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September 4, 2008

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/A. Roddick
6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Andy, I mean, based on the comments on the court, Andy clearly upset you, angered you with some of the comments that became public. Was that a factor? How much were you angered by those comments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Now, look, I had a very, very tough day yesterday. Physically I was feeling very exhausted and very empty.
I wasn't able to practice. One of the reasons was physically that, you know, I was exhausted and the other reason was that I just mentally had a lot of pressure.
Unfortunately, Andy made a statement -- I don't think it was intentional, okay. He made a joke and it was a misunderstanding, so I don't blame it on him. Okay. I did react on the court. Maybe I reacted. Maybe I exaggerated and reacted bad in that moment. No, I apologize if I reacted like that. But this was just impulsive, you know.
I had a lot of emotions in last two days. It's not nice when you get that from media all around the world and from players, and I never needed to make any excuses in the press. I just didn't need -- because I know that what I'm doing is right, that I have all the rights to take the medical timeout, that I'm doing it just for the purpose to make my physical condition better and just that I continue playing better.
I never made medical timeout because I wanted to distract the player, the opponent, or, you know, make the result look worse, you know.
And I just never did it. I didn't pay attention when I took the medical timeout. I just didn't care about it. Medical timeout is there because physiotherapist are there and doctors are there to help you out. This is what I did. I just took the medicals to help me out.
Maybe the people think that I'm exaggerating with these things, but it's just -- it's nothing bad, nothing negative, because I just -- I twist my ankle, I feel bad, you know. I get the pain in the back.
I just want to make it right, you know. Andy was always nice to me when I got to the tour, so this was just a clear misunderstanding.

Q. Have you spoken to Andy in the locker room already?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, but this is just between us.

Q. I think maybe one of the reasons you were maybe upset is he was maybe not the only one who said that? Robredo said some things, and he sounded serious, although thinks his English is not as good?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, look, Robredo had the right to say something like that if he lost, you know. Everybody has right to complain and right to say. I respect everybody's thoughts and everybody's opinion.
I never wanted to disrespect anybody. As I said, if I made -- if I exaggerated on the court today and I made maybe a mistake saying that in front of 20,000 people, you know, in his city and his favorite tournament, okay, I do apologize, but it was -- he was not bad intentions. So I just hope people understand.

Q. The crowd's attitude also strengthened you even though they were very obviously with Andy? Did that help you coming back and putting him away in four sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no, nothing against the crowd. The crowd here in New York, at least I get that feeling, liked me last year, and really, I had such a fun time last year. You know, reaching the finals and they were behind me. In most of the matches I played I have not enough words to thank them. I just don't want this to happen in a bad way.
You know, we had this connection, and this year, of course, this match, I mean, I didn't expect the crowd would be behind me. It's obviously that they will be for the home player and for Andy, you know. Their biggest hope to win the US Open. This is -- this is the biggest reason.
But I just, you know, I felt bad in the end.

Q. Prior to the comment, though, I didn't think that the crowd seemed overtly for Andy. I mean, they were cheering for good tennis. You made some beautiful shots out there tonight and I thought you had tremendous sport?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, I always take the crowd out of the match, because we have to respect them, and I have big support here in the States. I just love playing here. My best results ever were here, in the States and in the hard courts.
So whenever I come back here for me, it's a pleasure to play in front of the full stadium, packed house, a lot of entertainment and a lot of fun. Makes emotions. So we just have fun. You could see that on the court, as well.

Q. You were saying you had so much pressure the last couple days. Why are you feeling so much pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the thing is that you know in the past, as well, I got asked from the press and not just asked, I mean, the press was the one who was, you know, saying a lot of things and maybe other players, as well, saying their opinions about my medical timeouts, that I was taking too much, and they don't believe that I'm injured enough.
So it was a little quiet now in last year or so, and now it's coming back again.
So it's not nice, really, when you are in the middle of something that you know that you're not doing wrong, you know?
I mean, to be honest, as I said before, it was never my intention to distract anybody. It was just doing for my own good, so press is a part of my life, and I mean, I always try to be nice to everybody, and I never been in any misunderstandings or any fights with any of the other players.
I would never disrespect anybody, and this is just -- it's not, you know, a way...

Q. So you feel like you deserve more respect for the person and player you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I just -- I just think that this should be reduced. That's all.
I mean, I'm not asking for it, you know -- you guys do whatever you need to do. You do whatever you feel you need to do. But it's just that I don't want to make excuses, you know. There is a lot of players, you know, they come and they make excuses. I'm not one of them. I don't need to make excuses, you know, why is my leg injured, why is my back injured. It's not me.

Q. We can be surprised by your way of playing. One day you're limping, the other you are not limping. So can you understand that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I can't understand that. The thing is you don't understand that in the middle of the match, you are trying to get yourself the best as possible. It doesn't mean that if I'm inviting a doctor to the court or physio that I'm dying, you know?
I'm having a problem, with the ankle, okay. I felt the pain in that certain moment, and I just want to make sure that everything is all right. That's all.
I mean, and then the big story comes out of it, and then suddenly I'm a bad guy, you know.

Q. Did you have any pain tonight? You did not call the trainer at all. Were there any moments where you thought, I'd like to call the trainer but because of all of this I'm not going to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There were some, but just -- let's keep that -- don't talk about it, because then, you know, you get me wrong again.

Q. Looking at Roger, what do you think you're going to have to do on Saturday to make it to the finals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said on the court, he's absolute favorite in that match, and for him, it's a big challenge now to win another Slam, and to at least stay in the race with Rafa to be No. 1 player of the world and end of the year, still big chances, of course.
It's a bit strange, though, to see No. 2 next to his name, you know. He was so dominant in last couple of years, and I lost to him here the finals last year. I took some, well, necessary thoughts, and things out of that match, so I can improve in the next challenges, and/or next encounters, and I won against him this year in Australian Open. That was my best tournament of the career, and against him, that was one of my best matches.
Hopefully I can do the same. I just need to be myself and need to be aggressive.

Q. Were you aware that if you win that match and go on to win the tournament that you will overtake Roger for No. 2?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not thinking about that in the moment, you know. I'm going slowly, step by step.

Q. The weather for Saturday looks like it's going to be a rainout. If it is a rainout, how will the extra day off affect you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's going to go in my favor. Physically I've been struggling in this tournament, so -- any extra day of relaxation and just recovery would be good for me, of course, but I would like to play soon, not wait here.

Q. Why would you say he's such a favorite when you did play so well and beat him in Australia and showed that at your best level on hardcourts you can play with him and overcome him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not saying I cannot win. Of course I can win and I won two encounters which we had in hardcourts. But look, he was four years No. 1 player of the world, and he's still better than me in rankings, and he has all the things under his belt, I mean, 13, 14 Grand Slams, I don't know how many titles, 50, 60 titles. He's very experienced, and he knows what he needs to play, how he needs to behave in the big matches in front of the big crowd and in big moments, what shots he needs to play.
I'm getting that experience slowly, but I'm still not in his, you know, level. If I play my best, yes, I think I have good chance to win, but still, I would give him as the favorite.

Q. Did you think you were going five sets tonight, Novak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was very close. I mean, he was serving 5-4 and 30-Love, and plus staying on the better side on the court, so I really didn't think I would get myself out of that position, but, you know, obviously I played well.

Q. Last year you really endeared yourself to the crowd through, you know, your own behavior, on court, YouTube, picking up the impersonations, us talking about it, giving it some mileage and so forth. It just sort of seems this year that things are sort of almost the other way around. There's a lot of negative stuff. It's not that you have changed, although I do sense you're more guarded. You said the other day, I don't want to be a clown, for instance. Maybe you're not trying to, you know, get laughs or whatever. But I mean, you know, do you find yourself this year leery of exposing yourself, your emotions, or are you leery of media more than you were? I mean...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's different, you know. Once you win the Grand Slam title and, you know, win a couple more major events, you get more attention from everybody, and it's logical.
Again, you know, I don't want to make any impersonations more. It's not that I don't want, you know. This is something that people will get wrong, you know. And this is exactly the reason, and this is exactly the situation I don't want to be in. You know, fighting with people, with the press and this is absolutely not me.
And that's one of the reasons why I stopped doing this. I mean everybody is different. Everybody has different character, different personality, different way of seeing things on and off the court.
I always try to enjoy my life as much as I can, on the court and off the court. People who follow my career know that. And it was all from the positive side of life and just bringing the smiles on the people's faces. Not really insulting anybody. So, you know, it just turned around now. So hopefully we can get back.

Q. You were talking about Roger's big match experience, but tonight, very big match. You come up in the clutch. You hit the great backhand lob to break him. You played a brilliant tiebreaker, big struggle on the second to last point and a winner on the last point. You're really showing something to yourself and everyone else game-wise?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. Last three matches have been extremely difficult for me, as well mentally, you know, to survive two matches, four sets and one five-setter is very important in these kind of events. I'm maturing more and more. You know, I know what I need to play in the certain moments and important moments.
I'm really trying to push myself to be as positive as I can, you know, not to think about, you know, the things that already happened.
So this was the case today. I lost that third set, and I was a break down. He was serving, and he was just getting into the rhythm of the serve. He was serving huge. And then suddenly he makes two double faults, so I used my opportunity.

End of FastScripts

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