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August 31, 2007

Novak Djokovic



Q. Did you need to take an IV after the match, intravenous feeding?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not yet, but I will do everything to try to recover as fast as I can. You know, it's been a long day, long match. If it's necessary, I'm going to do it.

Q. Can you describe for us what it was like to be part of that match, the atmosphere, and then to win it obviously?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have to say that I'm very proud of myself today 'cause I don't even know how I managed to win 'cause I was not on the top of my game, not too happy with my performance. I had a lot of negative elements in the game. I didn't serve well.
He put a lot of pressure on me because he was the one who was serving well, you know, getting a lot of volleys in. I knew that I have to, you know, stay with him all the time. I can say that from the last time we played against each other he improved his baseline game a lot.
Obviously he likes to play on the hard courts more than any other surface. You know, he showed that today. Before everything, we had unbelievable fight, remarkable match. We should both be proud. Of course, it's always good to be winner of such a five-setter.
Anyhow, it was a great, great fun out there.

Q. Right before the tiebreaker, he started getting the crowd involved. Then you raised your arms a lot. Did that actually psych you up coming into the tiebreaker?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, you know, in that moments you have to stay positive and try to think in the right direction. That was one of the ways to put away the pressure before the fifth-set tiebreak.
As I said, you know, it was a lot of fun. We had great entertainment, and the crowd loved it. It was, you know, the longest match in this year's US Open.
And it was a quality tennis, as well. You know, all the time. A couple of times I called the trainer, he called the trainer. You could see that we have a lack of energy, but we were fighting all the time.

Q. Were you cramping at the end?

Q. And what were the reasons for the calls to the trainer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the cramping was the biggest reason. That was in the end of the match. I had the medical treatment first time for my legs. They were really sore and my muscles. I just couldn't move well. You know, I called the physio to help me out. After I had a sore back and he fixed me.
After, I had two, three more changeovers, as the rule says, you know, to get my legs going and keep it going, just flush out a little bit because I was cramping.
You know, it was difficult to stay calm, you know, just try to keep it up all the time 'cause he saw me cramping. He was in a better, obviously, condition. He didn't have a lot of energy left, as well.
But, you know, he tried to get the ball into the court and make me run more so, you know, I can get more cramps and more troubles. But, you know, I managed to remain calm in the most important moments, so that's a positive thing.

Q. Speaking of entertaining matches, tomorrow Roger will probably be playing John Isner.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I know, the big guy (smiling).

Q. Do you think that match is worth all the hype it has and will generate?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, obviously looking, John's last couple months have been great for him. He won two matches here. Crowd supports him. He likes that energy and entertainment. I think he doesn't have anything to lose.
So it's going to be interesting anyhow. I mean, he's playing against the best player on the world, defending champion.
It will be interesting to see, but it could go either way.

Q. There were a lot of long, grinding points in this match. Do you feel like you played aggressively enough off the ground in this match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I feel like I'm gonna throw away my shoes after this match. That's what I'm gonna feel like. You know, I slide too much. I was obviously imagining I was on the clay, not on the hard court (smiling).
But, as I said on the start, I am not happy with the way I played. I'm happy with the way I was fighting all the way through and just keeping it up, trying to stay focused.
But the other hand, okay, there are things I didn't like in my game. You know, obviously he put a lot of pressure on me because he was getting to the volley a lot. He was serving and volleying. I knew that I have to return well.
Whenever we got to the situation that we play a long point from the baseline, still it wasn't me. You know, I was not aggressive enough. Then I made some unforced errors. So I didn't have any feeling. It was just a matter of fighting.
But, again, you cannot look negative. You know, I won, so I feel more confident for the next round.

Q. Is one of the main differences between this season and last season that you can win even when you don't play your best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, that's obviously, you know, one of the things the better players, the best players on the world have. You know, you see Roger, for example, whenever is important he serves well, he plays well, he's focused. He plays his best tennis on the most important moments. That's why he's best on the world. You see Nadal, as well.
Of course, there are many, many days, many matches that you cannot play on the level that you expect to play, and it's normal. I mean, it's tennis. It's sport. In that moments, it's always good to see that the player is fighting and winning those matches.
That's another positive thing for me for the future, as well.

Q. Pretty unusual to be attacked like that and have to see a lot of volleying? You don't see many players doing that, do you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In today's tennis, not too many. It's really a good thing for a player in today's tennis to have that option of getting to the volley more. He's a good player. He had this trouble of getting that injury, and he was off the tour for quite a while. But he's coming back and I'm sure he's gonna prove his quality very soon.

Q. Are there points that are still very memorable in the match to you? Maybe second set tiebreak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Couple of points (smiling).

Q. The half volley that you kind of danced afterwards.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there are a couple of points that are really unforgettable, yeah. I remember that one and the end of the match, as well. I think fourth set I was break down, as well. We played last point of my service game. Yeah, I mean, there were couple of those.
I really had fun. As much as I was running and sliding and cramping, whatever, I still had a lot of fun.

Q. What have you heard from friends of yours or fellow players? Much reaction to the match yet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, a couple of people told me it was incredible match. We put a lot of effort. Only the positive comments about it.

Q. One particularly memorable point: the lob volley he hit that you had to turn and run for just beyond the baseline. You jumped three feet in the air. Do you remember it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. It was a lot of points in the match.

Q. A lob volley. You had to turn from the net, run back.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, yeah, the end of the fourth set probably, yeah. I remember. Then I jumped and tried to get the people on their feet, yeah.

Q. You had the two long matches at Wimbledon, Baghdatis and Hewitt, and then you ran out of gas against Nadal. Are you worried about that here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not trying to think about that. It's a different situation. I learned couple of things from the Wimbledon this year. Every time you learn something new when you play those long matches.
Obviously it was a big lesson for me in Wimbledon that, you know, a couple of things I can change. But still it's different because in Wimbledon I had to play every day and it was terrible schedule.
Is nothing I could do about it. Naturally it was impossible for me to hold on after spending nine hours in just two days to get to the semifinals, you know, with Nadal. It was impossible.

Q. Is your fitness something you think needs improvement? The French last year, Wimbledon this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously if you see me winning the five-set matches, the five-hour matches, the fitness is the thing which is good. Of course, you always need to improve. But I don't think that still it is a big trouble and big problem for me, because this year I had a couple of unbelievable matches and long matches. Because of my fitness, I was able to win those matches.

Q. Is it difficult late in the match not to think about how disappointed you would be to go out that early?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is. There's always expectations as the No. 3 player of the world. I had some impressive results this year. Of course, the people expect me to do well because this is my most preferred surface, the surface where obviously I can be dangerous for the best two players of the world.
But still it's a Grand Slam, you know. It's two weeks long. That's why there is a lot of surprises, because the players who are a bit lower ranked, 50, 60 in the world, even the ones who are coming from qualifying, they are motivated more to do well.
It's best-of-five, so fitness is a pretty important thing.

Q. Do you feel like you've played your best tennis at the Grand Slam events?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This year probably on the Grand Slams and on the Masters Series events I played my best tennis, which was for me very important and it was one of my goals. So I'll try to keep it up.

Q. Juan Martin Del Potro next. Comments about him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We never played against each other. But, yes, I know him. He's one year younger than me, even though he doesn't look so. He's a really talented player. He's just a year, year and a half on the ATP Tour, is trying to get used to those big tournaments, big events.
He's been doing well lately. He likes to play on hard court. He has pretty good groundstrokes, pretty flat, good serve. He's really, really tall. Looking at his first two round matches, he's been playing very well.

Q. Did you watch any of the Blake match last night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A little bit, yeah. I had to go to sleep 'cause I played early. But I watched I think till fifth set.
It was great match. You have more and more of those matches, I think the people like it.

Q. Are you looking forward to an Ashe Stadium appearance yourself this time around?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, well, yes, I do. I didn't get a chance, but I hope I will.

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