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January 23, 2009

Amer Delic


6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Seemed like there was a really great spirit out there on court. Are you disappointed that there was a bit od a skirmish between fans out there?
AMER DELIC: Yeah, I just heard about that. I'm really sad to hear about that. As I said a couple days ago, there's absolutely no place for that here. This is a tennis match.
As I'm sure you all saw at the end, I mean, Novak and I are friends. We're both competitors, obviously. In the end it was a fair match, and there was no reason for such things.

Q. You had said on your website, Hey, guys, let's calm down. Will you be following that up now?
AMER DELIC: Absolutely. I mean, as I said, it was fine during the match. Obviously both sides were cheering. I just heard about it as I was walking out of the shower with the guys. Actually James Blake was in the ESPN studio. He was watching it develop. I was sorry to hear about that.

Q. What was your message to them?
AMER DELIC: Well, you know, I don't know who started, who finished, or whatever. Either way, I mean, on both sides I'm sure there were guys that wanted to cause problems. It's like that everywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, it happened here today. I'm sure some innocent people might have gotten injured. It's sad. I don't know what else I can say.

Q. Had you spoken to Novak about it prior?
AMER DELIC: Actually, I saw him in the hallway yesterday, and I just kind of told him what I did on the website. Kind of a couple days ago said something in the newspaper, too. He said he was going to try to do the same thing.
There's only so much we can say. You can't stop and control everybody. Somebody gets drunk, you know, they want to cause trouble. It happens.

Q. The atmosphere in the stadium seemed pretty good today.
AMER DELIC: Yeah. As I said, it was a fair match. The crowd enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed being out there.

Q. Quite an experience for you here. What are you going to be able to take away from this? I hope that doesn't leave a sour taste in your mouth?
AMER DELIC: Absolutely not. As I said, it's sad. But overall, it was -- I mean, it was a great trip down to Australia. Every year I come down I enjoy playing here. Obviously the fans are great for every country that comes out here. It's great.
As I said, it's a good start to the year. Hopefully we'll continue the momentum. Finally, this is the way I wanted to play in the last, I don't know, six or seven months. I had a tear in my shoulder. Hopefully I can just stay healthy and just keep it going.

Q. Does it give you a lot confidence to know that you can play a lot higher than what your ranking suggests?
AMER DELIC: Absolutely. I mean, but at the same time, you know, I had zero pressure out there. Here I am, in the third round of the Australian Open playing on one of the biggest stages in the world on Rod Laver Arena. You have the crowd behind you, it's fun. Nothing to lose.

Q. Did you surprise yourself how well you played?
AMER DELIC: I didn't think so. I started off, I mean, bad. I had to struggle with the sun. Finally I kind of got back to where I wanted to play. Obviously the strategy was, since I played, I don't know, ten sets in the last few days, I did not want to rally.
I was better off hitting the fence and not giving him any rhythm than actually trying to stay in the point and hoping he was going miss. I took my chances. Obviously I served and volleyed and took cuts at returns, missed some, made some. That's what I wanted to do. Just go out there and swing for the fences and hope for the best.
You know, I had chances in the tiebreak, Damn Hawk-Eye and damn let court. That's the way it goes.
Hopefully next time it will break my way.

Q. What you described as a skirmish, do you know how many people were involved?
AMER DELIC: I only heard just like a couple seconds ago. James told me what he saw. I have no idea. I'm sure when I go -- I'm supposed to go ESPN right now. I'm sure they're going to ask me a few questions about that. I really don't know.

Q. When you decided to play college tennis in the United States, I don't know which college you attended.
AMER DELIC: University of Illinois, Fighting Illini.

Q. Did you have offers to attend other colleges?
AMER DELIC: I did. I lived about an hour away from the University of Florida. The Gators had a pretty good program. I was recruited by a lot of good schools.
At the time I was the No. 3 junior in the nation with Andy Roddick being No. 1 and Alex Bogomolov being No. 2. Alex turned pro, and Andy, we know what he did. And then me.
I was scheduled for five visits to go, because that's the NCAA rule. I went to the University of Illinois and met Craig Tiley, who was my coach, and Bruce Berque, who is the assistant coach. That was a Friday. Came back on Sunday under and called him them and said, Okay, I'm coming. I'm canceling all the other trips.
That was it. And Craig was stunned and Bruce was stunned. They were like, Are you sure? And I was like, Yeah, this is it. It was just a gut feeling. People at the beginning laughed, because I lived in Florida and I end the up going to Champagne, Illinois.
Not too many people know where it is. It's two hours south of Chicago in corn fields. Ended up being one of the best decisions of my life.

Q. How do you think Novak is playing and Andy's chances to beat him?
AMER DELIC: Andy Roddick, I mean, obviously I hope nobody is writing off Andy Roddick yet. I mean, the guy is still a top 10 player in the world. Obviously with his serve and forehand he can do everything, so you never know.
As I said, every day you step on the court, especially in guy's tennis, I mean, the tennis is so deep. Anybody can beat anybody. I'm sure that Andy has beaten Novak before, and we know all about the match at the US Open that Novak beat Andy.
I'm sure there's going to be a little bit more on the table for Andy.

Q. You feel your week here has been touched by a bit of magic. You came through qualifying and you walked out of here with more than $50,000.
AMER DELIC: $50,000 Aussie. (Laughter) Well, I don't know if I would call it magic, but it was pretty fun. I guess financially it was a good week. Nobody looks at, you know, the expenses coming over here: Me, coach, trainer, tickets, gas is expensive these days.
So it looks great on paper, but nobody -- you forget taxes. By the time everything is written off, I'll get a couple thousand. That's going to get me through the next few weeks.

Q. What do you feel was the difference in the match today? Was it Djokovic's experience, just a little luck?
AMER DELIC: I wouldn't say experience. I'm actually older than him. If that counts for anything. I've played him before. I played him at Wimbledon, and it was actually a very similar score looking back at it.
But just in the end maybe my serve let me down in the third set. Long game. I ended up throwing in two double faults out of nowhere.
But I was fine. Like physically, if it went another five-setter, well, it was just another five-setter. But I wouldn't really say -- maybe I made a couple mistakes at the end. I'm sure I'm going to go over it with my coach. Look at the video of it and see what happened.
As I said, my strategy was to go out there and just take cuts and just bring everything at him. I think I did that for the most part.

Q. The procedure for the wildcards, I know you and Dancevic got in.
AMER DELIC: Lucky losers.

Q. Do you draw from the four?
AMER DELIC: Yeah. What happened was the ITF just changed the rule recently. Last year it used to be since last round qualifying there are 16 losers. They used to just take one guy or whatever out of however many spots there are.

Q. The highest ranking guy?
AMER DELIC: Yeah, used to be the highest seeded guy in the quallies would automatically get in, but then like they thought I guess that some guys wouldn't give -- I don't know, wouldn't tank, but wouldn't give their full effort if they knew they are guaranteed a spot if somebody pulled out of the main draw.
What they did to protect all the other players was to get the four highest seeds and pick those guys out of hats, which was more fair. That way you protect the guys that are maybe not as highly seeded, and at the same time protect the tournament from somebody just tanking.

Q. So you knew you had a 50/50 chance?
AMER DELIC: I didn't know. I was one of the first matches to finish. I was the 12 seed in the quallies, and there were a few other higher seeds in front of me that were still playing. A couple ended up pulling out matches in three sets. So they ended up getting in.
Then I think I was the second highest. I was -- I left the courts, because as I said I've never even sniffed at getting in it as a lucky loser. I just went back, and it was actually Dudi Sela's coach told me at the hotel. He was like, Oh, you're in.
I was like, All right. Great. I still didn't believe it. I had to call in, because I thought he was joking with me. So I finally found out.
I think I said a few days ago it didn't sink in until I stepped back out on a court to play again.

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