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August 16, 2008

Novak Djokovic


6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very happy. Very happy. I mean, to win any medal in the Olympics is a huge achievement for any athlete I think. Not many of the athletes get a chance to win a medal.
But for me, this bronze, which I won here, shines like a gold 'cause I think I've played all the tournament pretty good tennis.

Q. Can you describe the difference between playing something like this as opposed to the Grand Slams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think you can compare -- I mean, I was saying before that winning a medal in Olympics has an extremely big value for me. It's important for my career as well as the Grand Slam win.
But it's quite different, again, because here you play for your country in the first place. You represent your country. Conditions are different. All the things are different. You know, you just try to have as much as option as you can have, play even doubles, so you can get a medal in such a huge event with the biggest history in the sport, where the top athletes from all the sports all around the world come together and, you know, fight for the medal.
So everything comes from zero here, no matter if you're No. 1 of the world or 100, because everybody has motivation more to do well.

Q. Could you describe what is your state of condition now going into the US Open. What is your perception of Nadal and Roger Federer? Do you think Federer has reached his peak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I've motivated myself a lot with this bronze medal. As I said, I played really, really good tournament from the start. I think I, as well, had good chances to win the semifinal match against Nadal.
Right now I just want to think about my medal and enjoy it, celebrate it, because I've put a lot of effort in it. And then, of course, we don't have much time for celebrations because the fourth and last Grand Slam of this year comes in a week time where I have to be well-rested and well-prepared so I can get really far.
Last year I played finals there. I have points to defend. But I feel good there. I like the courts. I like the atmosphere. As I said, this medal will give me a big boost up.

Q. You played a big match against Nadal yesterday. How do you see this final between Nadal and González?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, both of the players deserve to be in the final. Of course, they played great tennis, as well, throughout the week.
Well, González already won a medal in Athens, singles and doubles. So he knows what it feels like to be in the last rounds of the Olympic tournament. Nadal will have his debut in an Olympic final and his first medal, so I'm sure he's going to have a lot of motivation to win a gold. The way he's playing, I think he's a favorite, but you never know what's going to happen.

Q. Are you going to stay in Beijing until the end of the Olympic Games or will you start your preparation for the US Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I might stay here if I want to lose first round in US Open. I'm afraid I'm not going to stay here because Olympics are too long, even though I would really love to stay and follow other sports. I have to go already in two, three days in time so I can prepare myself for US Open.
As I said, it's a really important event. If I have high intentions of being one of the top two, three players in the world in this year, I will have to do well in US Open.

Q. I want to know your opinion about the strength of Nadal. As you know, Nadal will be No. 1 on Monday. Do you believe his reign will be long or what about this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't know what should I say about length of his No. 1 place of the world. You know, it's very unpredictable. Tennis is like that. You know, it can turn around in a split of a second. If something bad happens to you, like injuries, because there is many tournaments and many players willing to get that first place of the world, so competition is getting stronger.
And the good thing about tennis this year is that you have many players who are winning some major events. It's a bigger competition, as I said, bigger line. It's more attractive for the fans, for the tennis fans.
It's gonna be interesting to see towards the end of the year who is gonna win more major events. Nadal absolutely deserves to be No. 1. He's been playing the best tennis this year. That's no doubt. Now, of course, for him next challenge will be to stay as long as he can there.

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