Congratulations to Novak Djokovic and his fans today. The Serb rallied from a set down and saved 5 matchpoints to defeat Andy Murray and win his 13th career ATP Masters 1000 title, his first in Shanghai.
Afterward, Djokovic discussed his epic match with Murray and their blooming rivalry, and commented on his racquet smashing, the No. 1 race and what it means for the tour to now have Murray as a Grand Slam champion.
Heading into the European indoor season, Djokovic has won his last two events at Beijing and Shanghai winning 10 straight matches. He’ll scheduled for the Paris Masters 1000 in two weeks.
Here’s his presser after his win today:
Q. You didn’t get the character right tonight.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay, doesn’t matter. You know what’s the point.
Q. But you got the match right. That’s the point. Andy just said you are the better player tonight. You said he is the better player.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s difficult to judge who was better because it was so close throughout the whole match. We had so many rallies in three and a half hours for best of three set match is a very long time.
Could have easily gone the other way. He was five match points up. When I faced those match points, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to the victory that I cannot say I was the better player.
I won the match. But, you know, as spectators could see, we were very close. It was a very even match throughout the whole three sets.
Q. The first set you lost and seemed very angry. You broke your racquets, bang, bang, bang. The second set Andy Murray did the same thing.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What did he do (smiling)?
Q. What did you think at that time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You don’t want to know what I thought (smiling).
Q. Do you think the mentality determined the results tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We are humans in the end. We are professional tennis players and we’re big rivals, but in the end we’re humans. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our emotions.
I don’t see anything bad in showing your emotions, positive, negative emotions. I think it’s understandable that we get to show our emotions in this way. Okay, it’s not nice if we break a racquet obviously. It happens once in a while. But we are in the middle of the fight, in the middle of an incredible match. We’re playing for a big trophy. Both of us, we want to win.
We can’t just be flat faced throughout the whole match. So for me that was okay from both of us.
Q. At the beginning of the match it seemed that more fans were cheering for Andy. As the match went on, more fans turned to cheer for you. Did you feel the support?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, both of us, we had a great support. But I agree that towards the end of the second set when I made this 30 Love point through the legs, won that point, saved the match points, came back on 5 All, that’s where I felt really there was a big support on my side.
I cannot be more thankful, of course. Crowd support is something that you always need, something that is always welcome in these matches. Xie xie to everybody.
Q. You lost to Rafa in the French Open and you lost to Roger in Wimbledon and you lost to Andy Murray in the Olympics.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thanks for reminding me (smiling).
Q. Finally you beat one of them.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: ‘Finally’?
Q. What is the meaning for you for tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The meaning, as you said: finally (smiling).
Q. Do you feel your confidence come back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I didn’t have such a great season, you’re right.
C’mon, you know, I’ve had an unbelievable season. Comparing to 2011, results wise maybe wasn’t at the top, because I had three Grand Slam titles, this year I have only one. But I’ve had an incredible year. We have to pay a little bit of respect to the other players. They’ve had an amazing year also.
At this level you cannot expect to win all the matches. With this Asian swing so far, maybe comparing to 2011 also it’s one of the best years I’ve had in my life. So I’m enjoying this moment. I’m enjoying every match that I play against them.
Over the course of a couple of years before 2011, I was losing most of my matches against top guys, especially important matches. Then that changed. 2011 I won basically all the matches I played against them.
This year, it’s quite even with all of them. I’m enjoying my time. I’m playing well and I have a confidence.
Q. You played with Andy six times this season, and most of the matches are top quality. Do you think the rivalry with Andy is the dominant rivalry for the next few years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I hope so. We had an incredible year so far with our matches, big matches in important events. We split victories.
But, you know, he definitely is a different player this year. You could see by the results that he has achieved. He’s more aggressive on the court and he’s definitely a danger to anybody on any surface.
Also it’s very competitive now with him joining the group of Grand Slam winners that we have. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years.
Q. Often in a rivalry there’s a chaser. Andy has had that role in your rivalry. Do you feel that he’s still the chaser or do you think he’s evened up now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, I think we split three wins both this year. So, yeah, I won in Australia, he won in US Open, he won in Olympic Games. I mean, we get to play these big matches and we put up a show for people. It’s exciting to be part of such an extraordinary rivalry, extraordinary matches, especially with somebody that you grew up with and you know for a long time.
I can’t really say who is the chaser. I think we both focus on our careers individually and we both try to improve each day. His example is the right example of how an athlete seeks to improve always and to get better.
This is great. It’s great for the sport. I think we’re experiencing maybe the best era of all times.
Q. You start preparations for the season with the exhibition in Abu Dhabi. Have you also formed plans, and does that include Dubai?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I still haven’t a hundred percent decided what I’m going to do for my off season preparations. I’m trying to focus now on the end of the season. I need to play well indoors. I need to try to stay consistent, you know, with my results and eventually get a shot at No. 1 of the world. After, I’ll think what I’m going to do next.
The Abu Dhabi tournament is in my schedule, so most definitely I will go there and play.
Q. Barring a calamity over the next few weeks, you’re going to end the year ranked No. 1. What is it going to mean to you to do that two years in a row?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s my biggest objective in this moment. It’s something I’m aiming for. Obviously this is going to be a huge confidence boost and also is going to help me in the race for No. 1.
As I said, it’s still not done. I still have to play well indoors.
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