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June 21, 2014
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions, please.
Q.¬† What are your thoughts on the World Cup and what have you been most interested in that you've seen so far?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, look, I think like everybody, all the athletes basically, I think half of the planet is watching the World Cup now.¬† I'm following the matches.
Unfortunately my country is not taking part in this competition, but I have a few countries I'm supporting.¬† Of course, I love football so I follow most of the matches that I can.
Costa Rica is obviously a surprise.¬† All the South American teams, I guess, because it's played in the heat, and maybe the conditions play in favor of South America.
And now I'm talking like I'm an expert in football (smiling).
But, yeah, I mean, I'm following.¬† I'm trying to be next to the TV with my friends, with my team, and try and enjoy that game.
Q.¬† Who are the teams you're supporting?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, Bosnia, Croatia, and Greece are the neighboring countries that I'm fan of and I try to support.¬† Hopefully some of them will pass the group stage and get in the knock‑out phase.
Q.¬† You mentioned the heat in the World Cup.¬† How was it for you on a physical level the Roland Garros final, and physically how do you compare yourself with 2011 and 2012?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yes, well, it was warm for myself and for my opponent, Nadal, in the final.¬† I cannot have that as an excuse for losing that match.
Obviously certain kind of conditions play more to his or to my advantage depending how the weather plays out.¬† It became warmer as the match was progressing, so the spin that he played from his forehand side got heavier.¬† So I found it a little bit more difficult to handle that, from Rafa, from his forehand.
But again, you know, it was over three hours.¬† Played a lot of long rallies.¬† It's not the first time we play a long match.¬† It was finals of Grand Slam.¬† Obviously was disappointing for me not to win Roland Garros another year, but I gave it all.
I tried to perform as best as I can.¬† I haven't played in the second part of the match as well as I started that match and as well as I thought I'm going to play.
I couldn't recover from certain concentration drops that I had in the third set that he used.
In the fourth, I thought when I got the break back and we evened the match, I thought that's maybe when I could have made the recovery and come back and enter the fifth set, but I just didn't do it.
He deserved to win.¬† He was better in the more important moments.
Q.¬† How is your wrist?¬† Is it something that you felt since Monte‑Carlo, or has it sort of come back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, it's the first time that I have problems with the wrist.¬† I started feeling it before Monte‑Carlo tournament started.
I played that tournament, Monte‑Carlo, under strange conditions, you know, under a lot of pain.¬† Decided to skip Madrid, which was a good decision, because I played pain‑free in Rome and Roland Garros.
Right now I don't feel any pain.¬† But I felt like, you know, when I'm changing surfaces, especially from clay to grass, in the opening few days of the practice here got a little bit of a strange sensation in the wrist.
Now it's fine, so hopefully it can stay that way.
Q.¬† Next year the grass court season will be a week longer.¬† How do you think it will change your preparation?¬† Personally, how long would you like the grass court season to be in the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† I support that decision and the schedule change because it allows the players who get further in the Roland Garros tournament to have more practice days on the grass and then play a lead‑up event to Wimbledon.
I think it's very important.
I haven't played neither Queen's nor Halle for the last three, four years I think.
It's always better to get a few matches under your belt before you get to Wimbledon, a Grand Slam, on the grass courts, which is totally the opposite of clay courts, the surface on which you have played for two and a half months.
So from the slowest to the fastest surface, it takes quite a few days and weeks to adjust the movement.¬† I think the movement is crucial basically because on clay you can slide, and here you can't afford too many big steps.¬† You have to try to have as many of the adjustment steps and be balanced.¬† The ball bounces low, where on the clay it bounces very high.
So all these different factors affect your adjustment, your game.¬† So I'm looking forward to actually having an extra week where I would be happy to also play in Queen's or Halle and have more days to practice on grass.
Q.¬† How was it to have time away from the game after the French Open, getting your mind off tennis, forget about the final or learn from it, and then switch gears?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yeah, well, it's not the first or the last final that I lost.¬† I'm aware of the fact that as a tennis player playing more or less week after week, the big events you have to get used to winning and losing.¬† It's part of the sport.
It's important to, as you said, learn and take the best out of these losses and understand what you did wrong and grow from that experience really in general as a tennis player and as a person.
Of course, it was a long clay court season with some good results and some injuries and so forth.¬† It took a lot out of me.¬† I needed, you know, four, five days of rest and trying to get my mind off the tennis.
It helps, you know, obviously.¬† Because as much as we love this sport, as much as we are in it, dedicated and professional, it is important to work hard.
In the other hand, you need to balance and try to have some recovery time, some downtime, which can recharge your batteries mentally most of all.
That's what I got, so now I'm very motivated to play Wimbledon.
Q.¬† You know what it's like to win here, to come back and defend.¬† You obviously know Andy very well.¬† How do you think he will react to the expectations here?¬† Do you think this will be something he'll take in his stride?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, it's something nobody can really predict.¬† I'm sure that Andy, with all the experience he has playing in the big matches, and especially here in front of his home crowd, understands and knows the way how to handle the pressure and expectation.
So I expect him to do well actually because he hasn't lost a match on Wimbledon Centre Court for a long time now, winning Wimbledon, winning the year before that Olympic Games, playing the final the year before.
He basically lost one match in two, three years, which is quite impressive.
Of course, he enjoys a lot of support of the home crowd.¬† Now being a champion of Wimbledon, defending champion, and this country having a British champion after so many years, of course there is a huge relief I'm sure that he feels in a way.
Because as the years went by in last five, six years, as he was getting better as a player, getting closer to this title, I think the pressure was building up so much.¬† And now that he managed to succeed finally last year, I think he's going to feel a little less pressure.
Of course, being in the role of a defending champion in a Grand Slam is a particular role.¬† It's more difficult than really being one of the guys that is fighting for a trophy and chasing down the defending champion.
Now being defending champion, it adds up a little bit more of that pressure.
As I said before, knowing Andy and the experience he has, I think he mentally a matured a lot in the last couple years.¬† Winning the Olympic Games and Wimbledon definitely helped his character, helped his mental strength, and I think he shouldn't feel that too much.
Q.¬† In the time that Boris Becker has been part of your team, what has he added for you?¬† What in particular here, where he as a player had a lot of success, is he bringing to your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† I think here where he had most success in his career, we can together have a great two weeks.¬† It's the first time we're working together in Wimbledon where he has won three times and played a couple other finals.
This is his surface.¬† This is his home.¬† This is where he feels most comfortable.
Of course, you know, he's very inspired to convey his messages, his advices to me, and try to point out the few objectives and few priorities on which I should focus, you know, during the time of the Grand Slam.
It's two weeks long, of course.¬† I'm glad to have Boris as a legend not just of Wimbledon, but tennis in general in my team.¬† I felt like the last month and a half has been great.¬† I started to feel more comfortable with him on the court and with him also in the box.
The chemistry has been much better now than it was in the start, obviously.¬† Not because any of us made some certain mistakes at the start of the relationship, it's just that it took time for us to get to know each other.
That's one of the reasons I got also Marjan to be present in Rome and Roland Garros as well.¬† This particular combination of two coaches being with me in these last two big events has also given me some great results.
I won in Rome, was in finals of Roland Garros, so we are happy in which direction we are heading right now.¬† Hopefully we can have another great two weeks here.
Q.¬† Taking into consideration what you were just saying about having some downtime after Paris, Boris' experience in your corner for the first time at Wimbledon, do you feel any different coming into this Wimbledon compared to some of the other ones?¬† If so, how so?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, not significantly different because I've had in last two years similar situations where I lost to Nadal in finals 2012, and also last year in a five‑setter in semifinals.
Those particular matches, and Roland Garros in general, has taken away a lot out of me emotionally.
So it was always important for me to take five, six days off to recharge.¬† That's the reason why I haven't been taking part in one of the these two lead‑up events.
Coming here to London earlier trying to get used to the grass and practice.¬† So generally the approach is more or less the same.¬† But, of course, I do feel different having Boris on my side, having a player who made a mark in this sport, especially in this tournament.
That's something I'm looking forward to experience during these two weeks.
Q.¬† We seem to talk more about the coaches than you players do.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† We have Boris to answer these questions (laughter).
Q.¬† You've known Andy as much as anybody in the main draw.¬† How surprised were you about his appointment of Am√©lie Mauresmo?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Honestly, a bit surprised.¬† It hasn't been the case in men's tennis for quite many years, I think.¬† You tell me when was the last time.
Q.¬† Billie Jean.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Billie Jean, exactly.
It is an interesting decision.¬† I'm sure that he knows why he has made that decision.
Talking about Am√©lie, she has also been a No.1, a Grand Slam champion, somebody that knows how it feels to play on a big stage and how to kind of cope with the pressure.
I think most of all she's very professional.¬† I don't know her that well, but she always seemed very dedicated to this sport and, you know, to progress and development and improvement.
You know, we'll see.¬† I mean, I don't know how that's going to turn out, this relationship.¬† But it's definitely an interesting decision, and we'll see how it goes in this tournament.
Q.¬† You had a great run in slam finals 2011, 2012.¬† Turned around in the last five or six.¬† Do you have to be careful you don't let that get into your head, let that get to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, I know that for a fact, but, again, I have to keep on moving.¬† I have to try to improve myself not just on the court, but understand well the mental aspect, what is happening in those finals, why I am not able to win a Grand Slam title in last couple of years.¬† Lost, what, four, five finals.
So that's something to work on.¬† It's one of the reasons why Boris is onboard.¬† As somebody who is a multiple Grand Slam winner, a No.1 of the world.¬† Getting to know him now better and better, spending more time with him, we actually have so many things in common.
He can definitely identify himself through my own course of life and experience and career, things I'm thinking about and experiencing.
So we're working on it.¬† It's a process that takes a little bit of time.
Q.¬† Do you think this is a more open Wimbledon than we've had for a few years with people like L√≥pez and Dimitrov looking good on grass?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yes.
Q.¬† Or will it be dictated by the usual suspects?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† I think it's going to be an open tournament because of the names that you just mentioned.¬† You know, top players have been very consistent obviously with their results, in the Grand Slams especially.
But I feel like there is a new wave of players, especially the younger generation, like Dimitrov and Raonic and Nishikori, Tomic, those kind of players, that have proven before that they can win against the top guys in the big events.
This can easily happen here.¬† Grass is a very rare surface in our sport.¬† There is only few weeks in the year that we play on this surface.¬† So especially for the top players, for us who haven't played a lead‑up event, who don't have a few official matches under the belt, it's going to take us some time to get into match play on this surface.
That's where it gets very dangerous, especially in the opening rounds.¬† If you have some big server like Karlovic, Isner, somebody coming up the opposite way, you have to be ready to play tiebreaks.
By the way, I practiced today with Ivo.¬† You can imagine we played a few tiebreaks.¬† That's what is expecting you on the grass.¬† So I think this tournament may have some surprises, like it was last year.¬† You had Janowicz‑‑ Kubot in quarters, Janowicz in semis; Nadal and Federer went out in the first couple rounds.
As I said, for the reasons I mentioned before, it's very tricky for top players.¬† Still you don't feel very comfortable.¬† The players you are playing against who are lower ranked, they have played a tournament or two before coming in.
So they have more matches.¬† They have nothing to lose.¬† They have this confidence about them on the court.
I wouldn't say it's so obvious that the usual suspects, as you mentioned before, will reach the final stages.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports