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June 6, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6‑3, 6‑3, 3‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  Ernest said it was like a struggle from start to finish, and he felt that maybe you weren't also at your best.  How did you feel today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  First two sets went well.  I thought I played well, very solid, putting a lot of returns back in the court, serving at the high percentage.
Then suddenly midway through the third set started to feel physically fatigued a little bit, and you could feel that.  You could see that both me and him, we struggled on the court.
It happens, you know.  It happens in the tournament, and important thing for me is that I realize what's going on.  It's nothing serious.  I'm going to have now two days of recovery and get ready for the final.

Q.  What is going on?  I know it took you longer than usual to come to press, also.  What was bothering you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  There is nothing bothering me.  Just the general fatigue that, you know, probably was influenced by conditions or other things that I felt today.
But I'm not going to talk about.  That's it.  I just ‑‑I'm glad I won in four sets, because if it went to a fifth, God knows in which direction the match could go.
I'm just going to rest today and tomorrow, try to not spend too much energy on the courts, and get ready for finals.

Q.  This final, we all know that it's very important for the Paris title that you want in your career.  Do you think that you will have some different type of approaching Nadal, or will you play the game that you usually play?  What do you have in mind in trying how to deal with Nadal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there is not going to be a significant difference in my tactics against Nadal comparing to other prior matches that are played, especially the one in Rome.  I'm going to try to be aggressive, because that is the only way I can win against him.
I know that of course this is the court he's most dominant on.  He has only lost one time in his career.  This is where he plays his best.
It's a very wide and very big court.  He likes to have that visual effect, as well, because it appears that he gets every ball back, you know.  He feels more comfortable when he plays on the bigger court.  That's one of the reasons why he's so successful here.
But, you know, we played some really close and good matches, good quality matches the last two years here, especially the one last year serving at 4‑3 in the fifth set to go 5‑3.  It was a very close one.
And knowing that I was that close to win against him the past two years gives me that reason to believe that I can make it this time.  Of course I'm going to go out on the court trying to win, trying to do my best.  I'm not going to serve and volley, that's for sure, but I'm going to try to stay with my own tactics.  I know what I need to do in order to win.
It's easier said than done, of course, because we all know how good he is on this court.  But he's not unbeatable.  You know, winning against him last couple of matches in the finals, big events, definitely gives me confidence that I can do it again.

Q.  You have been in a lot of mentally stressful finals before, Grand Slam finals.  Is this the most mentally stressful scenario here going into this final because this tournament is so important to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not so much as I would say last year, maybe two years ago.  I guess each year I gain that experience in knowing how to handle the certain situations psychologically.
So it is more of a motivation for me, more of a I would say positive emotion going into the finals.  Of course pressure is there.  Expectations are there.  They are always present when you are playing on this level.
But I'm trying to channel this energy into the right direction and not get carried away too much by the stress of the occasion.
So it is the final.  It is the finals of a Grand Slam that I never won.  Of course I'm going to give my best to lift the trophy in two days.  I'm going to have the ultimate challenge on clay across the net, Nadal.  We all know how successful he is.
But I have to believe and I have to try to win it.

Q.  You said on the court that the conditions were difficult for you.  How much this condition affect your game today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It requires a little bit of an adjustment, because we played for over 10 days of the tournament in overcast and a little bit heavier conditions.  The ball wasn't bouncing as high as it did today.
Today the hitting point was a bit higher, so you had to adjust to that.  And of course it was strong sun.  That also affects the fatigue of the players.
It was a lot of exchanges we had, a lot of long rallies.  But at the end of the day, in the end of the match I managed to find a necessary rhythm.

Q.  Before this tournament starts, there were a lot of talks about a younger generation, such as Raonic, Dimitrov, and Nishikori.  Seems like eventually this going to be you and Nadal's kind of classic final.  Do you think it's because Grand Slams are so different from ATP Tour that younger generation cannot handle this situation?  They are just not good enough to beat you guys?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I wouldn't say they're not good enough to win against ‑‑they were winning against me and Rafa and the top players.  You mentioned the names of the three players that are now coming up and showing some great quality tennis, potential to be a top‑‑ in the top of the men's game.
But as you mentioned, you know, Grand Slams is best of five and it's two weeks' long event.  It's all this pressure and expectations.  I think those three players that you mentioned are now encountering probably for the first time in their career what it means to be, you know, in the mix or a contender, one of the favorites, or so forth.
It's not easy.  Mentally it affects you.  You are, up to this point, only a young player who is very talented and swinging through and playing your best tennis.  But suddenly, when you have to encounter these mental challenges, then it becomes a different sport.
That's something that in my personal experience and career was a lesson, and it took me some time to understand how to handle it.

Q.  You're going to play Nadal, who lost only six games to Murray.  Are you surprised that he won so easily?  That's one question.  The second is, okay, you just mentioned the slam, five sets.  That makes more complicated for you versus a guy like Nadal?  You beat him sometimes after six hours, but on clay, with the heat, 32 degrees on Sunday, what do you expect?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I expect a sunny day (Laughter).  That's all I can expect.  I can prepare myself for that match as best as I can.  I cannot predict result or I cannot, you know, guarantee that I'm going to win or lose.
It's not in my hands.  I can control only what I can control, and that is my game and my preparations for that match.
Considering his result today against Murray, I mean, I watched a little bit of the match.  I'm not too surprised, because we all know how good he is on this court.  He's been elevating his game as the tournament progresses, and he's starting to feel at his best when he needs to.
It's not the first time that that happens in his case.  That's Nadal, and Roland Garros, he has been always playing his best towards the end of the tournament.

Q.  Even though you and Rafa have met many, many times, there has been some interesting momentum swings in your rivalry:  2011 when you had the upper hand you didn't get to play him in the final here.  Seems like you have the upper hand again.  Talk about those momentum swings and how that makes you feel going into the final this time.  Secondly, can you talk about the physical challenge you both present to each other.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, talking about the upper hand, I don't know how much upper hand I have, really.  You have to take in consideration the results that he had in Roland Garros and that I had in my career.
I think there is no doubt that he is the favorite to win the title there.  But, okay, I have been playing some good tennis.  The win in Rome a few weeks ago against him in the final definitely gives me confidence and hopefully self‑belief before the finals in our match.
Other hand, the physical challenge that we present to each other is a very important factor in our matches.  I know that I'm going to be facing a player who plays every point in a match point, a great competitor.  He's a great fighter, and I know that it's going to be a physically very demanding match.
But I'm ready for it.  It's been a good tournament for me so far.  Today has been a tough match.
But again, I have a day off and it's not the first time that I'm encountering, facing these kind of situations.  I know what I need to do with my team.  I'm going to recover, prepare myself tactically, physically, emotionally, and give my best in two days.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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