Interview US OPEN 2010 -> Novak Djokovic

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Q. You feel like you’re getting better with every match?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I think so, and it’s very encouraging fact at this stage of the tournament that I’m raising my game and feeling more comfortable on the court. I played a great match today. Conditions were tough as well with a strong wind. I was using my serve in important moments extremely well and opening the court and kind of not giving him enough chances to come to the net and be aggressive.

Q. Do you think after your performance today it’s time for everyone to start taking you more seriously as a contender this year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I’m not thinking about if somebody takes me or takes me not for serious contender. I don’t care too much. I really just try to focus on my game. I’m happy with the way things are moving on for me at this point. Physically I feel very fit, and mentally I’m very focused on the court and taking every match very seriously. This is the only way for me to go far in the tournament. So far I’ve been feeling very confident and just trying to move on.

Q. Would you say it’s the best you’ve been playing in Grand Slam this year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I think. But even in Wimbledon I was playing really well every match up to the semifinals. French Open, as well, I was playing great, and then two sets to love up and then I lost that match. But, you know, it’s important to perform your best tennis at Grand Slams, and this was my aim for 2010. It’s gonna be my aim for next year. It’s the most important events, and it’s where you want to perform the best tennis you can. It’s been happening so far for me. I have to be happy with the results.

Q. Do you think you have an advantage in that Rafa and Federer have so much attention and you can sort of play under the radar a little even though you’re the No. 3 seed?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, as I said, I don’t really pay too much attention on that. My job is to play tennis, of course. I’m having fun on and off the court. I enjoy what I do. I guess with the results, you know, you obviously get more attention.

Q. I want to ask you about Davis Cup. You played quite impressive here, while the Czechs went out in the first round. Is it important for the matchup in Belgrade next week?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, Davis Cup is very important, but right now I’m not thinking about it. I just want to go as far as I can in this tournament. It’s the most important tournament during this period of the year for me. Then when I finish I’ll think about Davis Cup. But definitely it’s one of the crucial matches, semifinals for the first time, and I hear that back in our country there is a lot of interest for that match.

Q. Do you think that the exhaustion can be important, because the Czechs are out and Radek Stepanek may be preparing while you are here?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I don’t think it’s gonna affect me too much. I have been facing that situation many times before. Actually, just now, recently I’ve played semifinals at Wimbledon. I had a tough couple of weeks there, and then I’ve played Davis Cup in Croatia really well. I’m physically fit.

Q. When we think back three years ago when you were the sensational finalist and the joker on the court, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed easy came for you, a, of things. Is that right, or maybe a wrong…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depends really, because at that time I was a 19 , 20 year old kid who just didn’t care much about pressure or anything and didn’t know what’s pressure and expectations. Just hitting the ball, being very aggressive and open minded and just playing great game. I think a lot of us wish to have this kind of attitude on the court and not thinking about some things, some side factors that can affect your game, which in this present moment is something I have to deal with. But on the other hand, the positives of me as a player today is that I have more experience, I’m stronger, I just played so many matches on the big stage. I still enjoy. I still enjoy even though I’m not doing my impersonations on the court or after, but I still very much enjoy what I do.

Q. How do you feel about the problem coughing and lose the breath?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s much better now. It’s just periodically it comes in the year. I guess in the spring I had a lot of allergy trouble. But right now I’m feeling quite good.

Q. So you described how there was no pressure then. What’s the pressure like now, and how are you dealing with it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, once you get mature, then you experience some things in your life, and, you know, you get to the stage when you’re one of the best players in the world. Then you’re not coming in Grand Slams anymore as somebody who is young and kind of the first 30, 20 in the world and not expected to go far and you don’t have that amount of expectations on your back. On the other hand now, you know, you’re getting into the tournaments and matches as somebody who is expected to win most of his matches he’s playing on, and getting to the late stage of the second week. So that’s something you have to deal with, and everybody deals with it. It’s a challenge you have to overcome, and it makes you mentally stronger. So right now I learned over this year and a half how to deal with it and just happy with the process.

Q. Next one you will be facing will be Gaël Monfils. You beat him the last four times you played, but the matches were pretty close. What made the difference between you two in these matches?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, most of our matches were very long, a lot of long rallies, a lot of sliding, a lot of athleticism on the court. He’s physically one of the most prepared and strongest guy on the tour. So, yeah, we have a lot of respect for each other. We grew up together. We are same generation in juniors. We met a lot of times in the tournaments, so it’s no secret in our games. I guess he’s kind of flashy. If he starts playing well, he can beat anyone, you know, because he’s so fast and so athletic and strong that he can get a lot of balls back. I just have to be ready and kind of patient and wait for my chances.

Q. Do you feel you’re the best you’ve ever been right now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, to be honest, I’m not making a clear judgment about comparison about, you know, me in 2007 or 2008 or now. I’m trying to look forward and trying to develop my game and work on some things. I know still that I have some things to improve on is more efficient serve and getting into the net and using some chances and stepping in and using some chances to make the points short. This is what I want to do to have some variety in the game. Right now in this moment I’m feeling very good on the court, and is as well as I played this year, I guess. I’ve played couple of times really well throughout the year on Wimbledon and Davis Cup. Unfortunately this year hasn’t been that consistent as maybe ’08 and ’09, but still I have to be happy with the results.

Q. Do you think you enjoy yourself more than some of the other top players? You seem to joke around a lot.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I do. I just said, you know, I enjoy what I do. I have a love for the game, and it’s the most important.

Q. Are you a better player now, do you think, than when you won the Australian?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve just answered the question. I mean, I’m not making a comparison.

Q. When you think about Roger and Rafa and their head to heads, Rafa has the big advantage. In your mind, why do you think Nadal has such a big lead in their matches against one another?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s hard to say. Nadal is, I guess, one of the very few players Roger maybe doesn’t like to play because of his physical ability on the court. He’s lefty and he produces a lot of spin with the ball and gets to his backhand. I mean, he’s gonna answer the question better, I guess. But maybe that was the case in recent years. You know, again, it depends from the surface, as well. On the faster surface and hard courts Roger has more chance, but Nadal has improved so much in last couple of years on grass. I mean, winning two Wimbledons is just amazing for something that is a clay court specialist.

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