Novak Djokovic: I’ve Never Even Been Close To 100 Unforced Errors In A Match, But There’s A First Time For Everything
by Staff | January 24th, 2016, 6:03 am
  • 31 Comments

It took 4 hours, 32 minutes, but Novak Djokovic advanced in the end beating a spirited Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The win put the World No. 1 into his 27th straight Grand Slam quarterfinals (Roger Federer holds the record at 36 straight) and his 9th in a row at the Australian Open where he has won five times.

Djokovic, though, didn’t play his best tennis. Hardly. He sprayed a career-high 100 unforced errors in a very shaky performance against a man he had beaten nine straight times.

Djokovic will next face an in-form Kei Nishikori Tuesday in a rematch of their 2014 US Open semifinal won by the Japanese.

After the win, Djokovic met the press:

Q. There was no huge joy for you after the match point. What was going through your mind after those 4 hours and 32 minutes of fight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that I was obviously pleased to win the match. The last point counts. But in terms of the performance itself, I haven’t done well at all.

But, you know, can expect unforced errors when you’re playing Gilles Simon who is one of the best counter-punchers in the tour at the moment and he’s been around for many years. He likes to play long matches. He likes to play long rallies.

But I knew what was expecting me on the court. But I honestly didn’t expect to make this many unforced errors. In terms of a level that I’ve played, it’s the match to forget for me.

Again, I won it, so it’s pretty good. When you’re playing that bad and still manage to win — hopefully it’s going to be better next one.

Q. Do you have an explanation as to why you didn’t play well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It just happens. You have those days. As I said, a lot depends from the opponent. And Gilles is a great defender. Always makes you play an extra shot. You have days like this, but fortunately you manage to fight your way through. I think in important moments the serve was getting me out of trouble. That’s what I take as a positive from today.

Q. Do you remember any other match where you had a hundred…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not even close, no.

Q. That you won, I mean, or that you lost.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I don’t think I’ve had any close number to a hundred.

But, again, there is a first time for everything.

Q. When you get to a fifth set like that with a player as good as Simon, do you enter a sort of calm zone, rational zone, or is there a sense of panic at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well I think I lost the fourth set because I lost my calm. 4-All, 30-Love, just wasted that game with some unforced errors, handed him the set. After that, you know, the set was gone, I had to just regroup and find that strength and find that focus that was necessary for me to win the match.

Should have finished at 5-1. Should have used my serve. Haven’t done it. Some more unforced errors on the stats.

But, again, the last game was a pretty good service game. As I said, that part of my game was pretty good today, if I can select something.

Q. When you were playing all those dropshots, it was because of lack of patience?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, you know, it’s not easy when you’re not feeling the ball well and when you’re not moving that great. When you’re playing someone like Simon, he senses that and he makes you play an extra shot. Then you’re trying to cut down on the length of the rallies, go for a winner or go for a dropshot. Sometimes you have a brain freeze, if I can call it that way. That’s what happened to me many times with those dropshots.

Q. How much does it concern you going forward, having had a match this long?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Actually, it gives me great joy to know that I can’t get worse than that, than what I played today (smiling). It doesn’t concern me for the next one.

Q. Do you feel tactically Simon maybe found something in uncomfortable positions throughout this match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, not to take anything out from his fight and performance, I thought he fought well, played well. You know, I don’t think he was doing anything special. I mean, I missed so many balls midcourt, so many breakpoint opportunities just wasted.

I think it was my fault for sending this match to a fifth set.

Q. What makes you confident after 4 hours and 32 minutes to play in 48 hours and be strong physically enough against Nishikori?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the win makes me confident; the loss doesn’t so much. So I think that’s simple.

I’ve been in these situations before. The good thing about Grand Slams is that you have a day off in between, which gives you enough time.

I’ve had worse situations where I had much less time to recover after long matches. So I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Q. You tied a mark today by Jimmy Connors. What are your thoughts about him? Have you met him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously I have tremendous respect for his achievements and who he is, what he has done for this sport. He drew a lot of people to watch tennis, bringing a lot of energy on the court, a lot of charisma, just a lot of quality overall.

To be able to be mentioned alongside such a legend of course is a privilege. The fact that I’ve played this many quarterfinals in a row, as I said on the court, definitely pleases me because I always wanted to play my best tennis in Grand Slams and always aimed to perform my best in these tournaments.

I’ve done it so far. Hopefully I can keep going.

Q. Gilles was saying something along the lines of the locker room would rather you’re not in the draw, in a good way.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Which locker room (laughter)?

Yeah, I read that, but he didn’t specify which locker room.

Q. He was saying because you’re the best in the world, people would rather you weren’t in the draw. Because you’re more dominant, do you get the sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, I don’t know which locker room he’s talking about. Women’s locker room I’m pretty popular, I know that (laughter).

Q. Uniqlo, you and Nishikori, a tennis outfit I don’t see anywhere. Just you? Okay.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, they still are — it’s a long story, but I hope that soon people will have an opportunity to buy the clothes in their stores.

Q. Do you think today says a lot about your desire, the fact that you’re still in the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I’m not the only player who wants to do well here. But the main reason why I’m in Australia and why I’m playing here is because I want to do well.

I don’t take any moments spent on the court for granted. I always try to give my best. Of course, the best changes day-to-day. Today’s match is an example of that.

But you can always give your effort. You can always be professional and try to fight for every ball. I think because of that kind of attitude, I managed to win this match today.

Q. What goes through your mind in a match like this? Is your mind just spinning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Many times my mind is asking for oxygen because there were so many rallies. You’re just trying to focus on breathing and on the next point. Obviously what’s done is done. It’s behind you. Can’t affect that.

Generally speaking, from experience, it’s not a very pleasant feeling when you’re not playing well. But certainly it’s a good feeling when you win not playing well. So I’ll try to take that as an incentive for the future.

Q. For a long time we’ve talked about Serena versus the field, Serena against the world. Do you feel like you’ve entered into that territory on the men’s side? Have you ever talked to Serena about the pressure that entails?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, we talked about it. Good relationship with Serena. She’s a great champion. I have lots of admiration for her. But she’s a great example of somebody that still at her age, after all she achieved, keeps going. That kind of hunger and drive for the success is something that is very impressive, something that not many players have, both men’s and women’s side. So you can learn from that.

There are places where you’re more liked or loved and places where you’re less loved. It’s all part of what we do. Traveling around the world, tennis is a very international sport, global sport, so I wouldn’t even think of me against the world. I don’t think it’s the right term at all. I don’t feel that way, honestly.

I’m enjoying the places. Some places more support; some places less. It’s normal. People have the freedom and right to choose who they’re going to support. What’s important in your hands is to kind of stay committed, be responsible towards yourself, towards the sport if you’re a top player. Certain things that the success I had on the tour have appeared for me as an obstacle, as a challenge, as a life lesson. I’m evolving, learning as I go along. I’m trying to be my best.

Q. As a fan shouted, No more dropshots, what else could you do to avoid those unforced errors?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It would be interesting to see how many dropshot points I won. It’s probably one out of 40, very low percentage. The person who shouted was absolutely right, as I said on the court.

But sometimes it works. It’s my game. As I said, I don’t think it can get much worse than this. A hundred unforced errors for a match is really tremendous for me, my style of the game. I’m aggressive but still like to construct the point.

Too many unforced errors today. I’m going to make sure that I decrease that number at least more than half and hope for the best.


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31 Comments for Novak Djokovic: I’ve Never Even Been Close To 100 Unforced Errors In A Match, But There’s A First Time For Everything

Giles Says:

Hope it’s 200 next time.


Margot Says:

Goodness, Nole and Berd had shocks there. Never thought Nole would actually lose TBH but really hoped Berd would. Love RBA such a neat, hard working player. He’s like a little road runner on court.
Very, very much doubt Nole will make 100 UEs next match…..;)
Fed looking pretty damn good I must say, but Courier’s interview….OMG could he have prostrated himself any more?


Ngentot Says:

Keep hoping, poor Giles. That’s all you can do now, since your boy is no longer relevant….:-)))


Ngentot Says:

Keep hoping, poor Giles. That’s all left for you to do, since your boyfriend Rafa is no longer relevant.


Michael Says:

Novak played horrible Tennis and yet some how sneaked out a win against a wall named Giles Simon. He would feel lucky in a sense having made more than 100 Unforced errors and yet managed a win against a very good player. Certainly, Novak looks vulnerable at the moment.

But, as a Champion, he always reserves his very best during the final stages of the tournament and that is what had made him such a consistent player on circuit.


Michael Says:

At the other end, Roger was at his imperious best against Goffin. And what a scintillating Tennis he produced with such exquisite timing, rhythm, foot work, control, pace and margins. It was a sheer delight to watch him on court just dancing with effortless ease and making his opponent look totally dejected and lost outclassed by his sheer magical Tennis that he occasionally produces now-a-days.

And mind you, Goffin is no push over and a potential future prospect.

If Roger plays this well during the rest of the tournament, he will be the Champion. But the question will he able to maintain such a high standard of Tennis ?


mat4 Says:

The locker-room thing… well said, maestro!


Jeez Says:

Excerpts from Federer’s Interview

Q.Did you watch any of the Novak and Simon match? What were your thoughts on it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought it was interesting, you know, just in the sense that there’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of breakpoints missed, a lot of, I don’t know, shifts of momentum. But they both had their chances in the first four sets. I didn’t see the fifth set. Could have sort of gone either way all the way.

I thought it was a good match to watch in terms of entertainment value, for sure.

Q.We haven’t seen Novak play like this in a very long time.

ROGER FEDERER: In like what sense?

Q.Hitting a hundred unforced errors.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. How much did you see Gilles Simon play? I’m just wondering, because I think people miss the point of him. He plays every match, like, that. He makes you miss. He makes you go for the lines and he runs down a lot of balls. A lot of points end in errors, if you like.

This was five sets. So, of course, there’s going to be a lot of unforced errors piling up. The question is if you have 50, 100, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter as long as you win.

People just kind of talk maybe — it’s my assumption, I’m not surprised you’re asking me. I just feel people talking like he had a horrible day. Of course he can play better, but on the other side, you have somebody who has the fastest legs and he knows exactly what he’s doing out there, and it worked almost to the very end. So it was very close for Novak, and he knows that.


Daniel Says:

Saw the first set and Novak was fine, even tough it was a long one. Woke up saw the result and this 100 UE which is very odd for him. But champions win even when not playing great and that was the case today.

At least this ads more drama to AO


Giles Says:

The next time he clocks up this many ue’s he won’t be so lucky. His luck has to run out some time, no? Hoping its sooner rather than later. It’s time for new winners.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Mat4, that is funny stuff. Novak’s a great interview.


Chrisford1 Says:

Giles Says:
Hope it’s 200 next time.

==========================
I hope he commits 200 against Fed and still wins. The laughter directed at “The Arrogant One” as our ‘Humble Rafa’ names him, would last for many days.


Giles Says:

Lol. This guy thinks I’m a fedfan.


mat4 Says:

@TV:

He knows where popularity really matters…


BBB Says:

We’ve seen this before – Novak has some tough matches, Fed cruises. And every time, there are those who think it’s indicative of what will happen if they meet in the final.

It’s good to have a scare along the way. You don’t want your first fright to happen in the final against your strongest opponent.


Gypsy Gal Says:

TBH Giles or any other opponent could be two sets,and up five love in the third and be serving for the match,but id still put money on Novak coming through the match….


Giles Says:

Alison. Always so dramatic. Surely you don’t honestly believe your ludicrous post? Or is it there to butter up the joker fans?


Gypsy Gal Says:

Tongue in cheek Light hearted sarcasm, anyway on this forum im either some closet Novak fan,or a Novak hater,well according to some….


Travis Bickle Says:

Giles and Siena,

You are less and less present here. Why? Djoker’s domination is stiffling your tiny hate-filed souls it seems!

But please, keep posting. For me at least, your comments are always great comic relief and every Djoker’s win is enhanced by the realization I will come here and read your bitter, hate-filled comments about him :-) And then I laugh at your pain, and it’s been like that for the last 2 years or so…

Your presence here is something I would be really sad without!


J-Kath Says:

Travis: You are living dangerously…how well do you know Sienna?


Travis Bickle Says:

J-Kath,

I know her enough to conclude she is a hate-filled, venom-spewing Djokovic “admirer”. And, I was honest in saying I’d be sad if she left and stopped posting her garbage here! Hers suffering (and Giles’) always makes me laugh…


jane Says:

“but Courier’s interview….OMG could he have prostrated himself any more?”

ha, i didn’t see it. but courier can definitely be obsequious sometimes.


jane Says:

fed’s right about simon. people underestimate his ability to draw errors. obviously novak hit a gazillion but some of those are forced. simon lulls then pounces. he is the ultimate counter puncher, as both fed and novak recognize.

dan martin said elsewhere, though, that if novak had just played a better second set tiebreak it could’ve been a relatively routine straight-set win. but he let it get away from him.

lots of credit to simon but also novak needs to be more focused and aggressive.


Travis Bickle Says:

For those who find Jane’s English overly literate:
obsequious is a complicated way of saying “ass-kissing”…


Wog Boy Says:

The one thing I like about Courier is his knowledge, and he really is knowledgeable and what he said yesterday was absolutely right, I will try to say it in my words hopping you will understand but keep in my he said it much better:
” Simon is master of droping oponents game on the level it suits him (Simon), his entire plan is to drop Nole’s game down on the level of an ordinary player and he is successful in doing it and he does that to every player”.
I hope you get it, I wish you could hear him, he is good commentator, knows what he is talking.


jane Says:

^ wog boy for sure. during matches he’s much better. i was referring to the on court interviews.

but then i guess those are meant to “showcase” the winners, so there is a certain amount of that bowing required.

at least he didn’t ask novak to twirl or dance or anything. ;)


Wog Boy Says:

jane,

I had a look at their h2h, and Roger had all reasons to say that, he lost twice to Simon and all their matches were extremly tight, they met twice in the GS, both matches went five sets, and all other matches but one were three set matches with lot of TBS.


Wog Boy Says:

I liked that guy who screamed from top of his lungs “No more drop shots” :))


jane Says:

wog boy, yes, fed was speaking from experience in this case. simon has troubled him since 2008 at least?


Michael Says:

Alison @ 2.35 pm,

That is the speciality of Novak,the gallant fighter till the last rally is finished, the indefatigable, never-say-die attitude, temperament, tenacity, spirit, passion – all these noble qualities and traits have made him today what he is a Champion coming out of the shadows of Roger and Rafa !!


Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael yeah true,but please dont use that many cliches its rather irritating….

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