Roland Garros

Friday, 11 June 2021

Paris, France

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference


3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The most incredible tennis match that we got to watch. When you consider all the different factors, you've become the only person to beat Rafa twice over here, reaching your final, are you able to rate this match? Where would you place something like this?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Definitely the best match that I was part of ever in Roland Garros for me, and top three matches that I ever played in my entire career, considering quality of tennis, playing my biggest rival on the court where he has had so much success and has been the dominant force in the last 15- plus years, and the atmosphere which was completely electric. For both players, a lot of support. Just amazing.

I was very happy that there was no curfew, 11:00. I heard there was a special waiver, so they allowed the crowd to stay. Just one of these nights and matches that you will remember forever.

Q. Can you tell me about your mindset at 5-Love down in the first. Obviously it's mission impossible against Rafa in general, but down a set is even harder. How did you find what it took to get back in the match? Was there anything technical you were able to change the terms?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, even though I didn't have such a great start, I was not too nervous because I felt like I was hitting the ball very well. It was just a matter of me working my way into the match and adjusting to his ball, which is completely different than any other player's ball. The amount of spin he plays with from the forehand corner, I mean, it's tremendous.

But I was ready. I was feeling good mentally, physically. I was motivated. I had a really clear plan in tactics, what I needed to do in order to perform better than I have in last year's final.

The beginning of the match was kind of resembling last year's final, but I just managed to get myself back into the first set. Even though I lost it, I felt like 3-6 down, I found my game. Started with a break right away in the second. Things started to work out really nicely.

I found my serve I thought when I was a break down in the fourth. Didn't start well. Generally the serve wasn't a big weapon for me tonight I think. I hoped that I could get a little bit more free points or at least an easier first shot of the first serve. I wasn't getting it till the fourth set. When I was Love-2 down, something clicked and I started to serve really well. I won six games in a row. I think it's thanks also to the quality of serving, which gave me a lot of free points.

Q. It seems incredible that wasn't the final, but you have to come back in two days. How are you feeling physically? How will you recover now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not the freshest guy right now obviously. But good thing is that I have a day and a half to rejuvenate and try to regroup, you know, think about my next opponent.

Obviously I'll enjoy this victory a little bit. Don't have much time, but... I think I deserve after this big win to just relax a little bit without thinking about the next opponent, even though it's a finals of a Grand Slam.

I have time to think about him tomorrow, tomorrow the second part of the day. Right now it's all about resting and hopefully being able to be fit to compete in the best-of-five with a guy who is in a great shape.

Q. You'll be the overwhelming favorite on Sunday. How do you guard against complacency against Stefanos? How do you guard against it being an anticlimax potentially?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not the first time that I play an epic semifinal in a Grand Slam and then I have to come back in less than 48 hours and play finals. My recover abilities are pretty good, I must say, throughout my career. Obviously my physiotherapist will try to do everything possible so I can be fresh. Because I played enough tennis, I don't need to train too much. It's really now just about taking things slowly until the day of the finals.

I know what I need to do. Obviously Tsitsipas, first time in the finals of a Grand Slam, if I'm not mistaken. For him it's a great achievement, but I'm sure he doesn't want to stop there.

He's in great form. I think he leads rankings, race rankings, this year. He's had his best results overall. I think he matured as a player a lot. Clay arguably his best surface.

We played an epic five-setter last year in the semis here. Yeah, I know it's going to be another tough one. I'm hoping I can recharge my batteries as much as I can because I'm going to need some power and energy for that one.

Q. Back to tonight for one moment. You mentioned the resemblance of the first set to last year's final. What were you thinking and how were you feeling at 5-Love down in the opening set?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I did say that I was not too nervous even though I was Love-5 down because the feeling was different from last year's final beginning of the match, because I was just hitting the ball better and feeling better overall.

Yeah, was couple of really close games that I lost the beginning. He was 5-Love in a snap. But I just kind of found my rhythm, found my groove. There was no looking back. After 3-6, I felt like I was in the match.

Q. Today you have won him. What do you think about Rafael Nadal has made here in Roland Garros for all these years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's hard to find words bigger than all the superlatives you can think of for Rafa's achievements in Roland Garros. I mean, he has been the most dominant player of the Roland Garros history. He lost two, now three times, in his entire career. He's been playing here almost 20 years. That achievement speaks for itself.

The amount of wins that he has made on this court is incredible. Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you have to kind of climb Mt. Everest to win against this guy here. I won only once in I think our eight matches that we ever played in Chatrier here in Roland Garros. I tried to take some positives and some cues from that match in 2015 that I won against him to implement tonight, which worked out very nicely.

But it's just one of these matches that I really will remember for a very long time, not just because I won the match but because of the atmosphere and just the occasion was very special.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108672-1-1145 2021-06-11 21:53:00 GMT

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