Q. What more can you say? (Laughter.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (Laughter.) That’s a good question, because I don’t know how many questions I can really get in this pre-final press conference except one, that I’m playing Andy Murray in another final, which of course I’m very excited about. And also it’s a possibility for me to make history, which is of course another great imperative for me for tomorrow’s match. These are the kind of matches that you work for. These are the kind of occasions that define you as a tennis player. I’ll try to do my best obviously and get my hands on that trophy again.
Q. Did you watch Andy’s match yesterday against Raonic? What do you think of how he’s playing right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have watched only last set, a little bit of the last set when Milos was already not moving that great. But I heard that it was a great match and that Milos played well in three sets and then he physically couldn’t really push Andy until the end. That’s why Andy is a top player for so many years, a Grand Slam champion, because he always makes players give their best and at times kind of go over their own physical limits. That’s what happened last night. I’m expecting a battle with Andy, as it always is. Very physically demanding match. Lots of rallies, exchanges. It’s no secret we know how we play against each other. It’s two games that are very much alike, so it’s basically who’s going to outplay who from the baseline. I think serve is an important factor in tomorrow’s match. I think both of us will try to serve high percentage of first serves and not allow the other player attack the second serve too many times.
Yeah, a lot about tactics and a lot about how of course you handle your emotions of the greatness of that occasion of playing for the Grand Slam title.
Q. Andy has obviously worked a lot on his second serve as of late and how it’s a more forceful shot now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, of course. I mean, there has been a lot of talks about his second serve, and I’m sure he and his team are very much aware of that. He’s known around the tour for one of the hardest working guys and somebody that really puts in the hours on the tennis court, and off the tennis court tries to perfect his game. Yeah, I’m not surprised that he’s trying to get his game to a higher level. Obviously. That’s expected in a way. If it wasn’t so, he wouldn’t be in the finals and playing on this high level. But on the other hand, I’m also working on things to improve, and I’m sure that we will try to explore each other’s weaknesses tomorrow and see what happens.
Q. This is the fourth time you’ve played him in the final. You’ve won the previous three. Is it possible to underestimate how hungry he would to be finally break through against you in Australia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve played him many times, as you mentioned, and been in the situation before where haven’t won specific tournaments, like Roland Garros for example, against players like Nadal who were dominating there. So I understand the kind of desire and will to win that is present. But, you know, of course I don’t underestimate him. No question about it. I have a tremendous respect and admiration for everything he’s achieved in his career. He’s one week older than me so we grew up together.
As I said, we have very similar styles of game and very similar trajectory to the professional tennis, so it’s nice to see that our rivalry keeps on going and we keep playing for the biggest titles.
It’s a challenge that I’m going to face, I must accept, and hopefully I’ll be able to give my best.
Q. I spoke to Kim Clijsters the other day ahead of your clash against Roger, and she said, I want Roger to win because I don’t know how many times he’s still going to play, but I I’m afraid Novak is going to walk away with the title. Do you take that as a compliment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I appreciate Kim Clijsters’ opinion of me walking away with the title; I’m just concerned she’s afraid that I’m going to do that. No, no, I understand. Of course it’s very flattering when a champion like Kim and the other legends of the sport are praising my game and achievements.
When I hear predictions that are positive, of course it does flatter and add to your confidence. But you can’t get carried away with that, if you know what I mean? It also imposes a great obstacle mentally in a way because you need to deliver. You need to be able to win and try to make this prediction true.
Q. You won in 2011. Do you meet during this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Did we meet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, we haven’t met personally. I know that — I saw her playing in the tournament. It’s great that she comes back and her and many other legends of the men’s and women’s tennis are participating in this legends tournaments, mix doubles, doubles, in the Grand Slams. I think that is important for the game, you know, to see them, because they have done so much for this sport. Also it’s great for the Belgian tennis, I’m sure, to still have her on the court, even though she’s not active professionally.
Q. Serena said yesterday that you’re one of her favorite athletes to watch perform. What do you make of her, A, longevity, and, B, the fact that she’s going for 22 tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Same here. Got to return the favor. Definitely watching Serena is something special, and I’m very glad to be in the same era with her, generation, yeah. We kind of joke around about flexibility and what we are able to do on and off the court. I still remember that one situation where in Madrid couple years ago we were staying in the hotel that was just next to the big park. I went for jogging and I’ve seen her stretching and kind of lifted her leg vertically up against a tree. It was one of the most impressive stretches that I’ve seen ever in in my life. That explained many things about why she’s so successful and is able to sustain that high level of performance for so many years.
She’s truly a great champion, and I wish her another title.
Q. What would it mean to equal Rod Laver in Grand Slams on his court tomorrow? Would it be something special?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. I mean, fighting for a Grand Slam trophy is a pinnacle of our sport. This is exactly where you want to be. You work hard to put yourself in this position.
Of course adding to that the fact that I am able to make history is of course just an additional encouragement and incentive for me to do well. I’m going to have to face one of the biggest rivals, but that’s what it takes.
If you want to win Grand Slam titles and be the best in the world, you have to win against best players in the world. Going to be ready for that.