TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 6th of July. N. Djokovic d. R. Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. An interview with Novak Djokovic
Q. You looked very surprised to me at the end that you won. Were you? Was it different than other wins in that respect?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was just overwhelmed with the emotions, positive emotions, that I was experiencing in the match. I was not surprised, I was just trying to enjoy the moment, rethink what I’ve been through during the match.
Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I ever been part of. I’ve had a longest final against Nadal in the Australian Open 2012.
But quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match.
Roger played very well, I thought, in a very high level. He showed why he’s a champion. He showed a fighting spirit, composure in important moments when he was a break down.
When I was serving for the match, he came in and played his best game. I didn’t think I did much wrong there.
Was disappointing losing the fourth set after being so close to win it and match point. But the only way I could have won the match today is by believing that I can make it all the way until the end and staying mentally strong. That’s what I’ve done.
I didn’t allow my emotions to fade away, as it was probably the case in Roland Garros final a couple, three, four weeks ago.
Just very glad to win a Grand Slam final after losing the last three out of four.
Q. What were you thinking and what were you feeling when you weren’t able to close it out in the fourth set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, those are the critical moments that a tennis player goes through in his own mind. Obviously the moment shifted to his side. He started playing better. Crowd got involved.
It was important to start well in the fifth, consolidate my service games, try to put pressure on him. I was the first serving in the fifth set, so he was always behind and trying to catch up.
That’s something mentally that was in my mind. Just hold your serve and work your way through in the return games and try to wait for the opportunity. When it’s presented, you have to grasp it.
I had 4-3, 15-40, but again he played some great shots, great points. Didn’t do much wrong there.
But I was very close in several occasions, even in the fourth, to win the match. But, you know, I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win.
But I didn’t, and that’s why this win has a special importance to me mentally. Because I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today.
Q. How has the flavor of the grass changed in the three years since you last dined on Centre Court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very good question (smiling).
It didn’t change much. Actually I didn’t feel anything, to be honest. So I had a nice bite. I thought that there was less grass today than it was few years ago, so I had a little bit of a spoil, as well.
But nevertheless, it tastes like the best meal that I ever had in my life probably.
Q. I read a tweet by Ivo Karlovic who said you should have won all the sets you played today. Do you agree with him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ivo has always the best comments. Very criticizing over me. I’m kidding.
But, yeah, I felt like all the sets were very close for me to take. But, again, first set, you know, could have gone either way but went his way. He deserved to win it because it was just one or two points that decided the winner of the first set.
Second set I felt like that break that I made and held it towards the end very well.
The third, again, was very close. Won in a tiebreak.
In the fourth, should have won but he came back.
All in all, it was just incredibly high quality of tennis from both of us. We didn’t give too much one to another. We didn’t make a lot of unforced errors, so I think there was a lot of winners.
He served very efficiently, was using all the angles, was making it difficult for me to return.
5-4 in the fifth set he made I think only one first serve in in the whole game. That obviously helped me to prevail.
Q. Given everything you said about the mental side of it and how the match went today, is this the Grand Slam title you’re most proud of?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, definitely. Very special. Most special Grand Slam final I’ve played. At the time of my career for this Grand Slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially, as I said, after losing several Grand Slam finals in a row. Started doubting of course a little bit. I needed this win a lot.
I’m going to try to use it in the best possible way and for my confidence to grow for the rest of my season and the rest of my career.
Q. At the end of the match on court you said to Roger, Thank you for letting me win. Sounded like it was a joke; also sounded a little bit apologetic. Was it partially because the crowd was so in his favor, or was it respect for your opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all it was a joke. I think we didn’t have that kind of agreement before the match. Let me assure of that (laughter). Especially 6 4 in the fifth set, first of all. If we had that agreement, it would be much shorter.
No, as I said on the court, I respect him and his achievements, his career. He’s a great champion on and off the court.
To be able to win against him as one of my greatest rivals on this occasion on a court that he’s been dominating for so many years makes it a very special trophy for me. I had tears of joy. I was overwhelmed by the moment and the occasion.
And the second question was? Sorry.
Q. How did you feel about the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The crowd? It’s normal to expect that after so many years of dominance and success that he had on this court, and courts around the world, for the person he is, to have the majority of the support.
But I wasn’t focusing on that. I was focusing on what I need to do on the court. I was also hearing the positive support that I got, as well, from the crowd, which I thought was not a small number.
All in all I thought the crowd was enjoying this match. It was a fantastic match to be a part of.
(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win
The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.
“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’
Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.
Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’
“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”
Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
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