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August 6, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils
6‑2, 6‑7, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Starting off a tournament with such a hard‑fought battle, does it allow you to get more focused that much quicker when you have such a tough match to start a tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I was playing really good first set and a half, and then just dropped the first‑serve percentage and allowed him to come back to the match.
He started playing better, playing more efficiently.  It was a pretty even match from midway through second all the way through to the last point. Either one could win.
In a way it was fun, of course, and entertaining to be part of this match.  I enjoyed it.  I tried to take the positives from this long match, and those are obviously the fact that I stayed over two‑and‑a‑half hours on the court and I have not played an official hard‑court match since Miami finals.
That helps obviously to play a little bit more, to feel the court, to feel the conditions.  Also, my next opponent has a very similar game, power game like Gaël's.
I'm not feeling tired, I'm not exhausted, I haven't played a tournament for four weeks.  I of course look forward to compete more.

Q.  What are the biggest adjustments you have to make when you go four months, you know, clay, grass, and then here you are back on the hard court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, plenty of things.  First of all, you try to get of course as much practice and as much hours as you can on the court that you play on.  That's why most of the top guys who are not taking part in any follow‑up event to Canada Open are coming here earlier around Wednesday, Thursday, to get at least five, six days before they actually play first match.
That's what I have been done.  I have been doing that for many years.  Obviously the movement is different.  Clay and grass are softer for the joints.  They are softer for the knees, for the ankles.  And so you have to pay attention and specific preparation, physical preparation, movement.  And recovery is always equally important, because you can easily get injured at the start of the season.  You don't want to have that before, you know, before the big tournaments like this or US Open that's coming up.

Q.  It seemed like you were struggling a little on the backhand today particularly down the line.

Q.  That's uncharacteristic for you.

Q.  Is it something you noticed?  How do you make adjustments?  Did it have anything to do with conditions down there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, conditions were not easy, but it's pretty much the same for both of us on the court.  That's not an excuse.
I lost my footing on the court.  I thought, you know, set and a half, as I said, I felt I hit the ball cleanly and didn't make many unforced errors, made him play, put a lot of returns back.  Then he started serving better and, as I said, decreased the first‑serve percentage, and he was looking for the opportunities to come, you know, to attack.
He played really well.  I mean, he mixed up the game.  He mixed up the pace.  He used his slice well.
Yeah, he was a break up in the third, so, you know, it was very important for me to get back on serve into the third set, because the way he was serving was not easy to make a break.  I was a little bit slower on my footing, I believe, from the baseline and as you mentioned on the backhand.
So that's something I will try to improve for the next match, definitely.

Q.  Physically you were clearly back in shape after your sort of time off, but emotionally it's been quite a demanding month for you with Wimbledon and then obviously your personal circumstances.  How do you get yourself back into the frame of mind of focusing on tennis again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's a first and last time I hope I'm getting married, and of course it is  different circumstances that I'm in (laughter).
But it's, you know, it's been many years already that I have been on the professional tour and with the same team of people around me who are experts in their fields and their professions, and they are making sure I'm in the right frame of mind and in the right zone.
And of course I'm the one who is doing the job obviously, and I'm the one who should win the match.  It's easier said than done, but I have had pretty much the same schedule for many years.  Of course there is a little thing that is different now, it's called wedding, but it can bring me only joy and all the positive emotions, because that's what I have taken away from that.
Growing up and maturing as a person, as a player, of course each year you are facing different kind of circumstances and challenges and obstacles in life or on the tennis court, and, you know, you always try to be stronger and kind of learn the lesson and kind of continue that developing, because that's hard to compare any years or my game now comparing to what it was, what it was three years ago.
It's not possible, because I'm a different person and three years older, and I have different circumstances in life that obviously influence also my tennis.

Q.  I know you said it was fun out there.  I'm just wondering if any of the spectacle from the things that Monfils was doing was distracting at all or if the crowd was distracting you at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, I don't think ‑‑the crowd was good.  It was very nice to see that for the first match we already had almost full stadium.  And I think, you know, the interest of the crowd, the attention of the crowd was there.
Gaël is Gaël.  That's what he does.  He loves jumping around, sliding, he's very unpredictable.  You don't know what his next move is, so that's why he's so interesting.
I said before that he's probably the only guy in the world, tennis player, that I would pay a ticket to watch the match.  He's really fun to watch but not so much fun to play against.

Q.  Follow‑up question on that.  I was about to ask you how tough is it to play such an unpredictable opponent?  Because your next one is a bit like it, as well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah.  A little bit less unpredictable with Tsonga, but still a player that relies on heavy shots with much power from the serve, forehand. You know, he has won against me, won against each of the top players on a big stage, as well, so he knows exactly how to play centre court.
I'm sure he's going to be aggressive tomorrow, try to throw everything he's got.  But, you know, we just recently played in Wimbledon, was a tough three‑setter.  I know what to expect in some way, and I have a good score against him in last couple of years, and try to prepare myself with the team for that match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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