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July 6, 2013

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How would you describe the event tomorrow, given that it's you against Andy and there's been the 77‑year drought for British men in the Wimbledon singles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  For me it's another final.  I don't really think about that fact.  I'm just trying to focus and get ready for what's expecting me.
I'm definitely looking forward to the final.  It's the biggest final in tennis that you can be a part of, so I'm very honored to be playing in that match again.
You know, the 2011 experience and winning that trophy can maybe help me prior to tomorrow's encounter.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about your relationship with Andy.  He was saying how tough it is to be friends now that you're such regular rivals.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, we know each other since we were 11 years old.  On and off the court we have lots of respect for each other.  Always very fair, very honest relationship.
You know, now we are big rivals and it's difficult.  Obviously it's difficult.  He has his own team, his own routines, his own way.  I have on my side also individually.
So we don't get together and have dinners and parties, but we definitely always chat and remember the fun days we had as juniors.

Q.  Some people would say, Are nervous for tomorrow?  I would say, Is there a fear in you that he will just crush you?

Q.  In that case, how do you go about this match tomorrow without any worry?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there is always some doubt and some worry present.  But on the other hand, I think the convictions of self‑belief and positive mindset, I'm trying to have those positive emotions stronger than negative.
It's a mental fight in the end, but it's not the first time I've been in this position.  As I said, can I use the necessary experience in the past for this challenge.

Q.  Can you take us back to the match in Tarbes when you were 11.  What you remember about it, and also where you were?  Were you with Gencic?  Was it your first trip abroad?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was maybe my first international tournament.  That's where he crushed me actually (smiling).  I remember his curly hair.  That's all I remember.  I remember I had a short visit on the tennis court.

Q.  Andy has spoken about how important the crowd is on Centre Court for him.  Is it difficult for you knowing most of the people on that court are going to be probably backing your opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, I know what to expect.  It's normal to expect in a way that most of the crowd will be on his side.  He's a local hero.  He has a big chance to win Wimbledon after a long time for this nation.  People will be supporting him.
But, as I said, it's not the first time that I've been in a similar situations when I played against local players.  I know what I need to do.  I know the way I need to be focused, extra focused obviously because it's finals.
I'm going to play against one of the biggest tennis players in the world in last five years.  I'm ready for it.

Q.  I assume you're not going to tell us exactly how you're feeling physically.  But the turnaround from the great match yesterday, has that been any more tricky than normal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  Everything has been going in the right way for me, to be honest.  I did play a very long match, but I had situations before where I had to recover even just in 24 hours for the match the next day.
I kind of got used to it and I know my body.  I have a great team of people around me that make sure that we respect everything that we usually do.  I'm confident I'll be ready for tomorrow.

Q.  I believe you spent some time in Scotland last year on holiday.  Can you talk to us a little bit about that.  Do you intend to go back there this year?  If you win Wimbledon, you may not be so welcome.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I'll think about that (smiling).
I have been with my girlfriend in Gleneagles Resort.  It's very close to where Andy is from actually.  What is his city?

Q.  Dunblane.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Exactly.  I was passing by.  I was on the highway.  I made a picture of the road sign of Dunblane and I sent him that photo.  He said, What are you doing there?  I said, I was paying you a visit but you're not at home.
I made a little surprise for my girlfriend because Scotland and Britain is full of beautiful medieval castles and we are in love with that.  We love that fairytale, romantic, medieval sights.  I took her there for her birthday.  We spent a few days.  We didn't spend much time outdoors because it was raining all the time, which is very strange for this part of the world (smiling).

Q.  Did you get a friendly welcome?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I got very friendly welcome, you know, because I still haven't played Andy at that time.

Q.  You had to change your shoes yesterday.  Can you tell us about the adjustment you had to make and if you're concerned about this for tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  My shoes are fine.  Even though I had a few falls yesterday, nasty ones.
But it was a high‑intensity match with a lot of exchanges from the baseline, a lot of rallies.  When you're defending, especially the back of the court, it's a little bit more slippery because there is a little bit more grass.  So there is not much grip, and that's why you slip.
My adjustments are made.  I'm fully fit for what's coming up.

Q.  Last year's US Open, which for this country was a great event, for you it was not such a great event.  How did you react to it?  How did you recover from it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't agree with you.  I think it was a great event for me, as well.  I played finals of US Open and lost in five sets.  I mean, being second is not the end of the world, you know, especially in the major events.
I just came up short.  It was the first Grand Slam that Murray won.  He deserved it because, you know, he was fighting all these years to get to that big stage and win a major title.
On the other hand, for me, it was another valuable experience that probably helped me mentally in my approach to Australian Open finals this year where also it was very close against Andy and I managed to prevail.
This is what we expect also tomorrow, that very few points can decide the winner.  That's why you need to be extra committed to every point.

Q.  You talked about Andy being the local hero.  When you won here two years ago, you were more than the local hero when you went home.  You were the national hero.  Can you put into words what that meant to you and the value you place on the Wimbledon championship.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, Wimbledon was without a doubt always a tournament that I wanted to win, that I dreamed of winning, that I visualized holding this trophy when I was only six, seven years old.
When I won it back in 2011 it was definitely the highlight of my career, and it still is.  I went back and shared that trophy with my dearest ones in my life, all my family friends, all the people who have participated in my life in some way.
One of the most important people was Jelena Gencic.  I was very happy to bring the trophy back to her at her home.  We had a little celebration.
Of course, going back to Belgrade, being welcomed by 100,000 people on the main square, was something that will probably never happen again.  It's the most beautiful experience I had as a person, as an athlete.  It was unbelievable.
I never, never expected that something like that can happen.  It meant a lot not just to me but to whole nation.  Wimbledon is, as it shows, the biggest tournament in sport.  It's why people pay a lot of attention to what's going on here.

Q.  You've spoken often about the mental aspect of the five‑setters as well as the physical.  If tomorrow's final should go five sets, what do you think the atmosphere would be like here with Andy on the other side of the net?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What do you think?
It's going to be very loud.  It's going to be great atmosphere.  But let's see.  Let's play the first point first and see how far we can go.
But I'm ready to go all the way.  As long as it takes for me to play, to give it all, I'm ready to go out on the court and give everything I have.

Q.  What part of the game tomorrow do you feel will be decisive?  In previous Grand Slams the second serve has been fairly critical.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we are quite good returners of serve, so I guess it's going to be quite a lot of pressure on the service.  Also the service games are quite crucial, you know, to be able to hold them and try to get as many free points on the first serve as possible, of course, which is not that easy.
But I think in last match we had in Australian Open final, we both held serve for first two and a half hours actually of the match.  First break came only late in third set for me.
So, yeah, depends really, because this surface more favors servers.  Andy was serving really well throughout the whole tournament, as I did also.  So it's going to be a combination of things.  It's not only one element that can really decide a winner.

Q.  You talked about the extra pressure on Andy, the expectation.  How do you use the motivation of wanting to pay tribute to Jelena Gencic?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've talked a lot about that.  I'd rather not talk about it any more.  Only thing I can say is that she stays in my best memories and I know that she wants me to go out and fight for the trophy and win Wimbledon.  It's what I'm going to try to do.

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