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January 7, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/S. Stakhovsky
6‑2, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What did you make of your day?  Two wins on the same day on the Serbian Christmas?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, Orthodox Christmas.  It's the biggest holiday that we have.  Obviously not a holiday for me.  I'm working on the court.  But it's a big day.  So I'm really glad that I was able to perform well and get two wins on this day.

Q.  I understand there are so many things to do during a tournament, and, you know, a lot of pressure for the singles.  But people like so much doubles.  You don't think is the case to push the ATP to organize yourself?  Because some of yours, big names, play more in doubles during the tournament?  Because there are so much people likes that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, we like playing doubles, too.  But, you know, there is a question of scheduling, of order of play.  You know, the way it is today, it's very difficult for a top player to commit to play many doubles tournaments, if you know what I mean, because, you know, you need to kind of rationalize, modify the energy spending during the tournament.  You need to prioritize singles, and that's why, in my case, I talk for myself, I play only few times a year.
So that's why I was enjoying it very much today on the court.  I'm glad Filip and I played, and we won against very good doubles players that play only doubles and they are specialists for the doubles.
So I enjoy it very much.  I do.  I think it also helps my singles game in terms of serve and return and reaction.
But, you know, you would need to change few things if you would like to upgrade the doubles in some way.

Q.  In the singles, he nearly broke back in the middle of the first set, and after that, after you survived that, you seemed to get better and better.  Did your rhythm build up and were you pleased with the way you improved?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  Well, obviously not playing Sergiy for a while, I didn't know what to expect.  I knew he's going to come out, be aggressive, try to mix up the pace.  And that's what he did.  He sliced well in the start of the match.
I didn't play so ‑‑I didn't start the match so great, but I managed to hold my serve on 4‑2, and from that moment on it felt as a different match.  I felt I was more swinging through the ball on the court and just playing more confidently.

Q.  What was it, a case of getting used to the pace of the court and the conditions or what?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Just sometimes it happens that you start slower.  But, you know, it's important to adjust.  And as I said, not playing Sergiy for a while, you know, obviously it raises the question of how he's going to start the match, if he's going to serve and volley or stay back.
Those are the thoughts that maybe go through your mind, so you're kind of still getting the feel of your opponent and what his intentions are.  That's maybe why I started a little bit slower.

Q.  Is there anything you can say about what happened to Rafa?  Is there anything you can say about playing him in the doubles?  Is that something you look forward to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I do look forward to playing in doubles against Rafa, of course.  Playing him in singles so many times, over 40 times we played.  I don't think we played‑‑ we played maybe once or twice in doubles against each otherand once together as well in Toronto.
Yeah, it's going to be interesting to play against each other in doubles, which is not the common case for us, but I look forward to that.
Regarding his loss yesterday against Berrer, I watched a little bit of the third set.  You know, it's obvious he's still not playing at his highest level, and I think that he is setting up a form for the Australian Open.  That's where he wants to perform his best and that's where he always performs his best, in Grand Slams.
So I don't think that this is ‑‑it was a surprise, no question about it, but, you know, I don't think that that maybe worries him too much.  But, you know, considering the absence from the tour and the amount of tournaments he has played in the last five months, it's not easy to start off really well from the beginning.

Q.  How do you feel about playing the man who's hit 9,000 aces?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  How do you think I feel about that (laughter)?  I'm definitely going to try to get some good sleep so my reaction tomorrow is quick, because I'm going to need that, definitely.
We all know how Ivo is serving.  He is one of the best servers ever to play the game.  He's right up there on the all‑time list of aces.  And, you know, other than that, I think he has improved actually in the last couple of years, even though he's 36, his baseline game from forehand side especially, and he's going for it, you know.
If you serve two, three aces average per game, then you put a lot of pressure on your opponent's serve.  Opponent makes one double fault here and there, makes one mistake and the match is gone.  That's why it's very important for me to stay mentally strong and just wait for the opportunities, wait for some second serves so sometimes if I read his serve and hope that he can miss some volleys.

Q.  Besides two match wins, did you get other Christmas presents?  Anything you can tell us about or how you celebrated maybe before you came here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  Well, we just ‑‑I spent the whole day today here, so I'm going to go back now with my baby and wife and just have a quiet evening and just enjoy being together.  It's difficult to, I would say, nurture or feel all the kind of rituals of the Christmas if you are on the road, if you're on the tour, especially if you're playing two matches in a day.
You know, most of the day I spent without them.  So just being there, just holding the baby in my arms is going to be enough for me.  It's the biggest present I can have.

Q.  Do you enjoy playing against Karlovic, or is it something like a challenge or you hate that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Honestly, I'm still to meet the player that enjoys playing him (smiling).  I don't think that anybody really enjoys it.  It's a big challenge, obviously, mentally I think most of all because of the reasons that I just noted just a few minutes ago, and that's all, you know.
The key is to try to get as many returns back in play.  Also there will probably be some games where he's going to serve two, three aces.  I'm going to have to accept that, but, you know, these particular matches, when you play somebody that serves that well, one of the best all‑time servers in tennis history, then you just need to wait and be patient and, you know, hope that, you know, that you can capitalize on the opportunities when they are presented and also be prepared for at least one tiebreak.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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