November 26, 2015

Novak Djokovic in His Own Words

Novak Djokovic

(September 9, 2013) Novak Djokovic’s post-match news conference following his loss to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final.

An interview with: NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Monday, September 9, 2013
Q. I can’t remember seeing a player play as well as you did in the third set and yet not win the set. How hard was that to take? NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was disappointing that I dropped the third set, even though I felt like especially in first four, five games I was the one who was, you know, dictating the play. But it’s all my fault, you know. I made some unforced errors in the crucial moments with forehands and dropped the serve twice when I should not have. You know, next thing you know, all of a sudden it’s two sets to one for him. Then he started playing much, much better after that, and, you know, I obviously could not recover after that loss.Q. How disappointing is that loss?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is. It’s US Open final, and Grand Slam finals are I mean, in the end of the day I have to be satisfied with the final, even though I would have loved to win this match tonight. But it was obvious that in the important moments he played better tennis, and that’s why he deserved to win. I congratulate him, and I move on.

Q. The three break points you had at 4-all, was it just hard kind of mentally and emotionally to get past that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, it’s like it was a momentum change out there from Love 40, 4 All third set, he started playing really good. He served well few points. I didn’t do anything I felt wrong in these few points. He didn’t make a mistake. He served well. He came to the net. As I said, you know, all the credit to him. I had my momentum from midway second set to end of the third where I was supposed to, you know, use and realize the opportunities that were presented to me, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t deserve to win in the end.

Q. Obviously you’re disappointed in losing. Just wonder if you could appreciate the high level of tennis that was played out there. Obviously the fans loved it. Just some great shots. Can you grasp that, or is the loss too much right now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just right now I just came from the court, so it’s of course I do appreciate the occasion playing against Nadal in the finals of one of the best tournaments and most important tournaments in the world. So I’m aware of that. But obviously I just feel disappointed for losing. It’s all sport. You know, tomorrow is a new day.

Q. Is it right to think you may be missing just a little bit of confidence?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. I mean, I was playing well throughout the whole two weeks, and I can be happy because it was different from the hard court tournaments prior to US Open. I felt more mentally present and was going for my shots, so at least that’s a positive that I can take from this tournament.

Q. You just came off the court, as you said. You won six slams yourself. When you think about 13 for Rafa, can you kind of give me an assessment of what you feel like that stands for in the history of the game and maybe appreciation as an opponent?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, 13 Grand Slams for a guy who is 27 years old is incredible. I mean, whatever he achieved so far in his career is something that everybody should respect, no question about it. I mean, I was saying before, he’s definitely one of the best tennis players ever to play the game, I mean, looking at his achievements and his age, at this moment, you know. He still has a lot of years to play, so that’s all I can say.

Q. We could all see how physically demanding this match was for both of you. But could you describe the mental challenge of staying focused and staying positive against a player like Nadal and in a match with so many swings of momentum?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Difficult conditions. Obviously there was one side where you had wind in the back and it was easier to play. But still, it was the same for both me and my opponent today. It’s a physical match, and we both knew coming into this final that we are gonna have to be fresh and ready to play long rallies. On the other hand, it’s finals of a Grand Slam, so I think just that fact tells you enough of how mental this match is in the end of the day, you know, because it’s a huge challenge but also motivation for both me and him.

Q. Did you feel focused from the first ball today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was trying to. I mean, I wasn’t playing at a top of the level that I know how to play throughout the whole match, because credit to my opponent, he was making me run. You know, I had my ups and downs, but this is all sport. It’s something that is expected, you know, because it’s a huge occasion. There is a lot of tension, a lot of expectations, and it’s normal to have ups and downs. But, you know, you use this as experience. You know, it’s another match, another tournament for me, and hopefully I can take the best out of it.

Q. Rafa was asked after the semifinal if he looked forward to the prospect of facing you in the final, and he said no. He elaborated, frankly, I wish I would play a player who would be easier. He said, let’s be honest. Do you feel the same way when you are presented with that opportunity to play him on that stage, or do you feel this is an opportunity to play one of the best players of all time at the height of his game and see where it takes you in your game?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is a challenge you have to accept, like it or not. That’s my view. I mean, I try always to take one match at a time with that positive kind of mindset, you know, keep myself in the present moment, and, you know, of course I follow all the top players, how they do throughout the tournament. But, you know, my main focus is on my next opponent. That’s what I prepare for. It was likely that I’m going to play him in the finals because he was a favorite in the opposite side of the draw. But still you never know. It’s a Grand Slam. All the players, not just me and him, are very much motivated and inspired to play their best here. In the end of the day, we played against each other, and, you know, the better player won. That’s all it is.

Q. Could you tell me about just the experience, incredibly long rallies in the second set, and if you have memories of it in relation to other points in your career?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I played especially against Rafa on different surfaces and different occasions points like this where you just feel that there is the last drop of energy that you need to use in order to win the point. Sometimes I was winning those points; sometimes him. It’s what we do when we play against each other, always pushing each other to the limit. That’s the beauty of our matches and our rivalry, I guess, in the end.

Q. If you look back at your Grand Slam season, what is the dominating feeling?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I wish I won at least one title more, considering the fact I played two finals. All the matches I lost, even the French Open. I had that match. I lost it again in semis. Overall, it was again very successful Grand Slam year for me. That’s something that I always try to have in the back of my mind, you know, to set my own shape for the biggest ones, for major tournaments. That’s where I want to play my best in. As I said, I wish there was another title, but it is what it is.

Q. Three years ago you sit here and you lost last time against Nadal Grand Slam on a hard court. I will cite your words. This was so frustrating a little bit. He’s getting better each time you play him. He’s mentally so strong and dedicated to the sport. After you achieved one of the amazing year in the tennis history, you move to No. 1. How do you think this time you can turn around again this frustration to extra motivation for next year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have to (smiling). It’s part of my life. I mean, many times you fall as an athlete, and, you know, you have to learn the lesson and keep on going, keep on fighting, keep on improving. That’s what we are here for. I’m still 26, and I believe best time for my career is about to come. I feel that. I believe that. As long as I believe it, the fire of the love towards the game is inside of me. And as long as that’s present, as long as I feel it, I’m going to play this sport with all my heart, as I did in last 10 years.

Q. Could you say anything at all about the No. 1 ranking, which is going to be pretty difficult, number of points you’re defending and the number of points isn’t.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What can I say? He won so much this year. I’m still No. 1 of the world in the rankings, but year to year he’s far, far ahead, and he has much more chances to end up as No. 1. Look, you know, there is still tournaments to go. So we’ll see. I just try to prepare myself for China.

Rafael Nadal in His Own Words

Rafael Nadal Wins Lucky 13th Major with US Open Victory


Jamaica’s Dustin Brown Continuing a Career season

Dustin Brown

(August 23, 2010) NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Born to a Jamaican Father and  German mother in Celle Germany, the current world ranked No. 113 reached a career high 98 in singles in late July. He’s racked up some solid wins this season over very highly ranked players including Sam Querrey and Marco Chiudinelli.

Dustin Brown first played tennis at the age of five while living in Germany and moved to Jamaica at the age of 12. He grew up admiring  Marat Safin. The hard-hitting serve and volleying Jamaican is in New Haven playing the Pilot Pen tournament this week.

As of Sunday Brown reached the main draw by winning three qualifying matches in less than 24 hours. He’ll be playing Czech Jan Hajek in his first round match on Monday.

Global Village Tennis News briefly spoke to Brown to discuss his “career” year and what it took to move up the ATP World Tour rankings and about what are his current goals.

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To learn more about Dustin Brown please visit


Meet The Wimbledon Poet – Matt Harvey

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Meet The Wimbledon Poet – Matt Harvey
By Karen Pestaina

For the first time in its storied history, Wimbledon has hired an official poet to capture “the flavour and fervour of the world’s leading tennis tournament.”

A lifelong tennis fan, Matt Harvey is known by British audiences for his Radio 4 Saturday Live broadcasts. As “The Championships Poet” for 2010 he’ll be writing a poem-a-day on all things Wimbledon. Along with the daily poems he’ll have a daily audio podcast, a blog and will interact with fans via twitter (@WimbledonPoet ).

WimbledonPoet I caught up with the very busy Mr. Harvey to ask a few questions in regard to his new appointment:

Karen Pestaina: How did you get your start in writing poetry?

Matt Harvey: I’ve written poetry since I was a teenager, secretly to begin with. I began to perform in public in my twenties, self-publishing chapbooks which I sold at gigs. I went full-time as a ‘writer-performer’ in my late thirties. In my early forties I had my first ‘proper’ book (The Hole in the Sum of my Parts) published. Definitely a late developer.

KP: Which poets influenced you growing up and who are your favorites now?

MH: Growing up I loved Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake – a little older the ‘Liverpool Poets’, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, Adrian Henri.  Then it was into anthologies and reading e e cummings, Edna St Vincent Millay, Betjeman, Stevie Smith, Auden and Borges.

These days I love John Hegley, all the above, Roethke, only recently discovered Shel Silverstein, can you believe it?

KP: What was the process that led you to becoming the poet of “the Championships.”

MH: The All England Lawn Tennis Club had previously had Championship Artists –all painters of one kind or another – but this year they decided to try something different and invite a poet. To this end they consulted The Poetry Trust, active in the promotion of poetry in the UK, who recommended me. A seed was sown, then a few days later someone at Wimbledon heard me on BBC radio. A month or so after that I was invited to Wimbledon to talk about the form a poetry residency might take. And here I am.

KP: How difficult do you think it will be to write a poem a day? How will you approach it? Will you walk the grounds, stay in the media areas?

MH: How difficult? Somewhere between ‘quite’ and ‘very’, though some days I’m sure it’ll be ‘extremely’. People have asked if I ever suffer ‘writer’s block’ and the answer is no, but I frequently experience ‘good writer’s block’.

I’ll definitely walk the grounds rather than stay in the media areas. By the way, I should say, before anyone gets too jealous (mild jealousy is, however, appropriate) that I don’t have access to the show courts – Centre Court and Courts 1 and 2 – but otherwise can roam freely. A free range poet. I shall be writing about the place and the people as much if not more than the tennis. Poems about ball boys and girls, umpires, grass, strawberries, oohs and aahs, the queues, the roof, what proximity to people at the peak of physical fitness and beauty does to middle aged English people, well, men.

KP: Do you think other major championships (Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open) should employ a poet?

MH: I wouldn’t presume to know what such august institutions should do – but I’m all for the employment of poets in public places. From a poet’s perspective it’s an excellent idea.

KP: How do you think tennis fans will react to your poems?

MH: I have no idea. Well, I expect many to be indifferent, some maybe intrigued, irritated, amused, bored. Perhaps some, frustrated by my rank inability to evoke the essence of their beautiful game, may be inspired to write their own poetry. I’ve been taken aback by the interest generated by my appointment – when visual artists were invited there was a lot less fuss. Still, I’m not complaining – it’s nice to be sought after by the world media once in a while.

KP: Do you have any advice for future tennis poets?

Having barely begun my first ever tennis residency I’d hesitate to offer advice. In fact if there are any tennis poets out there with advice to offer me it’d be gratefully received. But I’m not sure there is such a thing as a ‘tennis poet’. There are just poets, and sometimes one of us gets lucky and is paid to write about tennis and associated phenomena. I’m thrilled just to be going there, getting to watch the world’s best players in such a splendid setting.

About Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live program and for two years wrote the Desktop Poetry slot in the Guardian. He is the creator of Empath Man on Radio 4, the contemporary superhero who fights crime through his advanced listening skills.

His latest book of poems The Hole in the Sum of my Parts – published by and available from The Poetry Trust – is in its 4th imprint. His next book Where Earwigs Dare will be published by Green Books in October 2010. He will present a new series, The Wondermentalist Cabaret, on BBC Radio 4 in early 2011.

Matt Harvey’s web site is
Follow him on twitter at
Follow the Championships at
Read more about The Poetry Trust –

Grandest of Slams
By Matt Harvey

Excuse me. I’m sorry. I speak as an Englishman
For the game of lawn tennis there’s no better symbol than

The place where the game’s flame was sparked and then kindled in
Where so many spines have sat straight and then tingled in

Where strawberries and cream have traditionally been sampled in
Kids’ eyes have lit up and their cheeks have been dimpled in

Where tough tennis cookies have cracked and then crumbled in
Top seeds have stumbled, have tumbled, been humbled in

Where home-grown heroes’ hopes have swelled up and then dwindled in

The Grand Slams’ best of breed, it’s the whizz it’s the biz
The temple where physics expresses its fizz
There’s one word for tennis and that one word is

© Matt Harvey, The Championships Poet 2010

Related article:

Wimbledon appoints Championships Poet


“The Court Jester” – Mansour Bahrami

Mansour Bahrami – The Court Jester

Ana Ivanovic is not the only tennis pro who learned to play the game in an empty swimming pool. Meet Mansour Bahrami who is probably one of the most talented tennis “legends” you may not know. He first learned tennis in Iran in an swimming pool using a broom handle as a racquet.  In his book The Court Jester – My story by Mansour Bahrami (2009, AuthorHouse, English translation by Nigel Forrest) Bahrami examines his life from childhood to the present day as a favorite on the Legends circuit.

Bahrami, born in 1956, played on the ATP tour from the mid-seventies through the nineties attaining career high rankings of 192 in singles and 31 in doubles. Bahrami, along with his doubles partner Eric Winogradsky reached the doubles final of Roland Garros in 1989.

I first had the pleasure of seeing him play during the US Open many years ago during the Legends doubles events before it changed to its current World Team Tennis format. He both impresses and delights audiences with his athletic ability, trick shots, showmanship and genuine love for the game. I recently spoke with him on the phone from his Paris home about the book.

The inspiration to write The Court Jester came from former pro and former coach of Roger Federer – Peter Lundgren. During the course of a three-hour car ride with Lundgren, Bahrami told his life story. Lundgren urged him to put down on paper saying – “it’s not a life, it’s an adventure story.”

Bahrami who was born in Iran, was on the cusp of entering the ATP circuit top tier level in the 1970’s when political turmoil exploded in his country. The Shah was deposed and with the Ayatollah Khomeini ruling Iran, tennis was banned throughout the country. Despite many barriers he was still able to achieve his dream of becoming a professional tennis player competing with the likes of “Borg. McEnroe, Connors and the rest..”

“Came the revolution and then we couldn’t play (tennis) anymore.” So Bahrami left Iran for France for the opportunity to play professional tennis again. “When I came to France for three and a half months not being able to play because with an Iranian passport I could not go anywhere. I started on the ATP Tour after 30 years old.”

His family still remains in Iran. He calls the state of tennis in Iran “terrible”  and feels the government is not doing much for sport in general, especially tennis. “Tennis is at the bottom of all the sports. The president of the federation was telling me that they have budget of 40 thousand dollars year.”

So who are Bahrami’s favorite players to watch in today’s game? “Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and (Jo-Wilfred) Tsonga.”

The book is an autobiography, historical novel, and adventure story all rolled into one. Along with engaging stories about how he overcame all of his challenges in life, the chapters focusing on being on the tour with Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Guillermo Vilas are priceless and not to be missed.

The Court Jester is available at and He also has a fan page on FaceBook.

Bahrami continues to play a very full schedule, which includes Legends events at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and many other smaller events around the globe. He intends to keep playing tennis as long as he is able to perform. If you have a chance to see him play or rather, “perform,” do not pass up on the opportunity – he is a magical showman on court whom everyone will enjoy, tennis fan or not.