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.
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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