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May 10, 2008

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Stepanek
6-0, 1-0 (ret)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you ever imagine getting through the quarters and semis and playing two sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, honestly, not in an event like this. But these are the circumstances and this is sports. Anything can happen, you know.
I think this is another reason and another showing that the season is really tough, especially this year because of the Olympics.
The players are not getting injured for nothing, you know? There is a big reason why they're having these difficulties. I understand that because I was in that situation many times.
But for me the most important thing is that I have done everything that I planned to do before the matches, last night's match and today's match.
I'm happy with my performances so far, so hopefully tomorrow I can get a big victory.

Q. Did you know beforehand that Radek had a problem?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I didn't know anything about his troubles.

Q. Is it kind of difficult to prepare for a final when you've had short matches? In a strange way, would you have preferred to have played a complete match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think my first two matches were okay. I think especially the second one against Andreev was a really long match. I think it helped me in the way that I get used to the court and atmosphere and everything in general, so I was really ready.
I got to the match against Almagro, you know, a little bit tired, but I think I was playing really well. It was good that I didn't have such a long match against him last night, because otherwise we would finish really late in the night, and who knows what will happen today.
You know, these are -- these things are part of the sport. You just have to deal with them.

Q. (From Italian) Do you think something could have been done in order to prevent this problem by not planning the Olympics or the schedule so tight around the Olympic Games?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, now if we start talking about that I think it will be taking a long time. We are all trying to make this sport more popular and better. We're all working for the good of the sport.
Especially the players in the top and the ones who are playing a lot of the matches are not happy with the schedule this year. That's certainly a task to talk about because of the really tight schedule of the Masters Series events.
We're all aware of the fact that the Olympics are making it even more difficult, but this is something that we will need to talk about in the future. I'm not criticizing anybody, but it's just very important to take care about the players, because you don't want to have these kind of situations at big events, the players retiring in the semifinals and the quarterfinals after one set.
The stadium was not even filled up and suddenly one of the players retired, so I don't think that the tournament director or the crowd or anybody wants to see that.

Q. Do you ever remember in a tournament to have two players not playing against you, or is this the first time, retiring against you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. First time.

Q. Which sort of pressure would be tomorrow on your shoulder, because you are now a big favorite? You can say whatever you want about Wawrinka. Everybody has a lot of respect for him, but without No. 1 and No. 2...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure. No, of course. As the third player of the world you always have a certain does of responsibility and expectations behind your back, especially in these cases, in these matches in the big events when you play players who are lower ranked than you.
It's normal that the people expect. And considering the results recently in last couple of months, I would be certainly the favorite in the final.
Again, I don't want to underestimate anybody. It's finals, and he absolutely deserve to be there. This is the event that all the best players in the world are playing, so -- saying it again: he deserves to be in the final, and the better will win.
But I feel physically great and mentally as well ready. Hopefully, you know, I can stay at the high level of performance.

Q. (From Italian) We've seen that today Stepanek wasn't well and he retired because of an injury. But on the other hand, he was here with his girlfriend. Do you think the presence of someone close to you be can be an advantage or a disadvantage to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This is something that is differential on every person. You can't say that it's good or bad or advantage or disadvantage, because every person has something else that is suitable to his personality, to his life, to his career, for his job.
So I can't really give an answer to that question. I like to be surrounded with the people that I really care about. I always like to have a lot of people around me, because in that way I feel better. I feel more relax and I feel more support, supportive.
But on the other hand, there are tournaments that I want to be alone. A lot of person has a different opinion.

Q. What's your idea about Federer after your match in Melbourne and he lost so many times in different situations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I was saying before, this is absolutely a normal thing, because after so many years of dominance and winning 90% of the major events on the tour, it's normal that in one point of your career you start to play worse a little bit.
But he's still the No. 1 player of the world and he still has the highest possible goals and he still wants to stay there. He still had pretty good results, you know, satisfying results in this year.
Of course, not characteristic for him because everybody expects him to win every single tournament, but players and times are changing. Players started to believe more that they can win against him or any other best player on the world, on the top.
So it's going to be interesting to see in the continuation of the season if he or Rafa or myself are going to be able to remain consistent with the performance, level of performance, with the results.
Because, you know, this year is very packed, the schedule, and the Olympics are there. So it's going to be tiring. It's going to be interesting, I think, for tennis fans to see who is going to finish in the top.

End of FastScripts

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