September 4, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Andy, I mean, based on the comments on the court, Andy clearly upset
you, angered you with some of the comments that became public. Was that
a factor? How much were you angered by those comments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Now, look, I had a very, very tough day yesterday.
Physically I was feeling very exhausted and very empty.
I wasn't able to practice. One of the reasons was physically that, you
know, I was exhausted and the other reason was that I just mentally had
a lot of pressure.
Unfortunately, Andy made a statement ‑‑ I don't think it was
intentional, okay. He made a joke and it was a misunderstanding, so I
don't blame it on him. Okay. I did react on the court. Maybe I reacted.
Maybe I exaggerated and reacted bad in that moment. No, I apologize if I
reacted like that. But this was just impulsive, you know.
I had a lot of emotions in last two days. It's not nice when you get
that from media all around the world and from players, and I never
needed to make any excuses in the press. I just didn't need ‑‑ because I
know that what I'm doing is right, that I have all the rights to take
the medical timeout, that I'm doing it just for the purpose to make my
physical condition better and just that I continue playing better.
I never made medical timeout because I wanted to distract the player,
the opponent, or, you know, make the result look worse, you know.
And I just never did it. I didn't pay attention when I took the medical
timeout. I just didn't care about it. Medical timeout is there because
physiotherapist are there and doctors are there to help you out. This is
what I did. I just took the medicals to help me out.
Maybe the people think that I'm exaggerating with these things, but it's
just ‑‑ it's nothing bad, nothing negative, because I just ‑‑ I twist my
ankle, I feel bad, you know. I get the pain in the back.
I just want to make it right, you know. Andy was always nice to me when
I got to the tour, so this was just a clear misunderstanding.
Q. Have you spoken to Andy in the locker room already?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, but this is just between us.
Q. I think maybe one of the reasons you were maybe upset is he was maybe
not the only one who said that? Robredo said some things, and he sounded
serious, although thinks his English is not as good?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, look, Robredo had the right to say something like
that if he lost, you know. Everybody has right to complain and right to
say. I respect everybody's thoughts and everybody's opinion.
I never wanted to disrespect anybody. As I said, if I made ‑‑ if I
exaggerated on the court today and I made maybe a mistake saying that in
front of 20,000 people, you know, in his city and his favorite
tournament, okay, I do apologize, but it was ‑‑ he was not bad
intentions. So I just hope people understand.
Q. The crowd's attitude also strengthened you even though they were very
obviously with Andy? Did that help you coming back and putting him away
in four sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no, nothing against the crowd. The crowd here in
New York, at least I get that feeling, liked me last year, and really, I
had such a fun time last year. You know, reaching the finals and they
were behind me. In most of the matches I played I have not enough words
to thank them. I just don't want this to happen in a bad way.
You know, we had this connection, and this year, of course, this match,
I mean, I didn't expect the crowd would be behind me. It's obviously
that they will be for the home player and for Andy, you know. Their
biggest hope to win the US Open. This is ‑‑ this is the biggest reason.
But I just, you know, I felt bad in the end.
Q. Prior to the comment, though, I didn't think that the crowd seemed
overtly for Andy. I mean, they were cheering for good tennis. You made
some beautiful shots out there tonight and I thought you had tremendous
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, I always take the crowd out of the match,
because we have to respect them, and I have big support here in the
States. I just love playing here. My best results ever were here, in the
States and in the hard courts.
So whenever I come back here for me, it's a pleasure to play in front of
the full stadium, packed house, a lot of entertainment and a lot of fun.
Makes emotions. So we just have fun. You could see that on the court, as
Q. You were saying you had so much pressure the last couple days. Why
are you feeling so much pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the thing is that you know in the past, as well, I
got asked from the press and not just asked, I mean, the press was the
one who was, you know, saying a lot of things and maybe other players,
as well, saying their opinions about my medical timeouts, that I was
taking too much, and they don't believe that I'm injured enough.
So it was a little quiet now in last year or so, and now it's coming
So it's not nice, really, when you are in the middle of something that
you know that you're not doing wrong, you know?
I mean, to be honest, as I said before, it was never my intention to
distract anybody. It was just doing for my own good, so press is a part
of my life, and I mean, I always try to be nice to everybody, and I
never been in any misunderstandings or any fights with any of the other
I would never disrespect anybody, and this is just ‑‑ it's not, you
know, a way...
Q. So you feel like you deserve more respect for the person and player
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I just ‑‑ I just think that this should be
reduced. That's all.
I mean, I'm not asking for it, you know ‑‑ you guys do whatever you need
to do. You do whatever you feel you need to do. But it's just that I
don't want to make excuses, you know. There is a lot of players, you
know, they come and they make excuses. I'm not one of them. I don't need
to make excuses, you know, why is my leg injured, why is my back
injured. It's not me.
Q. We can be surprised by your way of playing. One day you're limping,
the other you are not limping. So can you understand that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I can't understand that. The thing is you don't
understand that in the middle of the match, you are trying to get
yourself the best as possible. It doesn't mean that if I'm inviting a
doctor to the court or physio that I'm dying, you know?
I'm having a problem, with the ankle, okay. I felt the pain in that
certain moment, and I just want to make sure that everything is all
right. That's all.
I mean, and then the big story comes out of it, and then suddenly I'm a
bad guy, you know.
Q. Did you have any pain tonight? You did not call the trainer at all.
Were there any moments where you thought, I'd like to call the trainer
but because of all of this I'm not going to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There were some, but just ‑‑ let's keep that ‑‑ don't
talk about it, because then, you know, you get me wrong again.
Q. Looking at Roger, what do you think you're going to have to do on
Saturday to make it to the finals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said on the court, he's absolute favorite in that
match, and for him, it's a big challenge now to win another Slam, and to
at least stay in the race with Rafa to be No. 1 player of the world and
end of the year, still big chances, of course.
It's a bit strange, though, to see No. 2 next to his name, you know. He
was so dominant in last couple of years, and I lost to him here the
finals last year. I took some, well, necessary thoughts, and things out
of that match, so I can improve in the next challenges, and/or next
encounters, and I won against him this year in Australian Open. That was
my best tournament of the career, and against him, that was one of my
Hopefully I can do the same. I just need to be myself and need to be
Q. Were you aware that if you win that match and go on to win the
tournament that you will overtake Roger for No. 2?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not thinking about that in the moment, you know. I'm
going slowly, step by step.
Q. The weather for Saturday looks like it's going to be a rainout. If it
is a rainout, how will the extra day off affect you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's going to go in my favor. Physically I've
been struggling in this tournament, so ‑‑ any extra day of relaxation
and just recovery would be good for me, of course, but I would like to
play soon, not wait here.
Q. Why would you say he's such a favorite when you did play so well and
beat him in Australia and showed that at your best level on hardcourts
you can play with him and overcome him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not saying I cannot win. Of course I can win and I
won two encounters which we had in hardcourts. But look, he was four
years No. 1 player of the world, and he's still better than me in
rankings, and he has all the things under his belt, I mean, 13, 14 Grand
Slams, I don't know how many titles, 50, 60 titles. He's very
experienced, and he knows what he needs to play, how he needs to behave
in the big matches in front of the big crowd and in big moments, what
shots he needs to play.
I'm getting that experience slowly, but I'm still not in his, you know,
level. If I play my best, yes, I think I have good chance to win, but
still, I would give him as the favorite.
Q. Did you think you were going five sets tonight, Novak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was very close. I mean, he was serving 5‑4 and
30‑Love, and plus staying on the better side on the court, so I really
didn't think I would get myself out of that position, but, you know,
obviously I played well.
Q. Last year you really endeared yourself to the crowd through, you
know, your own behavior, on court, YouTube, picking up the
impersonations, us talking about it, giving it some mileage and so
forth. It just sort of seems this year that things are sort of almost
the other way around. There's a lot of negative stuff. It's not that you
have changed, although I do sense you're more guarded. You said the
other day, I don't want to be a clown, for instance. Maybe you're not
trying to, you know, get laughs or whatever. But I mean, you know, do
you find yourself this year leery of exposing yourself, your emotions,
or are you leery of media more than you were? I mean...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's different, you know. Once you win the Grand
Slam title and, you know, win a couple more major events, you get more
attention from everybody, and it's logical.
Again, you know, I don't want to make any impersonations more. It's not
that I don't want, you know. This is something that people will get
wrong, you know. And this is exactly the reason, and this is exactly the
situation I don't want to be in. You know, fighting with people, with
the press and this is absolutely not me.
And that's one of the reasons why I stopped doing this. I mean everybody
is different. Everybody has different character, different personality,
different way of seeing things on and off the court.
I always try to enjoy my life as much as I can, on the court and off the
court. People who follow my career know that. And it was all from the
positive side of life and just bringing the smiles on the people's
faces. Not really insulting anybody. So, you know, it just turned around
now. So hopefully we can get back.
Q. You were talking about Roger's big match experience, but tonight,
very big match. You come up in the clutch. You hit the great backhand
lob to break him. You played a brilliant tiebreaker, big struggle on the
second to last point and a winner on the last point. You're really
showing something to yourself and everyone else game‑wise?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. Last three matches have been extremely
difficult for me, as well mentally, you know, to survive two matches,
four sets and one five‑setter is very important in these kind of events.
I'm maturing more and more. You know, I know what I need to play in the
certain moments and important moments.
I'm really trying to push myself to be as positive as I can, you know,
not to think about, you know, the things that already happened.
So this was the case today. I lost that third set, and I was a break
down. He was serving, and he was just getting into the rhythm of the
serve. He was serving huge. And then suddenly he makes two double
faults, so I used my opportunity.
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