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August 1, 2012

Novak Djokovic


4‑6, 7‑5, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Is it strange to play here when it's not the Wimbledon tournament going on and also ask you if you have played here when it is not the Wimbledon tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is a strange feeling, let's call it that way, coming into these courts and not playing the actual Wimbledon tournament.
You know, there is a long history and tradition about this tennis club that we respect and nurture in our sport.  It is an exception that Wimbledon, they made an effort to I guess break the rules a bit and allow colors on their courts.
But it looks fine.  You know, I mean, we are representing our countries here.  It feels like a team competition in a way.
So I never played on these courts other than Wimbledon.  This is the first time I've been coming outside of those two, three weeks.

Q.  How did this match feel compared to when you played Lleyton at the Australian Open this year?  Did this feel tougher?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  I think he plays his best tennis on grass.  He's former No.1 of the world.  I have a lot of respect for him.  He's a great competitor.  He has shown again that he's a player that loves to play on a big stage.  He loves to play big matches, especially for his country.  We all know how much effort he puts into playing the Davis Cup, when he wears the Australian shirt.
He's one of those few players that loves performing against the top players, and he always delivers his best.  You can always expect him to play this well on grass.  I knew that.  I definitely didn't underestimate him.  He was a better player throughout the first half of the match.  Then I managed to play well and be aggressive when I needed to.

Q.  How concerned were you getting as the match progressed and then was there one specific thing that really turned it around for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, I was trying to focus on my game and trying to see what I can do to get into his serve.  He was serving really well, with a lot of efficiency.  Obviously not giving me a lot of free points from the back, getting to the net.  He was playing extremely well.
I just needed to step in a bit.  That's what I did.  I changed the momentum in the middle of the second set when I made a break.  Yes, he made a rebreak, but I felt that I got back into the match, that it's momentum that I should use.

Q.  Do you remember the Beijing games when you were on the podium with played Fernando Gonzalez and Rafa and what do you remember of the two gold medals of Nicolas Massu in Athens?  Do you think it's possible somebody can do it again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Everything is possible.  Why not?  If Nicolas has done it, which was an incredible effort, I don't think somebody ever done it in tennis.  But it is possible.  You see other sports, other athletes, Michael Phelps, for example, winning so many gold medals.
If you are putting a lot of effort into it, if you're on top of your game, you get a bit lucky on this level, you can always do it.  You can always trust your abilities and eventually win medals.
I remember, of course, the moment from Beijing when I was on the podium.  It's my first and only Olympic medal, bronze.  I was very proud to be standing there, winning the medal for my country.  It's one of the very rare and unique feelings that I had in my career and achievements.  Hopefully I can get another one here.

Q.¬† You're the best down‑match‑point players on tour.¬† I've seen you've come back in several matches where you were match point down.¬† What goes through your mind at that point when you're taking these shots?¬† Are you going for broke?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think everything happens for a reason in a way.  If you really believe that you can do it and you put all your focus and you commit to that point without thinking that you're actually down a match point, that match can be over, I think that's a good chance that you can make those shots.
I mean, look, you know, I don't say it's an odd shot.  But I've done it.  I've done some really good shots when I needed to when I was match points down in a big match and against top players.
It's not one of my specialties.  I can say it's not one of my weapons, you know, to be match point down and, okay, I'm relaxed in that situation.  In contrary, everybody is nervous.  I'm aware of the fact that in one point the match can be over.
But still, as I said, concentration is crucial at that stage.

Q.  How do you appreciate support from someone like Marko Jevtovic who was watching you today?  How difficult is it for you to return that favor because there's a tournament next week.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I saw him.  I was very grateful to have him and all the other athletes and supporters from Serbia to come and watch my match and take me to the victory.
It's great.  I mean, that's what Olympic Games are all about.  You get to be alongside the best athletes from your country, from all over the world, you get to have their support, you get to go and watch them.
Unfortunately this time it's not very much likely that we can go and support our teammates and athletes from our nation because it's very far away.  It's one hour and a half to two hours in the car.  As you see, we play every day.
We all have the same goal.  We all try to win medals for our country.  If I do get a single chance, a day off through the end of the tournament, I would love to go and watch something.

Q.¬† Lleyton is now 159 in the world.¬† He still has the fire to get back there.¬† Do you think he can still get back and be a top‑20 player in the world?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think with him, it's just a question of physical consistency, just staying away from injuries.  If he can manage that, you know, I think he's definitely a quality player.  He deserves to be top 20.  With the game he performed today, you know, he can beat anybody on a given day, especially on the fast surfaces.
As I said, it just depends if he can really commit and dedicate to a full‑time traveling and playing because nowadays obviously competition is bigger and there are more players who are out there fighting, playing every tournament to get more points.
It's something he has to do if he wants to get to top 20.  That's a question for him, obviously.

Q.  In case you go to the final, do you have an opponent in your mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I wouldn't talk about finals yet.

Q.  Could you just comment on two things outside tennis at the Olympics.  One, Michael Phelps and his achievement of 19 medals.  The second thing, I don't know if you heard about a number of badminton players who were expelled because they were judged to have lost their matches on purpose in order to get a better position in the draw.  Might you be able to comment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I really haven't heard about that.
But regarding Phelps, I mean, it's incredible.  All I can say is respect to what he has done, what he has achieved.  He's officially the greatest Olympian ever in the amount of medals he's won.  All you can say is well done.  It's a great example of an athlete that is dedicated, committed to the sport.  It's great to be a part of that era where he's in and he's making history.

Q.  Getting back to the club, Wimbledon.  During this past week, 10 days, have you been able to make use of your membership?  If so, in what way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I haven't used my membership in any way yet because I haven't been here outside of these two, three weeks when I play Wimbledon.  I will make sure to stop by when I'm here off Wimbledon tournament.

Q.  What about now, over the last few days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I haven't used anything.  I'm spending a lot of time outside of the courts, as you can imagine.

Q.  Can you confirm a report that if any of the Serbian tennis players win gold here you have to return to Belgrade before you fly to Toronto?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We've talked about it.  But we don't have anything written down.  It all depends really.  First of all depends if we're going to win medal.  That's something that we really wish to achieve, then we can talk about eventually going back to Belgrade or going straight to Toronto.
The schedule is really difficult for us because Toronto is a huge tournament.  I defend my title there.  There's a lot of things that are important for me to play well there, so I have to see.

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