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September 8, 2010

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils
7-6, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you take us through the things you have to do when the wind is so strong to adapt your game to the wind? What you have to think about and what you have to concentrate on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in my opinion, the key facts to kind of try to adjust the wind is a good focus and patience, try to hold your nerves throughout the whole match, and play one point out of at a time.
Of course with different players, different styles of the games come to the court, so I can't really speak in the name of the other players. But in my case, you know, I just need to keep the focus and try to use the wind in my favor.
This was the tricky thing today. Obviously the conditions were maybe as difficult as we saw so far in the tournament. We didn't have wind only one direction. We had it all over, you know. I had some struggles when I was coming to the net. In the first set I made a lot of unforced errors there, because I haven't seen the ball really well and was moving.
As you probably saw, the serve wasn't going over 110, 105 miles per hour, both players. It was more of trying to use the wind and use the speed. That kick, you know, could kind of give you the first easy ball in the rally, and I was trying to think about that, not think about, you know, what happened or what will happen. Just kind of playing in the present moment.
I did well. I did well. Maybe the wind helped me a little bit more because it neutralized his serve. He serves really well and really fast in the normal conditions, so maybe he wasn't feeling that segment in his game and that's why he was not comfortable in the court.

Q. Would you have been able two or three years ago to handle the conditions with such focus, or is this something you've developed since then? Have you always felt you handled these kind of things...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It might be the case that I developed. Over the time you get experience playing in the different conditions, different situations. In big matches like this, you know, you just have to stay all the time with your opponent, because across the net you have a good quality opponent.
It is quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. We are all motivated to do well, and, you know, to go far, trying to make that step further in the tournament.
Yes, I mean, I am really happy with the way I'm using my experience on the court in those conditions. Maybe playing in these conditions the first couple of matches helped me to develop that [].

Q. Would you have preferred to be on the other side of the draw?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I mean, what is done is done. The draw is the way it is, and you cannot [] affect that. It's a very similar situation likes last year. Soderling plays Federer in the quarters, and I am playing the winner.
You know, I lost to Federer the last three years that we played here. But every year I tried to win. I tried to go out on the court with positive attitude. He's a great champion, of course great player.
But you never know what's gonna happen. I don't want to think about those losses in the last three years, which were really, really close in all those matches.
So in this moment I'm feeling quite comfortable in the court, and hopefully I can continue on.

Q. There has been so much buzz, talk about a Roger/Rafa final. Does that bother the other players? Hey, we're good, too, we can play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, actually, it doesn't. I like playing under the radar sometimes. It releases the pressure on myself, and just focusing on my matches, doing the job, and winning the matches.
Of course, as the two best players in the world, they are the most dominant in five last five, six years. Biggest favorites to get into the finals, and I'm sure that the crowd wants them in the finals.
But, you know, I will try not to make that happen.

Q. Some people think the problems you have in the heat, they think you're faking it. I've heard people say that. Everybody knows what a good competitor you are. How do you feel about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everybody has a different opinion. I cannot judge people. Everybody has a right to say what they think.
Just far away from the truth. I was never faking anything, and I always prioritize health. I always thought of health as the most important thing in the life.
So, you know, I was many times in my career at the stage where, you know, I was struggling a lot on the court and making decisions in the right and wrong way. It's very relative. Everybody has a different opinion about that.
But, you know, I do what I think is best for me at that certain point, and so far I don't regret anything.

Q. Your first match was a potential banana skin, which you avoided. Since then you've gone straight sets. Do you feel...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Excuse me? What was the expression?

Q. Potentially you could've slipped.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Banana, nice. I didn't know about an English expression. (Laughter.)
Q. You avoided the banana skin.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Good. I'll get that, banana skin. Okay. Sorry, I'm trying to get it.

Q. That's all right. I've forgotten my question now. (Laughter.) Since then you've had straight sets all the way.

Q. Are you reaching a semifinal now perhaps as well-equipped to handle whatever happens to you on Saturday as you've been for a while, do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's a Grand Slam. Opening grounds are always tricky where the opponents are lower ranked and they're trying to push you to the limits. That's what Troicki did. He was playing really well that day.
I was very fortunate to go through that match. I was two sets to one down and almost two breaks down. There is a little factor as well, psychological factor, where you're playing your great friend and countryman.
So a lot of things going on that day, and of course extreme conditions, as well. But going through that match gave me a lot of confidence, and I knew physically I'm fit. It's just momentum, if I can keep it going. Since then it was all uphill.

Q. The head of the ATP Tour said today that the season may be shortened beginning in 2012. Would that be something you'd be in favor of?

Q. Why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Because the players -- in my case, you know, I have been experiencing a lot of physical and health difficulties in last two, three years playing a very, very busy schedule.
So we have been trying to make a compromise with tournaments. You know, I was involved in the council for three years, and I think we did a great job kind of contributing to that.
Hopefully it's all going to pay off and we're gonna get a little bit shorter schedule and a schedule that is gonna give us more time off, you know. Doesn't make any sense that you have an offseason if you are playing finals of Davis Cup in four weeks.
You know, in offseason you have to prepare four, five weeks and you have to have two weeks off. This is optimal, in my opinion, that we have only four weeks in total.
So it's not -- definitely not easy schedule at this moment. But this is the way it has been for many years, and we'll try to make a compromise. I think the ATP is doing a good job right now in trying to help us out, and the tournaments finding an understanding as well.
We have an understanding of course for them. Hopefully it's gonna -- we're gonna find a solution.

Q. What do you feel like when you look up and see your father with your picture on his T-shirt?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ah, I don't know. (Smiling.) He's a proud father. What can I say? I'm just happy to see them supporting me. I don't know where he got this fancy shirt.
To be honest, it was somewhere in Belgrade. I cannot say it. He's my father. If he wants to wear this shirt, he can wear this shirt.

Q. Do you want one of those shirts, Novak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I would never wear the shirt. (Laughter.) Me, personally, never. My father, I understand. Okay. He's proud. But me? Never.

Q. Will you get a matching one of him and he would have you...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I would have him; why not? Not myself. I don't like myself that much. (Laughter.)

Q. In case you do play Federer in the semifinal, could you comment on the evolution of both your games since last year's semifinal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think it changed much. We do have more or less same game, you know. Just maybe experience-wise in my case I feel better now.
Physically I feel better than I did last year. I feel stronger, faster on the court. The conditions are quite different, so let's see, you know. Let's see how this Saturday is gonna come out, you know, if we gonna have normal conditions or not.
It's gonna affect game of whoever wins tonight against me.

Q. When you were talking about your banana skin match, you talk about psychological factors. In terms of Roger, is there a difference now playing the Federer today than two, three years ago when he was so dominant and had such a great record?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, you know, I have been watching him play here in the tournament. He's playing maybe, you know, the best tennis that he played in this tournament.
I think he's playing great. I don't think he's -- because he lost in the quarters of the French and in Wimbledon, some people think he's more vulnerable than ever. But I think he's actually playing really well. He played great in Toronto and Cincinnati, and he's just loves this surface. He loves this tournament. He has won so many times.
If I get to play him, obviously he's a favorite. But, you know, we played so many times, and mostly we played on this surface. It's no secret in each other's game. Just I will try to hold on, you know. He always tries to put pressure on his opponent. He's very aggressive.

Q. He's said again and again to be the greatest player of all time, but who do you think the best player this year is? Who is the best player in tennis this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you have to give that title to Nadal, because he has won -- he has won everything on clay, French Open, Wimbledon. He's been playing so well, and that's why he's No. 1. I mean, rankings don't lie.

Q. You've been warming up with the young Americans like Jack Sock. How did you come about doing that, and what do you think about him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think he's a great guy. Thanks for asking that. He's very talented. He's 17 only, and he hits the ball like a pro. We have been hitting for the last week or so. We have played many times.
Hopefully he can go far in the juniors so he can play more.

Q. When Gaƫl tried to hit the ball between his legs there, what did you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I thought, Please, don't make it. (Laughter.) I have been experiencing that too many times.

Q. Who would you rather face in the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, at that stage, I don't know. I really don't have any preference, you know. Soderling is No. 5 of the world, playing really well. He's very powerful player.
On the other hand, Federer, you know, won so many times here, most successful tennis player ever. It's really hard. Maybe at that stage, playing Federer is more difficult because of his experience, you know, playing at that late stages of the tournament.
But still, you know, I guess I will try to play my best whoever I play against.

Q. Is there a part of you that would like to face Federer because of the last three years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Maybe. I don't know. Maybe I would like to face Federer, you know, try to look for some revenge.

Q. Is it pure joy to play in such a big stadium, or are you more bothered by the noise and the music and burgers?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (Smiling.) And napkins flying around.
No, I think I've played too many times on that court to be really annoyed or something. You know, it's just something different about that court. It's the biggest in sport, and the crowd just loves entertainment.
It's different from the others, you know. Wimbledon is very traditional; very quiet. Here, crowd likes to jump around; in the changeovers they let the music play and all these things, kiss me, kiss me not, you know, traveling in Vegas and these things.
It's hard to kind of keep the focus. But it's a big stadium. It's interesting on one hand, but, you know, it's good. It's fun.

End of FastScripts

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