange somebody to call Novak's Cup for next year.

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