Djokovic vows to keep his nerves in check

Last updated at 10:30 23 January 2008

World number three Novak Djokovic believes he can keep his emotions in check sufficiently to claim his maiden grand slam title at this year's Australian Open.

Djokovic admitted to nerves towards the end of his 6-0 6-3 7-5 quarter-final victory over Spaniard David Ferrer.

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Novak Djokovic

The 20-year-old Serbian failed to successfully serve for the quarter-final at his first attempt and came perilously close to being broken in his next service game before converting his fifth match point.

"It's really difficult sometimes to control your emotions in such big matches and important points," said Djokovic.

In his penultimate game, Djokovic bounced the ball more than 20 times in a bid to remain calm.

"Since I bounce the ball more and more, people figure out that I'm nervous," said a smiling Djokovic. "But in the end I served it out."

After such a meteoric rise, Djokovic believes any further improvements in his game will be incremental in nature.

"I was working on my skills in the past couple of weeks. And I changed my strings and I'm feeling really well now," he said.

"It's always good to start the year with such a great success. Playing a semi-final in a grand slam has become my routine in the last year or so.

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Novak Djokovic

"But I'm always trying to push myself in the most important events to play my best tennis."

World number five Ferrer admitted he too had been tense on court, blaming nerves for his disastrous opening set.

Ferrer, who enjoyed a 3-2 record over Djokovic prior to Melbourne, had emerged victorious from the pair's most recent meeting in Shanghai but never looked like repeating the feat.

"I started very badly, very nervous. And maybe it was a problem in the first set," said Ferrer.

"When I lost the first set, in the second he played better with more confidence.

"But for me, it wasn't a good day. I had too many mistakes and I lost a little bit of focus. If I'm not well (mentally), it's impossible to beat him."