*Wimbledon.com uses cookies.Find out more
CONTINUE > We use simple text files called cookies, saved on your computer, to help us deliver the best experience for you. Click continue to acknowledge that you are happy to receive cookies from Wimbledon.com.

Gentleman's Singles Champion - Novak Djokovic

Sunday 3 July 2011

Q. Ever since leading Serbia to a Davis Cup title in Belgrade, it has been an incredible journey. Share a little bit of your thoughts of this incredible time period.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would love to tell you everything, but it's hard to describe and I can't find words to describe the feeling that I have right now.

As you mentioned, I managed to achieve a lifetime goal and I managed to make my dream come true, all in three days' time. It's just an incredible feeling that I'm never going to forget. This is the best day of my tennis career.

For these kind of days, I was practicing every day, being dedicated, being a tennis professional. Any athlete in the world dreams of being No. 1 of the world. This is something that gives us a lot of motivation.

So finally when you really do it and when you know that you're the best, it's just an amazing achievement.

Q. When you won the second set dominating like that, did you start to be a little tense? Is that how you explain the loss of the third set? What were you feeling when you lost the third set?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I went the opposite way. I think I relaxed a little bit too much in the start of the third set. I wasn't focused in the beginning of that third set.

Obviously when you're playing a player like Nadal, he uses his opportunity and he gets back to the match. I didn't want to lose my focus. Obviously the 6 1 in the third set for him was well deserved, but I made a lot of unforced errors. It was kind of my fault letting him back to the match.

But in the fourth set I was in the lead for all the time. The first game was very important to hold the serve. After that, was really great tennis.

Q. When you started to play really well, Federer and Nadal had the world divided and they owned the world basically. How difficult was it to break this, both personally, psychologically in your own mind, to be able to beat both these guys, and also just in general?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we all know the careers of Nadal and Federer. We don't need to spend words again. They have been the two most dominant players in the world the last five years. They have won most of the majors we are playing on.

So sometimes it did feel a little bit frustrating when you kind of get to the later stages of a Grand Slam, meaning last four, last eight, and then you have to meet them. They always come up with their best tennis when it matters the most.

But, look, you know, it's a process of learning, a process of developing and improving as a tennis player, as a person, and just finding the way to mentally overcome those pressures and expectations and issues that you have.

I always believed that I have quality to beat those two guys. I always believed I have quality to win majors, Grand Slams, and that was the only way I could be here in this position, you know.

I mean, I have full respect for those two guys, what they have done. Anytime I play them, I mean, it's a great match. But the mental approach has to be positive. You know, I have to win this match. There's no other way.

Q. As a 12 year old when you left your hometown to go to Germany to the tennis academy, how much did that take out of you? Looking back now at what you've achieved, all those sacrifices, can you tell us a little bit about that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I was just chatting with my brothers and my family and my team in the locker room, just kind of remembering those days of the hard work that we put into in Germany and back in Serbia when I was eight, nine, ten, eleven years old, the dreams that I had.

It's really beautiful. I mean, this success kind of makes you rewind the old days, makes you come back to your childhood and remember what you've been through to get to this stage.

Well, look, you know, it wasn't an easy way, but I guess that's necessary in order for you to fight for what you want to achieve.

You know, we all know the situation in our country, how it was with the wars and things like that. It was definitely really difficult to become a tennis professional, with tennis being not one of the most popular sports in our country. Didn't have any history.

But then in the end of the day, now when you think about it, that's something that we needed. You know, not just myself, but Ana Ivanovic, Jankovic, Tipsarevic, Zimonjic. All these players that have been successful these last couple years in men's and women's tennis, we had a tough way to go through. That made us mentally strong.

Q. How do you explain on this stage against Rafael Nadal playing some of your best tennis today, and what was that feeling like when you were playing your best?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was really enjoying, you know. You have to enjoy the moment. I mean, winning in just over an hour two sets against the defending champion on the court that he hasn't lost for three years was incredible.

You know, I was just trying to enjoy the tennis that I play. Obviously, it was the best tennis match on grass courts that I've played ever, for sure. It came in the right moment.

Q. What did the grass taste like, and have you got any more racquets left?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have a couple more racquets for the Davis Cup that is coming up, and the grass tasted quite well, really. It was well kept.

Q. I think everyone imagines how they might feel when they win the Wimbledon championship. What is the reality like?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I guess I can't talk in the name of all the tennis players, because everybody individually has different preferences of the favourite Grand Slam.

But I think most of the tennis players rate this Grand Slam as the most important tournament in our sport. So I think that sentence gives you an idea of how much this means for a player to win.

Q. Your uncle was saying the win in December for Serbia released you. Your mother was saying it taught you to play without fear. Do you think, if the result had been different in Belgrade, would we be here now? Was it that important in this streak that you've had?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if my mother says that, then it's like that, you know (smiling). There is nothing else I can say. Mother knows me better than I know myself.

Q. Really, though?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, really, it is (smiling).

After the Davis Cup win I was full of life, full of energy, eager to come back to the tennis court, eager to play some more, win some other tournaments.

In a sentence, I lost my fear. I believed in my abilities more than ever. Australia was one of the best tournaments I played in my life.

Q. Rafa said the four wins you've had over him in previous finals this year, when it got to the tough moments, that made the difference. Is that what you felt, as well?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Probably. Probably, you know, because I have won four times, consecutive times, in the finals against him this year. So I had that in back of my mind. I was trying to take myself back to those matches and really, you know, perform the same way, you know, that I performed those days in those matches: aggressive, taking my chances, not giving him opportunity to take over the control.

Q. Talk about sort of building on your successes. You've gone from one victory to another. Talk about that process. Can you imagine where it's going to take you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I will definitely come for some more Wimbledons, more Grand Slam trophies. I mean, this is what I'm born for. You know, I want to be a tennis champion. I want to win more Grand Slams. I will not definitely stop here, even though I have achieved, you know, two biggest things in my life in three days.

Q. You talk about losing the fear. At 30 All in that final game, you chose to serve and come in. You hadn't done that much. Was that part of what you were thinking? You wanted to throw him a curve?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was now or never. Just close your eyes, hit slice, go to the net, and hope he will chip the one back, you know (smiling).

I mean, you got to take the chances, you know. In those moments, you have to believe that you can do it, not wait for your opponent to make a mistake.

Q. Before you said you always thought you had the quality. It was a long process. When was the worst moment for you? When you were I don't say doubting but afraid to not make it or having difficulties of any kind? When you were 14? 16? 18?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, after I won my first Grand Slam, actually then I started facing some feelings and situations I never faced before: defending the Grand Slam title, being one of the top players, facing the pressure, having the expectations of the people all the time to get far in the major events, to get at least to the semifinals.

So that is something, you know, that I haven't experienced before I was 21. And then I guess in last two, three years, that's where I was facing periods where they were up and down.

I would lie to you if I didn't have doubts. I did have doubts. I did have difficult, crisis times where I didn't know if I could really make it, you know, because the first two guys were so dominant.

Q. Was that the best serving you have ever done, the slice wide?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: At that moment, yeah.

Q. When you broke Rafa in the fourth set, he broke you back. Did that affect you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. Look, you know, I was lucky in some points; he was lucky then. It's all sport. You got to think about what's coming up.

Q. At the end of the game you were clearly overcome with a little bit of emotion. Can you sort of explain what was running through your mind as you won the match? Can you sort of elaborate on your somewhat unusual celebration at the net.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, you know, the feelings that I had at that moment, I really don't know how to describe. Best feeling I had ever on the tennis court. You know, winning Wimbledon, looking at my box, 20 people, closest people to me in my life being there, supporting me, getting to share that moment and that experience with them was incredible.

And the other one, I didn't really understand.

Q. When you sank to your knees...

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When I ate the grass?

Q. Yes. Can you explain why you did it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I felt like an animal. I wanted to see how it tastes. It tastes good (smiling).

It just came. I don't know. It came spontaneously really. I didn't plan to do it. You know, I didn't know what to do for my excitement and joy.

Q. There's still a lot of work to come this year: New York, North America. But next year is Wimbledon and the Olympics. Are you coming for both?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, I am. Now that I know that I can play well on grass, I'm coming (smiling).

Q. This achievement deserves a big celebration. How do you celebrate it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: How the Serbs do celebrate.

Q. Can you elaborate?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's very hard to explain that (smiling).

Q. How will it be celebrated in Serbia?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know how it is in my country, but I will find out tomorrow.

Q. About points of your career that are most important, can you say that the reason of this successful season was final of Davis Cup?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it was. Well, obviously after the Davis Cup, after those wins, I made 40 something wins in a row. Up to this moment, the Davis Cup win was the most special feeling that I had on the court.

Now it's Wimbledon. Wimbledon and Davis Cup, obviously gave me a lot of energy, obviously, because I didn't only share it with my team of people. I didn't win by myself.

It was a team effort. The whole nation was really celebrating that, so it nothing like anything else.

Q. Did the squirrel ever eat from your hand?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. Maybe now she will. Maybe she heard, so...



Back to interviews

Related Players

Related Photos & Videos

  • Novak Djokovic
  • Novak Djokovic
  • Novak Djokovic claimed his third year-end title
  • Novak Djokovic at the O2 Arena in 2013
  • Novak Djokovic reached his fifth US Open final
  • Andy Murray versus Novak Djokovic.
Buy Wimbledon Merchandise from The Shop
Login with facebook
[Logout]

My Recent Activity

Chinese