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June 27, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6/4, 6/2, 6/4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How would you describe how you hurt your shoulder and its condition?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was obviously a scary fall.  And, you know, I talked with Boris.  We obviously need to work on my diving volleys, learning how to fall down on the court.  I'm not very skillful in that (smiling).
I tried to land on my left arm.  I basically had a strong impact on the shoulder.  When I stood up, you know, I felt that click or pop, whatever you call it.  I feared, you know, maybe it might be a dislocated shoulder or something like that, or joint problem.
But luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no damage, significant, that can cause a bigger problem.
I just came from the doctor's office, ultrasound.  It's all looking good.

Q.  Other than working with Boris the next couple of days on your diving, how will this affect your regimen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  As I said, there is no major damage which means that I'm quite confident that it will not affect my physical state or regimen or daily routine.
I think it's going to be fine.  Anyway, they told me usually in these kind of particular cases you might feel soreness in the next couple of days.  But I can play around with practices and recovery and see how it goes.  But I'm quite confident it's going to be all right for next one.

Q.  Any issue with your footwear?  Last year there was a bit of a problem and you had to change the tread.  Is that something that's causing a problem on the grass?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, the rules are the same for everybody considering the footwear.  Adidas shoes that I've been using for most of my professional career are quite good for the grass courts.  They're the same like Andy Murray's or any other adidas player.
In last couple of years there were some, you know, talks and rumors about certain players having a little bit of an advantage with the sole of the shoe, but this year the referee's office made sure that all the shoes, regardless of the ranking of the player, is exactly the same and according to the rules.
The grass courts are usually slippery at the beginning of the tournament, especially at the back of the court where I spend most of my time.  It happens that you slip and fall.  It happens to everybody, especially when you change the direction quickly.  It's a very dynamic sport.  So we all know that there is always a potential, a danger that you're going to fall down several times during the match the opening week.
But, again, there is not a big difference in courts.  I would say slightly it's more slippery than it was last year.  But, you know, that's grass.  You can't expect it to be different.

Q.  You face Jo‑Wilfried Tsonga next.  What do you fear most about his game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't fear anything.  I expect him to serve well.  I think that's his advantage.  Obviously the serve in any corner.  Coming to the net, he's a very aggressive player.  If he's on, if he feels good on the certain day, he can beat anybody really.
Going back a few years ago, playing semifinals against him, 2011, I remember that match well, and also Olympic Games.  I won both of the matches but I know what threat he can cause on this surface.

Q.  How did it feel when you feared your shoulder might be dislocated?  Your Wimbledon could have been over.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, that split second was not pleasant, definitely, the feeling that I had.  Again, that's why you have the medical team that reassures you and checks if everything is fine with your joint.  Luckily for me it's all positive news.

Q.  The immediate feeling must be relief?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  After a minute or two, I started moving my shoulder, did the regular tests with the physiotherapist and the doctor present.  They analyzed the whole situation.  They gave their expertise in trying to come up with a proper diagnosis.
They said the joint is not damaged, which is the most important thing.

Q.  That would be the worst way to go out of a tournament, wouldn't it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, it would.

Q.  A couple of the younger players who have been trying to break into the top four, to make it to finals and win majors the way you and the other three guys in the top four have, have said they've learned a lot from the way you four conduct yourself.  What would you most want them to learn from the way you four as a group have conducted yourself on and off the court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think you have mentioned something that I think is really important, not just for a top player, a successful tennis player on the court, but also somebody that carries the name of this sport in a proper way and understands the responsibility of being a top player in a very global sport.
Having the right and proper balance between on and off court responsibilities and duties, aside the fact that you are always there to perform your best, to give your maximum of your effort, not just for you and your opponent, but for all the crowd that is coming to see you.  So this is something that young players will discover and will learn in the future that every single match, wherever they are, they always have to give their best.
As they climb the rankings ladder, they will also encounter a lot of pressure, expectations from the media, from the people.
It's not any more about them being tennis players, it's about them being complete personalities who represent this sport.
I believe there is this responsibility of respecting your opponents, respecting everybody, respecting the sport, respecting and being grateful for the opportunity to be there.
I think, in my eyes, that's essential for anybody who is at the top.

Q.  You famously celebrate your victory by eating the grass.  Some climb into the player's box.  This year Wimbledon is encouraging players not to climb up on the roof if they win.  Should players be free to celebrate as they wish?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That was also kind of a part of traditional celebrations in all the Grand Slams, especially here in Wimbledon.
I can't say it's wrong for the players to go straight to their box after they win the match because I understand the need to share this beautiful moment and victory with your closest ones.
Maybe it doesn't look proper for this kind of history and tradition we have in Centre Court in Wimbledon, for the rules, just the general image.  But I believe that's also part of sincere emotions that the players show in the end, wanting to celebrate with their closest ones.

Q.  Compare with this time last year.  Your opening round was entirely straightforward.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  There are things in my game I would like to improve in a few days and see if I can do better in the next match.  I definitely need to gear up for the next match against Tsonga, which is a great challenge, as I was speaking before.
But for now everything is going in the right direction.  I hope I'll elevate my game as the tournament progresses.  If I don't do that, then I'll find myself in a very difficult position.

Q.  What about players who need to move to the next level?  One of our own players, Heather Watson, has suggested that some of our British players are mollycoddled or perhaps lazy.  From where you have battled through in Serbia, do you see it that way?  Because of the facilities, the LTA gives them so much money, do you think the English players have it a little bit easier?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  There was a lot of talk about the lack of success in British tennis, having Wimbledon, having LTA as a very successful organization who has invested over £40 million into the National Tennis Center.  Of course they're expecting to produce a new wave of successful players that can compete with top players for major titles.
This country has the history of this sport, obviously beginning with this tournament.  There is no reason to believe that they would not want to have more global success and players who are able to reach bigger heights.
But, again, it's probably a systemic problem or issue that they have to work with, the mental approach of the players.  Having the right conditions, having everything in front of you at your availability to use anytime you like is not essential for success at the top level.
It's an individual sport.  It's quite different from any other team sport.  It's important to have the right mental approach, the hunger for success, the proper surroundings, the people who can encourage you who know in which way you should develop and practice day‑to‑day.
In my own experience, I could feel everything that I do on a daily basis on and off the court will reflect sooner or later on my success and on my tennis results.
It's very complex and very demanding sport in general because you are alone on the court and you cannot rely on anybody else once you are there.  It's you against your opponent.  It's becoming more and more popular around the world, which makes the competition stronger.
But, again, considering the tradition that this country has in this sport, the conditions that they have with their National Tennis Center, I believe sooner or later they will have a certain amount of players, both men and women, who will fight for major titles.

Q.  Over the past months you've been a little reluctant to share all the tips and suggestions that Boris has made.  He's the best diver in the history of this game.  Could you reveal what he's told you already or what you anticipate him telling you about the dive?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I know you would like to hear a lot about what we talk about in the relationship and so forth.  But, you know, I can't talk too much.  Those are the kind of instructions I get.
But generally where he helps me the most and where I feel the biggest change is from a mental point of view.  Obviously it's going to take a little bit of time for us to find the perfect balance and the work that we have will reflect on the court with results.
I mean, we already have now couple titles together.  We have finals of French Open.  It's already starting to build up.  I start to feel the effect of his advices and his presence.
Of course we are working on certain parts of my game.  But there are no major changes, and there will not be any major changes.  I will not start serving and volleying because this is not the way I've been brought up or I've been learned to play.  I'm a different player than what he was in terms of play.  But in terms of mental approach and a couple of other things, I find that we have a lot of things in common.
That's where I always look forward to talk with him and to get this necessary experience from him and use it in my own case.

Q.  You feel it's helping you and you're trending in the right direction?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Of course.  That's the reason why he's there, because we want to have a success together.  We want to come up with a new kind of approach that is going to allow me to grow mentally and of course as a player, and hopefully that can be very soon.

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