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November 15, 2008

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC / G. Simon
4-6, 6-3, 7-5


Q. What is the condition of your injury? You looked extremely excited after you win it. What did you think of your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, of course I'm excited about my win. It's the Masters Cup, best eight players in the world this year are participating here. It's a huge success for me to reach the final. I like to celebrate this success. I see nothing bad in it.
Regarding my injury, it's nothing too serious. It was just cramping because of a lot of running and a lot of rallies we had. So I just had to treat it a little bit in order to end up the match.

Q. You seemed a little tense when the match started in the first set. Were you so? If so, do you know why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's the semifinal. There's a lot of things on stake. It's a match of great importance. I'm aware I'm the favorite in the match. Probably a lot of people thought that Federer is going to qualify. He didn't, so Gilles had nothing to lose. First time in the semifinals of a Masters Cup, as I am.
As I said, I had this role of the favorite, and probably it's had some impact on me in the start of the match. I wasn't playing the way I was supposed to. I wasn't patient enough. A lot of unforced errors.
And Gilles is a kind of player who force to you make a lot of unforced errors. He's a very patient player, running all over the place, getting a lot of balls back. It's not easy to play him.

Q. I know you don't know who you're playing, so could you make a comment on either of the two opponents.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, probably the win against Davydenko, in case I play him, will help me a little bit, but not too much. It's going to be the first final for me and for either of those two guys.
Final is something special. Every player has a motive more to do well and to win the title. I didn't win a title for a long time already, since Rome, so I would like to end up my season in a good way.

Q. Could you talk about Roger a little bit. Every great player before him, like Pete Sampras, whoever, reached a point where they're still great players, but not considered up beatable, have that aura that players just don't feel there's a way to beat them. Do you think Roger has hit that point in his career where the other players feel he's more beatable than he had been in the past?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, nobody's unbeatable. That's a fact. But, again, the fact is that he's one of the best - maybe even the best player - that this sport ever had. I have a lot of respect. I think all the players have a lot of respect for him. He's been so dominant in last four, five years, playing his best tennis when it matters, in the Grand Slams especially. It looks very easy when you look at him. He's an artist on the court.
But, you know, he reached a certain point, you know, when certain players start to win against him, and then you lose a little bit of the confidence within the loss. The other players start believing more that they can win, so I think it's a natural process. It's nothing strange that he's losing a little bit more than often.
But for him it's a big challenge to come back next year. It's still not over. Roger is the second player of the world, and he's intending of getting the top spot next year.

Q. You've said you're much more mature and have more confidence than last year's Masters Cup. Given the fact you didn't do well in Madrid and Paris, how did you turn things around to play so well in Shanghai?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I didn't want to think about my early losses in Madrid and in Paris. Even though it was quite important to get some confidence prior to the Masters Cup, I didn't get a lot of matches.
But, again, I believed that I can reach the final stages of the tournament, which I did. As I said, I just had a lot of belief in myself, a lot of confidence. I knew I have to be aggressive and play my style of the game and the results will come, so that's what I did.

Q. Last year you came for the first time in the Masters Cup pretty exhausted and you lost your three matches. This year did you prepare especially to do better at this competition?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the difference is that last year I had a long season - not quite longer than this one. But I was younger and had less experience. This year I'm more matured and stronger physically and mentally on the court.
So that makes a difference. Especially winning the Grand Slam and couple of major tournaments gives you enough belief to have a quality to be one of the favorites for the important events, major events, and the Masters Cup in the end.
I didn't have such a great time here last year. I lost all three matches. Didn't win a single set. But I learned something. Every single tournament and match is a new experience. Took the best out of it and used it this year.

Q. Could you tell us what happened in the 10th game of the third set. You served for the match but got broken. And if you can choose, who are you going to choose to play in the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Whoever. Really, I don't have any preference. They're both great players. As I said, final is a special match. Everybody has motivation more to do well. Whoever I play, I expect a tough one.
When you're serving for the match, you know, a lot of things going through your mind. But it was a specific situation in that 10th game of the third set because I was pretty exhausted, had to save some energy. I went for the shots. You know, I wanted to make the points shorter. You know, I risked, and the risk didn't pay off in that game. But it paid off afterwards.

Q. Mathematically there was a scenario if you try to fight harder in the match against Tsonga, you may have a chance to overtake Roger in the world ranking No. 2 if you win here in Shanghai. Now Roger is No. 2 and you will finish as No. 3. How do you take on this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: All your questions are very negative, like you really make me think negatively. I don't want to think that way. I reached the finals of the Masters Cup. I'm still only 21 years old. It's going to be more chances for me. I know that I have great challenges in front of me, a lot of years to come. So take it easy.

Q. You mentioned the other day Miss Universe was in your box. You had Robert De Niro at one US Open. Does a tournament take a different reflection when the celebrities come, like the US Open and Miami? Is that fun for the players, or you don't care?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it's always nice to have a celebrity support, that's for sure. But the main thing is that whoever's in my box, whoever is supporting me or not supporting me, watching my match, I have to do the same thing: I have to win with or without them. That's the main goal.

Q. Suppose you win tomorrow. What will the victory mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would put it probably in the level of winning a Grand Slam, for sure, because, you know, best eight players in the world. You play a round robin system. You have to win at least five matches to get to the title.
But, well, the good thing about this system is you can even lose one match, maybe even two matches, and then go through to the semifinals. So it would be great if I can end up with the title. I didn't have such a great last couple of months of the season. Didn't win a title. Lost a couple of semifinals and finals.
But I'm confident now. Hopefully I can rest well and be a good challenger for my opponent tomorrow.

Q. I want to ask you about the Davis Cup final in Mar del Plata next week. Who do you think is going to win and why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I've said a couple of times in these couple weeks that I really cannot put my preference into any team, because the finals of the Davis Cup, it's very encouraging for both of the teams and a huge challenge.
But the fact that Nadal is not playing is, you know, now an advantage for Argentina. And, again, the home support, the home court, the crowd, we all know the opponent's team, how much fun they have in front of the Argentina crowd.
So it's going to be interesting to see. I think maybe Argentina is a slight favorite with Del Potro in a great shape and Nalbandian as well.
But you never know; it's the finals.

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