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January 25, 2011
N. DJOKOVIC/T. Berdych
6-1, 7-6, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What happened in the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What do you mean?
Q. You had some trouble in the second set. The rest was a holiday.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't think it's the right word to describe it. I still had to work for every game. I played really, really well first and third set. Second set as well. I was on and off. I made some unforced errors, and I was a bit defensive and gave him opportunity to come back to the match.
Generally I have to be very happy with the performance. Maybe the turning point was the tiebreak in the second set where it went my way. If it's one set all, it's a totally different match. Two sets up, it's a big advantage and I was starting to go for shots more in the third.
Q. Are you happy to be at this stage of the competition and face your next opponent, which will be a tough one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, yes. I'm really happy. I didn't know how well would I prepare for this tournament because the off-season was very, very short after Davis Cup.
Winning the Davis Cup and experiencing that feeling on the court with the whole nation and the team was very special for me. I was building up on that confidence of winning that title couple weeks after that. I started playing right away on the Saturday in Perth some great tennis, better than I expected, you know, as a start.
Coming in here I was physically prepared, mentally motivated to make some success. So far it's been great. Today has been a real test, because he's No. 6 of the world and a very difficult opponent. I've played one of my best tennis in the last couple months.
So I have nothing to lose playing Federer, who's the title defender here. We all know everything about him. I have to believe in myself in order to win that match.
Q. How do you explain your freshness? You say it's quite surprising and even you didn't stop after the celebration.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was very short. Not even two weeks. I had holidays, if you want to call them. Then I started slowly building up my physical strength. But I had very good schedule, very good program. That was different, you know, from the past years.
I've learned how to, you know, prepare well, how to organize my time off, organize my practice. I did a great job with my team. Of course, big credit to them.
Definitely playing great tennis.
Q. What kind of change, for example, in your timing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, just more organized in some ways. I knew where am I going, what am I doing. You know, sometimes when you have a very short off-season, when you're not in the tournament, you want to do a lot of different things. You want to see the family, you want to do a lot of different things off the court. Maybe keeps your focus out of what you need to do.
This year, I just had the team of people that was just putting the right schedule and then it made my life much easier.
Q. How did you keep mentally fresh? I can understand the physical and the organization, but after a really long season and the high of Davis Cup and then coming to Perth, how did you keep your mind fresh and the desire where you really want to play well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think the Davis Cup title gave me a lot confidence. Just motivated to me come back and win some more matches.
You know, I felt like I'm starting to play my best tennis in last five, six months. I have more experience on the court. Physically I'm fit. I'm hitting the ball better and I have more variety in the game. Serve has been much better, which is very encouraging fact because it's been an issue for me in the last 12 months.
I was hungry for more success and probably that's an explanation.
Q. Talk about the period in between the US Open, where you beat Federer, and Davis Cup, where you take losses to Federer. Was your mind on Davis Cup the whole time? And can you erase what happened in between the US Open and Davis Cup, the tournaments that you played then?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Between the Davis Cup final?
Q. The Davis Cup final, right.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think I've played quite well. Even in China had two great tournaments, and then coming back to indoor season was okay. Maybe I was thinking a little bit too much about the Davis Cup final.
Maybe the desire was very strong. Maybe it's a chance of a lifetime for us to win the title at home. So that was probably my priority that stage.
Still, at London I played some great matches. Okay, the semifinal he was too strong; he played too good and I wasn't on the court and I wasn't playing well.
The way I've been playing in the last five, six months compared to the first six months of 2010 is a huge difference. I have to take that in positive way.
Q. Does it mean you'll enter the court even stronger compared to your semis against him in New York?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in New York I think I played a great match against him. He's very aggressive player, maybe the most aggressive there is on the tour. You have to be patient. Again, put some varieties and get him out of comfort zone. I've played so many times against him. He knows my game really well, as I know his. We played very close matches, last five matches except the one in London. Semifinals of a Grand Slam is very unpredictable what's going to happen.
If I play well, this is my only Grand Slam that I won. I love the atmosphere and the conditions on center court.
Q. It appears that the difference between Rafa and Federer, you and Murray, with the rest of the players is growing in the tournament. Do you see it that way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah. Maybe it's -- you know, maybe it's one of the explanations why we have that little gap with the other players.
But I think there is more players now that are able to win against top two guys. Federer and Nadal have been very dominant in the last five, six years. All the credit to them. They're very strong mentally. They keep coming back for more titles. They're playing better in the later stages of the Grand Slams and any tournament.
It's hard to keep up with them, but this is what you learn playing with those two guys. With the experience, I've gained that state of mind. I'm just feeling better every year that I play on the court.
Q. You said before going against Federer you feel like you've got nothing to lose. Do you feel like you're going into the match on equal terms or as the underdog?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot compare my success to him. Of course he's the main favorite next to Nadal to win the title of any tournament they play on. They're the best two players in the world.
As I said, I have to be confident on the court, have the right attitude, and that's the only way I can beat Roger or Rafa. There is no other way.
If you go out there and try to play your best tennis, you don't deserve to be there. You're not going to get any positive outcome.
Q. So is confidence the only difference in past matches when you weren't succeeding against Federer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I always try to win against him. No question about that. I've won against him in different occasions, mostly on the hardcourts. So as I said, this is the chance that I can use.
But as I said, very close matches. The winner of the matches, you know, gets away with couple points here and there. On this level, this is what happens.
Q. I guess one of the important things against Roger is not to let him get on top of you quickly, to get into the match. Once he gets in front he's pretty hard to stop.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Definitely. Definitely you have to start well. You have to try to get him on the run as much as you can and try to let him know you're there to win.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with him? It seemed in Basel you were joking around with him after the finals.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: With Roger?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We're rivals, but we have big respect for each other as any other top player. In Basel, I really feel at home. The people really appreciate tennis. Every time I go there I have quite a lot support. It's really nice to be around.
Q. Have you done any more impersonations lately?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is no new players on the tour, so, you know, I have nobody to do. (Laughter.)
Q. Was there an official celebration after the Davis Cup?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Official? Well official was the official dinner that we had with a little folk music and we had traditional Serbian food and things like that. When we were done with that, yeah. That's when it really started, you know, for two days and nights.
Q. After the meeting with some political...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course we had a reception with the president of Serbia. It was -- it's one of the biggest success that we had in sport. Of course next to the basketball players, water polo and most of the team sports. We are the nation of team sports.
To be able to win with a team for your nation was much different than anything I have experienced personally on the tennis court.
Q. What do you do for your excellent footwork? What's the secret behind this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's hard work, you know. Any player is going to tell you the same. You have to dedicate your time to your career to analyzing your game, what you can do better.
My game is based on the baseline, and I have to run a lot and be fit. I try to get at the net more and put some aggressivity in the game, but the base is there. So I have to have good footwork. As I said, the last four, five weeks, the fitness was the priority. Now it's paying off.
End of FastScripts