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June 25, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Stepanek
6/4, 6/3, 6/7, 7/6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You started well, and then it suddenly turned into a very tough match.  It got complicated for you, didn't it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I expected a tough match against Radek, who had already three, four matches in Queen's on this surface.  In the other side, I haven't had any official matches on the grass before coming into Wimbledon.
And first‑round match, I played great, but I didn't have, you know, much resistance from the other side, so I couldn't really see where my game is at.
That's why before the match I was, you know, more tense, knowing that Radek can produce a great quality on this surface.
He has great touch, great talent on the net.  He covered very well my passing shots.  He was reading it.
We practice a lot together.  Maybe we should slow that down.  He knows my game quite well (laughter).
You know, credit to him for fighting in the third.  I thought I could have finished the match in three sets.  But, you know, didn't come out with my first serve when I needed in the tiebreaker, and he came back.  He fighted.  It was a very close, very even fourth set.  Could have gone either way really.
So all in all just very glad that I managed to win this match because it was a great challenge, as I expected before the match.

Q.  Matches like this, two, three, four years down the line, do you remember them?  Do they blur after a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, of course you remember certain matches that were special in a way.  Today's match went around three‑and‑a‑half hours, Centre Court, crowd involved, great points, a lot of entertainment.
Definitely I'll remember this match today.

Q.  You said after the first round you didn't really have a chance to assess your game at this point.  After this match how do you assess your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I'm officially in the tournament now.  Definitely this has been a great challenge, as I said.  I'm really glad that I managed to stay tough mentally and win this match instead of going to five sets against a player who is specialist for this surface.
So it was a tough draw, very early in the tournament.  I managed to survive.  Served very well.  This is a part of my game that I'm happy about.  There are certain parts that I'm not so happy about.
But, again, could have expected that in a way because I didn't have any match before Wimbledon.  This was already a great test in the second round that I had.
I'm just happy to have spent this amount of time on the court, to play a lot of rallies, to return, to serve.  Physically I feel fine.  This can just help me mentally for the, you know, continuation of the event.

Q.  Obviously he's an entertaining player.  I've been talking to some players about it.  Some players are too vocal.  Monfils yesterday was talking the whole time through the match.  There's a thin line.  What do you think that line is that players can cross or not cross in terms of distracting the opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's a good question.  It's difficult to really answer on that because as an individual sport we have many different personalities and characters that, you know, have a different kind of approach for the match, different maybe behavior off the court, as well.
It's hard to judge for me.  I mean, I understand that everybody's trying to do something to feel comfortable on the court to win the match.  For somebody it's better to stay focused, not talk, not show emotions, that's fine.  But somebody likes to, as Gaël, to entertain, to get interaction with the crowd, with his team, which is absolutely fine.
I mean, I think that tennis is lacking a little bit of personalities, to be honest.  Because of the amount of tournaments we play, of course importance in the value of each match, you put your game face on when you're on the court.  You want to win.
On the other hand, it's sport.  People come to support the tennis, you as a player, but also they would like to see a little bit of your personality.  I think that's absolutely fine by me.  It's not something that I think has a negative impact on tennis.

Q.  Speaking of gamesmanship, I don't think it happened tonight, but bathroom breaks.  Obviously a famous one happened a couple years ago at the US Open with Andy Murray.  It's a trend of the last few years.  Do you still see it a lot and what are your feelings as using it as a timeout?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, bathroom break is allowed.  It's part of the rules.  As long as the player respects the rules, that's fine by me.
Of course, people can observe that from different perspectives and say, Okay, he used it tactically because he wants to, you know, break the roll of the player, his opponent, is on if he keeps on playing well.  He wants to mess around with his concentration a little bit.
But, again, it's debatable.  I don't think that the players would honestly say that they're doing it on purpose to interfere with other player's rhythm.
In the end of the day it stays behind the doors in a way.

Q.  Sounds like a strange question, I don't know if you've done it yourself, but is there anybody watching you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, by the rules you have to be followed by one of the line umpires, officials who is supposed to make sure that you're not doing anything illegal, wrong, not taking any kind of substance that can help you play better in the continuation of the match.
Of course they're not coming into the actual bathroom with you, but they're just standing next to the door.  They're making sure you respect the rules, let's say.

Q.  Did the amount of challenges that Radek made, the first point of the game, annoy you at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, it didn't annoy me.  He can use as many as he has, as many as he likes.  It was quite funny to see that.
I thought a couple of times he had late challenges.  I thought the chair umpire should have stepped in a little bit earlier and say he was not allowed if he takes a little bit too much time.  That's all.
But other than that, it's difficult to see on the grass courts.  I mean, the ball travels so fast, it doesn't leave any mark.  You cannot blame any line umpires, chair umpires.  It's just difficult to see.
I think the challenge system, since it has been implemented in our sport, it has helped a lot, especially on this surface for players and for, of course, umpires.

Q.  Did you concede a point to him?

Q.  Why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Look, I mean, maybe people would think it's wrong or right what I say.  But for me it's just natural.  For me it's just something that is normal to do.
If I feel like I had no chance to play that ball, of course I would concede the point.  I've done it a few times in the past.  Okay, yes, the point was very important.  It was 5‑All and, what, my advantage, deuce.
Again, nevertheless, I think it's fair.  It's fair play.  It's something that I would expect my opponent to do for me. 
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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