Novak Djokovic speaks to the media after his 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Roberto Bautista Agut
Q. How was it for you today? How would you describe your game today? Was it difficult or…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, it was a big challenge for both me and Bautista, playing semifinals. I’ve lost to him two times this year already, different surfaces.
But, you know, at one stage of the match, it could have gone different way. Was very close in the third set. We split sets. You know, couple of very long games when I broke his serve and he had some breakpoints, very long rally. I managed to make a winner down the line with backhand.
Obviously winning that game was crucial for me. It gave me more confidence and relief so I could, you know, swing more freely in the next games.
The fourth set was the best set of the day. I’m really pleased with the way I ended the match.
I think Bautista possesses a lot of quality in his game, but also mentally he’s very consistent. He stays there. He’s very focused. You will not see any outbursts or any downs, so to say, in his attitude on the court. I respect him a lot.
I think he’s very underrated as a player. I think he deserved to be in the semis. Wish him all the best.
Q. With all of your accomplishments and milestones, your game still so strong, what record, either a famous one or perhaps a personal one, would you most love to break?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, my main motivation, I was saying this before, is really to be out on the court and enjoy what I do. I know it’s a clichÃ©. A lot of people are saying the same thing. But I think this is essential. Without that, magic cannot happen, good results cannot happen.
I don’t see this as my job or as my work. I’ve done enough in my career so I can, you know, stop tennis, professional tennis, at any time. But I don’t do it for those reasons.
My first reason is because I really enjoy it. I still do. I have support from my family. Of course, I am looking to make history in this sport.
Of course, I would love to have a shot at as many Grand Slam titles as possible. Those are probably the top goals and ambitions. Next to that is the historic No. 1, which is not so far away.
Q. You seemed to get quite frustrated at different points. Was that with yourself? Seemed to be an issue with racquets? Maybe interactions with the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s nothing unusual. You go through these kind of emotional moments, especially in big matches like this, all the time. I mean, at least on my side. Sometimes I show my emotions, sometimes I don’t. It’s nothing really in particular.
There’s always something that can take you out of the comfort zone. Sometimes you get frustrated. It’s important to bounce back really quickly.
Q. As a four-time champion here, did you feel a lack of love and respect from the Centre Court crowd out there today? Did that help fire you up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I mean, look, I focused on what I need to do. At times they wanted him to come back to the match, maybe take a lead because he was an underdog in the match. I understand that.
But I had enough support here over the years, so I don’t complain.
Q. You’ve talked about the importance of visualization to your process. In this tournament you faced some very young players, some veterans. In the final you’ll face someone that you know extremely well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: One of the NextGen guys (smiling).
Q. I’m curious, depending on that level of experience, how does that impact your visualization process?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is part of my prematch routine. I also do it on the court. I think we all do it to some extent, whether it’s conscious or unconscious.
I think it’s normal that when you care about something, you want to prepare yourself the best possible. Especially on the changeovers, you visualize and imagine what the next point or next game will be like.
It is a quite challenging battle within yourself. I think at this stage we play in one of the most important stadiums and tournaments in the world, playing semifinals, finals, fighting for trophy with one of the biggest rivals.
I think the most important and probably the first win that you have to make is the one within yourself, then whatever happens externally is, I guess, a consequence or manifestation of that.
The visualization is part of the mental preparation. It’s very, very important for me. I do it all the time.
Q. Does it change depending on the opponent, how much information you have about them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it does. I have a part that I do for myself regardless of the opponent because I want to rely on my strengths. I want them to be highlighted. I want them to surface right away when I step on the court.
Then, of course, there is a part which is related to the opponent, depending on what I want to do.
Q. Looking ahead to the finals Sunday, what is the most dangerous thing about playing Federer or playing Nadal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have no choice between those two guys, first of all. As it seems, they split sets, so it’s going to be really interesting to see who comes out on the top.
Nadal has been playing really well on grass, which wasn’t historically his preferred surface. He’s been doing really well. Last couple of years I had a thrilling match last year against him in semis. If I get to play him, I will probably not expect anything less than what happened last year. Hopefully same outcome.
Federer, you know, we all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here. This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent. Just doesn’t give you any same looks. He just rushes you to everything. So for players maybe like Nadal or myself that like to have a little more time, it’s a constant pressure that you have to deal with.
I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect.
Q. Somebody has chalked all over Wimbledon town center ‘Djokovic is a vegan.’ Is this true? If so, why have you made that choice?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t like the labels, to be honest. I do eat plant based for quite a few years already. But because of the misinterpretations of labels and misuse of labels, I just don’t like that kind of name, so to say.
I do eat plant based. I think that’s one of the reasons why I recover well. I don’t have allergies that I used to have any more. And I like it.
Q. If you find yourself in a similar situation on Sunday where perhaps the crowd are overwhelmingly in favor of your opponent, are you confident you can keep a lid on your frustrations, that sort of caldron of the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, it wouldn’t be the first time playing against Nadal nor Federer on the Centre Court. I’ve had that experience more than once. As I said, I know what to expect.
I’m going to go out there and fight and give it all. It’s finals of Wimbledon. This is the kind of a match that I always dreamt of as a young boy with the tennis racquet, dreamt of being part of. This is what I worked for. I wanted to be in this position.
I have a chance to fight for a trophy. Regardless of who’s across the net or what is happening around, I’ll definitely give it all.
Q. My daughter keeps texting me about a documentary you’re involved in. From your point of view, what was it like being an executive producer on a documentary and should we watch it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you should watch it if you have an interest, of course. It’s about plant-based diet. That’s all I’m going to say. Obviously they’re coming out with it soon. It is about how this diet affects the world, not just personal health, but also sustainability, ecology, animals.
This is what I care about, so I’m really privileged to be part of that team.
Q. Does anything change for you now with the final, with Roger or Rafa waiting for you? Are the nerves the same? Do you look at anything differently, or is it just another final at Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m going to try to go with that kind of mindset as you kindly suggested: it’s just another Wimbledon final. I’m afraid that it’s going to be more nerves than that involved.
But as I said, I’ve played Roger here I think two times in finals. I’ve played Rafa also in the 2011 finals. I have a successful score against these guys in finals.
Nevertheless, these are the two biggest rivals that I ever had in my career. Of course, I’m going to be excited and nervous and everything that you can think of. I’m going to do my best to control that in some way and be able to portray my best tennis in balanced, hopefully, state throughout the match.