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September 8, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Novak.

Q. Were you watching the match going on now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, a little bit.

Q. Any impressions?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's all right, you know, for a start. Davydenko started well, but Roger came back.
Still it's just the first set. We'll see what happens.

Q. Do you want them to play a pretty long time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously, yeah. It's pretty hot and humid today on the court. It was not an easy task, not an easy condition to play on. Plus it was windy. Mentally you got to be very focused for it.
Well, whoever wins, you know, I'm not really thinking about Roger, playing with him. You know, still he needs to win his semifinal match. Davydenko is a tough opponent. He's not going to give up so easy.
Anyhow, it's going to be my first Grand Slam finals. It's going to be an amazing experience in front of 23,000 people. Really looking forward to it. You know, I hope I can recover and try to win it.

Q. Do you have a sense of what your achievement means back home in Serbia, to make the finals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It means a lot. It means a lot. As I was saying before, for me as an individual, it's amazing achievement what I did here in US Open and in general this year in my career. And then the other hand, really proud to represent my country in the best possible way.
I'm really happy that the people are following it and supporting me. Of course, I still -- I don't have a big idea of what is going on over there. Certainly it's the biggest sport now in our country because of the girls, as well. There's a lot of successful tennis players from Serbia.
We are very proud. You know, coming from a country with no tennis tradition, now it's No. 1 sport.

Q. In today's match, did you have any physical problem at the beginning of the second set? It seemed so.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes, it was very hot. You know, if you would play on this condition today you would understand what I'm saying now, but you didn't, so it's tough to explain.
The only one who can understand were the players who were playing under these conditions. I played a lot of matches here, long matches, with the long points. I'm a baseline player. I spend a lot of energy on the court, so it was not easy for me to hold on.
I knew that Ferrer is a big competitor. He's not going to give up so easy. For him it's the first semifinals of the Grand Slam. But it was very important for me to serve well in the important moments, which I did.
It was kind of relief for me that I won in the straight sets. If I would lose that third set, who knows what would happen.

Q. Did you start to feel better as you went along?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, so-and-so. I had my ups and downs with the feeling and with the game. Again, mentally I'm saying it was very tough to play him 'cause, you know, I knew that he's running all over the court. He's a big fighter. It was a windy condition. It's not easy. But it's good to be through in straight sets.

Q. Can you talk about your box, the red, blue, white. Was that your idea?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, they actually wanted to surprise me, and they did. They did. It's fantastic. You know, we had this thing going on, similar situation, in French Open for the semifinals. They were dressed all in yellow shirts, like 15 or 20 people, because I was wearing that yellow shirt in French Open.
Right now they wanted to make it look even better, you know, the colors of our flag, of Serbia. So it was very nice.

Q. Whose idea was it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Probably my parents' idea. Not DeNiro's idea, that's for sure.

Q. You've had an extraordinary year. In your heart, do you think you're ready to win a Slam, a major?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I'm ready, and I need to be ready. I need to think like this. I need to believe in myself, because otherwise I wouldn't get the positive outcome. I don't want to go out tomorrow and try to do my best or try to perform well. No, I'll go tomorrow to try to win.

Q. All of your runs deep into these tournaments, will that help you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah. If I play Roger, you know, I'm gonna try to believe in the victory. The win over him in Montréal will help me, that's for sure.

Q. Are you concerned you've been out on the court 16 hours, that you'll be less than your physical best tomorrow in your first Slam final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't want to be concerned. As I was saying, I want to be positive, just try to do all the things what I need to do to recover, get ready hundred percent for tomorrow's match.

Q. What will you do between now and then to do that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, if I start saying now, we can talk till tomorrow. I'll just try to rest as much as I can.

Q. Your gift for impersonation, does it have a serious side in a sense that you're able to pick up techniques or change techniques quickly when they're demonstrated to you by a coach or another player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Which techniques? You're talking about techniques of the impersonation?

Q. No. We'll get to that in a second. You are able to watch someone and immediately imitate them. So when your coach shows you something or another player shows you something serious about tennis, are you also gifted at being able to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, don't put these things together because this is not what I do. It's not all about impersonation.
Actually, I need to say in last two days the people were more congratulating me for the impressions than for my tennis. I was wondering, Guys, am I here for the impersonation, entertaining, or to play tennis (smiling)?
No, actually, of course, when we talk about serious things, I'm serious. I'm trying to be focused and concentrated for the match. Impersonation, imitations, whatever, this is just a little fun.

Q. I'm not sure you understood the question. You are good at watching someone and doing what they do. So when a coach in serious training shows you you should do this instead of this, are you better at picking that up than maybe somebody else would be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no. I'm good. That's why you have a coach. He needs to show you these things. He needs to improve of your game as much as -- I know I need to improve on a lot of things.
Whenever we are on the practice, yeah, I mean, when I'm serious I'm serious. I'm trying to improve. I'm a hard worker. The work is playing off.

Q. We caught you in a bit of a white lie that you did not ever do Federer impressions. There's a thing on YouTube showing you doing a wonderful Federer impression.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was hiding.

Q. Is that just gamesmanship? You just didn't want to say you did it?
Can we have the last questions, please, in English?

Q. What was the reaction in your country when you beat Federer, and what do you think it would be if you played him tomorrow and beat him again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. I didn't go to my country after that victory. I heard there was a lot of emotions and a lot of celebrations. You know, people, as I said, started to follow tennis. It's No. 1 sport now.
Certainly everybody's following me and the girls. If you win against the best player in the world, and we all know how Federer is playing and he's basically unbeatable, so it's a big success for my country.
You know, if I get to play him tomorrow, of course I'm gonna try to think about winning that match, not thinking about celebrating back in my country.

Q. No. 3 in the world, in your first Slam final. Whether you win the first Slam tomorrow, do you have dreams of one day achieving some of the things that Roger's already achieved?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not trying to look at Roger. Roger has his own career, his own life. I have my own thing. We are two different personalities.
I always dreamed of winning a Grand Slam, and my favorite was Wimbledon because of the big tradition and because that's the thing I remember from my childhood, you know, seeing Sampras lifting that Wimbledon trophy.
But on the other hand, I have a lifetime goal. I'm going to work hard for it to be the No. 1 player of the world.

Q. Roger committed 48 errors when you played him in Montréal. Do you remember how you were able to take him out of his game in that match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, a lot of people ask me what it takes to win against him. But I think one of the crucial things is you got to be mentally very steady and very consistent and you just have to believe in yourself and believe in the victory.
Now everything else is a matter of, of course, mental condition, physical condition. You have to be a hundred percent ready physically to challenge him, especially if you play him in the finals of any tournament and a Grand Slam where he performs his best tennis.
But, you know, I'm gonna try, if I play him, to be myself, be aggressive, try to be in the control of the match, which is going to be difficult, and just believe in the victory.

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