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September 8, 2011

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tipsarevic
7-6, 6-7, 6-0, 3-0 (ret.)

MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously you read about some of your colleagues on Wednesday were upset about having to go out on the court. Felt like their careers were in jeopardy. There's always going to be a balance between the promoter trying to make money and long-time career health issues. Has there ever been a time you said, I'm not going to go out there or tried to rally some of your comrades, Wait a minute; this is not a good idea?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I experienced many situations in my career where I would always prioritize my health regardless of the situation I'm in. Always. Because, I mean, we are all tennis professionals. We all want to win and we all want to be the best in what we do. That's a fact.
But this is not something that we will do all our lives. After we are 30 or whatever, when we finish our careers, we want to still be healthy. We want to have normal families. We want to still play tennis, have the academies, be a coach, whatever, but be healthy, because this is something that matters most.
So, yeah, there has been experiences where I felt that I'm hitting a wall where I think my voice wasn't heard enough. But, you know, I was very understandable. I tried to always understand the tournaments. I tried to understand the people who are participating in the organization of the events. I tried to understand the ATP in the end, because, you know, we are all trying to make this sport better.
But the fact is that the players feel frustrated. The players feel they're not protected enough, I guess. So this is maybe a turning point for all of us. God knows what's gonna happen now.
But, you know, I'm actually happy to see that players are getting together in some ways. Maybe this is not a greatest subject to talk about, always to be in a fight with somebody, but at least, you know, we're getting our voices out there.

Q. So for the fourth year in a row the final is gonna be played on a Monday. What are your thoughts on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not really happy about that, to be honest. I'm not, because there is always Davis Cup, you know, the weekend after. Last year I played finals and finished very late on Monday. Took off Tuesday, arrived Wednesday, and had to play on Friday already, Saturday.
How that is possible? You know, it's just too much, really. It's too much. But that's the way it is, I guess, for everybody. I'm still not in the finals. I cannot think about that. I'm thinking about my semifinals only.
But what I have to say is I just don't understand why, you know, if you have -- for example, if you don't have a roof, okay, on this Grand Slam, why you don't have covers on the court, you know?
So this situation what happened today on the Louis Armstrong where Roddick and Ferrer could not continue their match, happened because they didn't have covers and because there was too much water.
So there is some really things that I don't understand, and I really hope that people will strongly reconsider, you know, what the players are talking about. Because we are not talking about only for our interests, you know. We also want this tournament and this sport to progress. We all want it better, right?
So that's all.

Q. Just to follow up on that, it seems like they moved the final to Monday so Nadal and Roddick's half of the draw wouldn't have to play four matches in four days. Do you think that would have been difficult for those guys? Does it give you and Fed any kind of advantage that you have tomorrow off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, for the top half, it could be, you know. It has to be advantage in some ways, because we finished our fourth round couple days ago, and then today I finished my quarterfinals and I have a day off until my semis, where the other guys have to play day after day.
That's the way it is. You know, you can't fight it. You can't complain. It's the Mother Nature that doesn't allow us.

Q. Talking to Janko, he seems genuinely agonized over the decision that he had to retire.

Q. He said that had he not had Davis Cup upcoming, that he would have fought it out there and he would have stayed. I wonder what that says to you. What does that say about him, you know, prioritizing about Davis Cup in the midst of a Grand Slam championship?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's unfortunate that he had to finish that way, that's for sure. I really wish him a good recovery.
The fact is that it's a quarterfinals and he's first time in his career in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. He really put a great effort out there. He was playing great tennis first two sets. Start of the third was really still high intensity, high level of tennis.
And then physically, unfortunately, he couldn't hold on. You could see, you know, that he could not move as well as he did in two-and-a-half hours.
You know, that's his decision. You know, I cannot comment on that. I support anything he does because he's my friend and I know him well, and I know he's somebody who doesn't like to retire.
Definitely he's a big fighter, and that just says how much he respects his country and how much he appreciates to play for his country. He wants to be fit.
But, you know, because Davis Cup is coming up next weekend, and he would have to play on Friday, so he has to recover if there is any injuries, you know, in his leg.

Q. Before I asked Nadal if he thought that the players had some responsibility in not fighting against this calendar and the fact that there is a Super-Saturday at the US Open. He say, Well, all players have to be united. It's not just me and Federer and Djokovic, which is true. But at the same time, Super-Saturday is something that is played only by the top four or five or six, eight players. So is actually the big ones, the top ones who have to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You don't know if the top players will arrive there. They are expected, obviously, but you cannot exclude all the other players, you know, from top 20, 30, 50, top 100 in the world. They are all part of this sport and they are all part of ATP, and we have to work together.
You know, their voices have to be heard, as well, and considered strongly. But, you know, I agree. Obviously top players are the ones who are bringing the show in; I agree with that. But, again, we have to be all united in order to achieve things we want.
Yeah, it's obvious. There is no secret about, you know, frustrated players out there. You could feel, could you see in the last two days. But this is -- you know, it was coming for many years.
And we always hit the wall whenever we need to try to get something going. Why? Because we all are playing in a tour that is, you know, so demanding. We are playing in the longest season in all sports. So we are changing continents, we are changing altitude, we are changing balls, changing courts, everything in just couple days' time.
There is so many things we can discuss now. But, you know, it's just a never-ending story. Players have to already focus for their next match, so we cannot spend our energy on conversation and discussions. Somebody else has to do it for us. Obviously we don't have great representatives.

Q. You lost your first set of the tournament today. Is there anything that you need to specifically work on? You have Tsonga or Federer up next. Is there anything you feel you really need to focus on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I need to step on the court in next match and just be close to the line, be more aggressive.
I think the last two matches I have been starting very slow. I'm very passive. All the credit to my opponents, I mean, especially Janko today who has been playing amazing tennis. So credit to him that he pushed me back from the baseline.
But, yeah, I will try to have that in the next match.

Q. Just briefly, it's pretty obvious that you want to shorten the schedule. What would you do with Davis Cup, and would you get rid of Super-Saturday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, you know, it's just -- it's too many things on the schedule, too many things. I really don't want to open this subject, because it's not something that one player can decide.
You know, we have to sit down, all of us, and try to find a solution, find something that the players would appreciate and would like to have in the future.
So any further actions we will take after - I hope - after the tournament.

Q. On a much different note, changing topics, you have been wearing your UNICEF pin during the tournament. If you could switch gears during a moment and talk about why, coming from such a troubled situation at home, you decided to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, that's exactly why. Because I have been through a lot in my life, and I understand what my people are going through yet, you know, today. You know, the situation has changed. My country has progressed, and prospered, but we are still in a really difficult situation.
There is a lot of kids who don't have opportunities to develop their potential. They don't have ability to realize their dreams, to achieve their dreams.
So I have been living all my life with a big dream. That is to win Wimbledon, to be No. 1 of the world, and I achieved that. So I want to help other kids to achieve that, their dreams, as well.

Q. You talk about a roof. Don't you think the schedule of the US Open itself should be revised a little bit like you have three days first round starting Monday and Super-Saturday has already been discussed? Do you have just some thoughts on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, coming back and saying it's too complicated, really. There are many things that players would like to change. As I was saying before, still, players -- I don't feel that the players have enough power to change things. That is definitely something that should be changed.
And then when we are united, it's easier to achieve things and easier to change schedule or whatever, whatever we want to change.

Q. Speaking with Janko earlier, he said this match was very big for your country. Can you speak about what it was like to play him in the quarterfinals of the US Open? Also, the days before the match had you heard any types of indications of excitement back home about the match coming up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's big because you don't get too often to see two Serbian players playing against each other in the last eight of one of the four biggest events in our sport.
So, yeah, it was exciting to play him and definitely to be a part of a great match. He can be proud with his performance, even though he had to retire.
I don't know what's going on back in the country. I don't know how many people have watched it, but I'm sure the ones that did, they enjoyed.

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