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September 5, 2009

Novak Djokovic


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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That's a little bit probably harder of a match than you would have liked, but to get through a match like that, do you actually learn perhaps more that is valuable in terms of getting into championship form than an easy win?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think those matches have to appear sometime during the tournament. Maybe the good thing is that I have played this match in the third round. You know, I have high ambitions for this tournament.
I think I physically-wise I'm quite okay, even though today I had a really long match with a lot of running. But still, the good thing about recovery is that you have an extra day.
Mentally, I'm really motivated to do well. As I was saying in the interview after the match, it wasn't easy to play well against the guy that you don't know anything. I mean, I have never seen him play, and then suddenly he comes up with those shots from the baseline and then returns. It was unbelievable.
He caught me surprised, and that's the worst thing you can have in the Grand Slams.

Q. He has some unorthodox strokes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah. I mean, I think I was too passive throughout most of the part of the match, and I was somehow finding the way to get through. But still, I thought I could be more aggressive. But it's hard when you have somebody so aggressive and really going for every shot and have nothing to lose and has no pressure. You have to find a way to stick with him all the time.
So I've tried to do that, and I'm just happy to get through, happy to get another win. You've got to always try to look positive. I give him all credit for his performance today, absolutely. He played really well, so you can see that rankings is something that can never really show the right picture, because some of these guys can play top 10 tennis, you know.

Q. Have you ever had a serve where your racquet landed on the other side of the court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I've had -- this year I think it was Indian Wells was something similar.

Q. What happens there, Novak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Because of the sweat, you know. I get the sweat a lot, my hand. Then I always try to use some liquids to stop the sweating, and then I sweat and just -- I didn't squeeze the racquet. You know, you have to make -- when you want to make it faster, obviously you have to pop it with the wrist really fast, and then I just dropped the racquet. It was embarrassing.
Because I didn't know exactly -- I thought that the point will repeat because he missed his shot.

Q. It went out, right?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, but the rule, as the chair umpire said, was that I lose a point, so... Then I had four great serves after that. It helped me.

Q. Seemed like it kind of got you focused or something.

Q. Playing against an American player here when all the crowd supports him so strongly, does it get into your brain? Does it pump you up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the crowd is a part of every game. And if you're playing in front of more or less full stadium, you absolutely feel it, even though you try to be focused on the match.
You always feel -- I mean, it's loud. It's noisy. I mean, I cannot blame the crowd. They were supporting American guy. They wanted him to win. I have been experiencing many times that in my career.
But I had, I think, quite some people cheering for me, as well. You always have to try to focus and turn off everybody aside and just do your job. I just made a little joke out of it throughout the match, but it was fun.
It was really exciting playing, you know, this match, even though it was so close. You didn't know if it was going to go 2-1, you know, sets-wise for him. He was serving for a set. Or it was going to go in my way. So it was very small details that decide the winner.

Q. How much of a relief was it that in the end they all cheered for you again like last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was nice. It's always relief when you win.
But definitely crowd support is always something you want to have on your side.

Q. You weren't really sure if they were really cheering for...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I don't want to go back to that. I've been saying this was something that happened already, and it's past. Now it's already another year, and I really look forward to get through the tournament, and hopefully the crowd will stay on my side.

Q. Two years ago you, Ana, and Jelena were all vying for championships. You're sort of carrying the Serbian flag alone now. Does that put more pressures on your shoulders?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The flag is bigger and heavier now. No, I mean, look, in the first place as individually athlete you represent yourself and obviously your country where you're coming from. I'm very proud to be able to represent my country in this way throughout all these years.
Small country like Serbia, having so many good tennis players and so much success it must be unbelievable -- you know, unbelievable for sport in our country, in general, you know, to represent the country.
I think that, well, people respect that back home, and they follow us every single tournament. That's why it's always a pleasure, me being in this position.

Q. Do you think there's a lot of pressure because of all that support that maybe Ana and Jelena have had a difficult time absorbing and dealing with?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's hard to say. I mean, I don't know the way they think or how, you know, how they feel. That's from my perspective as a professional tennis player. I know how hard it is to carry on the responsibility under pressure.
But this is a part of every professional athlete's life. I mean, pressure is part of the sport. Now, the difference is -- and the question is if you can deal with that in the best possible way and be able to get it over or not.
But look, they both have great talent and great quality, so I'm sure they'll be back. It's just a bad period.

Q. Most men's players, when you go to serve you take three balls, reject one of them. How big a deal is it with the balls, and is part of it just a ritual or a superstition or a time killer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think it's a time killer. It's just some ritual that most of us guys have. Somebody looks for more fluffy balls. Somebody looks for more ball which is bald and new so you can have faster serve. You're just imagining things obviously.
So yeah, I mean, you try to take your time, a little focus, and I look for a faster ball.

Q. Do you think it makes a difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think that much, but I'm convinced in my head that it does.

Q. Does Witten look like a tennis player to you, physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, he's different than the others, but he's so fast for his, you know, physically-wise. He's not tall, but I didn't expect such speed from his side. I was caught up, surprised.
Obviously he's strong. Maybe the only thing that wasn't serving him as good today was his first serve. All the other things were very good.

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