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January 26, 2013

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you tell us how you spent your day off yesterday.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, happy Australia Day, first of all, to everybody who is Australian in the house.
I spent it practicing and recovering.  Nothing really unusual that I was doing, that I haven't been doing for these two weeks here.  So getting ready for finals, obviously.

Q.  Andy said last night in some ways he hopes it's a painful match because that will mean it's a good match.

Q.  Is that your feeling, too?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, considering the fact that every time we played in last probably six, seven encounters, it was always a long matches, physically very demanding, going three sets and five sets in Grand Slams.
So I guess we have to expect something similar to happen, long rallies, and I'm ready for that.

Q.  Do you think the extra day will have any factor in the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't think so because Andy, yes, he has played a five‑set match against Roger last night.  But aside that, he hasn't been really tested the whole tournament.
And also he's considered as one of the physically strongest and fittest guys around.  So I'm sure he's going to be fit for the finals.

Q.  Looking back to the US Open final, have you spent any time sort of thinking about why he won that one and have you done anything to alter your game because of it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, the US Open final was a very entertaining, very interesting match obviously to be a part of.  The were circumstances that day that were quite strange.  The wind for semifinals and finals was just incredible.  I've never played on a stronger wind.
So it was more of an adjustment for him and me, and he managed to come out as a winner because he found his way in those conditions.  He adjusted better.  He won his first title.
As I said after, I thought he absolutely deserved it because he's been around as a top player for many years.  He played in many finals of Grand Slams.  He finally won his title.
So I think that also gave him a lot of confidence for what was coming up after that.  Obviously he's showing again now why he's one of the best players in the world.
You know, I was disappointed to lose that match, definitely.  You know, you always are if you're losing in the finals of a Grand Slam.  But I know I didn't do anything particularly wrong.  He was just a better player that day.
Now I have another opportunity to win a Grand Slam trophy, and that's what matters for me in this moment.

Q.  Your fitness became an issue at the end, the medical timeout and everything like that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, after four or five hours of play, it's not always possible to be 100% fit and fresh.  If you need a medical timeout, you need a medical timeout.  You're using it for a reason.
We pushed each other to the limit physically, mentally, emotionally, and that's why we have a great rivalry in this moment.

Q.  Is there a particular reason why you almost always play well here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Just conditions in general I like, especially in Rod Laver Arena.  It's my most successful Grand Slam.  You know, being in a third consecutive final is an incredible feeling and achievement, so very proud of it.
I just think that also a big reason is it's the first big tournament of the year.  Now we had a little bit longer off‑season which gave us more time to recharge our batteries, to work on some things, to get ready.
You know, you come out here and you want to win the first big trophy of the year.  I guess that's a fresh start that everybody wants.

Q.  You always present yourself in public as very easy‑going, happy‑go‑lucky.  When you do lose a final like you did in New York, how long does it take you to get over that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, maybe few years ago it would take me much longer than it does now.  I think with all these years of experience playing on the top level and playing many matches that were deciding, you know, title on the Grand Slam events, I think that necessary experience helped me to overcome any kind of loss or disappointment that I feel.
I feel it after the match, there's no question about it.  There's a certain, let's say regret, for not being able to come out as a winner, but it goes away after few days only.  Because tennis is very demanding sport and you have to turn a new page and you have to already play the week after, two weeks after.  That's usually the case in our scheduling.

Q.  How do you feel your rivalry with Andy differs to your ones with Roger and Rafa?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think it's special because we are the same age.  There's only a week difference between us.  We know each other since we were 11, 12 years old.  I guess that adds something very special to our rivalry.

Q.  You mentioned you started when you were 11 and 12 years old.  What do you remember about Andy back then?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't know that when we were 11 we knew what's rivalry at that time.  We were just trying to play the tennis and enjoy this game.
As we developed, of course we improved our games, we improved as athletes, as people, and it's nice, you know, to see somebody that you grew up with doing so well.
And then of course, being your top rival in our generation is doing really well not just in tennis but in all sports in general.  Messi is '87, Vettel is '87.  It's quite a good year to be born.

Q.  What was he like when he was that age?  What do you remember of him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What was he like?  Well, I know he had a lot of hair, a lot of curly hair.  He was quite pale also (laughter).
But he got more sun I think over the years training in Barcelona.  He has more of a tan now than when he was a junior.

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