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June 29, 2011

Novak Djokovic


6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5


Q. Were you okay out there today? Seemed to be breathing a bit heavy.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I'm okay. I'm okay. I had to work hard for my points. In some periods of the match I was not feeling great, meaning I wasn't moving well. Then I was expending a lot of energy on those rallies.
But, you know, to go through to another semifinal is the important thing. I'm delighted.

Q. When you lost after the second set, also you were down 3-1 in the third. How worried were you? Were you more angry with yourself? Worried? Perplexed?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, to be honest, you know, I played quite good first set and then played one terrible service game and then he got back to the match, so...
Obviously he started hitting balls more and I backed up a bit. I was too passive, making a lot of unforced errors. The serve wasn't going well.
So you can say that we had a kind of waves throughout the whole match where I played better in the first, you know, nine, ten games, then he played better, then I played...
So it was quite even match. I can't say I played great, but I think you have to give him credit. He was playing some really great shots, great rallies. He was making me work very hard.

Q. You didn't tell me exactly what was going through your mind. You were still down 3-1 in the third. Were you worried?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, because I believed that I can come back to the match. I thought it's just a period and I knew I'm going to come back.

Q. You practiced with him a lot so you knew his game. Were you surprised he was able to produce that level of tennis in a match like that, on that stage, against you, et cetera?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's the reason why I have to congratulate him on a great tournament and give him credit for the performance today.
I mean, under the circumstances you would think somebody his age... I don't know what's to expect, but this was a very dangerous thing about him, because it was unpredictable what is he going to come up with on the court because he has nothing to lose.
You know, after the first set I relaxed a little bit and he got back to the match. He got confidence and he fed up, you know, from the energy of the crowd. It was all going really well for him.

Q. Does Federer's loss change perspective for you? You lost only to him this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. Really, I need to work a little bit on my game. I hope I can perform a little bit better than I did today. That's what matters for me the most, regardless who is across the net.
Tsonga came back from 0-2. It's amazing comeback. He's been playing great in grass-court season so far. He played really well in Queen's, and now he's been winning against top players.
So, you know, he's very dangerous.

Q. Did you get to see the end of that match? If so, what were your thoughts as that was taking place?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I saw a couple of last games. He served really well. I think Tsonga, you know, he was not falling under pressure. Obviously against Federer you never know because he's always constantly putting pressure on you. And he served well and he played well.

Q. What are your thoughts about his style of game versus yours? When you look at him across the net, what goes through your mind about his style of play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, we are both baseline players. I think a lot will depend from our serves. I need to serve well because that's something that he's going to do, for sure.
I think his game as well depends on that serve. If he starts missing first serves, then I can have some more chances, you know, in the rallies. But, look, I expect a very, very even match.

Q. Sounds like you're lacking a little bit of confidence in your own game. Why is that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think so. I think I've been playing well so far. You know, today there has been parts of the match where I haven't played well.
But, look, you know, the style of my opponent today is not really something I prefer. He plays very low balls all the time and it's really difficult to predict what he's going to come up with.
Made a lot of unforced errors, but this is okay, you know. I mean, it's good to go through these matches, to win those matches, and I'm sure I'm going to come out in two days playing well again.

Q. You've had an amazing year. Do you feel your game is back to where it was in that incredible run before Paris? Perhaps, if not, do you take confidence in the fact you got to the semifinal of a Grand Slam without playing your best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. You know, semifinals of a Grand Slam is huge result, you know. Doesn't matter if you are top player or not. It feels great to be here in the top four again.
I mean, grass court is not my favorite surface, but I still know I can play well on it. So it's really hard to kind of compare my form, the present form, and the one two, three months ago. It's different circumstances. It's a Grand Slam.
But I will definitely try to get ready and play well Friday.

Q. Do you think you have more to come? Do you think you can play better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I think I can play better than I did today. I think I do. And, yes, you know, let's say the performance against Llodra was great; against Baghdatis, not so great. First two rounds was really good. Kind of up and down. But hopefully now it's going to go up (smiling).

Q. What do you make of Bernard's performance considering he's a guy still 12, maybe 18 months, away from his body being mature?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, you know, he's been playing really, really well today. He's been using the pace fantastically. You can see he feels really comfortable on the court. Obviously what he lacks a little bit more is that experience. But it comes with the time.
You know, I'm sure if he continues this way, he's gonna be a top player very soon.

Q. Do you think he can be successful on other surfaces?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, he can. He can. I mean, it's all about the adjustments. I mean, I think he's gonna answer better what he prefers the best.
But I think his style is more suitable to the faster surfaces, grass, you know, the lower bounce, you know, because he plays quite flat and he uses the pace great from his opponent.
So on the clay, he needs to produce the pace. I mean, so it's different. But it's all a process of learning. You know, he has a lot of time.

Q. You say you have some things to work on. Is it mostly the touch and the strokes, or is it just to get along better on the grass?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, just the feeling. There is not much you can do on the practice. It's just mentally to kind of, you know, readjust the strokes, just work a little bit on the serve, and hope that it can go well.

Q. You say you were not feeling well today, that you weren't moving well. What was wrong?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I said that I was not feeling well in some parts of the match, not the whole.
But, look, you know, when you start missing a lot of balls, making a lot of unforced errors, and your opponent is playing well, obviously you lose that comfort zone. So I guess that was the case.

Q. There's always a lot of talk throughout the year about the top four players being expected to progress, particularly at the slams. Does a result like Roger Federer's today show how fine the margins are at the top of the game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. You know, it's not only top four. There are other players that are able to play great tennis, and Tsonga has proved it today.
It's all very close at this level, especially in the second week of a Grand Slam.

Q. What is the biggest challenge for you on grass? Is it that you don't like the low bounces? The movement is so much different than hard courts because you can't plant? Talk a little bit about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, everything happens really fast. You need to react. You don't have time to kind of readjust. You know, you have to be focused for each service game, each point, you know.
You know, today I obviously dropped a rhythm a little bit, dropped the pace of the match, and my opponent has used that. You know, I shouldn't allow that in the next match.

Q. I think you're a match away now from world No. 1. Does that even matter when you're in the middle of a Grand Slam? Is the focus on winning the title rather than...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, my focus is to win every single match I play, obviously. But I'm aware of the importance of every match that I play on. I'm very close to reaching the No. 1, but, you know, I try not to think about that too much.

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