Novak Djokovic Presser: That Was One Of The Longest, Most Exciting Matches I’ve Played In My Career
by Tom Gainey | January 20th, 2013, 10:31 am
  • 93 Comments

Novak Djokovic did it again. For the second straight year the Serb has lifted tennis to a higher level with a super-human performance on Rod Laver. This morning the Serb won a 5-hour thriller over Stan Wawrinka 16, 75, 64, 67, 12-10.

Right after the match, he spoke to the press about the big win:

Q. You’ve been involved in some pretty dramatic matches, here especially. Where does that one rank, and how pleased are you to come out of it alive?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it definitely ranks right at the top. One of the longest, most interesting, and most exciting matches I played in my career.

You know, he had many chances to be the winner of this match. He had a better start; he had a lot of break balls in the third; he was a break up; he was the one being aggressive, being in the court.

All the credit to him. I feel sorry that one of us had to lose. He definitely deserved to win.

But I’m just thrilled to be able to fight once again up to the last moment. The fact is that I haven’t played nearly my best and I didn’t feel well on the court in terms of rhythm and ball striking.

But the credit to him, he made me run all over the court. He never gave me the same ball. He was aggressive from both sides. I didn’t know what’s coming up next. So I’m just really full of joy after this match.

Q. You changed your shoes after the first set. Did that make a big difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, started slipping on the court during the first and beginning of second. Yeah, I don’t know.

I changed the shoes, but to be honest, I mean, that’s not the reason why I started maybe better. I just refocused.

And even though when I was 6 1, 5 2 down, I believed that I can come back if I am two sets down. I’ve been in those situations before. I was just outplayed by my opponent. He was better on the court for first hour and a half, no question about it.

In this circumstances when you’re not playing the way you want to play, you just try to fight and hope for the best.

Q. How much do you think all those matches you’ve won like this in recent years helped you out in the fifth set like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It helps you, I guess, mentally in the end the most because it is physically very demanding for both of us. Obviously, we pushed each other to the limit.

But in the end these kind of matches, after five hours, definitely help your confidence. As I said on the court, these are the matches that you live for, you practice for. You want to be on the center court and play on such a high level for five hours.

It’s incredible.

Q. When you ripped your shirt off, can you describe the emotion?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just had flashback of 2012 in the finals. It was maybe 45 minutes less this match than the one 12 months ago, but still it was still as exciting. I guess everybody enjoyed the match. I tried to perform my best, you know, enjoy the moment, be in the present, and couldn’t ask for more. What a match point. Unbelievable.

Q. Had you always suspected Stan had this quality in him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I always knew he has a quality. He has ability to beat the best players in the world, and he has proven that on several occasions on different surfaces.

He’s been around for a while. He’s using that power and the serve. He’s really moving well over the court. He’s reading the game.

So he came up with a great tactics today. As I said, he didn’t give me a lot of same rhythm that I could, you know, kind of get into the match. He was the one being in charge. I was passive. I changed that style. Everything else you saw.

Q. How tired were you? Were you more tired tonight than last year in the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I mean, last year after the whole tournament, last year I was definitely exhausted, you know, after the whole tournament.

But tonight there is no doubt I’m not very fresh. It’s normal to expect after five hours of play.

But still I’ve been in those situations before. I remember most recently, four months ago when I won against Murray in the semis after five hours, and then played against Rafa almost six hours.

I know I can recover. I know I have it in me. I wasn’t too much worried about the physical part. I was ready for it. I was ready to go the distance, and I’ve done so. Hopefully I can take that day off tomorrow and recover for quarters.

Q. Men’s tennis has generated such a level of interest. The reactions to it straightaway and during were incredible. It’s almost, can we get any better.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m just pleased to be part of that era, just pleased to be part of those matches where you push yourself up to the last drop of your energy.

I’m very glad to be a winner of another marathon.

Q. Andy told us he heard after that semifinal last year you woke up at 3:00 the next afternoon.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah.

Q. Do you think it will be the same tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess so. What is it, 2 a.m.? I don’t know if any of you guys have something for me to sleep better, I don’t know. I’m ready for any suggestions.

Q. Red wine.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess I’m going to skip the morning hours and stay in the bed.


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93 Comments for Novak Djokovic Presser: That Was One Of The Longest, Most Exciting Matches I’ve Played In My Career

Michael Says:

Well Novak has many qualities as a Champion. He is a tremendous fighter with grit,determination and iron will. But most importantly, he has luck on his side and that is crucial in big points where Novak normally makes a crucial breakthrough.


skeezer Says:

“He has ability to beat the best players in the world, and he has proven that on several occasions on different surfaces.”

Well, nice of him to say but Stans biggest achievement is winning playing with the GOAT. His singles record of winning titles is pretty scarce. Only 3 titles in his career, and never beaten the top 4 on a big stage( 0 wins in any finals he has been in with them)That said, Stan played reeaaal well! Great Tennis!


Cougar Says:

Djokovic at his classless best again.Can any Djokovic fan honestly tell me if he would do this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxRApPMxiaM This is why he will always be inferior to Nadal and Federer no matter how many slams he wins.


Milos Says:

Cmon Cougar, Stan and Federer are close friends, no wonder he gave this point away.


mat4 Says:

Tough day for Nole fans.

Hopefully, I just watch for 4-4 in the fourth to 5-4 in the fifth, otherwise, I would have had a heart attack.


Ben Pronin Says:

So because Federer did the right thing in a particular situation we’ve never seen Djokovic in, that automatically makes Djokovic bad, right?

I don’t want to search online for it but a few years ago, Djokovic was playing Roddick in one of the American Masters events and suggested Roddick challenge a ball that was called against Andy. The call went Roddick’s way. Djokovic ended up losing. And this was AFTER the whole US Open fiasco.


courbon Says:

Yes Cougar, he does not have a class.Nadals butt picking is very classy, right?If you are looking for a class in the sport you should maybe support show jumping, fencing maybe…Give a break.Yes he is not classy as Fed, but still quite decent bloke and most of the times quite classy actually.


Humble Rafa Says:

The Egg Lover is sleeping in the Oxygen Chamber tonight. So, he will be fine against Birdshit. Don’t get your hopes up too much.


skeezer Says:

Can someone post how long the Nole/Wawa match time? Tx


mat4 Says:

5 hours 2 minutes.


alison Says:

Courbon although i didnt agree with the celebration,i think Novak has become a well rounded and mature young man,in his interviews hes really living upto the responsibility that goes with been the world no1,hes a great ambasador for the sport too,whos raises alot of funds for his foundation,hes an all round nice classy guy,i guess thats some people though build them up to knock them down again.


mat4 Says:

BTW, Novak is now at number 2 with consecutive quarterfinals in GS. If he makes the semi, he will take the no 2 position there too.

But it will be a very difficult task against Berdych. Novak doesn’t seem to find his range with the new racquet on the FH side.


Gordo Says:

The match ran 5 hours and 2 minutes.

Just a thought – Wawrinka served 295 times. Had that been Rafa you could add 5 to 10 seconds to every serve. Let’s split the difference and say 7.5 seconds x 295 = 2212.5 divided by 60 = 37 minutes which would put it just 20 minutes short of 6 hours.


Giles Says:

courbon. Don’t try to diminish Joker’s classless and barbaric celebrations by talking about Nadal!


skeezer Says:

Mat4

Thanks,

So 12-10 in the 5th just over 5 hrs. Great time!


DC Says:

@Cougar Says:
Djokovic at his classless best again.Can any Djokovic fan honestly tell me if he would do this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxRApPMxiaM This is why he will always be inferior to Nadal and Federer no matter how many slams he wins.
———————————————–

thats like saying Einstein isn’t as great a scientist like his peers because he didn’t comb his hair properly like others did.


mat4 Says:

I watched only about one set, but Stan served quite well, Novak too, and the points were often very short.

Stan played some really great tennis in that span, and was the better player IMHO.

Nole needs to find the adequate head speed to play his FH: at break point, at the beginning of the fifth set (or was it?), he missed the court more than three feet. Then, at set point for Stan, not enough speed and the rebound was too high. But he made some delicate volleys.


jane Says:

mat4, you didn’t watch?

skeezer, Nole’s definitely sped up time between points. I’ve actually timed him to see. :)


Ben Pronin Says:

They even commentated that they’d never seen Djokovic go so fast between points. He probably knows how to manage himself during marathons better than just about anyone today. Maybe going faster is beneficial.


Andrea Says:

What a crazy match. Feel for Stan. He should have stepped on the gas in the second set instead of letting Novak back in. Mind you, that would not have changed the outcome necessarily, but it would been a great psychological advantage. But congrats to Novak for the win.


DC Says:

5th set – 4-4; ad Wawrinka – his shot touched the line and was called out. If the ball wasn’t called out, Stan would had won the point & the game and would go to serve for the match.
Unfortunately, Stan didn’t challenge and Nole won the game and the score was 5-4.

Nole was lucky ..lucky to have won this match.


alison Says:

DC sometimes you make your own luck.


Duro Says:

Wrong. Nole got that ball and sent it back. The point would have been replayed at best.


Duro Says:

And they never showed it was in actually. Not on my tv that is. We could only guess. Anyway, Nole returned that ball into court.


jane Says:

True Duro, they usually replay those points don’t they. Hadn’t thought of that.


DC Says:

a very weak return; Stan would have smashed an easy winner


Duro Says:

Nole haters, don’t worry Jane. They will always emerge from somewhere, especially disguised ones.


DC Says:

@alison Says:
DC sometimes you make your own luck.
———————————————–
and many times, others make your luck..


Duro Says:

DC, it wasn’t pointed to you, just to be clear.


courbon Says:

@Giles;Why?So, the butt picking is classy, but ripping off shirts is not classy?If you read my previous post about hour ago, I said that ripping off shirt by Novak, pisses me off!So, I think is stupid what he does.But when people, who do not like Novak ,like you and Cougar, try to make it as greatest sin on earth (to call it barbaric?Then I guess all footbal, basketball and rugby is played by barbars…somehow , I have a feeling, that if Nadal was doing that would be called passionate…)then thats pisses me off as well?I only used Nadals name to compare things-otherwise I have tremendeous respect for him (and his butt picking does not bother me, if you want to know)


courbon Says:

@DC;Read my post above.


alison Says:

Duro congrats to your fav on pulling out the w,BTW nice to see you posting again,after such a long time away.


Giles Says:

courbon. “and his butt picking does not bother me , if you want to know”. Then why bring it up???


Duro Says:

Alison, thank you. I have no intention to come back posting again. I had enough of it. I just had to point out on some incorrect statements.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I was fortunate enough not to watch the end of the fifth. It is too much for my poor nerves and heart.

The key for Nole will be to find his range on the FH. Then, somebody should explain him that he doesn’t always have to play left, then right.

But, he played some excellent FH volleys, showing that he improves this part of his game. I am convinced than in a few month, fully accustomed to his new racquet, he will play better than ever.

But I don’t have much hope for the AO, now.


Colin Says:

Looking at this result in the context of Nole’s prospects if he reaches the final: before the event, how many here expected it would take him five hours to beat Wawrinka? Not many, I’d guess.
I didn’t see this match, but looking only at the score and the total time, I feel quite optimistic about Murray’s chances (if HE reaches the final, and he should do).


mat4 Says:

I don’t understand why ripping a shirt after such a tense match bothers anybody.

What does that have to do with class, or anything?

Anyway, I don’t need Novak, or Wilander, or Connors, or Federer, or Nadal to be “classy”. Just to play good tennis, and WIN!


alison Says:

Duro thats a shame really,as i really love your posts,mind you it depends i myself may take a sabatical from time to time this year,if it gets like it did last summer with almost every thread turning into a warzone.


alison Says:

Mat4 i didnt find it classless just a bit OTT is all.


alison Says:

^And i would say that about any player doing the same thing^.


Wog boy Says:

Some people are really pissed off because Nole didn’t lose. I thought you would get used by now. Alpha Male is here to stay.


alison Says:

Colin i hope your right but Novaks still fighting for this title,not to mention Federer,,Ferrer,Berdych and Tsonga aswell as Andy are all playing well too.


jane Says:

“But I don’t have much hope for the AO, now.” Me neither mat4. But I was only “cautiously optimistic” from the start. Now I am quite doubtful. Nole’s serving has been better, I think, but his returning has not been. And then yeah, as you point out, and DA and Ben, his forehand is sometimes way off. These are weapons he’d need to win the tournament methinks. I am glad he was able to reach that QF streak mark though! (silver lining).


DC Says:

Archimedes ,after he thought of the theory that now is known as Archimedes principle, ran naked on to the streets with ecitement; forgetting to wear his clothes as he was bathing at that time.

Archimedes is considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time.

so what if nole tore off his shirt…


MMT Says:

In defense of Djokovic, even though his histrionics are indefensible, in my opinion, I think he’s always in line with fair play. That has nothing to do with the way he behaves after he wins – classless if you ask me. But he’s definitely not a cheat.


alison Says:

Wogboy im glad for you that Nole won,im also glad about Liverpool FC yesterday 5 0 ;).


Duro Says:

Simple formula for not making a warzone: Love your fave! Don’t hate other players! As simple as that.

Unfortunately many come here only to express that other emotion…


courbon Says:

@Giles:As I said in the post-to compare things.I though I was clear.


Wog boy Says:

DC,

Didn’t he say “Don’t touch my circles” before they were about to chop his head off?


jane Says:

Giles, respectfully, Nole is who he is. He shouldn’t have to take lessons. He ripped his shirt. C’est la vie. Maybe it isn’t a great thing and sometimes I wish he would save it for off camera, but overall he is gracious in defeat and exuberant in victory. He’s an emotional young man and lets it all out.

Besides which, they all have their tics. Of course people can, pardon the pun, rip Nole for this action. Fine. That’s their prerogative. But no one is perfect. And like alison pointed out, Nole has matured and he’s trying his best to be himself and be an ambassador for the sport. There’s a fine line wherein being PC can cross over into being fake and these players are probably trying to maintain who they are as people and at the same time be accepted and “correct”. It can’t be an easy tightrope to walk all the time. Nole has made it very clear how he felt about the match: “I feel sorry that one of us had to lose.” I believe him. He’s been on the other end of similar losses, leaving the court in tears. I am sure he means no harm when he celebrates.


MMT Says:

mat4: “Anyway, I don’t need Novak, or Wilander, or Connors, or Federer, or Nadal to be “classy”. Just to play good tennis, and WIN!”

Ironically, just playing good tennis and winning would fit anyone’s definition of winning with class or grace – nobody disagrees with this conclusion – except perhaps Djokovic and quite a number of players on tour who forget themselves when they win.


alison Says:

Duro yep totally agree,and thats what i always try to do,be as fair as possible,thats all you can do as a poster.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

You told me just recently “never give up.”


jane Says:

MMT, “But he’s definitely not a cheat.” Thanks for saying that. I think he’s a fair player too.


Wog boy Says:

Just say hello to Duro while he is still around.


jane Says:

I know Wog boy, but wow, I just don’t know after how Nole played last night; maybe he’ll turn it around. After his tense fight backs at the FO last year versus Seppi and Tsonga, he played a clean match versus Fed and made the finals. So I suppose he can do it again. I am skeptical now, though; who wouldn’t be!? Aren’t you, just a little? :)


Robert Says:

Both man are just superman! Great show….


mat4 Says:

@jane:

You never know. He had good stretches, and Stan played really, really well. Anyway, it is not over until it’s over.

About humility, class, etc.

Everybody should understand that cultural norms are not the same in the USA, Italy, Slovakia, India or Serbia. Humility for an Italian or a Serb is something quite different than humility for an Englishman. In the same country, habits and customs can be completely different.

So, Emerson’s comments are a bit off.

In a way, I felt that Novak was very frustrated on the court, and that what’s he let out at the end when he ripped his shirt. It wasn’t last year celebration, but had a completely different meaning.


jane Says:

^ Catharsis. And very true, mat4, about different customs in different places. It’s a globalized world but people still have their own ways of expressing themselves, what’s acceptable, what’s not, etc. Also true about stan – I was chatting with a friend during the match and we agreed; he was playing like a man possessed, so in the zone! Like Nole said, Stan proved he has “the abilities” to beat the best, although he doesn’t quite get there a lot of the time, can’t quite cross the finish line. But he did beat Muzz and the USO and Roddick at the AO, and came very close to taking out Nole last night. He’s had tight matches/sets with Roger too.


Duro Says:

Wog, hello back to you. Keep on standing by our champ.
Alison, you are fair. Keep on being the same.
Mat, hi. I always liked your particular strokes analysis :-). Always a spot on.
Jane, you know…

Cheers all.


mat4 Says:

High Duro, from the Black Mountain.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

You cannot win every match, last night was mighty fight by Nole. I knew he is going to win when I realised that Wawrinka box was, for some reason full of well know faces, Pat Cash, Goran Ivanisevic ….It was not empty chair ! Somebody expected something unexpected to happen, but it didn’t because Lion roared and put all the pussycats back to their respectfull places. On the other hand Nole’s box was strangley empty. If Nole called only once trainer we would read today posts about him cheating using MTO but , apart from me, nobody mentioned Wawrinkas massage therapy why he is laughing and joking with umpire and the others just to run on the court and keep retrieving everything Nole threw at him.

Have to go Taxi is waiting.
AJDE NOLEEEEEE


mat4 Says:

sorry, HI, Duro, from the Black Mountain…


Duro Says:

Mat, Appology accepted. I’m not using anything, you know… :-)
Greetings from Montenegro.


alison Says:

Just to say i loved Noles embrace with Stan at the net after the match very touching.


alison Says:

Greetings from the bitterly cold snow covered UK temps blow zero brrrr.


mat4 Says:

Hi, Alison.


alison Says:

Hi Mat4,congrats on your favs win.


jamie Says:

This AO is so far very exciting.

And the best is yet to come. ;P


alison Says:

^Meaning what exactly^.


Wog boy Says:

alison,

Thanks, I missed that Liverpool match, to many things but wow, 5:0 that is more thsn good news.


The Great Davy Says:

The Swiss I can beat may have a failure last night. You can even have called it a choking, but now my fellow boring-hatted friend will beat him in Quarter Final.

Eggman may win this too. But Eggman will ran a… how you say, a raggity annie? He will be one of that and Ferrer will make first final.


alison Says:

Wogboy a good weekend for you,go celebrate you deseve it,you were certainly put through the ringer today.


mampo Says:

Amazing match! I felt alot of respect for both players. However, when Djoker did the shirt rip I lost respect for him and turned the tv off as quickly as possible. I don’t understand how he finds this at all sportsmanlike. Not for real champions


Wog boy Says:

alison,

To be honest I didn’t sleep two hours, I just couldn’t.


Nina Says:

Great match for us all Nole fans. Somehow I always knew he would win, maybe because he’s done it so many times before, I’m used to it. From a fan’s point of view you hate these kind of matches. From a tennis fan’s point of view you love them. I’m so happy lately it’s Nole who is involved in all these classic epic matches that will be remembered forever.
Hard time for the haters, Federer and Nadal are not the ones making the news, it’s Novak. Suck it.


jimmy Says:

Exaggerated celebrations are part of the show today, all the top players over do it.


Bada Bing Says:

Novak doesn’t seem to find his range with the new racquet on the FH side.

Mat4B
Brad Gilbert said it was the same racquet with a new paint job.


Bada Bing Says:

Nina
Like Brad said when Novak was down in set 2 – It’s hard to bet against Novak.

Stan gave it all he had and still finish the job despite multiple trainer visits and leg massages..

In the end it’s all mental


Bada Bing Says:

^and still couldn’t finish the job


mat4 Says:

Nole himself acknowledged that it is not the same racquet, and Wilander said the same. So, who’s right? Gilbert or Wilander?

We can notice that Nole’s second serve is slower, his first serve is slower in average too. He misses the court by three feet with his forehand…

I believe (I am not sure, of course), that the new racquet has the same specs as the old one, but that the graphene was used to give it a slightly different balance and a bit more power.


Jules Says:

Epic game! I loved watching every moment. Both players deserved to win. At the end of day, Novak came out on top. That’s the game and full credit to him. I’m a Novak fan and had tears in my eyes when Stan lost. I felt for him and u would have been just as happy if he won because he deserved it also.


Tz Says:

Great win for novak. Hope he gets to the final :)

and about the celebrations…. fellow nole fans are backing up his style. May be it’s ok when you rip off ur shirt when u are novak djokovic. It’s not classless, just expressing emotions. Or maybe it’s classless, barbaric. Whatever it is, he won’t stop doing anything just because of us posters’ comments

I just wanted to bring back FO 11 semi final, fed beating novak and then raising his finger (NOT THE MIDDLE ONE) . Many found it ARROGANT as they thought as if it had something to do with the no. 1 rank. I guess the adjective ‘ARROGANT’ is only saved for one person. Others are saint :)


Robert Says:

Nole was fantastic….

However for tonights match….Roanic will definately be alot more ‘tougher’ for Federer….

If Federer doesnt come in tonights match with the right mantle attitude….we could see a ‘Big Upset’

Federer’s attitude should be;

“Roanic is no easy task”


Bada Bing Says:

Some raise their finger when they win and others like Petko and Tsonga do a dance. Early on Tsonga used to rip open his shirt.Who cares?


Margot Says:

We all forgive the foibles of our favourites and, conversely, seek reinforcement for our negative views about others.
Andy can swear, Nole can strip, Rafa can tug and I don’t care, for me there are plenty of worse things that go on, on court.
But if Berdych so much as raises an eyebrow at the umpire..why it makes that man even more of a scoundrel in my opinion….biased opinion I should say.


Sienna Says:

He is totally entitled to rip his shirt. That is in no way disrespecting his opponents. It is in some ways his gimmick and winning matches like this is deserving of ripping his shirt.

On a different note you can claim false sentiments or fals modesty by applauding youre opponent on a shot for all the world to see while you are winning the match.

I have noticed in Stans match and in other matches that he is not applauding shots from his opponent when he feels he is behind in the match and might lose the set or match.

I find that so disrespectfull and distastefull that it shows his lack of upbringings.


courtside Says:

Joker should pay heed to the free advice offered!
3:02 pm

Giles,
Emerson must have forgotten the gold-braided, military-type outfits and special gold bags that Roger used to wear on court at Wimbledon when he expected to win every year.


Jules Says:

The shirt rip at the end was the BEST! Loved every second! I’ve watched Novak play in real life and he has an amazing body. “Look at me, look at me” you say. Um hello, if you have a body like that and play an epic game like that, feel free to do what you want. These haters are just jealous!


courtside Says:

Jules- he didn’t RIP it off, he pulled it up over his head. And yes, people are jealous.


Nina Says:

Everyone is jealous of Nole, lol.

Top story: Coric Ends Nadal's Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
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Rankings
ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Marin Cilic8 Ana Ivanovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Andy Murray10 Angelique Kerber
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