From the USTA: (March 2, 2016) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., – The USTA today announced that the US Open National Playoffs will be held for the seventh season this year, expanding the footprint of the US Open to cities nationwide by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into all five draws at the US Open. Tennis players of all levels can compete in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles champions receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2016 US Open.
“The US Open National Playoffs are all about giving players of all abilities the opportunity to dream big and be a part of the US Open,” said Katrina M. Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President. “This year, players have more ways than ever to make it to New York, with all five of the US Open’s draws in play. We look forward to another year of great tennis and watching top juniors, collegians, aspiring pros, and weekend warriors connect with the US Open and compete for the chance to play on tennis’ grandest stage.”
Registration for the 2016 sectional qualifying tournaments opens on Tuesday, March 15, at www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs. The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments varies, with men’s and women’s singles entries ranging from $75-$100 per player and men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles entries ranging from $45-$60 per player. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 29, 2016.
The US Open National Playoffs begin as a series of 15 sectional qualifying tournaments held in different USTA sections across the country (see complete schedule on page 2). The 15 champions or top available finishers in each division from each sectional qualifying tournament advance to the following US Open National Playoffs Championship events that will take place in conjunction with the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event, in New Haven, Conn.:
- Men’s and Women’s Singles Championship, Aug. 19-22
- Men’s and Women’s Doubles Championship, Aug. 21-24
- Mixed Doubles Championship, Aug. 24-27
Players may compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments in each division (one for men’s or women’s singles, one for mixed doubles and/or one for men’s or women’s doubles). However, a player may only compete in one sectional qualifying tournament per division during a calendar year. Participants can be of any playing level, giving everyone an opportunity to advance.
More than 2,000 players competed in the 2015 US Open National Playoffs—the largest number of players ever. Players ranged from experienced professionals who were once ranked in the Top 50, to junior players and current/ former college standouts, to recreational players of all playing abilities and walks of life. Participants included those competing for charity, businesspeople, musicians, lawyers, reporters, former athletes, and stay-at-home mothers.
Notable past participants include Olympic skier Bode Miller; musician Redfoo of the music group LMFAO, who competed in three draws in the 2015 US Open National Playoffs sectional qualifiers; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, who teamed with six-time US Open champion Chris Evert in mixed doubles; and LuAnn De Lesseps and Jill Zarin of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”
The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held Aug. 23-26, the US Open men’s and women’s doubles championships begin Aug. 30, and the US Open mixed doubles championship begins Aug. 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The 2016 US Open is scheduled to take place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.
US Open National Playoffs information is available at www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs.
Monday, September 14, 2015
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You played the all time Grand Slam champion tonight; you might be playing with the greatest generation of players ever, and you’re dominating them. How do you feel about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m dominating, but I definitely am very proud of all of the achievements. You know, winning Grand Slam is very special for any tennis player when you are dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player. When you are kind of finding that inspiration, motivation, these are the tournaments you dream of winning.
So to actually relive these moments again after 2011 it’s quite incredible. To win against one of the biggest rivals, as you said, all-time Grand Slam champion, somebody that, you know, always keeps on fighting till the last point, keeps making you play an extra shot, yeah, all these things now are very special to me.
Obviously I owe a great gratitude to my team and for making sure I can perform as well as I did, you know, all these years. And tonight is a night that I will definitely remember for a long time.
Q. It’s been said by players and analysts that Roger is playing arguably the best tennis of his career. He played you so well tonight; pushed you back against the wall. Seems like when it was there you came up with your best tennis and your tenth Grand Slam victory. What did it mean to get through this match tonight and what does this accomplishment mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s been an incredible season. I’m very fortunate to experience a great success this year.
The season is not over, but the Grand Slam is over. The biggest tournaments that I have played this year, as anybody else, and I won three out of four. It’s more than I could ask for, definitely.
Of course I do have lots of expectations and high ambitions whenever I’m approaching the Grand Slams or any other tournament, but, you know, now actually sitting down here with this trophy and reflecting on what I have achieved, it’s quite incredible.
So I’m definitely very satisfied and proud of that. As you said, you know, he played great tennis throughout the entire year. I think as the season was going by he was elevating his game. He was improving. Now he came up with a different shot, as well, the shot that nobody has ever seen.
And it’s been working well also against me in Cincinnati and also here. He’s just not going away. He’s not dropping his level too much. You know, I was saying on the court that he’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win.
So that’s who Roger is. That’s why he has won so many Grand Slam titles.
And I knew that coming to the court. I knew he’s going to be aggressive. He’s going to try to disrupt my rhythm, and he’s going to put a lot of variety in his game. slice, chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley. Which he did.
But I was ready for it. I was ready for the battle. That’s what it was. Three hours, 20 minutes. We pushed each other to the limit, as we always do.
It’s an ultimate challenge that I can have now winning against Roger back to back finals in Wimbledon and here, US Open. It’s tremendous. I’m really, really proud of it.
Q. Everybody was always talking about your magic 2011. This year you made not just the slams winning but also a final which you didn’t do in 2011. What can you say it’s more difficult now to do a repeat, I mean, to do a second time than the first one? And also, I appreciate the fact that at the end of the ceremony you didn’t say anything about the public. Because today the crowd was against you as I have never seen any — only Davis Cup maybe some matches. It was, I guess, very, very difficult. Can you say something about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the first question, yes. I think it’s definitely more difficult to repeat something like that than actually doing it for the first time again. I’m a different player, a different person today than I was 2011.
As a father and a husband, you know, experiencing different variety of things in my life, it’s completely different approach to tennis today.
I feel more fulfilled. I feel more complete as a player today than I was in 2011. Physically stronger, mentally more experienced, and tougher, as well. Trying to use the experience from before into every match that I play, and especially the big ones like today.
You know, I think being in the situation before helped me to understand particular obstacles that are on the way and how I need to overcome them, which I did tonight.
And regarding the crowd, look, I mean, you know, there was a lot of support for Roger. There was some for me. I mean, for sure, I tried to focus on the ones that were supporting me.
But I can’t, you know, sit here and criticize the crowd. On the contrary, you know, I think it’s logical to expect that a great player and a champion like Roger has the majority of the support anywhere I play him. You know, I would say super majority of places around the world are going to give him that support.
Now, percentage-wise, more or less, I don’t know. I’m not there to judge who is supporting more or less. I’m there to play tennis.
I accept the fact. You know, everybody has a choice to support a player that they want to support, and he absolutely deserves to have the support he does because of all the years and success that he had and the way he carries himself on and off the court. No question about it.
Me, I’m there to earn the support, and hopefully in the future I can be in that position.
Q. Do you think your resilience again made the difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just being mentally tough and trying to hang in there and play point by point. Obviously much easier said than done. As I was saying before, I was aware that he was going to come out with a clear game plan to pressure me and come to the net and, you know, mix up and come second serve, come to the net, as well.
Just, you know, take out time from me. Because I like to have a little bit more time. That’s my style of game. He likes one, two, three shot points. He loves to play quick.
You know, you could feel the momentum was switching from my side to his side for, I think, all the way till the end of the third. It was anybody’s game. It was really even.
When I managed to break at 4-All and managed to hold after saving couple break points in 5-4 and winning the third set, that obviously gave me a huge wind in the back, and I managed to play really well after that.
5-2 serving, I thought, Okay, now this is the time to finish it off, but it wasn’t. He showed once again why he’s competing in such a high level for so many years.
Again, he never stepped back, and he always made me play an extra shot, extra shot, kept pushing. Yeah, I was fortunate to come up with some big serves when I needed to. You know, serve was not really a strong link tonight for me, but in the important moments I got a couple of free points in the last game on serve, and that’s what matters.
Q. You made an interesting comment the other day where you said you like to be in a creative spirit all the time. It can’t be easy for anyone to be out there, 23,000 people are howling, and not so much for you. Within yourself, how do you set that creative spirit to retain your focus and block out the crowd and do whatever you have to do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I mean, if we had this conversation maybe five years ago, you know, situation would be probably different. Because as I said, I’m a more experienced player and I have been in these situations before. I have played Roger over 40 times, and a lot of times in final stages of Grand Slams.
I know how that feels, you know, regarding the crowd and support and everything. With that on my mind, I came on the court aware that this is going to be the, you know, reality. There’s not much I can do about it. You know, I just need to try to focus on what I need to do and my game plan and try to execute it in the best possible way. That’s where I keep my focus.
Obviously, you know, over the course of, you know, three hours 20 minutes match, you do have some, you know, ups and downs in concentration. You do let sometimes certain things to distract you. But it’s important to get back on the course and go back to basics and why you are there and what you need to do.
So, you know, obviously it’s…
Sorry. You like my voice? I mean, is it calming you down? Getting is you in the zen state? I’m sorry. (To the guy sleeping.) We just woke him up.
So as I was saying, yes, basically, you know, to keep your focus, whatever is happening outside of the dimensions of the court is basically not in your hands.
I mean, the crowd gets into it. You interact with players, especially here in New York. Every Grand Slam has something unique about it. New York is about night session. You know, music, entertainment, crowd interaction. It’s part of the show. It’s part of what we do, and that’s why this tournament is so special.
You come here knowing that this is going to — you know, this is what is waiting for you. And plus, if you’re playing Roger who is a crowd favorite anywhere he goes, especially here, it’s a reality you have to face.
Q. Today in this final, you visited the net; not as many as Roger, but you won 66% of those. The same percentage as Roger. How do you qualify in general terms your game, net, today and all over the tournament? Your expectations for the future on this side?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not as natural, I would say, going to the net like Roger is, but I have been working on that part of my game with Boris on board. Of course was a fantastic serve and volley, you know, net player, great volleys.
So we are trying to, you know, kind of always find room for improvement in my game, something that we can work on. Net game is definitely a part of my game which can be improved.
So, you know, I know my game is based on the baseline. I’m a baseline player. But I give myself a lot of opportunities with good shots from baseline, and I don’t come to close it out in the net. That’s what I have been trying to do.
Again, it’s not easy to come to the net many times against Roger who is standing on the line. Whether he’s offensive or defensive, he’s always more or less baseline. He picks up half volleys, plays very quick, and doesn’t give you much time.
I have been pretty pleased with the way I played on the net today. I thought it was okay.
Q. Someone asked you about the spill you took?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.
Q. What happened there? Can you describe what it was? What was hurting? Obviously elbow, knee, hand.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it was a three-hour wait, first of all, rain delay, warming up, cooling down, eating, not eating, you know, figuring out what’s going on, will we get on the court at all tonight or not?
So finally we did, and there was still a little bit of moisture on the court I think from the rain and a bit of humidity and so forth.
That’s what happened. I think third or fourth game I slipped and hurt myself, but it was luckily nothing that was major that could, you know, be of concern for — I needed two, three games really to kind of regroup after what has happened, but it was just an impact, just the fall itself.
But, you know, the scratches I have all over the body, it’s just they are wounds basically. I didn’t twist anything. I didn’t, you know, hurt anything.
Q. New York, obviously Stefan Edberg always said this was a difficult test. He said he hated it at first and then it gave him something he didn’t know about himself. Obviously this has been a tougher one to win for you in finals, but you solved it. What’s been tough on you about New York? How have you worked your way through it to understand this tournament and unique challenge?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as you said, you know, I have played before tonight’s final five finals. I have lost four and won one.
A couple of finals, ’12 and ’13 I thought I could have won, but again, lost to Nadal and Murray, two great players. Went down to the wire a couple of points that decided a winner.
Tonight was another match that was decided by few points. That’s what happens. You know, Grand Slam finals really are no clear favorites, especially if you’re playing against biggest rivals.
As I was answering before, I can’t really find a particular reason why I have not been so successful in the finals here as I am maybe in Melbourne, for example, or Wimbledon.
But I’m glad that this tradition of losing in finals is broke now. (Laughter.) Yeah, hopefully I can have more chances to fight for a trophy.
Q. Roger says that you’ll obviously win more Grand Slams if you remain healthy and obviously hungry. How hungry are you? And is 17, 18 anywhere in your sights?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we got two to double digits now, and I’m so, you know, obviously flattered and honored to be a part of elite group of players, legends of our sports to manage to win this many Grand Slam trophies in their lives and careers.
So to be just mentioned alongside them is truly something special. I’m 28. I have always valued the care for my body, and, you know, my mind and had this holistic approach to life. I always thought this is utmost importance for my tennis.
I will continue on with the same kind of lifestyle, same kind of approach. I think that kind of approach brought me to where I am today. Hopefully this kind of approach will give me longevity and that I can have many more years to come, and as I said, many more opportunities to fight for these trophies.
That’s why I’m playing this sport, you know, because, first of all, I enjoy it, I love it, have passion for it, and then, you know, fight for the biggest trophies.
As long as there is this flare in me I will be coming back and bore you guys with my answers in the press conference.
Q. Can I ask a little show business question from Scotland? Was there an actor, Gerard Butler in your box tonight? How did you guys meet? What’s your relationship? You were embracing very warmly at the end.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, we know each other for several years and we are good friends. So he happened to be in the city last couple of days, so I invited him to come. It’s very nice of him to be there and show me support.
Funny enough, I actually sent him a photo and a message last night. I was watching 300 movie, and so one of the things when I went to my box, when I embraced all my family and team, when I looked at him I said, This is Sparta. It felt great. That’s one of the most inspiring movies I watched.
So actually, yeah, he’s a very cool guy.
Q. We felt maybe from Scotland he would be a Murray fan.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He is, but I was not playing Murray. He thought it was appropriate to come to this match.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Sunday, September 13, 2015
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You played an outstanding match. You were playing so well. Is there consolation in that, or just disappointment that you weren’t able to maybe convert some of those break points and come away with a win?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, there is definitely consolation it’s been a great stretch all the way for many months now.
Also to receive the crowd support that I did receive. I don’t consider that normal. I always say. Say like it feels like you’re winning, as well, but I felt like I was sort of up in the score, they kept me going, and that’s definitely one of the reasons I still keep playing, because of these moments, goose bump moments. It’s great.
Yeah, surely I am very disappointed. Like you said, I had my chances on my racquet. I should never been down in the score the way I was. But Novak did a great job of fending them off, and, you know, all of that.
It was a tough night, but still, I don’t know, thrilling at the same time.
Q. Was the third set the key of this match? Seemed in the third you were maybe a bit better than him.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, third and fourth, really.
Q. He seemed to find another gear. When you had those break opportunities, it was like he just elevated. Is that sort of the key to his…
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t feel that way, to be quite honest. I had too many break chances. Of course some of them I could have done better, should have done better, you know, all these things.
Surely he didn’t give me much, you know, and all that, that’s for sure, but still I should have done better.
Q. The rain delay and the change of start time, did that disrupt you?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, that’s part of the game. That’s what we do. I felt like they communicated well enough with us what was going on.
Yeah, I mean, the good thing is when there is a rain delay at this stage of the tournament, I mean, obviously there is some pressure involved. At the same time, wherever you are it’s very quiet rather than first match of the tournament where it’s just like a thousand people everywhere where you can’t even get two square meters for yourself.
Q. The year has not ended and you have already reached the last two Grand Slam finals. So how do you match these results? Of course it’s always better to win, but how do you match these achievements compared to your expectations and targets and goals at the beginning of this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I am playing a good year, you know. I’m playing good tennis. I am happy with where my level is at. I’m able to be, you know, consistent, very consistent.
I’m able to beat the best players regularly. Cincinnati obviously was a great feeling beating world No. 1 and world No. 2 in the same week. I don’t think I have done that before.
And then of course it’s also disappointment. Lost too many times in finals. But at the same time, I did win my tournaments, the ones I was supposed to. The one I got I was very got happy the way I was playing. Year’s not over yet. I usually do have a strong finishes to the season, and I hope I can do that again.
Q. The crowd was incredibly in favor of you. I’m wondering if that’s ever difficult emotionally, if you’re confused why no one is cheering for the other guy?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I take all the positives for myself, I must say. I don’t want to say comfortable, but it’s just so nice to feel that, you know, that they want you to get back in the match, they want you to win. They enjoy what they’re seeing. Feels like they’re getting their money’s worth.
I guess it’s entertainment to some extent, as well. It was a great battle, and I’m happy the people stayed after the rain delay and that they were right there when I needed them to the very, very end.
So of course there is a just a letdown and disappointment that I couldn’t push it 5-All, and then who knows what happens?
I should have never been down in the first place two sets to one and 5-2. That was a bummer there.
Q. With the half roof, was it louder than you have ever heard? Different noise at night now with the crowd?
ROGER FEDERER: Hard to say. They were unbelievable tonight. Were they better than ever? Possibly.
Was it louder than ever? Maybe. It was unreal.
But I have heard loud New York crowds before. (Smiling.) Yeah.
Q. You said something interesting on court. You said that a match like tonight’s match, you learned so much about your tennis and yourself. I know you just stepped off court, but can you reflect a little bit about that and what you did learn?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, usually you learn more when you lose just in the sense that you analyze them harder, deeper at times. Not always. Sometimes you just walk away and you forget about it.
But, you know, I think in especially best of five set matches, ones that exceed two-and-a-half, three-and-a-half hours, you go through some ups and downs naturally. You can’t play two perfect points every single time. Naturally you’re going to have to battle.
That’s where you learn a lot about your game, about your attitude, about your fitness. This is, I think, the longest match I have played all season. It was very interesting to see for me how I coped with it.
I’m very happy I had no problems, and I’m happy I’m putting in the hard work, you know, obviously aside from the matches, because the matches I have played this year have been really quick. I won’t see another best of five match some time except for next weekend.
Yeah, so I’m happy that I’m able to stay at a great level of play for a long period of time, because I’m match tough and I have worked very hard in the offseason, as well.
ROGER FEDERER: I’m feeling confident doing it, you know. I think it was the right game plan. Just execution sometimes was missing in some crucial moments. But other than that, I think I played a good match.
Maybe I haven’t played this offensive for a very long time, and that’s maybe the reasons, as well, why maybe I was slightly shaky when it came to the crunch on the break points. Who knows?
Q. I didn’t hear the first question, but 19 break points out of 23 you missed; many with the forehand. Normally when we look at your stats your forehand is always the winning point. Tonight you were probably playing better on the backhand. Am I right? Am I wrong? How do you feel? How was it in your opinion?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. A lot of opportunities miss the. If it’s backhand, forehand, volleys, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.
I know why I lost the match very clearly the moment I sat down at 5-2 down in the fourth or after the match was over.
So something I will work on, and keep moving forward, you know. It’s no problem for me.
Q. When you say you know why you lost the match, is it just because of those mistakes or the reason why you made those mistakes?
ROGER FEDERER: Because of the mistakes I made. I have to get better at that. It’s just pretty simple.
Q. How well would you say Novak is playing now? How many majors…
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t hear the end.
Q. How many major titles do you think he can win? He has 10 now.
ROGER FEDERER: I think he’s playing very well. Are you kidding me? I think he’s doing really well. He’s having a wonderful season, like in 2011. He’s just really consistent. Seems like there are not many guys that can hang with him, don’t have the tools or dare to go forward, or they aren’t dare to serve and volley against him because he’s so good on the return. Which he is. He’s perfected his game on the hard courts, no doubt about it.
He was always a great clay-court player, and because he moves as well as he does, he’s solid and consistent now on the grass.
To say the least, it’s very impressive. He’s having unbelievable career. You know, I think everybody knows that he knows that, as well. Tonight is another example of that.
Clearly he can win many of them. He already has a ton, so obviously he’s got to stay healthy and all that stuff and hungry, but obviously you would think he will win more after tonight.
Q. You did the SABR, of course. You were successful on four and didn’t win four. Pretty good. My question is: He obviously came up with some responses to it. How did you feel about how it went tonight and his response?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it worked very well, and I’m sure I will use it more in the future against him and many others. It was a really interesting last few months or so looking at that tactic.
If you look at the points you probably have to win, you have to play them perfectly. So could have won even more so. Who knows? Maybe I should have played even more of it. I did get many more looks on the second serve as the match went on.
(September 13, 2015) Novak Djokovic entered the rarified air of the double-digit Grand Slam club on Sunday night when he defeated all-time major titles leader Roger Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to win his second US Open title to raise his total of majors to ten. He is now seventh on the all-time majors list.
For Djokovic it was his third major title of the year, winning the Australian and Wimbledon titles earlier in the year. The Serbian became just the second player to win three majors in a year multiple times, he also did it in 2011. His opponent on Sunday, Roger Federer won three majors in 2004, 2006 and 2007. He has now evened his head-to-head record against the Swiss at 21-21.
Djokovic, 27-1 in majors this year, had his only loss come in the final of the French Open to another Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
Djokvic called it “an incredible season.”
“I have a tremendous respect for Roger and what his game is presenting to me and to any other player,” the 28-year-old Serbian said during the trophy presentation. “His level is always going to (get) the best out of you and that was needed from my side.”
“Being back in a final is where you want to be,” said Federer, who was playing his first US Open final since 2009. “Playing a great champion like Novak is a massive challenge.”
The start of the match was delayed by rain by three hours. Next year the US Open will have completed the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, so rain delays will not be an issue.
In addition to having to battle the 34-year-old 17-time major champion on the court, Djokovic had to contend with a very pro-Federer crowd.
In the third game of the first set, Djokovic fell on the court scraping skin off his hand, arm and knee. Yet he managed to do what few could during the fortnight against Federer – break his serve multiple times.
Federer’s 15 errors contributed to his demise in the first set.
In the second set, Federer appeared to be hitting the ball with more aggression. Federer won the set 7-5 breaking Djokovic’s serve after not taking advantage his first three set points in the 10th game.
The third set saw the momentum swing permanently, the world No 1’s way. Federer had two break points to go up 5-3 and failed to convert on either point. In the ninth game, Djokovic broke Federer’s serve for 5-4 and closed out the set to take a two sets to one lead.
The fourth set saw Djokovic break Federer twice to serve for the match at 5-2. Federer broke back and held for 4-5 and had break points again, Djokovic held him off for game, set and match.
Federer was 4 four for 23 on break point chances and hit 54 unforced errors. Total points won – Djokovic 147, Federer 145.
A bit of history was made in the umpire’s chair as Eva Asderaki-Moore became the first woman to officiate a US Open men’s singles final.
“I am very disappointed,” Federer said to media. “I had my chances on my racquet. I should never been down in the score the way I was. But Novak did a great job of fending them off, and, you know, all of that.
“It was a tough night, but still, I don’t know, thrilling at the same time.”
Reflecting on his season Federer said: “I am playing a good year, you know. I’m playing good tennis. I am happy with where my level is at. I’m able to be, you know, consistent, very consistent.
“I’m able to beat the best players regularly. Cincinnati obviously was a great feeling beating world No. 1 and world No. 2 in the same week. I don’t think I have done that before.
“And then of course it’s also disappointment. Lost too many times in finals. But at the same time, I did win my tournaments, the ones I was supposed to. The one I got I was very got happy the way I was playing. Year’s not over yet. I usually do have a strong finishes to the season, and I hope I can do that again.”
“I definitely am very proud of all of the achievements,” djokovic said. Winning Grand Slam is very special for any tennis player when you are dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player. When you are kind of finding that inspiration, motivation, these are the tournaments you dream of winning.
“So to actually relive these moments again after 2011 it’s quite incredible. To win against one of the biggest rivals, as you said, all-time Grand Slam champion, somebody that, you know, always keeps on fighting till the last point, keeps making you play an extra shot, yeah, all these things now are very special to me.
“Obviously I owe a great gratitude to my team and for making sure I can perform as well as I did, you know, all these years. And tonight is a night that I will definitely remember for a long time.”
“The season is not over, but the Grand Slam is over,” Djokovic said to media. “The biggest tournaments that I have played this year, as anybody else, and I won three out of four. It’s more than I could ask for, definitely.
“Of course I do have lots of expectations and high ambitions whenever I’m approaching the Grand Slams or any other tournament, but, you know, now actually sitting down here with this trophy and reflecting on what I have achieved, it’s quite incredible.
“So I’m definitely very satisfied and proud of that. As you said, you know, he played great tennis throughout the entire year. I think as the season was going by he was elevating his game. He was improving. Now he came up with a different shot, as well, the shot that nobody has ever seen.
“And it’s been working well also against me in Cincinnati and also here. He’s just not going away. He’s not dropping his level too much. You know, I was saying on the court that he’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win.
“So that’s who Roger is. That’s why he has won so many Grand Slam titles.
“And I knew that coming to the court. I knew he’s going to be aggressive. He’s going to try to disrupt my rhythm, and he’s going to put a lot of variety in his game. slice, chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley. Which he did.
But I was ready for it. I was ready for the battle. That’s what it was. Three hours, 20 minutes. We pushed each other to the limit, as we always do.
“It’s an ultimate challenge that I can have now winning against Roger back to back finals in Wimbledon and here, US Open. It’s tremendous. I’m really, really proud of it.”
Saturday, September 12, 2015
F. PENNETTA/R. Vinci
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Did it come a little more easily than you may have thought it was, today’s match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, the first set was a little bit of drama. Both of us were starting really tight from the beginning. I mean, was not easy to play today with one of your best friends in the tour, with one you know since long time.
A lot of emotion coming together since yesterday. It’s not easy to handle everything. But I’m really happy, because the first set was really tough.
In the second one I started to play a little bit better, so I’m really proud of everything this week.
Q. What do you think you and Roberta proved to yourselves and proved to everybody?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think in woman’s Italian tennis now since already few years it’s really big, big moment for us in Italy and around the world.
So we just — I think we didn’t prove too much. I mean, we already proved during this year how we are, how good we are in what we are doing, how much heart we put all the time when we get in the court.
So it’s amazing to have the chance to play with one of your friends. Anyway, like before, like before the match we say doesn’t matter. We’re gonna win. It’s going to be a big win for both of us. It’s going to be a really big win for both of us.
It’s something amazing, something — I didn’t think to be here. She didn’t think neither to be here today. So it’s amazing for our country. Is amazing for everyone.
Q. Could you elaborate for us or explain that you are retired as of right now or you will play till the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I will play until the end of year, but was my last match here in New York.
Q. So what will you play now until the end of the year? You will not play the Olympics?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: For the moment it’s not on my goals.
Q. What will you play between now and the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I’m supposed to play Wuhan, Beijing. That’s the only two I supposed to play.
I think is gonna be the schedule the same. I don’t gonna change too much.
Q. Do you have a wedding date set?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No. (Smiling.) Not yet.
Q. You’re playing so well. Why are you retiring?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, why? Because sometimes it’s getting hard for me to compete. This is the important point. When you are in the court, when you have to play 24 weeks in the year, you have to fight every week.
And if you don’t fight every week in the same way I did today, it’s gonna be like bad. For me, also. And I don’t feel to have this power anymore sometimes.
So this is the perfect moment, I think. Was a really hard decision to make, but I’m really happy that I did it. I’m really happy and proud of myself.
Q. You’re No. 6 now in the race to Singapore. Would you ever try to add maybe one more event if you needed to?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, of course. If I have a chance, of course.
Q. When the Olympics came up, you kind of hedged a little. Is there room for you to change your mind and maybe…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, for the moment I’m so happy that I take this decision. I don’t feel — I don’t want to change nothing. I mean, I really think it’s the good way. You never know.
But for sure this one was the last New York for me. For sure.
Q. Does winning the US Open make it tougher to walk away from tennis or does it make it easier because you’re kind of going out on top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it will be the same. Winning or lose today, it was nothing going to change. The decision was already there. I think this is the best way that someone have — if I have to dream about how I want to finish, I want to stop playing, this is the perfect way.
Q. You told ESPN that you made your decision in Toronto.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah.
Q. Why was that the time that it was clear in your mind?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Um, because I was doing — I had a bad moment also in Roland Garros where I was almost — three days before I was thinking to withdraw myself from the tournament.
And then I keep just trying and fight and everything was going pretty good. But when you starting to think too much, it’s the time like where you have to take like a decision, going or stop. You have to do that.
And sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don’t know what we like or we’re going to do after, how is going to be the life after.
But I think it’s going to be a pretty good life. I mean, I’m really proud of myself. I think I did everything that I expect. More. Much more. Much more, I can say.
I mean, it’s great to do that for me.
Q. So when you made your decision to retire, how many people did you tell?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: My team, my coach, my physio, my physical coach, my family, and Fabio.
Q. Next year now when you’re retired and back in Italy, when you will think back on this year’s US Open, what is the one word or the one phrase that would best capture this US Open?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think it’s today I have all the — not the problems, but, you know, you starting when you are really young and you make a lot of decision, hard decision to make. You lose so many things when you’re young.
I mean, with this, winning today, it’s — my life is perfect. (Smiling.) So I cannot say something different. Perfect.
Q. Why did you win today?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Why?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, because I was really consistent from the beginning of the match. I didn’t play my best tennis today. I have to say I was scared and tight from the beginning.
Was not easy for me to hit the ball in the same way that I did yesterday. Roberta was playing unbelievable. I mean, she was moving good and doing perfect things all the time, but in the second set she start to be a little bit tired.
So I was focused and try to push myself to do something more, to going for the match; the match point was perfect. I mean, I push, and I make it.
Q. What did the prime minister say to you after the match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I was so happy, so happy for us. He say, You don’t gonna understand what happen now in Italy. I mean, it’s good that you are here. He was talking with me and Roberta, because we was together. Because in Italy now is going to be crazy. It’s good to stay here a few days, just relax a little bit, and then go back home.
Q. What effect do you think your decision to retire had on the way you played and the way you were thinking, the way you were doing everything during this tournament?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sometime is getting in my mind, but I didn’t think too much about that. I was just focused on my game. I didn’t think, Oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one.
No. I didn’t think at all like this. I just try to play every match, just play tennis. I don’t want to think what I gonna do after if I win or lose. Just play tennis. Go on court and play tennis. That’s was my goal in the last two weeks.
Q. So what do you think the biggest reason you were able to do all this is?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Oh, well, I didn’t start really well the tournament. I have to say the first match was tough, the second one was easy, the score, but I was shaking so much. And when I have to go to the match with Niculescu, Cetkovska, I play so bad the first time I was in panic completely. I was panic attack. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I cannot do nothing.
So maybe I’m here just because I’m trying. I was fighting a lot. Every point. Just point by point try to do my best all the time and suddenly it’s coming. I mean, yesterday was a perfect day, because I play really well.
And today I didn’t play so well, but enough to win. So I’m happy.
Q. You talked yesterday about getting very little sleep the night before my semifinals.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, tonight I did not sleep at all.
Q. Not at all?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, a little bit, yes. From 1:00 to 8:00. That was good. Not bad.
Q. We’d like to have seven hours of sleep.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: (Laughter.)
Q. When did you tell Roberta? Was it when you were hugging at the net or sitting on the chairs?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sitting on the chairs.
Q. Is that when she hit you on the arm?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah.
Q. Because she couldn’t believe? What exactly did you say and what was her reaction?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I told her, Roberta, this is my last New York. And she say, che? Che? Huh? I say, Yes. No way. (In Italian.) It’s perfect. Go. Go.
Q. You said on ESPN your night against Stosur was the one that maybe gave you the belief you could win the whole tournament.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, not to believe that I can win the tournament, but at least I play my good tennis in that match, and so I starting to feel better and better.
Q. Did you receive any congratulations from Francesca Schiavone?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yes, of course.
Q. She’s a little bit part of your success because she was the first to win a Grand Slam.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course. She send a messages to both of us, because we have chat with four of us. You cannot see this chat because it’s crazy. (Laughter.)
And then she send me like a voice message yesterday, and she starting to laugh, Ha ha, now it’s your turn. Breathe. You have to go to the toilet, eh, so many times? (Laughter.)
Francesca, she’s always like this. I didn’t talk to her now because I didn’t have the chance to take a phone — I just called my mom and my dad.
Q. A lot of people wouldn’t understand how the world 26 could play the 43rd ranked player in a Grand Slam final. I’m just curious what that says about the depth of women’s tennis, and do you think it gives belief to lower ranked players they can climb to the top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it’s happen because now I think the woman tennis, it’s a little bit — it’s not like 10 years ago where the top 10 was really high level.
I mean, it’s not that they are not more high level. It’s the one behind them they are coming stronger.
So now everything can happen. Yesterday, I mean, everyone knows Serena, she’s the best player. She’s supposed to win this tournament.
But sometimes also she can have a bad day. Yesterday for her was not a good day at all. Was a really good day for Robi, and she deserved to be here today. Was perfect for both of us.
Q. How much higher do I think that level is from, say, 10 years ago, from 1 to 50?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Now from 11 to 100, it’s much harder than before, I think.
Q. You and Roberta go way back as friends. Did you actually live together when you were kids?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, yeah. We spend four years or three years in a house together in the same room in Rome in the Italian Federation.
So we know each other really well. I mean, we have so many things in our life happening together. It’s funny to be here today, because we play the first match when we were nine years old in Brindisi, in my country club. So today was a really big day for both of us.
Q. How is she as a roommate? Neat? Clean?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s perfect. (Laughter).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Saturday, September 12, 2015
F. PENNETTA/R. Vinci
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you just tell us, what are your first memories of Flavia, your earliest memories of meeting her?
ROBERTA VINCI: That she beat me. (Smiling.) No, I’m joking.
I don’t know. We know each other for long time, so maybe when I saw her in my mind I remember all the moments that we spend together when I was young. But one thing, I don’t know.
Q. Was it on a tennis court, the first time you saw her, or…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, in the tennis court. In the tennis court, yes, yes.
Q. Do you remember where or what?
ROBERTA VINCI: Where, I don’t remember. Long time no.
Q. Can you share about the hug at the net, what she said to you…
ROBERTA VINCI: I cannot tell you.
Q. You have no idea?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no.
Q. And also courtside what…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, I said to her, Congratulation, Well done, enjoy. You played better than me today, so.
That’s it. And she said, This is my last match on the US Open, so now I have to speak and tell to everyone that this is my last match.
I say, No. That’s it.
Q. What did you think at that moment? You must have been very shocked, I would imagine.
ROBERTA VINCI: When she said me that? Yeah. Was incredible. I didn’t expect that.
But just her choice, so it’s okay.
Q. What do you think the difference was today?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired especially the first set.
I think she played better. She was more solid than me and she play much better backhand, long line, and she served better than me today.
She play better, yeah.
Q. What do you think this weekend means for the sport with all that has happened?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think it’s an incredible moment for all Italian people. So now when I come back at home, I can realize what we made, because now for me not is normal, no. But I’m in New York, okay, I’m in the hotel, just have fun, but I would like to come back and try to understood what I did.
Q. Do you still plan to make that 10:00 flight tonight or…
ROBERTA VINCI: (Laughter.) I have a private jet.
No, no, no, I don’t know. No, no, I don’t take 10:00.
Q. Will you celebrate with Flavia tonight?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe not. No, no, I don’t know. No, I don’t think so. Maybe. Maybe. I will ask, but I don’t know. I don’t know her program.
Q. You played the week before this event in New Haven, didn’t you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Si.
Q. Was that an advantage, to make a tournament before the US Open? Because I know a lot of players don’t play the week before.
ROBERTA VINCI: I like to play the week before the slam because I prefer to play — I prefer to play matches because I don’t like to practice one hour in the morning, okay, one hour in the afternoon. I prefer to play one match.
So, yeah, some players doesn’t like. They prefer to rest and practice, but I like to play. So it’s a good choice for me.
Q. Why the Italian women are much more successful than the men, Italian men?
ROBERTA VINCI: Aye. (Laughter) I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a cycle. You know, sometimes the womens are better than the men, but now in Italy there are good men, good men Italian player.
Fognini, Seppi, they are good. Step by step. Now probably they will come better.
Q. What was it like playing in your first final, first slam final? What was the experience like being out there?
ROBERTA VINCI: I don’t know now. I don’t know. Maybe if you tell me this question in about more days, I can tell you.
But now it’s strange. I didn’t expect this. I’m so happy that I reach the final. Against Flavia is strange, but I’m really happy, yeah, even when I lost.
Q. Did you feel the raindrops? Were you hoping it would start raining and maybe you would get a break?
ROBERTA VINCI: When starts rain, I was 5-2 down and Love-30, so I say, two more points. (Laughter.)
So I say — No, no, I didn’t think nothing. No.
Q. What do you think the two of you proved to yourselves and proved to everybody else this weekend?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Speaking in Italian.) Miracles can happen.
Q. How about in English?
ROBERTA VINCI: What? Miracles can happen. Because I beat Serena, miracle. (Laughter.)
And then two Italian can reach the Grand Slam final, a miracle. Cycle miracle. And, bo…
One Italian player can win a Grand Slam.
Q. There is a famous fellow from your country, I think his name is Leonardo Da Vinci. Any connection?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. (Laughter.)
Q. How was his forehand?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no. No, my uncle. No. (Laughter).
Q. Did you and Flavia talk before the match?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes, yes, yes.
Q. As normal?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the gym, and about the time that we play maybe a little bit late. Normal thing.
Q. If you had played another opponent would your feeling be different? Not that you ever like to lose, but is it easier that you lost to your countrywoman and it was a great day for Italian tennis?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Through translation.) If you lost against Flavia, if you lost against Wozniacki, if you lost against Serena, always the same. You lost, no?
So now I’m happy that one Italian player won a Grand Slam. That’s for sure. But it’s normal. Nothing special.
Q. You said you had nerves yesterday against Serena.
ROBERTA VINCI: Si.
Q. Any today?
ROBERTA VINCI: Also today. Yeah, you know, it’s a final. I try my best. The beginning I was nervous, but also her. Was normal.
I try to, yeah, to play aggressive, but she play better. For me was tough. I was a little bit also tired and long point. I had such…
Q. It didn’t make it easier that it was a friend who you were playing?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Is tough to play against one friend. I know Flavia for long time, so it’s difficult, especially mentally, mental.
Was difficult for both, I think. Not only for me.
Q. In the last day, what are the best reactions that you have received to what you did yesterday, both the match and your interview after?
ROBERTA VINCI: I receive a lot of congratulations about my interview, but my English is so bad. The press say, Congratulations, Good job. Because I beat Serena? No, for your interview. Grazie. Thank you.
I’m not joking. Is true. Thank you. I need to improve my English, eh?
Q. It was very good.
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no, not very good. But I can do it.
Q. How was the crowd different today than yesterday?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, the same. It was amazing. It was a lot of supports, a lot of people. The court is incredible. Is the best court I think in the Grand Slam. Center court is so nice.
Q. What did the it mean that the prime minister was there?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s a good thing for us and also for I think Italian people is nice to see Renzi, Malagò, and Binaghi all there to support us.
Q. It’s been a great tournament for you. Why do you think you were able to do this at this point in your career?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, maybe because I’m, yeah, I have a lot of experience. I had such result in the past; I had nothing to prove.
I’m almost at the end of my career, so I think I enjoy more the tennis and the practice and this life.
Q. Just to be clear, you’re not retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe. No, no, no, no. Not yet (Smiling.) (In Italian.) Almost.
Q. Have you thought actively about retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Si. No, really. A lot of time during these years.
But, you know, I like to play tennis, so I have a passion and I work in art. Now I reach one final slam, so I’m happy.
Q. What are your emotions about all of this right now?
ROBERTA VINCI: About all?
Q. About everything. What are your emotions?
ROBERTA VINCI: I love New York. (Smiling.) Today probably this is my last cheeseburger, and then tomorrow pasta, real pasta at home.
But, no, I enjoy all the season, all the US Open season. I play so good. Yeah, my emotion are difficult to say, especially in English.
(September 12, 2015) A 33-year-old won the US Open on Saturday, but not the woman most people were expecting. In an all-Italian final, 26th seed Flavia Pennetta defeated long-time friend, No. 43 Roberta Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 in Flushing Meadows to win her first major tournament – and her last.
Most people were expecting Serena Williams to be raising the trophy to complete winning all four majors in the dame year. Roberts Vinci crashed the Grand Slam party, by knocking out Williams in the semifinals on Saturday in one of the biggest US Open upsets. This stopped the world No. 1’s match winning streak at majors at 33, and halted her attempt to be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win Grand Slam.
Pennetta shocked the audience in Arthur Ashe Stadium when she announced during the trophy ceremony, that she’s decided to call it a career.
“There’s one more thing I’d like to say – this is how I say goodbye to tennis,” Pennetta said. “I couldn’t think to finish in a better way.”
“It’s a dream come true,” said the champion. “When I was young, I was always thinking to be No.1 and win a Grand Slam. I also wanted to win Rome, but a Grand Slam is maybe a little better! But it’s a dream come true. It’s also nice to play with a friend of mine. Roberta played unbelievable. She had an incredible week.”
Pennetta clarified in her post-match news conference that she’s retiring at the end of the year and that this was her last US Open.
“I will play until the end of year, but was my last match here in New York,” she said. “I’m supposed to play Wuhan, Beijing. That’s the only two I supposed to play.”
“Winning or lose today, it was nothing going to change. The decision was already there. I think this is the best way that someone have — if I have to dream about how I want to finish, I want to stop playing, this is the perfect way.”
“The past 24 hours I’ve had a lot of things on my mind, and I was a little bit tired, especially in the first set,” Vinci said in her runner-up speech. “But I lost in the finals – I’m really happy, and of course really happy for Flavia.
“It’s tough to play against a player you’ve known for a long time, but I tried to do my best. Flavia just played unbelievable today. It was a great match, and I have to just say congratulations to her.”
At 33, Pennetta is the oldest woman in the Open Era to win a major for the first time, in a contest with Vinci who is 32. For both women, it was their first major final. This marked the first time in women’s tennis that two non-Top 20 seeds played each other in a major final.
In the first set, Pennetta led by a break at 4-2, when Vinci won the next three games to lead 5-4. Both women held their serve and Pennetta took the tie break 7-4. Pennetta rolled up a 4-0 lead, lost her serve for 4-1 and won two out of the next three games to seal the title.
“I mean, the first set was a little bit of drama,” Pennetta said. “Both of us were starting really tight from the beginning. I mean, was not easy to play today with one of your best friends in the tour, with one you know since long time.
“A lot of emotion coming together since yesterday. It’s not easy to handle everything. But I’m really happy, because the first set was really tough.
“In the second one I started to play a little bit better, so I’m really proud of everything this week.”
“Miracles can happen,” Vinci said. “Because I beat Serena, miracle.
“And then two Italian can reach the Grand Slam final, a miracle. Cycle miracle. And, bo…
“One Italian player can win a Grand Slam.”
In attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium were Pennetta’s fiance – ATP player Fabio Fognini as well as the Italian Prime minister Matteo Renzi.
Players offered their congratulations to Pennetta on Twitter:
@flavia_pennetta congrats I’m so happy you won. You deserved it. I am also happy for the rest of your life’s journey. I will miss your smile
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 12, 2015
That smile 😊 so well deserved!!
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) September 12, 2015
— Kristina Mladenovic (@KikiMladenovic) September 12, 2015
— Sara Errani (@SaraErrani) September 12, 2015
— Gabriela Sabatini (@sabatinigabyok) September 12, 2015
— Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) September 12, 2015
AND what a way to go out @flavia_pennetta!! Enjoy retirement 😘
— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) September 12, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic
6-0, 6-1, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What was is like to play a guy who was limited but also to be so on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously it felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, again, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches. I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.
I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many, you know, returns back in play.
All in all, it was from my side a very solid match, and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.
Q. Did you know about that injury before the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I knew that he was carrying a bit of a right ankle sprain. Played with it against Tsonga, as well.
But, again, there was two days between. He came out on the court, so it was just — that means that he was able to play. Now, it was probably, as he said, limited; didn’t play as well as he could have.
But, again, that’s a question for him, how he felt. I just tried to execute the game plan, come out with the right strategy, and have done well.
Q. How is that level of confidence and the feeling you have now in comparison with other times you have reached the final here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, these two days have helped me to, you know, recover physically after a couple of late-night matches and get myself in a right state of mind.
Of course, semifinals of a Grand Slam, there are no clear favorites anymore. I was playing against an ex champion, so these things come to play, which makes me be determined even more to come out and play the best that I can.
So I’m very encouraged with the game that I had today, and hopefully I can maintain that level for the finals.
Q. I’d like to ask you a question about your background in the game and your original coach, Jelena. You said you memorized her guidelines. Her coming to your mountain village and sort of turning you on to the game, do you look at that as a moment of great fortune or luck? Do you think that was sort of responsible for you getting…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is certainly — I have had some luck in my life to be able to meet people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport, and there were very few of those kind of people in my country at those times when I was growing up.
So she was definitely the right person to be with, to learn from. From that point of view, I was fortunate. But I also believe that in life everything happens for a reason. Those kind of circumstances in which we were growing up and developing and training to become professional tennis player have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me to grow mentally stronger.
So she has taught me most of the basic stuff that I know about tennis both from a game point of view and also mental approach.
Q. So in some way do you think you were destined to become a professional player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think so. I mean, the fact that nobody played tennis in my family and that, you know, you’d say by chance they make three tennis courts in front of the restaurant that my family owned when I was four, I think that’s a destiny. That’s kind of life circumstances that kind of come together for you to become who you want to become.
Q. You’re back in a situation where you have been many times before, finals of the Open. One match that can make a really good season a great, great season. Can you talk about how you’re managing and thinking about that match to go in – you don’t know who you’re playing – and how are you managing the expectations you have of yourself and also externally?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me. I think that’s normal and logical to expect that you, you know, have that pressure. You have those expectations because you set up yourself high standards with all the results last couple of years.
I came here with a wish and a mission, as well, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy. So I got myself in that position. It’s already a great result. But I want to get that final step on Sunday and get my hands on that trophy.
Obviously I’m not the only one who wants that. Another Swiss player will be on opposite side of the net. We will definitely want to have the same, the same kind of mission.
So I hope that I will be able to play my best tennis on Sunday. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m used to all the expectations and pressure. It’s part of what I do.
I try to deal with those emotions on and off the court, and with this experience of being out there and competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies has helped me to reach that level again. Hopefully it’s going to help me to handle myself well on Sunday.
Q. First time in your career that you’re going to play the fourth final of the Grand Slams in one season. Does it feel like an achievement to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it definitely is an achievement. I don’t want to even think about the opposite to that, you know, that I’m not happy with four finals. Win or lose on Sunday, it still has been so far a great year, best year alongside of 2011.
But, you know, obviously I’m only thinking about winning and winning that US Open trophy. It’s why I’m here, and I will try to make it.
Q. Another win and yet another final. I want to ask you how you’re going to prepare for Sunday’s final. Is there anything that bothers you physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I have recovered in these two days. Physically I have had enough time to get my body, you know, mind, in a proper state and to be performing as well as I did today.
I’m not going to change my routine and preparations for Sunday. It’s going to more or less stay the same. Of course, according to the player that I’m playing against on Sunday I will try to tactically prepare myself, talk with the team, and see what I need to do on the court.
But whoever I play against, it’s the finals of a Grand Slam. Both of these players are top players of the world, so I’m going to have to play my best.
Q. As someone who plays the game and has studied the game and knows the history of the game, can you give us a sense of how big an upset it was that a No. 43 player like Roberta Vinci beat Serena Williams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, you have to understand that this is sport. As much as Serena has achieved in her life, these kind of upsets still can happen. Everybody wants to win, and not only Serena and a couple other top players, same like men’s and woman’s. You have 128 players in the draw that want to play their best and show their skills and what they know to the world of sport and Grand Slams.
So it’s quite an effort from Roberta Vinci to win against Serena on her quest to win a season Grand Slam. You have to give her credit for that, congratulate her. Certainly isn’t easy for Serena to deal with this loss today, but she’s a great champion. She has been there before. She knows how to take the, you know, lessons out of this experience and move on as a stronger player.
At her age, she’s still fighting. She’s still committing to everyday practices and trying to perfect her game. She’s very professional, and she’s a great example of somebody that is a champion on and off the court.
That’s all I can say. I mean, it really happens. Of course, it’s not easy to swallow, as I said. But you’ve got to — sometimes when another player has a better day than you, you have to congratulate and move on. Definitely great day for Italy. They will have a Grand Slam. (Smiling.)
Q. Roger has been working on this attacking move. How surprised were you when you saw him do that for the first time? How surprising is it to be on the other side of the court? Would you consider maybe trying this yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not considered doing that. I mean, he tried that in Cincinnati. It worked a couple of times. It’s exciting shot for him. For the player opposite side of the net, not so much.
So I have nothing else to say about that.
Q. Of course we are in the situation where we don’t know who your next opponent will be, so I’d like to ask you separately about each one, starting with Stan. When you think about were facing him in the final of a major and the possibility that it will be again, what goes through your mind about the challenge of facing Stan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have lost to him in Roland Garros final earlier this year, so I think he has a perfect score in the Grand Slam finals, 2 out of 2. He certainly is a player that loves the big occasion, big matches.
He has an immense power from both sides, forehand and backhand. One of the best one-handed backhands in the history of the sport. A big serve. So if his serve is on he can hurt anybody on any surface. He’s all-around player.
Then on the other side, if I have to play Roger, obviously we all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of a Grand Slams and any other big tournament. He’s always going to perform on a high level. Rarely he drops his level. He always makes you play your best.
I know that he’s also lately being very aggressive coming to the net, mixing up, and trying to shorten out the points. I think also he improved his speed. His defensive game is better than it was. Maybe healthier. Everybody is working hard to improve their game and give themselves highest level possible.
So in order to win a Grand Slam title I have to be on top of my game, as well. So knowing that, coming to the court, of course it’s going to be incentive to try hard.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Friday, September 11, 2015
R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka
6-4, 6-3, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about your serve tonight and how valuable of a weapon it’s become over the past couple of weeks in New York?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I always thought I had a decent serve with variation, to be quite honest. I definitely had better and worse days before, but now it seems like I’m able to, you know, just serve maybe better consistently maybe.
I’m not sure if that’s the case, but definitely also talking about faster conditions in Cincinnati and also now here. I’m using conditions to my advantage, it seems like. I hope I can serve equally good, you know, come Sunday.
Q. In anticipation to the final, a few days ago when Djokovic was playing Bautista Agut and he dropped the second set, you know, people would be cheering for Bautista Agut. Djokovic showed some anger, and he said in his post-match conference that, you know, he wasn’t himself. Do you think that that might be in anticipation for the crowd preference in your favor, and how you manage that and what you expect about that issue in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I’ll get ready for either crowd, you know, I must say, because there is never a guarantee who the crowd are going to cheering for. I hope the crowd’s going to be happy to see me in the finals as well again after, what’s it been now, six years I haven’t been in the finals. Sounds like a big deal. Not that long ago, my opinion. (Laughter.)
I still remember the six finals I played ’04 to ’09. I had many great ones, one very tough one against Agassi where the crowd was totally lopsided on his side.
I think it’s important to prepare for both. I definitely think if there would be more on my side that will give me a lift and extra energy and momentum possibly.
That could swing the match a little bit. But other than that, you know, obviously Novak is a great player. Both of us have played in all tough conditions, and you’ve got to play well to beat him. There is no question about that.
Q. We have talked to some other players about your sneak attack, and a lot of them have praised it and laughed about it and so forth. But Novak on two occasions has basically said that he didn’t want to comment about it. Today he said a little something. He said, That’s all I have to say about it. Has he said anything to you about it or do you get any sense his feeling about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven’t spoken much to other players about this. It’s players coming up to my coach, Severin, and talking about it.
So me personally I haven’t heard much feedback from any player almost, to be quite honest. I hear it more through the press. I hear some and read some. But not that much, to be honest.
For me, if it makes sense, you know, which I think it does, I’ll use it in the finals. I used it to great effect against him in the tough situation, at was it, 4-1 in the breaker in Cincy.
We will see if the occasion presents itself. It’s got to be the right point, right frame of mind, yeah, the right place to do it. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do it.
Q. With your serving, it seems like the effectiveness can be as much of the placement as the pace. How do you balance that? (Indiscernible) Do you feel maxed out, like you hit as much pace as you can and now you’re just going for placement? How do you balance the tradeoff?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s really by feel, to be honest quite honest. I think it’s important for me to mix up, like you said, the spin, the kick, and the pace of serves. So I keep doing it constantly to different locations that I feel like it’s important to hit. I’m sure also I take long decisions sometimes and the other guy maybe reads your serve. But at times — like Novak read Cilic’s serve perfectly, I guess.
That’s a matchup for Novak that just works very well. For me, it’s important to serve the right way at the right time. You know, it’s really important that you back yourself with your own serve at the most important moments. Like down Love-40 bring the serve into the box, number one; bring it close to the line, because close to the line also means that sometimes the opponent sort of waits for it to go out and then it’s already past you.
So I believe a lot in serving very accurately, and I could do that over a long period of time, which has helped me over my career.
Q. How much of the way you attacked Stan tonight was based upon the way he was playing, and do you think you could attack that consistently against Novak?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, we’ll see. You know, I think Stan didn’t have very high first-serve percentage in the first set, I don’t think, so that definitely gave him more looks on the second serves.
But of course Stan has more power on the first serve than Novak has. It’s a different server, to be quite honest, and also returns very different one to another. So I don’t want to compare those two.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play this aggressive against Stan, because he does — when he’s on, he presents a very different challenge to all the players I have played thus far in this tournament.
But now that I have been able to do it also against Stan definitely gives me confidence that maybe I can also do it against Novak this way.
Q. A lot of the talk at Wimbledon was how well you played in the leadup to the final, especially in the semi against Andy, and then ran into Novak. I’m just curious if you took anything from a learning perspective out of that and if you believe — we call it peaking, and people said you peaked too early.
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I didn’t quite agree that I played a poor finals. I think I played okay in the finals. Maybe not even bad at times, you know. I just think Novak played a really good finals. He was super tough and he deserved it at the end, you know.
I never really looked into the match that much. I kind of left it and just said, Okay, whenever I need to be I’ll go back to it, and that’s what we will do after tonight, I guess.
So I think there is a lot of positives for me to take away from that match or all of Wimbledon, Cincinnati, as well, that match with Novak there, and then now how I have played here thus far.
I think it’s an interesting three months to look back on and take the good and the bad and compress all of those into one thing and hopefully come up with a the perfect game plan against Novak Sunday.
Q. You clearly mastered the art of excellence of staying at the top for long periods of time. On air you just mentioned that you’d like to learn from other athletes about dominance, and you mentioned in particular Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Pete, and Andre. Briefly could you mention some of the key things you learned from those four?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I used to be famous for not being consistent. So for me, I never thought I could bring it, you know, in practice and in matches, week in and week out, every year. I never thought that was really something that I could do.
I knew I could be surprising. I felt like I could beat anybody at any day, but, you know, I knew I had something in me that I like the big occasions, I like playing against the best and testing myself there and not shying away from that.
But consistency was something for me that was just so far away. So for me seeing, like, you know, all the athletes you mentioned, I didn’t understand how they could do it. I think I tried to learn from them, see how they did it, and then hopefully one day, you know, do something similar, I guess.
It took me a big mental step and a physical improvement to actually get to that level to play well, but I’m happy I figured it out at some stage.
Q. After tonight there is one Swiss in the final, and then there are also two Italians. A it’s a bit unexpected. Thinking to withdraw our media credentials because we are ruining the tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: That’s what you would do in Italy, wouldn’t you? (Laughter.)
Q. What do you think about what happened on the women’s side and Serena losing?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, definitely a huge surprise, wasn’t it? I didn’t see much of it. I always thought Pennetta plays a nice game. I’m not surprised for some reason she’s in the finals because she’s showed big matches in the past.
Roberta is more famous for doubles almost, but of course I like that she has a one-handed backhand and uses the slice to great effect. Obviously for you guys it’s an unbelievable moment in Italian history almost, even though you have had success with Errani and Schiavone, as well. I guess it’s even a bigger occasion than me playing Stan tonight, because that was a big deal in Switzerland, as well.
For me, it was, anyway, a huge moment. I hope one day I can play Stan in a Grand Slam final. But you should enjoy it, because you just don’t know when it’s going to happen next. I hope you’re filling your pages because they deserve it. (Laughter.)
Q. Going back to the chip and charge question before, there was a line around the press yesterday with Boris Becker saying that it disrespects your opponents. Just wanted to know what you said to that specifically.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, it’s not disrespectful. Pretty simple.
Q. We are clearly obsessed with SABR. It’s really fun.
ROGER FEDERER: I will do it some more. No problem. (Laughter.)
Q. I think McEnroe said he’d be insulted if it happened to him.
ROGER FEDERER: Really? Okay.
Q. So what I am asking is, early on I remember — if I remember correctly, you didn’t love the dropshot.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that’s true.
Q. You didn’t like replay because it wasn’t tennis. It wasn’t what your code of what the game was. I’m curious if earlier on if someone had tried it on you would you have liked it, taken umbrage at it, or thought it was cool and a great new tactic?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, guys were almost doing that against me back in the day. I remember Max Mirnyi and Henman, they were standing there like, All right, holding their finger up. I’m coming up. You know I’m coming, so whatever second serve you want, you’ll have to hit it past.
I faced those guys, and didn’t matter how you approached it. I remember Spaniards standing outside of the doubles alley waiting to hit a forehand on clay because my second wasn’t as good yet. So I faced all of that stuff, as well.
So I’m actually standing in position when they are serving, and then only once they toss it, that’s when I run so they don’t actually really see me, in my opinion.
You know, whatever works, you know. As long as it’s in the rules, I think you should be able to use it.
Q. How would you characterize your rivalry with Novak? It’s going to be your 42nd match against each other. How would you describe the rivalry? Do you think he’s made you better? You’ve made him better? Is there one particular match, good reasons or bad reasons, a loss that sticks out for you from all of the matches you played?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I see more of a generation of, you know, Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi, Henman, guys I had trouble with at the beginning. I felt they made me better a player.
Same with my generation coming up, Ferrero, Safin, Roddick, Hewitt. I was trying to hang on with them and trying to be that next wave of players making it to the top, and everyone made it to world No. 1 before me.
I think that was very motivational for me. Made me a better player. I definitely think Rafa had a big effect, as well. Had to adjust and change so many things playing against him, preparing against him, thinking about it when I was practicing. He’s probably been the guy who challenged me the most with that.
Novak it’s been more straightforward, my opinion. That’s what I like about the rivalry. I think we both can — I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout, and I think that’s the cool thing about our rivalry. It’s very athletic.
We both can handle each other’s — whatever we present to one another, and I think our matches, it’s very even. That’s it, I think. I don’t need to add more here.
Friday, September 11, 2015
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic
6-0, 6-1, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What were your thoughts about your physical condition before the match, and what do you think you would be able to accomplish by playing?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I knew that, you know, I’m not 100%, obviously. And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%. You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today.
Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best.
You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.
But also, you know, today, even though with the foot, it was — even though it was causing me trouble, I didn’t play so well today. You know, a lot of mishits and a lot of missed balls that, you know, I shouldn’t have missed in some situations.
But that was in my head already from the beginning and the score went in that way. The score was going pretty quickly in the beginning, so, you know, it didn’t give me time to get in the match.
Q. How do you think you’ll look back on this?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I will look back very positively to the tournament. Extremely great tournament. Obviously very unlucky that I twisted the ankle, but still with that, you know, in the match against Novak, anyway it’s very difficult.
I went to the match obviously to play. You know, I cannot pull myself out of it with injury. That’s the reality.
You know, Novak was extremely focused today. He played great. But I have to also take myself as, you know, that I was fighting pretty well during the full tournament. Considering the first time experience having to defend a Grand Slam title, I feel that I accomplished well.
So I’m very, very positive coming out of the tournament.
Q. You enjoyed a little bit being out there, or was it just frustrating from one point to the next?
MARIN CILIC: You know, was not frustrating. I was just hoping that I’m going to be able to get into the match more. And, you know, for the crowd as well as it would be obviously also pretty disappointing that I have pulled out before the match. That’s always the situation.
But, yeah, I was able to enjoy it a little bit, even though it wasn’t fun.
Q. Talk more about Novak, top player of the world, No 1. Talk about him a little bit more.
MARIN CILIC: You know, not much new to say about Novak. Novak is playing really good this season. He’s played great this tournament. Played also great today.
Q. When you finished playing, Novak said it was because of ankle injury. Do you think it was also the fact that you are playing against Novak Djokovic or it would be same if it was another person?
MARIN CILIC: No, I know Novak knows me really well, and, you know, just his game doesn’t suit me so well. And also the fact that he’s returning extremely well, getting a lot of balls back, you know, it’s already from there very difficult situation for me from.
If I would be even completely healthy and, you know, just having a small part in my game that doesn’t work well with him, obviously he exposes it to extreme conditions.
So it’s, you know, very difficult. But I went to that match to give my best, which I did. You know, I’m proud of myself. Obviously a lot of people are going to say it’s a little bit of embarrassment to lose like that, but I’m clear in my mind that I went to the match, it’s a semifinals, saying if I’m going to take ever a chance, it’s going to be this time.
Q. What was your reaction to the Serena Williams match before you came on?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, obviously pretty disappointing for her, for I guess all her fans.
Yeah, I didn’t actually follow too much. I was trying to focus as much as I could, but obviously, you know, not easy with all the attention she’s got and constantly, day after day, everybody is talking about it.
Very unfortunate for her, yeah.
Q. As someone who won a Grand Slam here, and it was a bit of a surprise to people, what are your thoughts for Vinci today?
MARIN CILIC: You know, great. She held her nerves pretty well, I guess. She got to the semis anyway. She beat several for sure great players on the route to the semis, and obviously took her chance today.
Obviously Serena wasn’t playing so well and the way she could. And considering the attention, the pressure, I guess that helps Vinci to play pretty loose.
Q. Is it a serious foot injury or just…
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I twisted the ankle. It was pretty swollen a few days ago. Still is.
But hopefully it won’t take too long to be 100%.
Q. Last year you were in finals, so I’m interested if you’re going to stay and watch the final here. How is it watching the final when you know last year you are the winner?
MARIN CILIC: Well, we’ll see this year. I’m still gonna decide. I mean, I have Davis Cup next week. Scheduled to play in Brazil.
So I’m probably going to go there as soon as I can. We will see.
Friday, September 11, 2015
R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka
6-4, 6-3, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What made it so difficult for you tonight?
STAN WAWRINKA: Him, the way he’s playing. Condition a little bit different than when I play my match here on Ashe? It’s a little bit more flying in the night. It’s playing really fast. Didn’t play my best game. Didn’t serve well and everything.
But basically it’s him, the way he’s playing.
Q. You think if Roger plays this aggressive attacking style against Novak that will give him the best chance to win?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Maybe.
Q. You have known him a long time. Can you just talk about how he’s moving right now.
STAN WAWRINKA: He’s moving really well, for sure. As I said before playing him, I saw him in Cincinnati, I think he’s quite fast on the court. He’s reading well the game, and so he’s trying really to stay on the line, not to go back. Stay really aggressive. He’s serving really well, also. He’s serving better than I never see him serve.
For me tonight he’s getting more angles. It’s more tough to really serve and to make something from.
Q. Do you think the partial roof and speed of the court are contributing to how he’s playing on that particular court?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Always been quite medium fast here at US Open central court.
For sure now there is almost no wind on the court, so it’s quite nice to play. He always played well here, always love to play here, and, yeah, so far he’s been too good.
Q. You had a couple chances in the first set. Do you think if you might have gotten a break then it…
STAN WAWRINKA: Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know.
For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast. When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure.
I tried everything with what I had today, for sure. I wasn’t serving well at all. That doesn’t help because I don’t get free point. I cannot really start the point from the baseline being aggressive.
Yeah, was tough. Didn’t get my — I would say my heavy ball from baseline was tough to put some topspin. Was flying a little bit more than what I expect, but he was simply too good.
Q. Obviously your tournament ended before you’d like it to, but how would you assess your play over the course of the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I need to see the whole picture. I think it’s still a great result, amazing result from me, making semifinal again.
I didn’t play really my best tennis. I didn’t play the way I wanted all the tournament, but I still in semifinals.
So if I look my result in Grand Slam this year I couldn’t ask for more. Make two semifinal, one quarterfinal, and one time winner. It’s something amazing for me.
Q. You talked about Roger’s speed. What surprised you most about his game tonight? Did you feel like he was almost a different player than the Roger you played in the past?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not a different player, but he’s being more aggressive, that’s for sure.
As I say, he’s really staying on the line. It’s tough to compare because you need to find also the good match. You cannot take a match from clay court or grass, for example. For example, London Masters last year indoor, is quite similar, but he was more playing from the baseline.
Today he’s trying to be really, really aggressive, trying to come to the net every time he can and trying to stay on the line.
Even when he’s in defense you can see he’s not going back. He’s staying on the line, trying to make half-volley passing.
Q. You probably know Roger better than anyone else in the circuit. Do you think this is his best level ever?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ah, it’s tough to say. He’s been winning so many Grand Slams, so many tournaments. We’ll see. For sure it’s close from his best.
Also the game now is a different level than few years ago, so everybody is improving from few years ago. But is the best that I saw him play since few years, that’s for sure.
Q. Do you feel like the sport in general, talking about how to play him this year, do you feel like it’s more of an outdoor court or does it feel more indoor?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s between, but it’s getting closer for more indoor court, that’s for sure, without wind. Now you cannot even compare the center court with Armstrong, for example. It’s completely two different condition.
Armstrong it gets windy, even feels a little bit of wind. Now you have nothing on center court. Yeah, it’s getting faster, but it’s still a good court to play. That’s for sure.
Q. You have said a moment ago that everyone is changing and evolving. Obviously Roger’s made a lot of changes during all his career, but do you feel like he’s accelerated the pace of those changes, training, tactics, all those things in the last year or two that in other periods of his career?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think for sure he’s always trying to improve, trying to change. He change his racquet last year, and it takes time to get used to the racquet and get what you want with the racquet.
But if you look at him — I think the second part from the year, after Wimbledon, he is starting already at the different level. He came back Cincinnati at a completely different level. Here also. If you look at the first part he was playing good, make final Wimbledon, but the rest was amazing.
If you look now, if you keep this level, he’s going to be tough to beat.
(September 11, 2015) It will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic versus No. 2 Roger Federer for the 2015 US Open title on Sunday afternoon in Flushing Meadows. Both men had straight set victories over opponents on Friday night.
Djokovic moved into his sixth US Open final with a 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 win over last year’s champion, Croatia’s Marin Cilic in 85 minutes. Djokovic was the champion in 2011. The match was most the lopsided US Open semifinal in the Open Era. Cilic has been dealing with a right ankle/foot injury since his quarterfinal match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“I’m not 100%, obviously,” Cilic said.” And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%. You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today.
“Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best.
“You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.”
“It felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, again, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches,” Djokovic said in press. “I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.
“I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many, you know, returns back in play.
“All in all, it was from my side a very solid match, and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.”
The Serb extended his perfect record against Cilic to 14-0.
Thirty-four-year-old Roger Federer won the battle of Swtizerland, taking down his Olympic doubles and Davis Cup teammate and friend No. 5 Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach his first US Open final since 2009, when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro.
“Tried very hard in the last six years to get back in another final,” Federer said in an on-court interview. “Came close a few times.”
Asked about the quality of his play over the fortnight, he said: “It’s definitely very good, maybe my best, I’m not sure. I’m serving very well. I’m playing positive tennis. I’m going for my shots, and it seems to work. I’d love it to work just one more time.”
“For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast,” Wawrinka said in his post-match interview. “When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure.
“I tried everything with what I had today, for sure. I wasn’t serving well at all. That doesn’t help because I don’t get free point. I cannot really start the point from the baseline being aggressive.
“Yeah, was tough. Didn’t get my — I would say my heavy ball from baseline was tough to put some topspin. Was flying a little bit more than what I expect, but he was simply too good.”
“I didn’t play really my best tennis,” said the No. 5 player in the world. “I didn’t play the way I wanted all the tournament, but I still in semifinals.
“So if I look my result in Grand Slam this year I couldn’t ask for more. Make two semifinal, one quarterfinal, and one time winner. It’s something amazing for me.”
This will be Federer’s seventh trip to the US Open final, he won five straight titles from 2004-2008.
“I’ll get ready for either crowd, you know, I must say, because there is never a guarantee who the crowd are going to cheering for, Federer said. “I hope the crowd’s going to be happy to see me in the finals as well again after, what’s it been now, six years I haven’t been in the finals. Sounds like a big deal. Not that long ago, my opinion.
“I still remember the six finals I played ’04 to ’09. I had many great ones, one very tough one against Agassi where the crowd was totally lopsided on his side.
“I think it’s important to prepare for both. I definitely think if there would be more on my side that will give me a lift and extra energy and momentum possibly.
“That could swing the match a little bit. But other than that, you know, obviously Novak is a great player. Both of us have played in all tough conditions, and you’ve got to play well to beat him. There is no question about that.”
This will be the 42nd overall meeting between Federer and Djokovic, sixth this year. The Swiss leads 21-20 with his last victory coming in the Cincinnati Masters final. Djokovic has beaten Federer three times, including the Wimbledon final.
Djokovic has been in all four major finals this year, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles and losing the French Open.
On reaching all four Grand Slam finals, Djokovic said: “It definitely is an achievement. I don’t want to even think about the opposite to that, you know, that I’m not happy with four finals. Win or lose on Sunday, it still has been so far a great year, best year alongside of 2011.
“But, you know, obviously I’m only thinking about winning and winning that US Open trophy. It’s why I’m here, and I will try to make it.”
“If I have to play Roger (Federer), obviously we all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of a Grand Slams and any other big tournament,” said the world No. 1. “He’s always going to perform on a high level. Rarely he drops his level. He always makes you play your best.
“I know that he’s also lately being very aggressive coming to the net, mixing up, and trying to shorten out the points. I think also he improved his speed. His defensive game is better than it was. Maybe healthier. Everybody is working hard to improve their game and give themselves highest level possible.
“So in order to win a Grand Slam title I have to be on top of my game, as well. So knowing that, coming to the court, of course it’s going to be incentive to try hard.”
“What I like about the rivalry, ” Federer said, “I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout, and I think that’s the cool thing about our rivalry. It’s very athletic.
“We both can handle each other’s — whatever we present to one another, and I think our matches, it’s very even. That’s it, I think. I don’t need to add more here.”
Williams Joins Kevin Anderson as Honorees for Personifying Sportsmanship
over the Summer Tennis Season in North America
FLUSHING, N.Y., September 11, 2015 – The USTA today announced that Venus Williams has received the fifth annual US Open Sportsmanship Award, presented to the professional tennis players who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open. Williams, a two-time US Open champion, joins Kevin Anderson as this year’s US Open Sportsmanship Award recipients.
“What more can you say that hasn’t already been said about Venus Williams,” said USTA Chairman, CEO and President Katrina Adams. “She is the personification of class and grace as a competitor and is the perfect recipient of the US Open Sportsmanship Award.”
The USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011. Its charge is to “educate and inspire youngsters and their parents to develop and exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and an attitude of fair play and mutual respect on and off the tennis court. Underlying the charge is the ethical imperative that fairness is more important than winning.”
Eligibility requirements for winners include participating in at least two Series tournaments, as well as the 2015 US Open. Each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner receives a trophy and a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Past winners include Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki (2014), Li Na and David Ferrer (2013) and Bob and Mike Bryan and Samantha Stosur (2012).