N. DJOKOVIC/A. Murray 61, 63
An interview with: NOVAK DJOKOVIC
Q. That seemed like a pretty satisfying performance. Your take on it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s the best match of the tournament at the right time against a player who was in form and one of my biggest rivals, a player I lost to a couple months ago in a Montréal final.
Obviously, there was a lot at stake. Whenever we play against each other, it’s always exciting. It’s always a huge challenge. But I was ready. I came in from the very first point with the right intensity, played great, on a very high level.
I had a very high first serve percentage throughout the entire match. He had a very low one. I think that also made a difference in terms of the scoreline.
Q. Were you at all surprised how much you were able to kind of keep him out of it, except the first game in the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m not surprised. I mean, I’ve played against him so many times. I just know what’s the game plan. I’ve played so many of these particular matches in my life that I know exactly what I need to do.
You are always hoping before you get on the court to actually play this well and play throughout the entire match. So I couldn’t ask for more, honestly, how I played tonight.
Q. You and Jo have a two part rivalry. At the start you had issues playing against him. It has completely changed since 2010. Do you see some special reasons in your game that you have adjusted more to his?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We grew up together. We played first time against each other when we were 11. Very similar styles of the game. Similar, I’d say, trajectory of the careers, as well. Know each other well on and off the court.
I guess we did help each other to become successful. Through the matches that we had on the big stage, we’ve learned. We have analyzed and improved, as well, our games and our kind of mental approaches.
I think because I’ve played him so many times I understand what kind of game plan I need to execute on the court. But it’s easier said than done obviously. When you’re playing on a big stage, a big tournament, semifinals or finals of the event, against a quality player like him, you are obviously extra determined and focused. Everything from the very beginning of preparations for the match, everything that you do the day before, the day on the match is devoted to the preparation for the best possible performance.
It worked tonight. I don’t know if it’s going to work every time or not. I did win against him for the last seven eight times that we played against each other, I lost once. It’s a good record. Yet again, we’ve played so many close matches that tonight’s match went completely my side, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stay that way.
Q. Tsonga is an exciting player. He even dived today in order to win over Nadal. Any expectations about the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He’s very enthusiastic player. He feeds on the energy of the crowd a lot. He’s very powerful, big serve. I think his game heavily relies on the serve. If he has a high first serve percentage, he’s managing to get some free points there, that part of his game, then he’s dangerous.
I’m going to try to get a lot of balls back in play, hopefully serve as well as I did tonight. If that’s the case, then I have a good chance to win. It’s the finals. He’s played very well throughout the entire week. He won today against Nadal in an exciting match. As you said, he was fighting, diving on the court.
But that’s what he does. That’s part of his game, his style. I know what to expect. We’ve played many times.
Q. Today you wrote down Chinese characters. It’s complex in Chinese. You did very well. My question is, how many Chinese characters do you know?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know the exact number. It’s not too many. It maybe seems because I’m coming up with a new one each day that it’s plenty. It’s not many, but it’s plenty for me.
I’ve done it well because I had help. I don’t know if you’ve seen, but I was holding a paper next to the camera. Cheating a little bit.
Q. What stands out about your selections?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I talk with the fans each day. Whatever they suggest, as long as it’s a nice word. I’ll support that and I’ll do it.
Q. I know you’re still very focused after each match. When we watch this match against Andy or others, it’s insane, too good. Have you been sitting after matches this season thinking that was just amazing or are you just focused on the next match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don’t know if you can say it’s a good thing about tennis or not. When you lose, good thing is that you have a tournament already coming next week, that you’re able to get back on the court and try to rectify the errors and mistakes, get back on the winning streak.
On the other hand, when you keep on winning like this, you don’t have time to reflect on the victories, the way you have played. Of course, I try to enjoy it for the little time that I have. But knowing that I have a finals tomorrow, I am very pleased and satisfied with how I played, but I have to focus already on the next one.
The kind of mindset that I have is to be respectful in the defeat and humble in the victory, as well, which helps me stay grounded and stay committed always for the next one. After Grand Slams, obviously, the celebrations are a bit different. But there is never too much time, if you know what I mean, especially now with a family, always going back home, kind of shifting attention to your private life.
I don’t know which kind of celebration you were referring to. No parties.
Of course, I do reflect and I am very proud of the way I’ve played tonight. I know that’s not just in favor of the game that I’ve played on the court, but everything I’ve done prior to that.
But, again, tomorrow is a new day and another big match.
Q. Off subject. The other day you talked about keeping your son’s privacy. Boba’s son had been kidnapped. Did that go through your mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We don’t live in Serbia at the moment. But, again, nevertheless, it’s a different times. When Boba’s son was kidnapped in Serbia, today it’s much safer.
It can happen. It can happen anywhere. We’re not paying too much attention to that. It’s really not the main focus when we think about the privacy of our child. It’s more just the fact that we think it doesn’t make sense for us to really expose him when he’s going to be exposed anyway once you starts running around, coming to the tennis courts. Until then, he’s just a baby that crawls around. I don’t think there is any reason for us to really show the face. I think it’s nicer to protect him.