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January 6, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/D. Lajovic
6‑2, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What do you make of that performance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I thought it was very good performance under the circumstances that I was in for the last couple of days.  I didn't know how I will feel.  I did everything I could in my power to get ready physically and health‑wise for this tournament.
So, you know, I would be very sad if I didn't participate in this event, and I was already here for the first time ever in my career, so that's why I did everything I could.  I was very glad that I was able to play.  I played for the first time against Dusan.  I know him for many years now.  He's a generation of my younger brother.  I saw him grow up.  I practiced with him many times.
You know, I watched him play in Davis Cup, obviously, but we never played an official match.  It was a great test.  He's a very quick player, and I thought I did very well.

Q.  At what stage did you really think you were certainly going to be able to play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think yesterday, the way I felt on the court in doubles.  Obviously it's not the same playing singles and doubles, but still it allowed me to really see how I feel and under the, let's say, competitive mode of being on the court and, you know, I felt good.
It didn't take much energy out of me.  I slept well.  And then today was a day dedicated to this match.  I practiced for 30 minutes on the sun today, and again, felt much better than it felt yesterday.  So I thought in the doubles match that's where I knew I was going to play.

Q.  Is it too soon to know how your body has recovered from this first competitive match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, honestly, you know, we played just under an hour, so I don't think it's going to take too much of a toll on my body even though my body did spend a lot of energy fighting the illness in last couple of days, so I still am not feeling 100%, obviously, but I feel like as we progress day after day I'm confident it's going to be better.

Q.  Can you say something about how much proud you are to be No. 1 of the world, what it means exactly to be No. 1 in a sport like tennis, which is really very, very big?  And the feeling you are when you see your child, you cannot say to him that daddy is No. 1?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it was a great privilege and honor to be the No. 1 in the sport that has captured my heart from the first moment that I stepped on the court and first time I seen this sport on TV that my family love, and since I was four years old I have been playing this sport.
So the source of love comes, you know, comes from the pure, you know, core essence of, you know, the passion and, you know, the dedication that I have to this sport.  Of course, I'm not the first one and only one who, you know, hoped that he can be No. 1 of the world, so there is thousands and thousands of players that have this similar goal and desire and ambition one day to be No. 1.
So knowing that, it allows me to appreciate every moment that I am here.  And also, the fact that I am No. 1, it doesn't, you know, just mean that I have the responsibility to carry myself on the court but also off the court.  This is a very global sport played globally around the world by many, many people, millions of people, and I think by some statistic that it's second‑ or third‑most played sport in the world, which says enough about popularity of tennis.
So knowing that, there is a huge impact to what you do as a tennis player and especially as somebody that is No. 1.  So I always have that in the back of my mind.  I try to always have a team of experts around me, not just in the field of sports and sports science but many different fields of life so they can help me to carry this role in the best possible way.

Q.  To go back to the game, it was very quick.  You finished like in 58, 59 minutes.  You had some difficulties in the first set.  Was it due to the weather conditions?  Because it was a little bit humid, windy over there.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, I didn't think that the conditions affected me too much on the court.  I just felt that I needed some time to kind of get used to the conditions, the court, the play, but most of all to, you know, kind of break the ice of being on the court after not playing tennis for a couple of days and after, you know, not knowing how my body and my health is going to react.
So I struggled a little bit on the start.  But once I got into the rhythm, into the groove, it felt better.

Q.  As somebody who normally doesn't play this week of the year, how do you expect or hope that this will help you heading into the Australian Open, which is obviously a big goal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it can only help me.  It can only allow me to have, obviously hoping that I can have as many matches as possible in this tournament, both singles and doubles, and try to enjoy this tournament.
Obviously the Australian Open is the most important event now at this stage of the schedule, of the season of ATP, but I really want to enjoy this tournament because I never played this before.  And I am not just saying that because I'm here, but I really do feel comfortable with my family here.  As soon as we landed, we felt that as an athlete or as a tennis player, you do feel very privileged to be here.  His Highness and, you know, many other people around have a lot of appreciation for tennis and they invest a lot in the sport.
I just had this honor to meet His Highness just after the match, and we spoke about Doha's and Qatar's contribution to the sport and to tennis specifically.  I mean, this tournament has been existing for over 20 years basically, and it's the first time that I'm here.
So actually, as a tennis player, I really feel privileged.  I feel like people appreciate what you do.  They respect you.  They come to support.  The atmosphere on the stadium was very nice, and I think it's going to be even better.

Q.  If you could possibly like put on a fan's hat, can you kind of understand‑‑ it seems like fans are most fascinated with how Rafa is going to do at the Australian, knowing that you ended the year really strongly and Roger had a really strong year last year, but, you know, Rafa again coming off a year with serious injuries but has proven in the past that he has done really incredibly well after that.  Can you kind of comprehend that fascination of fans with Rafa?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think the anticipation for the Australian Open from the fans' perspective is growing, and I think the expectations from everybody are very high from all the top players, but most of all, I think what makes it very interesting is the fact that we have, as I said a few days ago, more players that are able to win this trophy, you know, to win the Grand Slam trophy, and that's what is going to make this Australian Open unpredictable, even though you do have, in terms of ranking or in terms of success in the previous years, certain players that will be a bigger favorite than others.
But yet I think we can expect, especially the beginning of the season, the Australian Open is very well known for surprises, very well known as, you know, a Grand Slam that always kind of produces some new names, you know, who come up and play final stages of the event.
So specifically talking about Rafa, yeah, we don't know how he's going to, you know, perform, first of all, here and then the Australian Open.  He hasn't played many matches in the last couple of months.  Actually, as a matter of fact, since Wimbledon he has played only couple of events.
I think he's going to answer that question better.  But of course the fans are eager to see how he's going to do.
Then you have Roger that had, I thought, a terrific season in 2014.  So Andy, as well, coming off from the back surgery, having ups and downs throughout 2014 season but managing to get to London, maybe not playing up to his standards, but I'm sure he's going to be motivated to do well.  It's pretty much open, to be honest.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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