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November 16, 2008

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/N. Davydenko
6-1, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how great it is for Serbia to have Jelena finishing No. 1, Nenad winning today, you winning, too.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think Serbia's getting used to No. 1s, so I'll have to work on that, I guess.
No, I'm joking. I guess there's been so much going on for Serbian tennis lately that it's just incredible to describe how could we do it in such a small period of the time, short period of the time, with so many successful players in both the WTA and ATP Tour.
It's kind of a question that we get lately a lot. But it's impossible to explain because everybody had an individual way, everybody fighted (sic) their way through. Probably the fact that we didn't have the best possible conditions gave us more motivation to succeed.
And I'm so happy to represent my country in a good way, as well. I think playing tennis professionally, you know, being a professional tennis player and being successful in it makes you a good ambassador for your country.
So certainly I am very happy to share this victory, as well, with my closest family members, the ones who were not here, in Belgrade, as well, and the team. Of course, Zimonjic, I'm happy for him winning the title here and becoming No. 1. He's been working hard all his life and he finally did it.

Q. Many great champions got the Masters title, Sampras, Agassi, Federer. What does this Masters title mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it means a lot. As I said on the court, I would put it in the same league as a Grand Slam because the best eight players in the world are participating here.
Certainly it says a lot about the quality, about the players who are playing here. It attracts attention from the tennis lovers and media worldwide. Everybody has a lot of motivation to end up the season in the best possible way.
So in my situation, it was special because I've played in the second part of the season in a couple of finals, and I didn't manage to win the title for a long time - since Rome. That's probably the reason why I couldn't close it out in 5-4. I was a bit nervous.
It's not easy, you know. There is a lot of pressure involved. I'm happy that I managed to hold my nerves in the end.

Q. When you were serving for the match at 5-4, did the Mexican wave and all the noise from that break your concentration?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot put the blame on them. Why? Because the crowd is supporting the player who is probably losing at that moment. They want to have a longer match, more exciting match, and probably a longer final, right? So I don't blame them at all.
It's just that I didn't manage to hold my nerves that moment. I was really focused from the start. I think everybody could see that, that I was really going for the shots, using my opportunities, but in the same time staying very patient and playing smart tennis.
But then in that 10th game, again, like in the semifinal, I couldn't close it out. But yet again, it's very important after not closing out the match to hold your nerves, and that's what I did.

Q. You've had a huge year, your first Masters Cup and your first Grand Slam. At the Australian Open you had to go through Federer. Here you didn't have to face him. Can you compare them from that aspect. Are you relieved? Are you disappointed?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I'm not thinking about him at this moment, really. I won my Masters Cup title. It's a huge achievement for me, so I knew that whoever I play I have to do the same thing: play my style of the game and just win the matches. On whatever tournament I show up, I aim for the highest possible goals.

Q. As we can see, there is a sharp contrast between your performance last year and that of this year. What helped you to make this big progress?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was saying couple of times throughout this week that the difference between last Masters Cup last year I played, it was my debut. Things are different when you're playing first time Masters Cup and then second time 'cause you gain more experience.
And then, of course, the fact I won a Grand Slam and a couple major events gives me a lot of confidence on the court. I'm stronger player.
I know what to play, the right shots at the right times. That is what is important.

Q. You're the representative of the new generation of tennis players who make it to the top. Do you think the competition has got more close between the top players in the world this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think, yes. This year has been quite interesting in the sense that there have been more players being candidates to win the major titles, and more players winning the major titles. I think it's good for the sport to see some new faces playing the final stages of the major events.
You always, of course, want to see the big rivalry between the first two players of the world. They've been very dominant for the last four, five years.
But now you see some new faces. You know, young players coming up. It's always good to see the rising stars, the young ones, because the future lies on them.

Q. There will be an event held in your country. Can you talk about that. I know you do a lot of work for that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm happy to officially confirm that we ended up all the administration, and we gonna have a tournament in Serbia in May next year. So this was, well, one of the goals of the country, and of course myself, all the players, our federation. I think we deserved it.
We were fighting for it. It's not easy to get the tournament these days. The schedule is really packed out. There is a lot of big cities waiting upon an ATP Tour tournament or WTA tournament. So we are very fortunate.
But I think we used the momentum that Serbia has in this moment, that Serbia is one of the most successful countries in the tennis. The good thing of having this tournament is to promote the tennis, men's tennis, in the country where tennis is probably the No. 1 sport, popularity-wise.
So I'm very happy that ATP gave us their support, and hopefully we gonna have a good tournament next year.

Q. You're going to finish this season 10 points behind Federer in the rankings. What is your target for next season? Do you think you can go to No. 1 next year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, of course you can, but it's a long season. There is many tournaments and many players who are candidates for the top spot. I think Rafa really deserves to be No. 1 this year. He's been playing best tennis, by far.
As I said, I think the interesting thing for the upcoming year is going to be the fact that there is so many players. Now it's not only about the two players any more; it's about five, six, seven players who are playing really well and can win against, you know, each other.
Certainly I believe that I have quality to reach the top spot in the upcoming year or, you know, whatever, next couple of years, 10 years. You know, that is my lifetime goal that I've been always trying to achieve.
But I learned a lesson. If I pay too much attention on rankings, it doesn't go the right way. So I just want to improve my game. I know there is still room for improvement, and I just want to get my game in the highest possible level and results will show up.

Q. Last night you were pretty tired after playing for three hours. You're back out here less than 20 hours later. Can you talk a little bit about how you managed to recover.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the secrets of the recovery I think I'm going to keep more myself (smiling). But, yes, I was surprised in a way that I could move so well on the court today. I was a bit skeptical after a long match yesterday and a late finish.
But it wasn't just me that I'm in that situation. It was Davydenko, as well, who played the late match afterwards. It's not easy, but you just have to get used to it because this is the way it is.

Q. Here is a fun question since you're a man full of fun. Three presents every night, so 10 days makes it 30 presents.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: At least (laughter).

Q. So how do you handle the presents usually? Do you have enough packing space?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is so many letters and so many presents and souvenirs that I got from Chinese fans. Not just Chinese, but worldwide, and here especially in front of the hotel.
I don't know. I'll try to keep them all, you know, and treat them in the same way. I really do appreciate their support. I was saying, I was mentioning on the court a couple of times that I haven't experienced that ever in my career. Kids, as well adults, waiting for me to 20, 30 hours, over the night. I mean, this just shows how much respect and appreciation they have for you as an individual.

Q. How do you feel being the winner, especially being the last man standing again after a long, long time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, long, long time (smiling).
Well, I feel very happy. As I was saying, I didn't manage to win couple of finals, but I've done it now. End up the season the way I started it, with a win in a big event. So it's a great boost up for upcoming season.

Q. Do you have a driver's license?

Q. What will you do with the car you win today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I will drive (smiling).

Q. It seems that the top four players are all very, very strong in defense as well, not only in offense. It's very hard to get a point against you. The players have to go five, six, even more shots. Is that something that you particularly worked on or it just came? If so, when did it come?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In general, my game is based on the baseline. I'm playing the aggressive style of the game. But throughout the years you learn to be more patient and you gain that experience that you play the right shots at the important moments. Just probably the mental ability to cope with the pressure in the certain moments is something that you, as well, get playing in the ATP Tour through the years.
It's not easy on the start. You know, there is many players who are playing offensive and defensive. But I think today's tennis is based on baseline players more than on the serve and volley. You cannot see any more like you could see 15, 20 years ago with Sampras, you know, Becker, Rafter, Ivanisevic, with the big serves. You don't get a lot of those these days because - I don't know why. But there is great returners. The balls are going faster and faster.
But still physically you have to be very fit. But probably the difference between the top guys and the rest is that you can cope with the pressure. You know, the bottom line is that this is a very mental sport.

Q. I saw that the trainer came in after the match. Did you hurt yourself a little bit while celebrating your victory?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I hurt myself. I made a pretty big cut on my hand when I was celebrating with my team (smiling). I was bleeding during the ceremony. I didn't know what to do, you know. I called the trainer a couple of times. I wanted to retire (laughter).
No, no. This is just a slight cut. But you don't feel the pain in the moments of happiness.

End of FastScripts

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