home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 23, 2008

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Dominant first two sets, but it took you a little while to close out the match. Any explanation for that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm very happy with my performance today, even though I was struggling a little bit in the end.
I knew that I would have to play every -- basically every point with hundred percent focus because David is kind of player who runs all the time and tries to get in the match and physically is one of the fittest players in ATP Tour. So I was aware of that fact, and that's why I was quite nervous in the end. But, you know, I managed to hold on.

Q. There were nerves at the end you mentioned on court, as well. Does that bother you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, not too much, because I know that I am playing with a lot of emotions, you know, good emotions, bad emotions, and I have been like that since I started playing tennis.
So I haven't changed something, you know, in a negative way. So, you know, as I said on the court, it's really difficult sometimes to control your emotions in such big matches and important points. And it was a lot of pressure. So in some key moments, certain moments, you know, something just flips, and then you behave like you don't want.
But the most important thing is that I stayed in the match and stayed focused.

Q. Is that the area you can make your most improvement in, you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Where? I didn't hear.

Q. Most improvement in terms of your nervousness, your emotions.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no, I mean, yeah, in one hand, as much matches you win, you're more confident and more positive on the court, of course.
But again, as a third player of the world, I have a lot of expectations and pressure, and sometimes it's difficult to stay calm on the court. But I'm working on that, you know. I'm still young and I still need to improve some elements in the game as well as the mental stabilization.

Q. Do you talk to yourself, tell yourself to stay calm? How do you do it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, every player, I think, does it on the different way. Me, well, yeah, I'm trying to calm myself on every possible way. So sometimes I talk to myself mostly quiet, not people to hear me and look at me as a weirdo, but it's good.

Q. Belgrade has three players in the semifinal. You said the other day that you don't have any hard court. Do you have an indoor court or not even that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not a good -- not good task to talk about now, really. You know, looking at the success, I'm very happy that so many players are succeeding from our country. And still, you know, we're trying to be positive about all of this, you know.
As I said, there's still no system in our country for tennis, and people are trying to get used to the tennis, because it's now No. 1 sport of our country. And people really love and like what we do and respect it.
Now, more and more kids are getting involved. And it's necessary to have some tennis centers. So, you know, sooner -- soon, we hope, after the, you know, political elections and all these things, when they're finished, you know, we can at least build up one or two tennis centers.

Q. The money you make, Ivanovic and Jankovic, are you thinking to participate a little bit on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is two stories. One is that country is trying to build up a national tennis center. And the other story is that family, my family and me, we're trying to build up our own national tennis center. So we want to build up a tennis center. This is -- this was one of our -- my lifetime goals, really, because I love tennis, and I really would like to have many facilities, professional facilities, for my brothers and for all the kids and in the end for me, because everybody wants to spend more time at home.

Q. You spoke before of the pressure and expectation. Is there a different sort of pressure on you now, heading, say, into this major championship compared to what you felt going into previous semifinals, and particularly they're now saying you're going to be the guy to maybe challenge Roger?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, they were saying the year after breakthrough year is the most difficult one. But, you know, I'm feeling really, really good at the moment, physically and mentally. And as you can see on the court, I'm showing all my strength. And I made some changes. I was working on my skills in the past couple weeks. And I changed my strings. And I'm feeling really well now. I'm playing with a lot of confidence.
It's always good to start the year with such a great success. Playing a semifinal in a Grand Slam has become my routine, you know, in the last year or so. But, you know, I'm always trying to push myself on the most important events to play my best tennis, which I did, and it's a positive thing for the future.

Q. You want to take your time in terms of how you're going. It just seems the game is getting impatient around you, for you to be the one in particular to take on Federer.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure. When I look forward to something, I look forward to practice on some things that I still think that can be improved, and you never can be perfect of player, you know. You always have something to work on. And there are some spaces in my game, elements that I need to improve, and I'm really looking forward to it.
So I'm still young. You know, I'm just getting into this professional world. Hopefully this next 10, 15 years is going to be my life. I have the right surroundings around me, great people, with a lot of knowledge about tennis and about the life. So things are going great.

Q. What did you do with your left knee in the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was -- luckily it was nothing serious, you know. I just made some quick move and irritated a little bit, probably, a tendon. But it's all right.

Q. Do you feel that you've moved on and are a better player than you were prior to playing Roger in the final of the US Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's kind of difficult to compare that stage with this here period. I've been playing some amazing tennis, probably the best tennis my life in, US Open Series. And in US Open, I was struggling that second round. And then I just break through, and I went all the way.
So I felt that after the win against Roger in Montreal, I had big chances in the final, though I didn't use my opportunities that has been given to me, and now I look at the things in a different way. You know, every time I play with Roger or with the best players in the world, I learn something new, I have another experience. And I try to -- I try to watch matches, you know, speak with the coach and see what I need to do so I can -- so I can play better, save some energy, you know, improve my game, and win against the best players in the world.

Q. Would you say that this surface helps you or helps more Federer compared to the US Open surface, in case you have to play him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't know if it suits him or not. But it suits me, that's for sure. I've been playing great, great tennis.

Q. More than the US Open one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think, yeah. I've been playing really consistently here, and I think I improved. I'm playing with more patience, but I'm getting -- I'm being aggressive more and more, you know, trying to --

Q. Do you like better the bounce?

Q. Tipsarevic said you gave him good tip on how to play versus Federer. Are you going to call him and ask...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm going to call him. Well, I'm still not playing with Federer. He needs to win his quarterfinal match. We'll talk about it later.

Q. (Question regarding the first set.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Today I've been playing some really impressive tennis, especially in the first two sets, even in the third set, till that end. As I said, in the start, I knew that he's a big fighter, big competitor, and he's been playing the best tennis of his life in the last couple of months. So, again, didn't have nothing to lose today. But obviously he was a little bit surprised because I have changed some things since the last time we met.
You know, I wasn't rushing so much. I was more patient. I was mixing up the pace. And obviously he didn't like it.

Q. Right at the end of the match, I think it was on the fifth match point, the umpire actually asked for a bit of respect from the crowd. I think he said, Be respectful, please. You paused before you served.

Q. Did someone say something that wasn't...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, this is -- it's all part of the game, you know. It's all sport. It's all professional sport. You have to deal with that and with pressure and with all the fans and everything around the court, and, you know, outside of the court in a most professional way.
Today I might -- I might did something that could cause a third-set loss, and then who knows in what direction would match go? But, you know, this is something I'll work on, just to try to focus on court, and that's it.

Q. Given that it could have been a distraction at a very crucial moment of the match, how pleased are you with the fact that you were able to block it out and then go on and win in the way you did?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very pleased. It could go either way, as I said. I was lucky that I was serving for the match, and on the side which was better in match, because I played with wind, so I could put more pressure on him. And even though, you know, I was struggling, you know, I was bouncing the ball more and more. And since I bounce the ball more and more, people figure out that I'm nervous (smiling). But in the end I served it out very good.

Q. Can you sort of expand on that point? When you say you did something that, you know, could have resulted in going into a fourth set, what is it exactly you did? Was it by being distracted by the crowd? Were you annoyed at yourself for letting the crowd inside your head?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's the second thing. You know, I shouldn't get distracted by the crowd, you know, because I had enough of that big matches on the courts, big courts, big events, Davis Cup. You know, since a year, year and a half, I had a lot of that matches. So till now, I think I have enough experience to deal with that, with the crowd.
It's just that today, in that crucial moment, I let distraction come to my head, which was no good. But I'll work on that in the future.

Q. Tsonga is in the last four. Are you surprised?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I think everybody's surprised with the way he plays. And I think -- I knew that he's a good player with a lot of potential and a lot of talent. He's been struggling with some injuries. But he's coming back big time, really. He reminds me of Muhammad Ali in his best days. And he looks like him, actually.
But he's been playing some great tennis, really. And he's a really nice guy, so I'm happy for him.

Q. Given that you would be a hot favorite against James Blake, in a funny sense would you rather play Roger in the semifinal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Honestly, no, if you want an honest answer (smiling).

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297