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November 2, 2013

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
4‑6, 6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  It was a very tough first hour of the match, and then progressively you found a way to turn this around.  What was the key for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The key was just to hang in there and stay with him.  I knew that he's going to be very aggressive from the start coming to the net.  He used his opportunities really well.  He was very efficient at the net.
Then, you know, I tried to decrease the number of unforced errors and step in when it's needed.  I have done pretty well in the second and the third.

Q.  Was there a bit of nerves maybe at the start with the crowd or anything?  Because they were mostly for your opponent.  Was it a factor?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's not the first time that I'm playing, you know, under these conditions.  It's a big match, and Roger is somebody that has a lot of admirers around the world.
He deserves a lot of respect for what he has achieved in his career.  He's definitely a great player and personality on the court.  For me, I was just trying to hang in there, as I said, you know, and, you know, wait for my opportunities.
Because as the match progressed, I felt like I have more chances.  My serve was better towards the end of the second set.  And I got more free points, let's say, on my first serves, which was one of the keys today.

Q.  You struggled a bit with your serve in the first set.  What is the explanation for that sluggish start?  Were you kind of a bit nervous?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, it's a big match.¬† Whenever I play Roger, it's obviously a big challenge for both of us.¬† There is a lot of tension coming into the court, and, you know, I was just ‑‑I just felt under pressure because he was returning well and he was playing well from the baseline.
I didn't serve well and so obviously that's something that allowed him to win the first set and allowed him to be in the control of the match.
So I needed to try to place‑‑ have better placement on my serve and just not go too much for the power but rather accuracy, and it worked well afterwards.

Q.  The groups were released for London while you were playing, and your first match there will be against Roger again.  I'm just wondering about playing him again so quickly.  And also, just your group as a whole with Del Potro and Gasquet.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I just prefer focusing on tomorrow's final, and then I will talk about London.

Q.  Do you think that you feel the crowd reaction is a little bit unfair for you?  You are No. 2 in the world, former No. 1.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  Look, I am not upset with the crowd.  There is no reason for that.
Just everybody has a freedom to choose who they will support, and I felt like I had my supporters.  It was obvious that Roger had more, but, you know, I enjoyed playing on such a high level in front of the people who I think also enjoy very much, you know, our performances and our, I think effort, into, you know, into the match.

Q.  At least you have one fan, big fan:  Zlatan.  Do you know him from a long time, or what is the story?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I know him for three, four years already from the time when he was playing in AC Milan.  I met him many times there.  For me, he's one of the best players, if not the best player, in the world in this moment.
He is playing incredible.  He has amazing skills and quality as an attacker.  Also, he's my friend, so I was very glad to see him come with his kids, with his wife.  We got to play a little bit of tennis also, which was fun for me.  I hope it was for him, also.

Q.  How would you break down Zlatan's tennis game, strengths and weaknesses that you say?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's never too late.  He has a quite good forehand, so he has the potential to become best tennis player in Paris Saint Germain.

Q.  As a separate topic, one of the other stories today was about Del Potro, at a train station here in Paris, having some of his bags stolen and his passport and other things.  I was wondering, when you have been traveling, has anything like that happened to you in terms of having stuff stolen?  Is it something you worry about?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it happen to everybody at some part of our lives.  It happened to me, also.  What can I say, you know?  It's just something that happens, you know.  Lack of attention, and that's it.

Q.  Do you remember when and where it happened to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I cannot recall now.  Cannot recall.

Q.  Being No. 1 at the end of this season is still a clear goal for you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, my goal is just to continue on building my game and building the confidence with victories that I have.  It's quite important for me to keep on winning and keep on enjoying, you know, tennis.  That's what I have in this moment.
No. 1 does not depend from me only.  Depends from Rafa.  You know, I know there are small chances.  If I finish No. 1 of the world, you know, this year, would be an incredible achievement.  I don't think it's very possible, so I just try to focus on what I can do and what I can influence, and that is my matches and winning as many matches as possible, really, and building something that, you know, can pay off after, you know, in the next season.

Q.  Your backhand is usually considered a great weapon.  Do you think today it is still as good as two years ago?  And do you still have as much confidence in your backhand?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, it's one of my strengths, but it's not possible always to play it at a top level.¬† Not always possible to play it‑‑ to have as much efficiency as you plan to have.¬† Sometimes it just doesn't work.
There are so many different surfaces, different conditions, balls, you know, that affect obviously the play, speed of the game itself, so that affects the adjustment, the movement, the everything.
I have been playing backhand quite well in last two months.  Throughout the summer I didn't hit it as well, but, you know, obviously I'm working on it.  I'm always working not just on backhand, on serve, many elements in my game, and always trying to improve.

Q.  You haven't lost a game since the final in the U.S.  What was the click?  Can you explain it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You know, I had a few kind of, you know, big, painful losses, against Rafa especially.  Roland Garros and also the US Open, those were matches that after when I lost I was very disappointed.
But, again, it's not the first time in my career that I'm losing finals of Grand Slams in big matches.¬† Those particular situations help me to kind of regain that experience that is necessary in order to reset‑‑ you know, in order to find‑‑ to start from scratch and to, you know, work hard and find the new inspiration and motivation, you know, to play your best.
I'm 26, and I feel that it's logic that as a young person I have a lot of motivation, you know, a lot of energy that I try to, you know, kind of channelize in a right way.
I have a great team of people around me that is obviously always giving me that positive energy that makes me kind of work hard and improve.
After Davis Cup‑‑ you know, after US Open I went to play Davis Cup.¬† I played really well those two matches under pressure, and I think that that also gave me a lot of, I would say, wind in the back for what was coming after that.

Q.  (In French.)  Will you be surprised to see Ferrer going to the final here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In French.)  It's not yet finished.  It is possible, because Ferrer plays very well on this surface and he did well here previously.
So if I have to play him, it's going to be a difficult match.  It's going to be an unpredictable match, an unpredictable final.  There is no favorite.

Q.  (In French.)  Do you have a message for the French crowd to support you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In French.)  No.  I believe all the tennis fans should come tomorrow to come and watch a beautiful match.  Of course I hope to have some support.  It's very important when you play tennis.

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