An Interview With: Novak Djokovic (USO 2010 press conference -Final)
Monday, September 13, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Novak, you were talking after the win with Roger, there was a lot of questions to you about Rafa and about whether or not he could maybe some day surpass Roger as possibly being the greatest player ever. Is that the caliber of player that you faced out there tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Definitely. He has the capabilities already now to become the best player ever. I think he's playing the best tennis that I ever seen him play on hardcourts. He has improved his serve drastically. The speed, the accuracy, and of course his baseline is as good as ever. So he's a very complete player. And for me, in order to win against him tonight, I had to be on the top of my game. I was playing really well for most of the match, but then there were some moments in, let's say, third and fourth set where I dropped my focus a little bit. You know, I dropped my level of game and just a little bit on service games. You know, it went for me. He took it away, and he never gave me a chance to go back. I had this 15 30 chance in 5 4 third set, and then he served, I mean, three amazing serves. So I think that's one of the key factors today in his win except an amazing baseline game, of course, and great coverage of the court. The serve was fantastic the whole tournament.
Q. You had a very tough physical and emotional match with Roger. Granted, you were lucky to get the rain break, but it seemed like a pretty courageous performance tonight in terms of overcoming the difficulties of fatigue.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was feeling good on the court tonight from a physical perspective, and just running all over the court and getting a lot of balls back. But as you could see, you know, we played four sets for almost four hours, and anywhere against Rafa you play, you know, you've got to be ready to perform your best and to expect the long rallies. That was the case tonight, and I was aware of that and I was ready for that. I don't think I can blame my physical situation, actually. It was all good. It was just, okay, maybe emotionally I was a little bit drained after the semifinal match, but I recovered, you know. I had two days, and I was motivated to win this match, and, you know, this is one of the matches where the opponent plays better than you, and you just have to congratulate him and tell him, You're better. That's it. I don't think I played a bad match overall. It was very good performance from my side. But whenever it was important, he was the one who was playing just too good.
Q. Have you ever played as well as you have tonight and lost a match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. It's hard to say, to be honest. I did play a lot of great matches over these couple of years and losing and winning; I just cannot name any, you know. I won many matches when I was playing very bad, so, you know, I could have lost this tournament in the first round easily, you know, to Troicki. I was two sets to one down and almost double break. After that first round win, it turned everything in my favor, and I was playing great tennis all the way, even in tonight's match, as I said. Playing great, feeling good on the court. But Rafa was just too good.
Q. After you beat Roger, he was in this press room, and he said, Yeah, it feels bad, but it doesn't feel as bad as if it were in the final, as if getting to the final and losing is, you know, is the most hurtful thing. And yet, to be in the final, be out there in that theater and to be able to play as well as you did, I mean, do you find this talk about that in terms of getting there but not getting there all the way.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I cannot hide the disappointment. It's just I'm not gonna cry or complain about that, you know. It's just the way it is. Of course, I am feeling bad about my loss. I wanted that trophy, and I know I gave my maximum to get it even tonight. But, you know, when I sleep over the night, tomorrow I will wake up as a new man. You know, I will continue on working hard and waiting for the next chance to come.
Q. You said on court that the fans, that you fight for the fans because they support you. Do you feel you really have good support?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, definitely, especially tonight. It was great. It was just a pleasure performing in front of the people who enjoy tennis so much and support the players. Both of us, we had great support, and you always very much need the support of the people in these moments, in the matches of this importance, and we had it. And of course in the tough moments when I thought when I was a double break down and I thought the match is getting away from me, I still was trying and fighting back. I was a bit unlucky, and the fans really wanted me to come back. So, yeah, definitely very thankful for that.
Q. Thank you for all you've given to all of us. Thank you for giving all you've given for the past couple weeks. You've had the unique experience of playing Roger and then Rafa back to back. Could you just take a moment and really compare their two games and who would you say is better at this point? We know Nadal has had a better year, but...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, look, we cannot judge who is better on one tournament, you know. At this point there is, you know, five, six years' difference between them, and basically Federer had more years on the tour, he had more success; he has more trophies. He's definitely somebody who made history in this sport. He's still playing as one of the best players in the world. The other hand, you have Nadal who is just proving each day, each year that he's getting better, you know. That's what's so frustrating, a little bit. He's getting better each time you play him. He's so mentally strong and dedicated to this sport. You know, he has all the capabilities, everything he needs, in order to be the biggest ever, my opinion. He has lots of time to come if he physically holds on the next five, six, seven years. I don't know how long he's gonna play. Anyway, he has the game now for each surface, and he has won each Major. He has proven to the world that he's the best in this moment, so there is no question about it.
Q. When is the first time you saw Rafa?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When was the first time I saw him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wow. I don't remember. To be honest, I think we haven't met in juniors. He has played very few, and I played very few, but not the same ones. And I think the first time we met was some ATP tournament, you know. He was 15 already when he started playing ATP. Already very strong at that age, and I was I needed a little bit more time. Then we met, yeah, on ATP.
Q. I'm just wondering what you saw then you I'm sure you weren't sitting around thinking what he's gonna be possible of. Are you amazed at the adjustments he's made to get where he's gone?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's just great for somebody who had so much success as he did, very young age, and to be able to continue motivating himself to perform his best each tournament, each match he plays regardless who he has across the net. You just have to put a hat down for this guy, everything he does on and off the court. Great champion, great person, and great example of an athlete.
Q. Do you feel at all like you've reinvented yourself at all at this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I've played the best tennis certainly last seven, eight months, maybe the whole year. Wimbledon I played great, as well. So from Wimbledon up to this point, I feel much more comfortable on the court, more confident and getting this aggressive game back and the game that I need to have in order to stay at the top, and a game that has been a part of me always.
It's a good sign. I will continue on working, as I said, and hope that I can keep that performance.