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March 17, 2012

Novak Djokovic


J. ISNER/N. Djokovic
7‑6, 3‑6, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I guess the obvious question, maybe the only question, what is it like to face that serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's frustrating when somebody serves over 70% of the first serves in with that and with that angle and with that speed and accuracy.
But, still, I played him before.  I knew I had to stay patient and just wait for the chance.  I had some chances.  I didn't use them.
But I thought I played a really good match.  He played very well when he needed to, so all the credit to him.

Q.  I would think it's also tough to get rhythm when he's basically trying to hit winners off his forehand off the ground all the time.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it's tough.  You have to judge by yourself as the match goes on if you want to be aggressive on the groundstrokes or you want to be patient.  So you kinda have to have a little bit of both, a little bit of variety.
You know, I had third set couple of times 30‑All and some chances really where I was in the rally, but he came up with some incredible groundstrokes winners, and that's it.
You know, I have to shake his hand and congratulate him for the win.

Q.  You have played a lot of the big servers obviously.  What is it about Isner's game that's made him able to rise into the top 10 now that brings him above the rest?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's a matter of belief, I think, in the end, and confidence on the court.  I mean, with that serve and with that forehand he's got the ability to be a top 10 player, you know.
He had that already a couple years back.  It's just, you know, matter of really trusting your instincts and your strokes and your quality.  I think it all came together for him now, and he's deservedly in the top 10 now.

Q.  When you played him the last time, was he volleying as well as he did today?  Didn't seem like he missed too many tough volleys today, either.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, he didn't volley that much even.
It's kind of hard to say if he was volleying good or bad, you know, because most of his volleys that he gets are the easy ones, you know, the easy overheads because he serves so well.
So I can't really say about that.

Q.  Talk about the lobs a little bit.  You won two pretty amazing points off of lobbing over if not the tallest, one of the tallest guys out there.  What's going through your head when you take a shot like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I know as soon as he hits the first volley he comes to the net quite close.  So obviously that's where I find my chance to execute that lob.  But again, some lobs worked out for me; some didn't.
In the end, it was a very close match.

Q.¬† Turning point of the last tiebreaker was the return he hit on 4‑2.¬† Can you just talk about that one point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† I don't think it's one point.¬† It's so close, you know.¬† 7‑6 in third set, 7‑5 in the tiebreak, the result is saying all.¬† He hit a couple of, I think, lucky shots.¬† You know, he hit the line on the 1‑0 for him in the third set tiebreaker where I hit the ball out from the forehand side.
Look, you know, it's a lot of pressure knowing that somebody serves that well.  You need to win your service points, especially when you get to the tiebreak.
But this time I was unlucky, and he executed his shots and he took his opportunities and went for it.  He deserved it, you know.  He didn't wait for it, he went for it.

Q.  How do you look ahead to Miami after today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it's still I think a week to my first match, so I'm gonna take some time, regroup, you know.  I feel physically well.  I think I'm playing equally well, you know.
It's semifinals.  I mean, this match could have gone either way, really.  I'm confident ahead of the Miami tournament.

Q.  What does it feel like to try and return that guy's serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I answered, you know, at the start.  It's frustrating.

Q.  From a tactical point of view, did he do anything that surprised you?  Did it go as you expected it would go?  Because he managed to hold off quite well on the rallies.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yeah, the match could have gone a different way if I held him 5‑4 first set.¬† I played a bad game and had a bad call challenge.¬† The match turned around.
I thought I was returning his serve really well in the first set and finding my range.¬† Then after that, he started‑‑ when he broke me in 5‑4, he started believing more that he could win.¬† Yeah, then it was very difficult to make a break.
But look, you know, overall it was a good tournament for me, and I have to stay positive.

Q.¬† When a match is as close as that ‑ as you say, it could have gone either way ‑ how long does it take you to get over a loss like this one in such a big event at such an important stage of the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I have no other choice but to recover in a week's time.  Mentally and physically I feel great (smiling).
So, yes, I am disappointed that I've lost today, of course.  Nobody likes to lose.  But still, you know, I have to congratulate John who played a great match.  That's it.  You know, this is sport.
I mean, tennis is one of the sports that you have to‑‑ you know,you have to try to recover as fast as you can from the losses, because there are tournaments basically every week, every two weeks.
I have been in this situation before and I know how to act.

Q.  When a guy is hitting his serve that big, do you turn around look at the scoreboard to see what it was, or do you try to avoid doing that?  Do you look for the speed of it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, sometimes just to admire, because I will never get there.  (Laughter.)

Q.  For the fans, this is basically a fantasy semifinal day for two reasons:  One, three of the top players in the world; two, an American in the semifinal.  Can you talk a little bit about how much the crowd does or doesn't affect you when they're so excited about an American player out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know what to expect, that they will support John.  It would be strange if they didn't.  It was special day.  It was great to see the full stadium, 15,000 people really getting into the match, into every point.  It was great to be a part of it.

Q.  When you played Almagro you had said that he can make shots from all over the court, but you also expected pretty much to wait him out because you knew he was going to make some mistakes.  Is that similar when you play Isner?  You know about all the big serves that he will give you, but you also know that you're going to get all kinds of opportunities?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you have to be patient and wait.  I guess if it comes, it comes.  If it doesn't, then, you know, you can't do much except to congratulate, and that was the case today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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