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October 27, 2014

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you talk about how difficult it was to focus on tennis while you and your wife Jelena were expecting your first child?  And also, what do you think about the challenge of having both your career and your duties as a dad?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we were expecting a child for nine months, so it was a very long time for me that didn't take much of a ‑‑it wasn't like a distraction to my career and to my tennis.  In contrary, I was very much looking forward for us to become parents and to live this joyful moment together.
So it happened almost a week ago, and luckily I was there and it didn't interfere with my tennis schedule.  It was the most beautiful thing that ever happened in my life and her life, definitely.

Q.  How do you feel about the race to the No. 1?  Is it a main goal for you to the end of the season?  Or do you feel Roger coming back so strong behind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Honestly, the way I feel right now, I feel like I'm already No. 1 with becoming a father last week.  For me, this is the most important moment in my life.
At this stage, for the tennis, of course Roger is playing some great tennis, and he showed that before US Open, US Open, and then of course winning Shanghai and played a great match against me in semifinals and now winning Basel.  So he's coming close in the rankings, and I'm sure that he's going to be very motivated to fight for No. 1.  It's pretty much open.
I do defend a lot of points here in London, but over the years I have been playing well in Paris and in London.  I prepared myself well.  Under the circumstances I tried to get as much hours on the court as possible, and right now I will try to be with all my focus and attention in this tournament and take one match at a time.
Of course it is, for both of us, the goal of No. 1 to finish the year as No. 1 of the world.  Of course it's a big objective.  He has the Davis Cup final, but I'm sure that he would like to be No. 1, as well.
So we both are playing well, and that's something that is definitely going to play a big role in the upcoming weeks.

Q.  Firstly, congratulations.  Secondly, could you talk a bit about ‑‑Roger is 33, obviously had a very difficult year last year.  Has it surprised you ‑‑you're obviously going to fight hard to keep the No. 1, but has it surprised you just how much of a challenge he's offered to this position this year, given his age?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I never honestly sign him out in any year.  Even this year that ‑‑you know, last year I think it was his worst year in last ten years of his career, and he didn't play as well and he had some unexpected losses, but this year he came out strong again, competing for Grand Slam titles, now competing for No. 1 of the world, and I never thought that he's not a competition for No. 1 of the world.
I never thought‑‑ never signed him out, never ruled him out.  I always thought that he's one of the best players in the world, and he keeps on proving everybody that he deserves to be there.
I have lots of respect for what he does.  I don't think that age is an issue for him.  As a matter of fact, I think he's playing some of his best tennis this year.

Q.  You didn't get a whole lot of indoor buildup to this tournament.  Just wondering how hard it is to adjust to this and just in general how important the indoor part of the calendar is and the big picture of the tour, because there is not a Grand Slam indoors but there are still a couple big events right at the end of the year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, schedule has been this way for many years already, and in my own personal schedule I didn't play too many times a leadup indoor tournament before Paris, so it's not the first time that I have to face this particular situation.
Last year it was the same:  Beijing, Shanghai, and then Paris, London.  Had an incredible finish of the end of the year.
So I will try to do, you know, like that, you know, try to repeat a success, or if not then, then something similar.  Of course it's not going to be easy.  I do ask always a lot from myself.  I expect a lot from myself.  I have high ambitions.
But, you know, this is, aside of the World Tour Finals, the last tournament of the year for many players, so I'm sure that many players are motivated to finish off the year in style and many of them, they are, you know, they'll find that last necessary drop of strength and energy to perform well.
So that's why this tournament will be interesting, because also there are a few players that are fighting for last couple of spots in London, and of course Roger and myself for No. 1.  So there are things there at stake.
But I look forward to it.  The challenge is always there, and these are the biggest tournaments in the world.

Q.  How much of an effect do you think being a father will have on your professional career?  Roger has generally traveled all around the world with his children.  Do you expect to do the same?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I will try to have my family travel with me as much as they can, obviously.  For me, it's important to participate in my child's life as much as I can, in his development, in his growing up, in his childhood.
If I can, I would like to be with him every single day and with my wife, but sometimes that's not possible, like this week for example, or London, because the baby is too young to travel yet.
But beginning, starting from next year, we'll try to be together.  It's not easy, the kind of lifestyle that a tennis player has.  There is a lot of traveling, a lot of hotels, a lot of planes.
So it's not, let's say, the healthiest option for a baby, of course, because you would like to have your child be in one place and have a certain routine.
But again, we'll try to manage this situation.  We have talked about it.  We have prepared ourselves in a way that we know what's expecting us.  I mean, Roger, you mentioned Roger, there are, aside him, there are many other players who have the similar situation, so I try to talk with them and get some tips or some necessary experiences that they can share with me so it can help in my own case.
You know, I hope that it's going to affect positively on my career.  In terms of my approach to the tennis, nothing is really changing.  I'm still out here, still fighting, competing, and then trying to be No. 1 of the world, trying to win tournaments where I play on.
So schedule‑wise, it's not going to affect as it didn't affect this tournament, for example, so my wife has, thank God, a lot of understanding for what I do and she's a great support.  Of course, the only thing now is we have the baby, so it's a big change in terms of priorities in life.
Of course they are my main priority, and they are definitely, in terms of that, that life will change, but in terms of scheduling, the tennis, my own passion for the sport, there is nothing that is going to change.

Q.  Congratulations.

Q.  You're talking about routine, and I have to ask you this:  Your routine, your morning routine, you have a routine when you wake up in the morning?  And if that's true, could you tell us what it is?  What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Are you testing me if I know what is in the book (smiling)?
First thing in the morning that I do.  Well, if you want to know, I have some water and I go to toilet (laughter).  I think you don't want to know too many details around there, but generally, if I can, if the weather is nice, I open the window, I do a little bit of stretch, and I go to breakfast.

Q.  No honey involved?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Honey?  Well, of course I didn't know what you were referring to.  So if you're referring to food and drinks, yeah, it's water and honey and fruits and so forth.

Q.  Kohlschreiber for the first round.  It's as tricky as it can get coming back on the tour?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  It's definitely a tough draw, but, you know, there is no easy or difficult draw.  Any match is, at this level, is a big challenge, especially because I haven't played indoors for so long.
And, yeah, Kohlschreiber is a great quality player that is all‑around player that plays equally well on all surfaces and very dynamic game, very fast all over the court, good serve.
So it's a bit slower conditions here, so I think it's more suitable to his style of the game.  He played well today.  I saw a few games.  Last time we played‑‑ where did we play?  Just recently in US Open and was not an easy match, definitely.
I expect a tough one, definitely.  I will just try to kind of pay attention on what I need to do, what I need to achieve on the court tactic‑wise, and I have everybody from my team around here that are supporting me.
We went through some good couple of days of practice.  I arrived here on Saturday, so I had time to kind of get used to the conditions, and hopefully the first match will go well.

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