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 21, 2008

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you sum up the game from the tough start to actually winning.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I knew it's going to be a tough encounter. Obviously Lleyton is a big champion. He was former No. 1 player of the world, playing in front of his crowd. He's always dangerous wherever he plays and whenever he plays.
Even though I was the slight favorite in the match, you know, I was aware of the fact that he plays the best when in front of his crowd, and he's not going to give up. But in some moments of the match he was making some unforced errors, which helped me to get through.
It's understandable because he finished his match, third round, at 5:00 in the morning, so he was tired.

Q. You're used to being cast as one of the nice guys on tour. What was it like being the villain? It wasn't a hostile crowd, but they weren't on your side.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, you need to deal with the pressure, that's for sure. As a professional tennis player, you have to accept these things the way they are. And I was aware of the fact that it's going to be a full house supporting him, 90, 95% of the people. I was ready for it, you know.
In the start of the match I wasn't playing the way I wanted, but, you know, I managed to get through with some lucky shots. I stayed with him, you know. That was the most important thing: To just play my style of the game, be aggressive and wait for the shots. Very happy to get it in straight sets.

Q. Just in that first set there seemed to be times when the atmosphere seemed to be getting under your skin. Obviously, you weren't playing quite as well as you wanted to.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, as I said - I'll repeat it again - you have to accept the pressure and accept the people against you. Of course, they're going to support the player from Australia.
But I had many matches like that in 2007. Besides the victory in the straight sets today, I gain another experience, a good experience, which is going to help me in the future.

Q. When did you feel he was getting tired?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, it's very difficult to figure out if he's tired or not because he's really big fighter and competitor. He's running all over the court, and he doesn't give you any points, you know, like that.
But I think in the second set, you know, he was struggling with that long points and he made some uncharacteristic - for him - unforced errors. You know, I used my opportunities. I knew that I need to push myself hard to finish the job in straight sets.

Q. Getting closer to a Grand Slam win, do you feel now you're playing well enough to win this one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think so, yes. So far I've been performing very, very good tennis. Today, except maybe that first set, the second and third set were really good. I'm happy. And, you know, I didn't lose a set. So it's another positive fact for me, for the continuation of the tournament, of course.
It was expected for me to get to the quarterfinals, you know, even further. But I'm taking it easy. You know, I'm going slowly, step by step.

Q. Is it tempting at all to look ahead to a matchup against Federer in the semifinal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I wouldn't talk about that 'cause now I have very difficult opponent from Spain: David Ferrer, the guy I lost to in the Masters Cup. He finished his year big time in Shanghai, so he's very motivated now. He's 5 or 6 in the world.
Again, he doesn't have anything to lose here. So he's been playing some amazing tennis. It's going to be a tough match for me, so we'll see what happens.

Q. Do you think if Lleyton didn't have the five-setter against Baghdatis it would be different today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We don't want to think in that direction now. I won in straight sets. That's what it matters most.

Q. So you are in the quarterfinals. How do you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I feel great.

Q. Ferrer is your next opponent.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I just said about that.

Q. How do you think the match will go?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, he's a big competitor, so it's going to be a tough match. Long points. I'm gonna be ready, physically for it.

Q. You have been in this position at a few Grand Slams now. Do you feel, this one, you've gotten through expending the minimum amount of energy? Do you feel everything is as good as it can be at this stage of a tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is something that every player obviously tends to have, you know, energy saving and try to spend as less of energy as is possible. You know, of course, it's very hard on the tournaments like this.
You know, when you play best-of-five setters. And if you have a tough draw it's even harder. You need to run a lot. But that's probably something that Federer does best. He knows. Rationally he's saving his energy. He knows when he needs to push it, when he needs to be patient.
But there is still time for me. You know, I'm only 20 years old. I'm just getting to the professional world. I had amazing year 2007. So far 2008 has been great. You know, hopefully this is going to be my life the next 10, 15 years.

Q. Usually by this stage of a tournament we're talking about Roger being on court half as long as everybody else. Bit of a different story at this tournament, isn't it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. The players start to feel that he's beatable. Of course, nobody's unbeatable. But he was very, very dominant, especially on the faster surfaces. You know, now he's being No. 1 player of the world for a while. The players started playing in a different way against him, with more belief that they can win. So it's a good thing for all of us.

Q. You do a great imitation of Maria Sharapova. The other day she was asked to do one of you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She refused.

Q. She was afraid to break her back if she threw the ball as high as you do.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She doesn't have such a strong back to hold on to the ball bouncing.

Q. You struggled a little bit at the end of last year. Do you think you are back at your best level?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think so. It's still start of the year. It's my first, you can say official tournament. I've been winning in the Hopman Cup as well four matches and here, so far four matches.
I gained a lot of confidence which I lost - kind of lost - in the end of the last year. I finished the year with five losses in a row, which was unexpected. But, again, it was understandable because I had such a long season and so many matches. It was exhausting for me.
But now I came to this tournament with a lot of motivation, high ambitions. It started well for me. We'll see what happens.

Q. David said if he wants to win this match he needs to wear you down running. Do you feel physically ready for that match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm going to stand up in the morning and run for two hours, work on my running (laughter).
Well, one thing is for sure: he's obviously gonna try to run a lot, to make me run a lot and play long points. But, you know, everybody has a different way of getting to the match, tactic.
I'm gonna try to change my game, you know. Since Masters Cup, you know, I didn't play really well there. I was pretty tired, so I was making a lot of unforced errors. Here it's a different story. I'm fit physically and mentally and motivated to get far.

Q. Which are going to be those changes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the main change now is that I'm much fresher than I was in the Masters Cup. That's the main thing. And, of course, I learned a lesson. You know, I was very unpatient (sic) in that match in Shanghai. So it's going to be a different story now.

Q. I saw your youngest brother practicing at one of the courts. Compared to you at the same age, how do you think he is?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's great to have, of course, two younger brothers next to you. They came here to Australia to support me. The 16-year-old, he played here in Australian Open juniors, as well. It's a great experience for him. Hopefully you're going to see a lot of Djokovics in the future, brothers.
For them, it's amazing to just be surrounded with all the best players in the world. They met a lot of great players. Now they have motivation more. It's good they have me next to them so I can give them right advices in the right time.

Q. Are they your biggest fans?

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