Monday, September 14, 2015
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You played the all time Grand Slam champion tonight; you might be playing with the greatest generation of players ever, and you’re dominating them. How do you feel about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m dominating, but I definitely am very proud of all of the achievements. You know, winning Grand Slam is very special for any tennis player when you are dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player. When you are kind of finding that inspiration, motivation, these are the tournaments you dream of winning.
So to actually relive these moments again after 2011 it’s quite incredible. To win against one of the biggest rivals, as you said, all-time Grand Slam champion, somebody that, you know, always keeps on fighting till the last point, keeps making you play an extra shot, yeah, all these things now are very special to me.
Obviously I owe a great gratitude to my team and for making sure I can perform as well as I did, you know, all these years. And tonight is a night that I will definitely remember for a long time.
Q. It’s been said by players and analysts that Roger is playing arguably the best tennis of his career. He played you so well tonight; pushed you back against the wall. Seems like when it was there you came up with your best tennis and your tenth Grand Slam victory. What did it mean to get through this match tonight and what does this accomplishment mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s been an incredible season. I’m very fortunate to experience a great success this year.
The season is not over, but the Grand Slam is over. The biggest tournaments that I have played this year, as anybody else, and I won three out of four. It’s more than I could ask for, definitely.
Of course I do have lots of expectations and high ambitions whenever I’m approaching the Grand Slams or any other tournament, but, you know, now actually sitting down here with this trophy and reflecting on what I have achieved, it’s quite incredible.
So I’m definitely very satisfied and proud of that. As you said, you know, he played great tennis throughout the entire year. I think as the season was going by he was elevating his game. He was improving. Now he came up with a different shot, as well, the shot that nobody has ever seen.
And it’s been working well also against me in Cincinnati and also here. He’s just not going away. He’s not dropping his level too much. You know, I was saying on the court that he’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win.
So that’s who Roger is. That’s why he has won so many Grand Slam titles.
And I knew that coming to the court. I knew he’s going to be aggressive. He’s going to try to disrupt my rhythm, and he’s going to put a lot of variety in his game. slice, chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley. Which he did.
But I was ready for it. I was ready for the battle. That’s what it was. Three hours, 20 minutes. We pushed each other to the limit, as we always do.
It’s an ultimate challenge that I can have now winning against Roger back to back finals in Wimbledon and here, US Open. It’s tremendous. I’m really, really proud of it.
Q. Everybody was always talking about your magic 2011. This year you made not just the slams winning but also a final which you didn’t do in 2011. What can you say it’s more difficult now to do a repeat, I mean, to do a second time than the first one? And also, I appreciate the fact that at the end of the ceremony you didn’t say anything about the public. Because today the crowd was against you as I have never seen any — only Davis Cup maybe some matches. It was, I guess, very, very difficult. Can you say something about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the first question, yes. I think it’s definitely more difficult to repeat something like that than actually doing it for the first time again. I’m a different player, a different person today than I was 2011.
As a father and a husband, you know, experiencing different variety of things in my life, it’s completely different approach to tennis today.
I feel more fulfilled. I feel more complete as a player today than I was in 2011. Physically stronger, mentally more experienced, and tougher, as well. Trying to use the experience from before into every match that I play, and especially the big ones like today.
You know, I think being in the situation before helped me to understand particular obstacles that are on the way and how I need to overcome them, which I did tonight.
And regarding the crowd, look, I mean, you know, there was a lot of support for Roger. There was some for me. I mean, for sure, I tried to focus on the ones that were supporting me.
But I can’t, you know, sit here and criticize the crowd. On the contrary, you know, I think it’s logical to expect that a great player and a champion like Roger has the majority of the support anywhere I play him. You know, I would say super majority of places around the world are going to give him that support.
Now, percentage-wise, more or less, I don’t know. I’m not there to judge who is supporting more or less. I’m there to play tennis.
I accept the fact. You know, everybody has a choice to support a player that they want to support, and he absolutely deserves to have the support he does because of all the years and success that he had and the way he carries himself on and off the court. No question about it.
Me, I’m there to earn the support, and hopefully in the future I can be in that position.
Q. Do you think your resilience again made the difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just being mentally tough and trying to hang in there and play point by point. Obviously much easier said than done. As I was saying before, I was aware that he was going to come out with a clear game plan to pressure me and come to the net and, you know, mix up and come second serve, come to the net, as well.
Just, you know, take out time from me. Because I like to have a little bit more time. That’s my style of game. He likes one, two, three shot points. He loves to play quick.
You know, you could feel the momentum was switching from my side to his side for, I think, all the way till the end of the third. It was anybody’s game. It was really even.
When I managed to break at 4-All and managed to hold after saving couple break points in 5-4 and winning the third set, that obviously gave me a huge wind in the back, and I managed to play really well after that.
5-2 serving, I thought, Okay, now this is the time to finish it off, but it wasn’t. He showed once again why he’s competing in such a high level for so many years.
Again, he never stepped back, and he always made me play an extra shot, extra shot, kept pushing. Yeah, I was fortunate to come up with some big serves when I needed to. You know, serve was not really a strong link tonight for me, but in the important moments I got a couple of free points in the last game on serve, and that’s what matters.
Q. You made an interesting comment the other day where you said you like to be in a creative spirit all the time. It can’t be easy for anyone to be out there, 23,000 people are howling, and not so much for you. Within yourself, how do you set that creative spirit to retain your focus and block out the crowd and do whatever you have to do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I mean, if we had this conversation maybe five years ago, you know, situation would be probably different. Because as I said, I’m a more experienced player and I have been in these situations before. I have played Roger over 40 times, and a lot of times in final stages of Grand Slams.
I know how that feels, you know, regarding the crowd and support and everything. With that on my mind, I came on the court aware that this is going to be the, you know, reality. There’s not much I can do about it. You know, I just need to try to focus on what I need to do and my game plan and try to execute it in the best possible way. That’s where I keep my focus.
Obviously, you know, over the course of, you know, three hours 20 minutes match, you do have some, you know, ups and downs in concentration. You do let sometimes certain things to distract you. But it’s important to get back on the course and go back to basics and why you are there and what you need to do.
So, you know, obviously it’s…
Sorry. You like my voice? I mean, is it calming you down? Getting is you in the zen state? I’m sorry. (To the guy sleeping.) We just woke him up.
So as I was saying, yes, basically, you know, to keep your focus, whatever is happening outside of the dimensions of the court is basically not in your hands.
I mean, the crowd gets into it. You interact with players, especially here in New York. Every Grand Slam has something unique about it. New York is about night session. You know, music, entertainment, crowd interaction. It’s part of the show. It’s part of what we do, and that’s why this tournament is so special.
You come here knowing that this is going to — you know, this is what is waiting for you. And plus, if you’re playing Roger who is a crowd favorite anywhere he goes, especially here, it’s a reality you have to face.
Q. Today in this final, you visited the net; not as many as Roger, but you won 66% of those. The same percentage as Roger. How do you qualify in general terms your game, net, today and all over the tournament? Your expectations for the future on this side?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not as natural, I would say, going to the net like Roger is, but I have been working on that part of my game with Boris on board. Of course was a fantastic serve and volley, you know, net player, great volleys.
So we are trying to, you know, kind of always find room for improvement in my game, something that we can work on. Net game is definitely a part of my game which can be improved.
So, you know, I know my game is based on the baseline. I’m a baseline player. But I give myself a lot of opportunities with good shots from baseline, and I don’t come to close it out in the net. That’s what I have been trying to do.
Again, it’s not easy to come to the net many times against Roger who is standing on the line. Whether he’s offensive or defensive, he’s always more or less baseline. He picks up half volleys, plays very quick, and doesn’t give you much time.
I have been pretty pleased with the way I played on the net today. I thought it was okay.
Q. Someone asked you about the spill you took?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.
Q. What happened there? Can you describe what it was? What was hurting? Obviously elbow, knee, hand.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it was a three-hour wait, first of all, rain delay, warming up, cooling down, eating, not eating, you know, figuring out what’s going on, will we get on the court at all tonight or not?
So finally we did, and there was still a little bit of moisture on the court I think from the rain and a bit of humidity and so forth.
That’s what happened. I think third or fourth game I slipped and hurt myself, but it was luckily nothing that was major that could, you know, be of concern for — I needed two, three games really to kind of regroup after what has happened, but it was just an impact, just the fall itself.
But, you know, the scratches I have all over the body, it’s just they are wounds basically. I didn’t twist anything. I didn’t, you know, hurt anything.
Q. New York, obviously Stefan Edberg always said this was a difficult test. He said he hated it at first and then it gave him something he didn’t know about himself. Obviously this has been a tougher one to win for you in finals, but you solved it. What’s been tough on you about New York? How have you worked your way through it to understand this tournament and unique challenge?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as you said, you know, I have played before tonight’s final five finals. I have lost four and won one.
A couple of finals, ’12 and ’13 I thought I could have won, but again, lost to Nadal and Murray, two great players. Went down to the wire a couple of points that decided a winner.
Tonight was another match that was decided by few points. That’s what happens. You know, Grand Slam finals really are no clear favorites, especially if you’re playing against biggest rivals.
As I was answering before, I can’t really find a particular reason why I have not been so successful in the finals here as I am maybe in Melbourne, for example, or Wimbledon.
But I’m glad that this tradition of losing in finals is broke now. (Laughter.) Yeah, hopefully I can have more chances to fight for a trophy.
Q. Roger says that you’ll obviously win more Grand Slams if you remain healthy and obviously hungry. How hungry are you? And is 17, 18 anywhere in your sights?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we got two to double digits now, and I’m so, you know, obviously flattered and honored to be a part of elite group of players, legends of our sports to manage to win this many Grand Slam trophies in their lives and careers.
So to be just mentioned alongside them is truly something special. I’m 28. I have always valued the care for my body, and, you know, my mind and had this holistic approach to life. I always thought this is utmost importance for my tennis.
I will continue on with the same kind of lifestyle, same kind of approach. I think that kind of approach brought me to where I am today. Hopefully this kind of approach will give me longevity and that I can have many more years to come, and as I said, many more opportunities to fight for these trophies.
That’s why I’m playing this sport, you know, because, first of all, I enjoy it, I love it, have passion for it, and then, you know, fight for the biggest trophies.
As long as there is this flare in me I will be coming back and bore you guys with my answers in the press conference.
Q. Can I ask a little show business question from Scotland? Was there an actor, Gerard Butler in your box tonight? How did you guys meet? What’s your relationship? You were embracing very warmly at the end.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, we know each other for several years and we are good friends. So he happened to be in the city last couple of days, so I invited him to come. It’s very nice of him to be there and show me support.
Funny enough, I actually sent him a photo and a message last night. I was watching 300 movie, and so one of the things when I went to my box, when I embraced all my family and team, when I looked at him I said, This is Sparta. It felt great. That’s one of the most inspiring movies I watched.
So actually, yeah, he’s a very cool guy.
Q. We felt maybe from Scotland he would be a Murray fan.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He is, but I was not playing Murray. He thought it was appropriate to come to this match.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports