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27/01/2011 16:06 CEST - AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Novak Djokovic (27 Gennaio)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC b. Roger Federer 76 75 64

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Q. I think you served particularly well when you were a little in trouble. Normally, it was your problem sometimes, the second serve. Today you played very well every time, especially the serve.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Overall, it was a great performance. I'm very happy with the way I played. Regarding the serve, yes, I have been serving well under pressure, even though I got a little bit tight and made some double faults in the third set when I was up a break.
That's normal under the circumstances in the late stages of the tournament against Roger. I knew that I had to use my chances. I stayed very calm and focused after losing my serve on 4 3 and managed to re break and then serve it out really well.
It's great and encouraging fact that I can rely on my serve in the important moments that gives you a little bit of the relief and advantage.

Q. Did you think you moved as well as you've moved in this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I moved great. Actually, I like this surface, and I've been saying that before. Just conditions are very suitable to my game. It's a bit slower and gives me enough time to, you know, have a couple of options in what I want to do with the ball. I can spin it out, flatten it out. I need a little bit more time for my game, and the slower surfaces are more suited to my style of the game, and this is a great court, actually. I like playing on it.

Q. Weather forecast, have you been happy with that? Cooler this year compared to other years.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Cannot complain. Thank God.

Q. You had the very tough Davis Cup final. You were one two down against France. Did that give you a mental strength? You played well in Hopman Cup. Are you just on a roll?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Definitely it was confidence boost, and I was coming, you know, to the preparing for a new season with the Davis Cup title just couple weeks behind me. It was a historical success, and it's something different that we experience on the tennis court. We play for nation, for team. Just one of the nicest moments I ever experienced on the tennis court as a professional ever in my career.
You know, to be able to have that in the back of your mind is a big advantage coming into the season, even though the fact of the matter is that I had a very short off season. But still, I had that motivation and confidence from the big success that we had and playing really well. So I just continued on.
I knew that this two weeks are the most important, this period of the year. This is where I want to play my best tennis and I was setting up my form exactly for this tournament. Paid off.

Q. How did you see the semifinal tomorrow?

Q. How did you see the semifinal going tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's a semifinal of a Grand Slam. Maybe you would put Murray as a slight favorite, but Ferrer has been showing maybe his best tennis on hardcourts lately. I think he won a tournament just before US Open, and now beating Nadal and couple other big players. It's great. He's playing well, so he's going to give his best. Definitely it's going to be interesting to see who is going to prevail.
I'm going to just relax and take some time off. I have two days now, which is always very much needed at this stage of the tournament to recover a little bit and get ready.

Q. Walking in the park?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A little walk in the park, flowers, botanic gardens.

Q. Now you are in the second Grand Slam final in a row after the US Open. And then is the full cycle for finals with no Roger Federer in finals. You see it like it's an opening, some window, to break the rivalry from Nadal and Federer and other players are getting in?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think on one side it's good for the sport to have more players being able to win against Federer and Nadal. All the credit to them what they have done in last five, six years. They've been very dominant and just a great example of champions.
It was really hard to challenge them, especially in the big events where they play their best tennis. Now these things are changing a little bit, so from that perspective it's good for the sport.

Q. Do you think there's any sense of a changing of the guard, a new era?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, it's maybe early to say that. Roger is still very much motivated to reclaim the first spot in the rankings. He's playing great. Tonight I think I played maybe a better match, but he's still up there and in extraordinary form and he's been winning out of the last five, six tournaments he won five.
You have Nadal on the other hand which has been a very, very dominant player. We are still behind them. You can't say there is a new era coming up. There is more players. More players that are able to win majors, which is good.

Q. Could you say this has been your best match in a long time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: One of the best. One of the best, definitely.

Q. Which one you consider the best three matches you've played?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the semifinals as well against Roger here; I don't know, maybe against him again in US Open. There's been a lot of bad matches, obviously. And against Rafa, the one I lost in Madrid is one of the better matches I've played on that surface. Couple years back.
Well, I've been playing my best tennis in this tournament. You know, this is the only Grand Slam I won, and again, this year I've been playing great, losing only a set before finals. That shows that this surface is really suitable to my game.

Q. Was it a tactic of yours to really attack Roger's backhand tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. I think last time we have played in London, you know, I could not even get into match. He went on top of me and he just was in control of the whole match. I kind of learned from that experiences playing against him so many times in the last two, three years.
I knew what he's expecting me, a very aggressive player who loves coming in and stepping in. I knew that if I want to win this match, I will have to stay positive. And when I have been given the chance, I should use it.
So I wasn't really trying to hit every ball as hard as I can. I tried to, you know, create the point, and then when I have a comfort ball on a forehand, I wanted to step in and hit it. I was more aggressive than I usually am against him.

Q. What would you say is the significant difference between the Novak of 2008 and 2011? Is there one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is. I'm three years older and I'm more experienced player on the court. Physically I'm stronger. I definitely feel like that. I was a 20 year old kid hitting as hard as he can with closed eyes and everything was going in back then. It was great. Felt great.
Then I, over the years, I faced some situations that I never faced before, you know, pressure of defending Grand Slams and things like that. You grow up. You get this knowledge and the necessary experience. You know, you just have to accept that as a good school, and move on. That's what I did.
I had my ups and downs throughout these two, three years, but right now I feel like I'm much stronger and more consistent and I know that I'm more stable, mentally and physically. I hope that I can hold onto this for the whole year, because it's important. If you want to stay at the top of the men's tennis you have to play consistently well all the time.

Q. You're blessed with a very strong backup team as well. How important is that keeping your career on an even keel as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's crucial. They're not just my coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, they're my friends, lifetime friends. I have the best team in the world. What can I say? I like being around them. It's really important, because you spend more time with them than my brothers and parents and girlfriend and anybody.
So I have to take the best out of it. They're the people I can rely on on and off the court all the time. This is individual sport, and you're on the court and have to do your job. But one wise man told me, It's not the will to win that makes a winner, it's the will to prepare. Basically that's a sentence I keep on telling to myself.
Prepare well. That's what I do well. They've been supporting me in my career throughout already three, four years. Definitely don't want to change them.

Q. Is your girlfriend happy that you spend more time with the coach?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You have to ask her, but I will definitely say probably no. I hope no. (Laughter.)

Q. If it is Andy that you play an Sunday, seems like you guys are rekindling the friendship you had as juniors. You played football. Talk about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he's a great footballer. I've been suffering two loses against him before the tournament in football, and I've been really feeling the negatives of that losses. No, we have been friends for a long time.
Right now, I think we reconnected again and become a bit closer. It's nice to see somebody that you grew up with. We played under 12, under 10, under 14. We grew up together. We basically made a breakthrough to top 100 more or less at the same time. It's nice to see somebody doing well, the person who was your long time friend.
So if I get to meet him in the final, we're both professionals. Of course we haven't played for a very long time, already maybe a year and a half or two. Going to be interesting.

Q. It's been no secret that Ana has a crush on Roger. She always says that Roger is her favorite player to watch.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She has a crush on Roger?

Q. I think so.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: But you said for sure. Was she sitting in my box?

Q. Yeah. Why was she in your box and supporting you and not...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A little bit of gossip. You want to hear that. No, Ana is my friend for since we were five. We know each other. She's been practicing here. She had the first round loss unfortunately, and she's been practicing because she goes to the tournament from here, from Melbourne next week. So she used the opportunity to come to the matches. She will come to the final. Great to see her there in the box. Great to have her support.
But I'm not going to answer the other question, because I really don't know. You have to ask her.

Q. Will it make you feel more comfortable, relaxed, that in the final there will be no Rafa and no Roger on the other side of the court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not really. Because there is Murray and Ferrer, two players that have been on top of the men's tennis for couple years already. Doesn't really matter.
I try not to analyze that too much. It's a finals of a Grand Slam, and it's really unpredictable what's happening in that match. Everybody will give the maximum effort to win the title.
I'm sure both of those guys never won a Grand Slam title, and they will have big, big motivation and energy and desire to win it.
So there is no favorites. I expect a good match.

Q. You said you had nothing to lose today. Now you have everything to lose in the final.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, still not. Nothing, really. Already finals is a great result, great achievement. I want to win it again. I believe I can. Hopefully I can pull up the best tennis.


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