Novak Djokovic: This Win Over Federer Gives Me A Lot Of Confidence For The Rest Of The Season
by Tom Gainey | March 23rd, 2015, 11:06 am
  • 50 Comments

World No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic captured his fourth Indian Wells title Sunday with a stirring 62, 67(5), 63 win over rival Roger Federer in one of the best match of 2015.

Djokovic looked in complete command leading by a set and by a second set break (with a point for a double break) until the Swiss roared back to force a third, thanks to several ill-timed double faults. But after a brief delay – see Djokovic’s hand shaking – with Federer hitting the toilets, the World No. 1 regrouped to break early (Federer double fault) to win his 50th career ATP title, moving one head of coach Boris Becker.

Djokovic’s title makes his the first player to defend Indian Wells since Federer in 2006. And he wins his 21st career Masters title. At 27 can he catch Rafael Nadal’s record of 27?

Djokovic, who says he’s at his prime, now goes across to coast to Miami to try and defend his 2014 title. He will join Becker in Miami.

Djokovic talked about the big win:

Q. Talk about how the second set got away from you with the double faults in the tiebreak and how you managed to pull yourself together and get into the third and run away with it.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thought overall it was a great match from my side, very solid, great intensity, great commitment to hit every ball. I was very focused in the present moment, and I thought set and a break and it was a break point for 5‑2 up. I thought I could have done the job earlier.
Credit to Roger for fighting through. Showed again why he’s a competitor and champion, somebody that never gives up. You know, when we got to the third set obviously it was anybody’s game.
I managed to regroup. I managed to, you know, overcome that frustration of handing that tiebreak to him with three double faults in crucial moments.
But, you know, that’s sport. Obviously under pressure sometimes these things happen and it’s important to, as I said, regroup, bounce back, and focus on next one.

Q. As you have lost the past two matches against him, was it even more special to win this one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course. It does definitely help the future encounters that I will have with Roger. I have lost two matches in straight sets against him. He was a better player on the court both in Shanghai and Dubai.
It’s great that I managed to win this match in the big tournament and to win it in a way that I felt like I was the better player on the court. That definitely will help. It’s going to give me confidence, not just for future matches that I play against him, but just for Miami and the rest of the season.

Q. One thing that Jelena Jankovic said earlier when she was serving for the match in the second set in her match is that the pressure was so great. She had so many nerves she couldn’t lift her arm. How do you deal with that pressure? You had to deal as well in turning the match around, had the match‑‑ then had to deal with it in the second set and turned it back around. Can you just explain a little bit what you go through when you’re trying to get to the finish line?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the experience of playing many matches in the big stage and of this importance definitely helps in these particular moments to know what to play. You know, the right shot and stay calm and comitted only to the next ball.
We are all humans. We all fall under pressure sometimes. It’s completely normal, even though I have had so much experience. Roger, as well.
I mean, today 3‑2 in the third he made double fault to give me the break. So it does happen; it’s normal on this level with this kind of intensity and competitive spirit that is out there, it happens that you fail sometimes.
But as I said in the previous question, it’s important to bounce back. It’s important to regroup, and, okay, let it go and move on to the next mission.

Q. Roger’s No. 2 behind you in the ranking, but do you consider him today as clearly the most dangerous guy for you, the guy you like the least to face?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he’s definitely right at the top, one of the biggest rivals that I have‑‑ that I ever had since I started playing professionally, as a matter of fact.
He has been always the ultimate challenge, with Nadal, depending on which surface I get to play. Obviously Nadal on clay is the toughest one to beat, and Roger on the quicker surfaces.
But because they have been so dominant over the years and so consistent and so confident on the court, it’s very difficult to get into the mix and start winning titles against them.
But I managed to start doing that in 2011, and that season gave me a huge boost of the confidence and self‑belief that I can actually be No. 1, that I can actually win against these guys.
But, you know, we still keep on pushing and moving the borders. We still keep on improving, I think all of us. We are playing better than we did a few years ago, and it’s because of these rivalries. That’s something that is special in our sport.

Q. What does a title like this mean to you when you look at the record and the stats: a milestone 50th career, record equalling fourth, first man since Federer in nine years to win this back to back years. What do those figures mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve got to look forward to get to Miami and have a dinner with Boris. I think it’s on him this time. (Smiling.) I surpassed his 49th title, so that gives a little bit of special spice to this title.
But, no, of course, joking aside, it’s a great milestone. I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t take anything a guarantee or something that just came from the life.
I mean, I believe that I have to earn everything that I do, and this title today, as well. I appreciate every moment that I spend on the court. Of course the milestone that I achieved today was a great motivation for me prior to this event.
You know, I always try to look for additional motivation, because that’s something that is necessary, especially if you’re playing on the highest level.

Q. Do you think you get enough credit for your achievements, given the bar that’s raised by Roger and Rafa with, you know, the 14 Grand Slams and 17? You have 8. Do you think you get enough credit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s difficult to say. I mean, I’m really enjoying playing tennis and competing, and of course all these achievements I’m proud of. I feel appreciation from other people as well, and how in some ways, you know, it’s difficult to compare with the achievements of 17 Grand Slam wins of Federer and 14 Grand Slam wins of Nadal and all the titles that they have. I mean, it’s not easy to get into that mix, you know.
But it’s kind of a golden era of the men’s tennis right now, and I’m very proud to be part of it. I believe that big part of my success and my achievements are actually those matches that I have had with Rafa and Roger.
Actually those two guys, you know, they made me a better player.

Q. Along those lines, watching the match and also following it on social media, one of the things that kept coming through on my feed was how many of your fans felt that the crowd was rooting for Roger. When you hear so much of that, does it unnerve you at all? Are you thinking they just want a third set? More tennis? What goes through your mind when that’s happening?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, first of all, with all the success that he had throughout his career, he’s somebody that’s been around the tour for so many years. Plus, he’s a great guy on and off the court, and I’m sure it’s normal that he has the support, major support anywhere he goes, especially here in the United States.
So I don’t get, you know, upset with that, even though in the moments of the battle, you know, you sometimes when you’re looking for the support of the crowd it’s maybe ‑‑I did feel I had my support, but, you know, majority was in his side. That’s something that’s normal. I don’t really get upset for that. I expect that.
I have to earn my, I would say majority of the support here or any other tournament, you know, with the time spent on this level, with the titles, and with my responsibility as somebody that is on the top of the men’s game. You know, on and off the court have to carry myself in the right way, and then hopefully one day the people will get to recognize that even more and more.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m saying nobody cheers for me. It’s completely wrong to think that way. I actually think that I have lots of supporters. And I do appreciate that very much, that when I play Roger it’s something that you expect that he has more support because of who he is.

Q. The television cameras caught you after the tiebreaker taking a sip of water and your hand was shaking a little bit. I was wondering if you were aware that that was happening, and if so, what it was?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. It was exactly what you saw. (Laughter.) So, yeah, it happens I guess sometimes. The body has reactions and movements that you’re not in control of. But, you know, it was a tough tiebreaker for me. It was frustrating and I just went through emotions.
But I managed to calm down and get in the calmer kind of movement in the third set.

Q. So was it like panic or anger or has that happened before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know what to say. I can’t identify the emotion that was behind it, but it was a little bit of everything. Obviously knowing that I was so close to victory, making three double faults, the pressure, it was all part of it.
As I said before, we are all humans. We all go through those emotions like everybody goes through on a daily basis. Just because of the experience, because of the training of the mind and the body, we understand what it takes to calm yourself and get yourself in that zone where you want to be.

Q. My question was similar. Once you got broken in the third set, spiked the ball and breaking the racquet eventually, does that help you clear your mind? You don’t do it really very often.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m trying to do that less obviously. But, you know, I could tolerate the loss of the break in the second set, end of the second and, you know, maybe a tiebreak loss, but I couldn’t tolerate that third break that I lost in 2‑love.
But, again, you go through these emotional ups and downs in a way. But when I have done that, when I was finished with what I have done, I just said, Okay, this is it. I let it go. Now I have to, you know, focus and stand up in a minute and play my best.

Q. On the flip side of that, what are the feelings that you had when Roger double‑faulted to lose serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He’s human as well. (Laughter.) I felt huge relief, to be honest. I saw I’m not the only one that is double faulting under pressure.
But, you know, again, that was a huge game, 3‑2. He was I think 40‑15 up in that game and managed to play some good points; got myself in a position to break, and then he handed me that break.
In a way, if you look the big picture, I thought I deserved it in a way, because I really fought hard for it.

Q. Would you say you’re in the absolute prime of your career? Also, how much do you think you can still improve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am. I am at the prime of my career. I’m going to try to use every part of this fact to stay where I am and to fight for as many, you know, major titles as possible.
I know that my career, as any other career, cannot go forever. I cannot stay in the top for, you know, so many years. I’m going to try to have longevity in my career through every day, let’s say, routines that I respect with my team, with preparations, recoveries, and of course consistently keep on motivating myself, finding that inspiration to play the sport in a high level.
Because I don’t play only for myself. I play for my family, friends, my country, you know, people around the world that support me. So it’s always in the back of my mind. It’s something that I basically attract from that a lot of inspiration to play and work hard.
I know that all this success that I make are not result of one tournament or a couple weeks of work. They are result of many years, you know, putting in these hours of practice and commitment.
So that’s the only way I can stay here. That’s the only way I can have many more years on this level.

Q. You mentioned, you know, the emotional roller coaster you go through. With a match like this, is it tougher mentally or tougher physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it’s a little bit of both. You go through lots of emotions. You go through lots of challenges that you need to overcome physically and mentally.
But mentioned before the match, this is kind of the occasion that you work for. These particular matches, finals of one of the biggest events on the tour, that’s something that, you know, is kind of in the back of your mind that inspires you to work every day, wake up in the morning and run, jog, practice, put in hours on the court, because you want to put yourself in the position to do this, to fight for the titles against one of your biggest rivals.
So I don’t think that this these challenges that I go through and the pressures that I feel are actually harming me or actually something that I find difficult, that I find that is a burden on my back.
I find that it’s a privilege because I earned it. I earned this position to be in.


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50 Comments for Novak Djokovic: This Win Over Federer Gives Me A Lot Of Confidence For The Rest Of The Season

RZ Says:

Did this final remind anyone else the 2014 Wimbledon final? Both involved Djokovic starting out strong but failing to close out the match easily, while Federer kept hanging on and then forced and won a tiebreak when Djokovic had a chance to close out the match, but then couldn’t keep up with Djokovic at the end.


Giles Says:

Geez! How much more confidence does he need?? Well I suppose he has to say something at his presser.


Margot Says:

RZ: I believe the last time Fed beat Nole in a GS/Masters final was 2012?


Humble Rafa Says:

It’s a reminder why you need me. Or else, you might as well hand the Egg Lover all four slams and put his picture next to Rod Laver.


skeezer Says:

Great Interview by Nole.
“But, you know, again, that was a huge game, 3‑2. He was I think 40‑15 up in that game…”

The difference maker of the match imo.


jane Says:

rz, i totally get what you’re saying re: ups, downs and momentum shifts with these two. however, the wimbledon final was of incredible quality. both of them hit way more winners than errors, whereas in this final they both hit more errors. perhaps this is due to the balls and/or high bounce of the court as things were flying and maybe more difficult to control. anyhow, their matches are always full of drama! but in a good way.

(although if you would’ve asked me that during the second set tiebreak yesterday i would’ve said the drama sucks! ;))


Patson Says:

Hopefully, this is 2011 all over again ! It sure does look like it.


Eric W. Says:

The key stat in this rivalry is H2H in finals, where Nole now leads 7-5. And would’ve been 8-5 had Roger not pulled out of the final at 02 last Nov in London. That’s impressive and gives Nole a legitimate claim to co-GOAT status along with Fed and Nadal. Particularly if he can bag the French Open this year. As to the dullards that claim Djokovic is all defence and “boring”, look at the stats: he had way more winners than Fed yesterday, and was raining heat from both wings, all match long. In fact, his missile-like groundstrokes have been the biggest feature of his game since he broke on the scene in 2006. Nadal and Murray are the most defensive-minded of the Big 4, while Fed and Nole are attack-minded, which makes it such a pleasure to watch them square off in finals.


Hippy Chick Says:

Patson no offence but i hope not,i hope we get an open and well contested rest of the season,and Rafa and Andy get in there too somewhere with both winning a GS, and some other titles too….


Hippy Chick Says:

Nice interview though….


Okiegal Says:

I think Novak is the best player atm…..but has a lot to do before GOAT status can be added to his resume…….not yet imo……


Ben Pronin Says:

Margot, 2012 Cincy was also the last time Djokovic has lost a Masters final at all. 9 in a row now.


chris ford1 Says:

Wrong to focus on Roger’s end stage withering or Djokers mini chokes.
For the most part, it was another high quality clash of the two Greats, with some dazzling defense and shotmaking.
For Federer, the satisfaction that he can trouble a great player without weaknesses on hardcourt – still. That’s how good Roger was and still is. And knowing that Nole will again try taking it to Rafa in clay season and will all but kill himself to beat Rafa at Roland Garros should that match-up happen…..while Roger quietly focuses on a Wimbledon last hurrah.

For No1e, this is as promising a start to a new year as he has ever had. Forget the “calendar Slam talk”, people should only talk that up should Nole by some long odds take the French Open from Rafa and win Wimbledon against Fed, Murray, Milos, etc. But this could be another 2011 for him. He looked devastating against Fed at certain times, always the seemingly better player with 1-3 extra gears he could go to possibly. And showed again that he can mess up several times and keep composure (smashing the racquet was vent-then regroup – thing.), and not lose focus on the win.


Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal yeah agree with no qualms about it either,an all time great no doubt,unfortunatly he will surpass our guy with weeks at number 1,but hes still way off Fedal in GOAT regard,he keeps putting himself into contention,but hes more dominant at the Masters really,he won multiple GS in one year which was 2011 but hasnt since,and the only GS he dominated has been the AO all bar last year,still hes the only player that could win the CGS this year obviously,hes the best player ATM though no question….


chris ford1 Says:

Eric – Maybe in ten years tennis fans will end the Highlander Talk (there can be only ONE!) and admit, like basketball fans have had to, that each era had several superstars. Each outstanding at what they did. Some even great champions off-court. Real football is the same. A time for a Pele, a time for the legendary German defense of Beckenbauer and his great and egual 60s-80s rivals, great strikers, players Becker, the unmatched footwork of Messi.
There can be no GOAT in real football.

Maybe in 20 years, we will have reference or a Nadal or one of the other two, not as GOAT – but only as “Here is Rafael Nadal, one of the 3″ and that says it all.

Nole has some work to do, but he will have a reputation as good as Fed and Rafa when he is done, is my guess. Just summing up Slam trophies is going to be determined to be a pretty inadequate way of measuring how good a player was.

You have one guy that is a great that stopped playing at 26, one great guy that had 4 years of a weak field to pad his stats. Not mentioned as much as he should be – one great older player barred 6 years in his absolute peak from participating in Slams that bridges the amateur-Open era. A player almost unbeatable when the USO and Wimbledon had fast surfaces, another that rose as a boundless talent finding two well established, experienced in their peak years, all time greats in his way.
Another who won more titles than anyone…and a counterpart that had more titles on clay and a better h2h over opponents than anyone ever.

I predict the parlor game will change. Someone will have an algorithm soon that credits non-Slam success, accounts for missing years, adjusts for different points scored for each event over time, being a player in strong or weak competitive times. Longevity. And factors in all the QFs, semis, RUPs attained.
An algorithm that can be applied to all players. Not just a few at the top.


Hippy Chick Says:

Im glad that Masters and other titles are also used as a measure regarding a players overall areas of greatness in the game,a while a go we had yet another Fedal GOAT thread saying Rafa has more Maters titles does it matter?which came the reply of MEH,it seems that these things are more important at certain times depending on how relevant it is to their favorite player or players?….


Margot Says:

@Ben
Amazing run!


Nusi Says:

the vulture of masters


courbon Says:

Miami draw is out/
Novak with Ferrer, Nikishori, Raonic, Delpotro…
Nadal with Murray, Wawrinka,Berdych…
Interesting. On the paper it looks easier draw for Novak but in reality Nikishori_ and Raonic are more dangerous for him, then Berdych and Wawrinka..Novak is not playing till sunday so plenty of time to recover…

Giles- every couple of hours comes some stupid comment from you-you are like a annoying fly while you eat dinner ( in this case reading analysis from tennis fans that write something else apart from ‘Vamos ‘ )


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon thanks for the info….


Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal if your reading Rafa will play Queens,he says he likes the court better as its similar grass surface to Wimbledon,YAY im so happy hes gone back there and ditched Halle which didnt suit him….


Patson Says:

@courbon

LOL @ annoying fly. Ditto !


Hippy Chick Says:

Sorry for hyjacking the Nole thread BTW,just didnt know where to put that bit of info,just thought the Rafa fans would want to know?….


courbon Says:

Hippy Chick: A bit too late to be sorry now!!!Hijacking my treads all the time….ahh, some people…


Hippy Chick Says:

Delpos playing Miami too which is great news,welcome back DELPO especially to EMILY if your reading,get on here girl?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon ooh soo sooory lol,you know considering/concidering?English is my spoken language i couldnt even spell the word right,you spell better English than me hijacking not hyjacking lol,but i wont do it again….


Giles Says:

https://mobile.twitter.com/thequeensclub/status/580081742796615680
Since there isnt a Rafa thread I will post this on here.
Rafa is back at Queens.


Matador Says:

Djokovic is undoubtedly the slow hard curt GOAT.
5 AO, rhe King in open era, 4 IW with Federer and probably will win at least one more and by now 4 Miami Masters, two behind Agassi and is likely he win many more.
But clay is another film, and we know who is the special actor in that movie.

But who can stop this “monster” in Key Biscayne?


courbon Says:

Hippy: I forgive your English.You are from Yorkshire….(-:


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon lol cheeky but true,some of the old dears still have trouble understanding me….


Hippy Chick Says:

Sorry and a smilie on the end ;-)….


courbon Says:

Good night Hippy, speak to you soon


Hippy Chick Says:

You too Courbon its always my pleasure ;-D….


Giles Says:

Courbon. Do you know the meaning of “scroll”? If so, use it and if not you are stuck with me.


Okiegal Says:

Hi, Courbon, good to see you back!!


mat4 Says:

@Yolita:

How do you post on tennis.com. I have an account, I wrote you a reply, but I don’t know how to post it, just to upload the message.


Emily Says:

@Hippy, I’m here, but I’m off work for spring break so I’m not posting as much (not that I’m on this site while working). I’m still nervous about Delpo playing TBH, but any match play is a positive for me as a fan. Once I see him hit a two-handed backhand, then I’ll start to breathe easy and look forward to what he could achieve this season.


Okiegal Says:

@Emily, I want to wish DelPo good luck on his return. Bless him, he’s definitely had his woes. :(
Maybe his wrist is ready to go this time. I hope so. I’m a Rafa fan and know to well what you are going through.


Kimberly Says:

@okiegal—–watched delpo practice today with berankis. You can never tell in practice but his timing looked off and he lucked a step slow. However when he connects with ball he does this power grunt and it’s quite awesome. But I think it will he a little bit of a process.


Okiegal Says:

@Kimberly……Soooo jealous. How fun would that be……getting up close and personal with all the pros. Have you seen “accident prone” Rafa?? Keep us posted….his fans that is!! Lol Some on here won’t give a rip about what he does, but some of us will be all ears! I hope his ankle is OK. Keep the posts coming, please. I’m not a fan of Roger or Novak but it would still be a thrill to see them……any of them. Thanks


courbon Says:

Yes Giles, I know what is ‘scroll’ is-same as pushing fly with newspaper in the air….still annoying I have to do that as well.Can I just have a dinner in a peace?


courbon Says:

Hi Oki, off to work-speak to you tonight ( France-which will be afternoon in Okhlahoma )


Okiegal Says:

@Courbon…..Okey dokey……Where have you been? Missing your humor and wit BIG TIME! Check back in when you have a chance….:)


danica Says:

Okiegal, is there an ATP tournament close to where you live? You can go and watch practice sessions and even rub shoulders with some players. I can speak of Serbia Open only, but Novak passed and stopped by me to give autographs to kids, he was not one meter away (and I have a picture to prove it :) ). Same with Gonzales, Fognini, Isner and Querry. The grounds were very open and friendly and I imagine it ‘s the same on most of the tournaments. Good luck, I hope you will get to meet your favorite(s) soon!


chris ford1 Says:

I missed the hands shaking on the sidelines, racquet smash…went away from the TV monitor because I was upset.
What is good about Djokovic, and has been for many years, and a key difference between him and Andy is No1e messes up, gets discouraged, angry…but seems to have learned how to get over his chokes and bad decisions and going on walkabout in tiebreakers. Sometimes he loses but is ready for his next match and not carrying the last match botch-up with him.
And sometimes he still wins the mach because he can shrug it off. Much to Federer’s regret, Novak regroups with a moment to himself in a Wimbledon bathroom stall, this time at IW, let the anger out…and conquer it.
It’s a quality of a champion and it’s great to see as a fan. The public openness of No1e’s process of mentally accepting anger, losses of concentration, his ongoing choking problem trying to serve out a set or match…and visibly pulling himself together in short order. He doesn’t try hiding it like Rafa, and he is not a Swiss stoic..
We who have competed know all the feelings and reactions and hands shaking moments. Our chokes. And appreciate seeing how well the top tennis player handles himself.


Okiegal Says:

@Danica

Cincy would be the closest to me. I don’t fly so I would have to drive. I miss out on a lot of trips with friends and family because I won’t get on an airplane. Even if you couldn’t get a ticket to watch a match, it would still be fun just to walk around and watch practice sessions and see the “stars”. Maybe I can do that sometime soon. :)


Okiegal Says:

@Courbon……I heard terrible news about a plane crash in the French alps. All souls lost. I am so sad about this. Thinking of someone’s great loss. My heart goes out to the families involved. Are you near this area?


Yolita Says:

Q: Do you think you get enough credit for your achievements, given the bar that’s raised by Roger and Rafa with, you know, the 14 Grand Slams and 17? You have 8. Do you think you get enough credit?
—————————————-
This is such a typical question Nole gets. Yes…by all means…let’s talk about Roger and Rafa and mention their greater records, while pretending we’re being nice. Ughhh…
I wish we could get pressers with the names of the journos who ask the questions. Accountability. :-)
It was worse before, it is getting better little by little. This actually made me smile. :-)
I’m in a state of bliss at the moment.


Giles Says:

Why would you want names of journos? Are you perchance thinking of reprimanding them if their questions are unsuitable?
Strange comment!

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