Novak Djokovic: “No Question About It, Roger Was The Better Player”
by Tom Gainey | July 6th, 2012, 1:23 pm

Novak Djokovic admitted today after his four-set loss to Roger Federer today at the Wimbledon semifinals, that the Swiss was simply the better player on the afternoon.

“No question about it, Roger was the better player,” said Djokovic. “In the important moments he was aggressive, hitting from both sides. That’s what you expect when you play against him in the final four of the Grand Slams. But I expected more from myself. I needed to be very consistent to win this match, and I wasn’t. I had ups and downs throughout. Unfortunately the one that lasted for 15, 20 minutes at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth cost me the win today.

“What I did badly today was my first shot after the serve. I missed a lot of those. If you play the first shot defensively you are on the back foot and have very little chance to win the point.”

But Djokovic then revealed that he has been battling an illness the last week.

“I had a bad last couple of day,” he said. “”Last five, six days I wasn’t feeling great. But I don’t want to talk about it now. I lost the match, not for the first or last time. I lost to a great champion, somebody who has the most Grand Slams in the history of the sport. I regret that I didn’t play as well as I thought I would, but life goes on. This is sport. I have to move on.”

If Federer goes on to win on Sunday, Djokovic will lose his No. 1 ranking to Roger.

“If he wins and becomes No. 1, it’s going to be well deserved,” Djokovic said. “He’s played fantastic this year. He’s been so consistent. If he wins, he wins. There’s nothing I can do about it. The best player will win this tournament. I’m out.”

With his Madrid exhibition with Rafael Nadal now cancelled do due Rafa’s knee, Djokovic will now enjoy a few weeks of rest before returning to Wimbledon for the London Olympics.

“It’s been a long five, six months for me. I didn’t have much rest,” said Djokovic. “Now I’m going to take some time off and really try to keep my mind off tennis. Then of course, coming back to Olympics, which I’m looking forward to.

“The Olympic Games are pinnacle of all sports. I’m really looking forward to playing here and see how it looks during the Olympic Games, how the grass will look, as well. [I will] try to enjoy every single moment of it.”

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43 Comments for Novak Djokovic: “No Question About It, Roger Was The Better Player”

andrea Says:

the atmosphere on sunday with fed and murray will be electric. yay!

jane Says:

Sad for Nole, very true about that third set. Good observations from him – that was the key to the match, as both Nole and Fed pointed out in their pressers.

Bounce back Noleeeee – physically and mentally – take a rest.

Meanwhile, come on Andy, it’s time for your first slam win! :)

Humble Rafa Says:

One thing is guaranteed on Sunday.

Mr. Lady Forehand wins or loses – Britain gets drunk.

Dave Says:

Of course Nadal now has knee tendinitis and Djokovic now has an illness. That’s why they lost, isn’t it.

Rick Says:

You forgot Federina’s bad back!

scineram Says:

Indeed, he beat Nole crippled.

skeezer Says:


jane Says:

Dave ” That’s why they lost, isn’t it.”

Is that what Nole said? No, not at all. He said Roger was the better player; he said he had an inconsistent day, lots of ups and downs. And he said “I don’t want to talk about it” which means there’s a good question someone asked him a question which lead him to mention it.

Besides, Fed’s had colds and flus that were mentioned (like at IW) and his back here. It happens – they’re human!

jane Says:

“there’s a good question” should be “there’s a good chance”

dc Says:

After the match Nole calls up Rafa.

Nole – dude, i lost. What excuse should i make. Shall i tell them i was injured just like you are after loosing.

Rafa – i have a patent on the injury excuse. Uncle Tony may not like it if you hijack my excuse. You can use something other excuse.Hang on, let me get my excuse list.

Rafa- how about this one “i wasn’t well for the past 6 days”.

Nole – great – thanks.

dc Says:

Nole & Rafa are now competing for the most coveted record – Injury Slam i.e make injury (sick, unwell) excuses for losses in all 4 majors.

Sienna Says:

Nole and Rafa are going to copete for being #2 in their prime

zola Says:

Great statement by Djoko. He is always very gracious in a loss.

well, by your logic it is Federer who has had his excuse ready from the get go. Wasn’t he complaining about back?

Players are humans and can get injuries or get sick. The difference is that they cannot get the medication me and you could, without being accused of doping!

zola Says:


“by your logic”, I meant “dc”! Forgot to write that!

Anyways, Good luck to both Andy and Fed. either way , history will be made on Sunday.

bstevens Says:

A lot of posters have already mentioned this, but Djokovic is very gracious in defeat.

skeezer Says:

There is no excuses here. Fed and Novak played each other because they thought they had a chance to win. if they thought because of back /illness they had no chance to win, they would have withdrawn/retired. Not doubting that Nole was ill with something, but he decided to play, he didn’t have too.

Nole played excellent imo, and wasn’t very off from winning this thing, especially if he won the third. He looked a little defeated in the 4th, but was that from not feeling well or just being outgunned?

And is now Fed suppose to say he won despite having a bad back? All so silly really….

Possum Says:

Djoker = excuse-maker!

anthony Says:

This match was a disappointing. Kudos to roger he played excellently but Novak was far below par. Not the great battle it could have/should have been. I think roger winning is great for the trilogy of tennis but I would prefer to see him hit through rafa and nole in form and that would bring these rivalries up to an truly thrilling level. But for roger to ascend to no.1 winning wimbledon with one top rival bounced in 2nd round and the other not in flight is a bit flat. But congrats to Roger he may score his 7th wimbledon which is miraculous unless Andy Murray has some magic to unload….to be determined.

Wog boy Says:

Two in a row, it is really hard to take it but he took it on the chin. Good on you Nole. Head up my champ, tomorrow is a new day, sun is rising again, even in England…occasionally.

We all saw the match one or the other way but he is right, Federer was simply better, you are right my man.

Now to illness, who ever watched Nole playing they could se that he had in previous matches tissues in pocket blowing his nose on and off the court, I wanted to post and ask the others if they noticed that, same as I noticed and posted, that Nadal didn’t look quite well in his match against Belluci, but decided not to and Nole took it as a man.

I did it on the other thread I am doing it here…..congrats to Federer and his fans, Federer was yesterday Man on The Mission.

Now, go Andy you are overdue for GS, do it in England and take it with you to Scotland, you can do it.

Michael Says:

I did not expect this from Novak. What was the point in revealing in the interview that he was not well and that too willingly ? Did he say that when he won his matches ? He also continues that they are no excuses and Roger was the better player. But Novak could well have refrained from commenting on his illness. This is not sporting behaviour. I am sorry to say that Novak too is emulating Nadal in this regard.

Michael Says:

Now where is Nirmal/Nims ????

Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

quality post- very honest, as ever!

your guy will be back for sure.

Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

May be Novak was suffering from a running nose. But no player can be 100% perfect when he plays a match. I am sorry to say that he should not have revealed this in his interview and that too when not asked. This is not sporting behaviour. Honestly, I did not expect this from Novak.

Massimo Says:

Well, Such is the nature of sports…Be it as it will, Fedderer has shown that he still can play tennis, well, for the time being at least. All considered English summer came hand for some if not for all , though i get the sense that Mr. Murray should/could and must prevail….Now or never!

Michael Says:

I think Novak played to Federer strengths and speed. He was a bit more aggressive I would say in this match and was uncharacteristically error prone. For sure, Novak was below his best. But, so was Roger when Novak beat him at the French recently. You cannot always expect to play your best.

Brando Says:



‘. I am sorry to say that he should not have revealed this in his interview and that too when not asked. ‘

all we have here is an excerpt of what he said- WE DO NOT have the full interview, which i imagine will probably show that he was ASKED about this and was responding to the question the best he could. Remember also that he CREDITED fed for the win also.

remember that old adage- ‘innocent until proven guilty’, let’s exercise that here and our knowledge of the fact that novak is a VERY SPORTING loser!

Wog boy Says:


We all see the matches differently so we see the pressos differently, that is in a human nature, for example, I saw Federer’s presso after USO 2011 one way and Fedfans the other. I think Novak was more than gracious in defeat, and he didn’t say the things like some are doing, and then blaming the reporters for taking the words out of the context or bringing the things up …… even Federer is not perfect.
Enjoy the win of uor man, cheers.

jake Says:

the reason why djokovic lost to federer was the surface…this is grass. it is a different way of playing despite the court getting slower and slower. Federer has said and even experts agree, that defending points on grass is harder as it naturally gifts attacking, explosive players… hence federer won the match. Novak is an aggressive baseline player but not a natural grasscourt player. You might argue that well novak won it the last time around… well, yes, he won it to nadal. they played on grass like they usually did on hard courts and clay. federer played to him a grass court game and djokovic was unettled all throughout the match. yes he might have been feeling low, but, well so was federer.

Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

Ofcourse, I love Roger. But I like Novak too. If you want to believe, I was cheering for nobody in the match because I wanted both to win. But that cannot happen. Nevertheless, rest in peace. Novak is only 25 and he has many more years of good Tennis left in him. I see him retaining his US Open title come September. On hard courts, it will be a different Novak and I am not sure if Roger or Nadal can provide a battle there. May be Murray, provided he wins this Wimbledon.

Michael Says:


You may be right. Yes, the trancripts of the full interview is not available and therefore it was premature for me to give that comment. Let me wait for the full transcript to offer my comments. In future I would be more careful.

addicted Says:

I don’t think Novak played as badly as some here are saying.

Someone had posted the following link in another comment thread, but it is an excellent resource that lays out Federer’s strategy against Novak clearly.

It analyzes last year’s FO, but Federer used pretty much the same strategy against Novak yesterday. Fed’s ground game, and serve were on, which meant Novak did not stand a chance.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Now where is Nirmal/Nims ????

Hey Michael, I’m here. Tell me.

alison Says:

Michael says im sorry to say that Novak is emulating Nadal in this regard,no offence but the topic was about Novak,why bring Rafa into this,dont get me wrong i know Rafas no saint to put it mildly,but neithers Novak and if your prepared to give Novak the benifit of the doubt,why cant you do the same with Rafa and all the other players from time to time,or do you only do that with the players you like,talk about double standards.

Mark Says:

@ alison. Well said! They just can’t help themselves – belittling Rafa at every turn and twist!

Michael Says:


In Nadal’s case, it is quite frequent. It seems that whenever he loses any match, he is not well. So that aura of invincibility is artificially created for his benefit. That is surely not the case with other players. Now he lost to Rosol in the Wimbledon 2nd Round, but now we hear from his camp that he has tendinitis problem. So it is almost made to appear that whenever he loses, there comes the injury factor. I gave Novak the benefit of doubt because I have not seen his full interview and quoted instantly. Now I have seen that transcript in full and Novak himself has revealed his illness that he was not feeling well for the past five/six days. That is ofcourse not in good taste especially when you lose a match. It is another matter you win and say that. The same logic applies to Roger and other players too who make injury excuses while losing. If you are having injury problem right from the start of a tournament, then it is one thing but to suddenly talk about injury after a loss is quite another thing.

Michael Says:


Just I wanted to hear your comments about the match of Roger Vs Novak. Well we have had good discussion on that. You were almost certain that Roger would lose and infact went to the extreme by suggesting that Roger might suffer a similar fate as Rolland Garros 2008 final. I do not know with what justification you said that especially when it was Grass that they are playing on and a six time champion was on the court against the current best. Nevertheless, I am happy that Roger proved you wrong and also at the same feel sympathetic to Novak. I have great respect for Novak because he is the only player who broke that stranglehold of Roger and Nadal.

Michael Says:


It is not belliting Rafa. It is quoting an incontrovertible fact.

jane Says:

The interviewer said “Q. You’ve been so consistently strong over the last year and a half. Was there any particular reason why you didn’t feel as sharp as you were on that second ball? **Did you feel good coming into today?”** The last part is a leading question; I guess Nole could have said he felt fine but instead he just said the truth, that he didn’t feel too great. Anyhow, it was clear as he was blowing his nose on court during the Mayer match. But he didn’t continue to discuss it during his presser and he made it clear that the problems with the match weren’t that. (a) He says Fed was the better player and (b) he says he played too inconsistently during key points in the match. He is very complimentary of his opponent.

Dave Says:

jane: I was being sarcastic when I said “that’s why they lost, isn’t it.” Many news articles on the Wimbledon Federer-Djokovic match noted what Djokovic had said about his illness. Apparently he just had a cold (which is not as serious as a flu) and played quite well in his previous rounds with his cold. And these are supposedly reputable tennis correspondents such as Chris Clarey of the New York Times. On the other hand, if you read Federer’s presser after his French Open semifinal match with Djokovic (see link), Roger was asked about his physical injuries (hip) and cold in several questions and he answered in greater length. Though he ends off with the ailments didn’t affect him, it’s clear that Federer was uncharacteristically subpar throughout the French Open 2012 (certainly compared to FrencOpe 2011 and Wimbledon 2012). Yet virtually no tennis writer mentioned it, except the Montreal Gazette corrspondent who wrote: “Federer was congested as he spoke to the media, his nose running. He also said this was the best day he’d had physically during the clay-court season, after dealing with a hip issue.” In Halle it was even worse: no article mentioned he had a cold even though it was asked at a presser.

So most readers reading articles on Fed-Nole’s Wimbledon match will read that Djokovic was sick and played uncharacteristically, and conclude that was the key reason he lost the match. However most readers reading articles on Fed-Nole’s French Open match were not told that Federer had been dealing with a hip injury throughout the clay season and had a cold during the Djokovic match (fed’s cold was probably worse because it was probably a fresh cold that had just begun and continued into Halle, whereas Djokovic already had his cold for 5 or 6 days). So most readers will probably assume a healthy Fed was simply outplayed by Djokovic. This is press bias, and they are smart enough to know why they are doing it.

jane Says:

I missed that Dave. Sometimes tone doesn’t translate. Of course journalists want to weave a whole story around one quote; they want an “angle”. But fans, when in doubt, should stick to reading the player’s interviews, including the questions. They are usually more clear.

I guess Radwanska had a cold too so maybe there is something going around; the cold damp weather could be a factor.

Dave Says:

jane: you’re right that most journalists want an angle. I consider most news articles works of fiction to entertain readers or publicity pieces to promote a certain viewpoint. I know, I know, this sounds cynical but…

I don’t doubt that Novak had a cold. It wasn’t my intention to question his illness this time. However, I would say that since he said he had the cold for 5 or 6 days, that means he played his fourth round and quarterfinal matches when the cold symptoms were probably worse (as they usually are during the first phase of a cold). Yet he didn’t play those matches poorly when he had those players on the other side of the net.

alok Says:

OMg, the excuse for the djokovic is way too crazy. This guy is just a phoney through and through. Why would he mention he had a cold for 5 to 6 days, then say i don’t wanna talk about it. He made sure he planted the seeds of his imaginary illness for all to hear, then pretended he didn’t want to talk about it.

If Novak was a decent person he wouldn’t have mentioned the cold at all. I’m surprised people don’t see through this guy’s low-clas behavior. he’s just a pitiful no. 1. Fed gets twice the amount of applause from the crowds when the two are on court together. I guess that must be something tough for Djok to swallow.

What’s the story with jane? Can she ever stop with the false stuff? After the AO and Miami wins, jane said she was contented and didn’t care if her djok of a player won nothing more for the year. now, she states she’s so disappointed and every match he plays she’s biting her nails, ugh, and is too tense to post. I suppose they’re two of a kind, jane and djok, which is why she’s such a fan.

I’m sick of her belittling Fed by mentioning her stupid stats, e.g., the ranking of the players they both face, the most comical was the stat showing the players’ past highest ranking. What significance is that stat to present day form. the woman is a joke like the djoker, and she is on this site day and night.

will Kimberly ever stop lieing about her life and writing sh*!t about her husband, kids and the Heat? What a loser this woman is and no wonder she and jane are pals who gossip about everyone on the bracket site. The bracket is just a place for them to congregate and gossip.

Is it any wonder that this site has deteriorated so much with jane being the head of the fan girls and skeezer, the moron, who is sucking up to jane and her fangirls? too bad that the majority of these people never picked up a racket but they feel they know tennis.

So have the djok lost and I wish ATP would stop handing him these easy draws.

Go Fed, beat the Brit and take back the No. 1 from the djoker clown!

courbon Says:

So shall we put it like this:
Novak does sometimes give exusess and have crass celebration time to time
Nadal does often give excusses also…
Federrer can be arrogant sometimes and not a great looser…
They all have small flaws but let me ask you this:They probably behave million times better then football players and I would say that most of us (males) at age of 25 would give more stupid comments (I would ,for sure…)and behavied sillier…Can we just give a break to this guys and just respect them for being great champions?
I support Djokovic (I know he is not that classy,can wear terrible shirts (Lots of people mentions that-Is he suppose to mhave a good taste in clothes and maybe ba good cook also??) but respect for Fed or Rafa is immense-On Friday Federrer was better and Novak also droped his level this year…Congrat to Fed fans and enjoy the final.

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