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October 8, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you talk about how you played out there today.  What did you think of your form?  What did you think about your opponent, since you didn't play him before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I thought I played very well considering the fact that it was the first match, coming off the tournament win in Beijing.  It's always difficult to play the first match on a court I haven't played on for a year.  So I haven't had any practice on the center court.  The conditions are slightly different, so it takes a little bit of time.
But, you know, I had to be on alert from the start because he was serving already 215 kilometers per hour first service games.  He was serving big, playing big.  As I understand he's in the top 50, definitely right up there as one of the most talented players.
He's got the power.  He's got the power.  I never played him.  I practiced with him quite a few times on different surfaces.  Nice guy.  But, you know, some shots today that he was playing was incredible.  Backhand along the lines.
He was going for it.  I don't blame him.  He's a young player, playing on center court, it's his opportunity to shine.  He did well.  I thought we played some really good points and a great match overall.

Q.  What about your own performance and also the difference in the conditions from Beijing to here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Slight difference.  I felt like maybe because we had a lot of exchanges from the baseline, we used the balls, so the balls were pretty slow.  We were supposed to play around 4:00.  We started playing around I think 6:00 or something like that.  It was already dark.
Later in the day, the conditions get to be a bit slower.  Sometimes I didn't feel like I could penetrate through the ball.  He was getting some extra balls back.
But, you know, generally I feel like I played well when I needed to, served well particularly in important moments.  Saved couple breakpoints with the serve.  Made crucial breaks at the start of both sets.  That was good enough for the first round.

Q.  When you return to a venue where you've had success, does it feel extra special when you walk out onto that same court?  Do the memories come back from a year ago?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Nice memories, no question about it.  I had a great 2008 when the Masters Cup was played here.  My first Masters Cup was 2007 in Shanghai.  2008 I came back, in the year I won my first Grand Slam, won the Masters Cup here.  Great memories from that year.  Also great memories from 2012 and '13 with titles back‑to‑back.
This is one of the nicest center courts we have.  Definitely one of the most impressive ones with the retractable roof.  The center is just incredible.  All the facilities, the top players have their separate locker rooms.  The quality of the food is very high.  The comfort, the hotels, everything.
There's no doubt that this is probably the best tournament, organization‑wise, in the world in this category.  It was voted by the players for so many years in a row.  They keep the standards very high.  That's why all the players feel very good.

Q.  You talked about your first Masters Cup.  How does it feel growing up with a new tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, the Masters Cup was held here for many years in a row.  I feel like the attendance, the crowd, is getting bigger and bigger as the years went by.  Last year was really nice.  For the last three, four days, it was a full stadium.  It's a big stadium, as you see, 14,000, 15,000 seats.  There is a certain kind of tennis culture being nurtured in this city starting from the Masters Cup and now having a 1000 event.
Tennis, because of Na Li, in the last couple years in China has gotten very big.  We just hope to see more kids in China taking a tennis racquet.  This is a huge country, a huge nation, and it would mean a lot for our sport.
This tournament and the tournament in Beijing are doing a great job.  Chinese people want to see top 10 tennis players, so for us it's a pleasure to be here.

Q.  Just a fun one.  I understand you said a few words in Chinese after your Beijing win.

Q.  Tell us about that.  Are you planning on learning some language?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The beauty of this sport is you get to travel through so many different countries, meet different cultures.  Well, if you have the will to learn different languages, as well.  That's definitely one of my main interests, let's say, in life.  I love languages.  I feel like people do appreciate you if you show some respect towards their culture by speaking their language.  You show appreciation to them and to their language.  Just the communication, the relationship gets smoother from there.
I've been learning a few extra sentences, a few extra characters in Chinese over the years.  It's not where some other languages are in terms of level of my knowledge.  It's completely different from European kind of Slavic language rules or Latin roots.  It's not that easy to learn Chinese.
But I do feel like I'm upgrading my knowledge every year with the great help of a lot of fans that are very loyal and very nice to me.  They taught me actually the new character that I have drawn today, written on the camera, which means happiness and good luck.  Only good words, good characters.  Nothing in the wrong direction.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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