Cincinnati just isn’t meant to be at the moment for Novak Djokovic. Yesterday, in the his fourth bid at the title in the final match Djokovic was swept away by the excellent play from Roger Federer 60,76 in the Cincinnati 1000 championship.
Despite the loss Djokovic still enjoyed a very strong US Open run-up with a title at the Rogers Cup Toronto followed by another Cincinnati final losing just one match.
Djokovic will take some time off to rest from what has been a very hectic summer for the Serb. Then he next Monday he begins his US Open defense where he’ll be seeded No. 2 and where he says the slower courts set up better for him.
After the loss to Federer, here’s what Djokovic said:
Q. One of the worst start of your career, I suppose.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, terrible set. You know, he started very solid from serve. I mean, he was using it very efficiently and putting a lot pressure on my serve. Made a lot of double faults and didn’t find my rhythm. Set was over in 20 minutes.
I played better in the second. I thought it was very even, and then when I had the chances I didn’t use them. I didn’t step into the court, and he deserved to win.
Q. You made a big mistake at 4‑3 in the tiebreak. Was it the pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, you know, it’s just the timing was wrong obviously. Yeah, I had my chances. Even at set point I could have gone for the passing shot. I went for the lob. I had several chances in the second set on his serve on 15‑30, 30‑All, and I wasn’t in the court.
That’s it. You know, I didn’t take my chances.
Q. How do you manage to keep your mind focused when games are running away from you like that but then be able to pick it up in the second set the way you did?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, obviously I tried to be calm today. Even though I was losing two breaks, I tried to focus on each point and game individually.
You know, it was better in the second, but I still wasn’t happy with the way I was playing in the important moments.
Q. Zero for four in finals here. Is there a reason perhaps you haven’t been able to play your best when you get to the final here, or coincidence?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No reason really.
Q. At what point today did you realize it was turning and you were playing better and more in form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the start of the second, yeah. When I won the game, I felt, Okay, now it’s the time to try to do something differently. And I did; I managed to get into the rhythm.
It wasn’t enough.
Q. Was fatigue a factor?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I felt okay. You know, I have no excuses for bad performance. He was just the better player.
Q. He wasn’t broken all week in 47 games according to Sharko, and only faced three break points which he extinguished today. Talk about his serve.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was exceptional today. Whenever he need first serve in, he delivered it. He was using the serve, as I said, very efficiently and precise and getting an easy second shot.
Yeah, when you have that shot to rely on, it’s a big advantage.
Q. Jim Courier said on TV that he thought you were mentally fatigued and he called some of your first serves, quote unquote, apathetic; would you agree with that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. I mean, it was finals today, so I really wanted to win. There is no question about it. Maybe playing couple weeks in a row, four weeks in a row, got me maybe mentally. Physically it didn’t.
I felt okay on the court. We move on. There is New York in a week, and I really need to perform my best there.
Q. How do you rate the chances of the Serbian women’s Fed Cup team against Czechoslovakia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope they win. I hope they bring the Fed Cup trophy.
Q. No doubt obviously we know there is disappointment, but I’m thinking surely it wouldn’t have dented your confidence going into the US Open with the results you’ve had over the last few weeks.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I feel good. I feel good on the court. The conditions here are quite different from US Open. It’s a bit slower there, which I think goes in my favor a little bit more. More suitable to my style of the game.
I’m going to have a week that I think is very necessary for me right now mentally and physically.
Q. Is the plan now to just take a few days off the tennis court and not think about tennis and recharge?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Yeah.
Q. Do you think of mental and emotional as the same thing? We were talking about mentally were you fatigued and this kind of thing. But I notice you didn’t fist pump until halfway through the second set. You weren’t showing a lot of emotion.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I couldn’t fist pump because I was 6‑Love down, you know. How could I?
Q. Does this match make anything more urgent for you for the US Open, do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. As I said, I have made more than I expected after Olympic Games. I lost only one match in two weeks on two 1000 events, which is great success.
So I’m actually feeling good about myself at this moment. I really look forward to New York.
Q. Do you consider yourself the favorite for New York?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’ll leave this to somebody else. I just try to pay attention on preparing well.
Q. In New York, away from the tennis where do you like to go and what do you liked to do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We stay in New Jersey at a friend’s place, so not spending a lot of time in the city. At the majors you really try to save as much energy as possible in order to perform your best on the court. That’s the goal. That’s why we’re there.
New York offers a lot. I mean, basically everything you can do throughout the day, night, whatever you want to do. I mean, I like Broadway. I went last year with my girlfriend.
Q. What did you see?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I went to see Mamma Mia!. This year I might use the opportunity of having couple days off and just try to see another show.
Q. So you have to commute every day from New Jersey to Flushing Meadows?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
Q. No problem?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it’s just maybe ten minutes more than from the city. It’s quite convenient, because it’s peace and quiet. That’s what you need. There is a lot of things going on throughout US Open. It’s a major, a lot people, and you want to have a place, a hideout where you can try to practice and be focused on tennis.
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