Q. Talk us through what happened there.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. Well, the main reason is cramping and soreness in the whole body. I think the people could see that I was struggling with movement. I couldn’t serve the way I served in the first two sets.
That third set I just started dropping 20, 30 kilometers per hour first serve. Obviously wasn’t ‑‑ it was much easier for him to return.
He saw that longer rallies are not comfortable for me at that point, so he was using it wisely. Really unfortunate way to end up my Australian Open 2009 here in this way. Really tried my best, but sometimes you can’t fight against your own body.
Q. Did you hesitate to retire because of the possible criticism given some of things that happened last season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What do you mean by criticism?
Q. Did it enter your head that you might face a lot of tough questions if you retired from the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, look, I wasn’t thinking about that. This is all part of the sport. I did have some retirements, but I always retired with a reason. I don’t see why should anybody, you know, take it or mean it that way.
Whenever I retired, I retired because I felt I cannot go on. I mean, I don’t ‑‑ that’s the only reason.
Q. You finished very late a couple nights ago. You were in the heat of the sun today. What did you think of the scheduling?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I did finished very late, about 2:00, 2:30, 3:00 a.m. two nights ago. Went to sleep around 5:00, 5:30. Didn’t really have time to recover. There were really difficult circumstances.
Conditions were extreme today. It did affect more on me than him, as you could see. But, you know, that was the situation. I just have to cope with it. It was unfortunate for me. I did request to play night match, but didn’t came up good for me.
Q. You said the other night that a compromise might be needed about the scheduling of the night matches. What do you think that should be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I just don’t want to turn around anymore. I end up this tournament and just want to switch to the next page and just look in the future.
I think doesn’t really benefit for a lot of ‑‑ for a lot of people to play that late. But on the other hand, if you end up the match at 3:00 a.m., it’s basically logical thinking that you should play the same match, second after 7:30. But it didn’t happen.
Q. Is this the most disappointing moment of your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, not at all. I think a lot of people expected me to do well here because of the title, Grand Slam title in 2008. Obviously, it’s very disappointing way to finish my first Grand Slam of the year in this way.
But you have to take the best out of it and be positive. That’s where I’m trying to be. There is still a long season in front of me.
Q. How hard is it to defend a title now that you’ve had experience in trying to do it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is ‑‑ depending on how you take it, I tried not to think about certain pressure that you have being in this role. But I really took it as a challenge. I think I performed good tennis.
As I said, circumstances were against me this time. I think if I had a little bit more rest ‑‑ I was saying in the last press conference that I was confident, that I believed that I could recover. Obviously it wasn’t enough time.
You know, we just continue on.
Q. How did you feel before today’s match? Did you have any occasion that you might be in trouble?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Nothing in particular. I didn’t sleep that great. I woke up a little bit tired, but nothing in particular. I didn’t have any big pains in any particular muscles or parts of the body. It was just in general. It was in general soreness.
Q. You go to practice yesterday, or not at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I wasn’t able to practice, no. I went to the bed at 6:00 a.m. I had to sleep. I did practice. I some things off the court, but not on the court. I wanted to save the energy and try to be fit for the match.
Q. What was the explanation given for denying your request to play at night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I didn’t want to get into it that much. Sometimes you don’t have enough power obviously to get things right for yourself. It was probably, I don’t know, TV or things like that, some requests, other requests, which is, you know, a little bit disappointing.
But what can you do?
Q. Are you saying that you think because there is an Australian playing tonight that the network that is broadcasting wanted her to be playing in prime time as opposed to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s on the tournament organizers to decide whether they going put me or her or whoever plays on prime time. I don’t blame them putting an Australian on at 7:30. It’s obviously it attracts most people and attention. You got to think about people, about the public, about everybody. That’s what it’s all about. You can’t think only about the players, which is normal.
But sometimes you got hear what the players have to say. Things like this happen for ‑‑ not for a reason.
Q. How do you feel right now? Did you get any treatment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again.
Q. Do you want to talk about Andy being fitter and lighter this year, moving around the court better. Did you find him a different opponent to play against?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He’s more aggressive on the return. He’s improved. I think his new coach has an impact on that. He’s been playing really well throughout the whole tournament. He absolutely deserves to be a winner on today’s match.
Q. You just said you did get treatment. Did you get a drip or something like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, just the cooling down. A little bit with doctors and with the ice, food, protein, some things to recover my body.
Q. Given what happened today, do you think the heat policy is adequate, or does it need to be revisited?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s something we have to discuss about in the future. Of course, it’s concerning a lot of players. As a tournament or as a tennis fan, you don’t want to see a player retiring. You didn’t pay a ticket to come to see somebody retiring the match.
I feel sorry about the people who, well, expected maybe more of me. I had great memories on that center court. I still feel really confident and positive playing there. I look forward to coming back.
Q. Were you happy with your preparation before this tournament? You arrived late and things didn’t seem to go your way. Will you do things differently next year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You learn from your mistakes. Obviously I might have changed a little bit this year. I stayed at home for New Year’s Eve after a long time. But I think I had a good preparation. Not really long, but a good one. We tried to improvise as much as we can.
Changing the racquet had an impact as well on the general situation. I was getting used to it. Here I found my good rhythm with the new racquet.
Q. Everybody reacts differently to illness. Is it possible that you need to perhaps develop a greater trust in your body, a greater relaxed nature so you could perhaps play through these things a little bit more?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I mean, it’s easy for you to say. If you come into my body, then I’ll be more than happy to hear what you think about playing.
But, look, I mean, I’m a professional tennis player for a couple of years now. There is absolutely no question about whether I have motivation and will and desire to continue the match and defend my title. There is absolutely no doubt that I have it to me.
My mind wanted me to continue on. I could have stopped even before in the end of the second set, because I felt really bad. I continued on playing thinking that something could help me out, maybe a treatment and things like that. But just kept coming back.
012709 tuesday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images