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January 24, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/F. Verdasco
7-6, 6-3, 6-4
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important was it to win that first set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was turning point probably winning the tiebreaker as close as it was. I thought I served very well, allowed myself to have a lot of free points in the first serve. What I could have done better I thought was just capitalizing on the opportunities, breakpoint opportunities, especially in the first set. But again, credit to him for playing well, serving very well, especially down the T. It's hard when somebody serves 215 down the T, on the line, you can't do much about it. I thought it was a good match. It was a big challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player. Somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game. I'm glad to go through in straight sets.

Q. He said he was particularly impressed with your serving, you were varying it a lot. Are you pleased with how you served?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I'm pleased. I didn't give him too many of the similar serves. I changed the pace, the angles. I tried to go for accuracy, vary with the serve, not give him rhythm. He had a couple of opportunities. I think the closest he was was Love-40 in the second set. And then couple of the last serve, my service games in the third set where he get 15-30, Love-30. But because I served well, I think that's what helped me to get out of the trouble in these big moments.

Q. What you said on court about playing some of your best tennis out on the stadium, does that ring true between the lines, that if you come on a certain court, have had success there in the past, you have more confidence just because of the place?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. It's a great confidence booster if you are on the court if you have great memories and you won the tournament four times. It's not any tournament. It's a Grand Slam, one of the four most important events in our sport. Yeah, I'm always trying to have that in the back of my mind, the great performances I had over the years. I try to use that in my advantage.

Q. Gilles Muller next. Somewhat surprising given what's gone on before. What do you know about Gilles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he's been on the tour for many years. Best junior in the world. He's got a great serve, lefty. So I think the match tonight will help me in the next one, as well. He has a similar game, except he serves on volleys and he comes to the net. He has a nice slice serve. That's his favorite. But he struggled a little bit with injuries last couple years, but I think last six months has been playing some of his best tennis. Finals in Sydney. Now fourth round winning against some top players. Winning against Isner in straight sets is never easy. He has done that. So he deserves respect. I need to be obviously very alert and hopefully I can return well, which is going to be one of the keys of the match.

Q. Sounds like you know him quite well. Is that the case?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's my job to know my colleagues, tennis players, especially if I get to play them. So I do my homework.

Q. But you've never played him before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I never played him.

Q. Is it strange that someone from that generation, you're still finding people you haven't played before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's something that is obviously a challenge for me, to come to the court and play the way I want to play against somebody I never played against before. But that can be also dangerous because of the uncertainty of what he's going to do in some moments. That's why I said I've got to do my homework, sit down with the team, prepare myself well with the video analysis.

Q. There are players like Rafa that are playing with connected racquets.

Q. Connected to data, statistics of the training session. It records every shot you make. You can transfer the information.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's good technology. I never heard about that (smiling).

Q. Babolat.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I do use a different kind of technology in terms of analysis of my game and my opponents and stuff. I didn't hear for this, so good on him.

Q. What did you make of the marriage proposal in the crowd tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Great. Beautiful, very important moment for him and for her. I'm sure he was very happy when she said yes. He didn't take no for an answer, I'm sure about that. Yeah, it was great. It was great. I think it happened maybe once prior to this match in my whole career that somebody proposed. It's nice to see this moment. It's one of these moments you remember forever. Not just for them, but for everybody who was there. They're going to spend their life together, so I wish them all the best.

Q. There was some singing out there tonight. At the US Open you brought that delightful girl up to sing a song. In Monte-Carlo with Michael Jackson.

Q. Talk about music. What is your favorite music? Will you offer a song if you win here this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Some singing for my mom's birthday. Obviously a special day. I dedicate this win to her. I'm grateful to the crowd for joining in wishing the happy birthday with the Happy Birthday song. It was nice. These are some nice moments. You mentioned Monte-Carlo. Monte-Carlo show is actually one of my favorite parts of the year on the tour. It's too bad that we don't have the similar shows in the other tournaments. For those who don't know, it's a show that goes on for I think over 20 years now. It's a tradition. It's called the Players Show. It's a show where the players impersonate other players, male and female, personalities. It's a little theater show. I've been taking part in it for the last seven, eight years. Funny moments going on there. I think that the ATP should be able to use that material more even for charity, but to allow people, especially nowadays with digital media, social networks, to see what's going on there. I mean, some players wouldn't like to show to the world what they're doing. I have those moments as well when I was impersonating Jessica Simpson, "These Boots are Made for Walking" in front of my parents, washing the car, you know, having only underwear. You can imagine how that looked like. Had some other times where it was Michael Jackson on the stage, Steven Spielberg. It's really cool, because you think about anything that comes to your mind. You come up with the idea. There's music involved, acting, something that players really do enjoy doing that. I know Rafa has been part of it for a while now. It's fun. It's all for good laughs.

Q. Do you think you're a ham, a natural performer? Do you enjoy that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I do, as long as the situation is right and I feel like doing it and I have people's approval of doing that, then I enjoy it really. I take out my best.

Q. I've heard a few days ago when you were driving out to the courts, you asked the driver to stop and have some selfies with your fans, to sign autographs. It's against the rules, safety rules.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's forbidden?

Q. Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay. I guess I'm waiting for the ticket then. Australian police, I'm here. You know where to find me. Sorry for doing that. Sorry for disobeying the rule.

Q. Is it your daily routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not daily routine. Just some fans that seen me in the car. I wanted to have a little interaction with them. That's all.

Q. What did you make with what happened with Roger yesterday and the unseeded players in this tournament posing a threat?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Seppi played a remarkable match I thought and he deserved to win, no question about it. He played maybe the performance of his life. This is sport. Of course it can happen. It was a huge upset. But, you know, as I said, it's sport. In this level, a few points can decide a winner. In most cases Roger prevails in these kind of matches. But at this time you have to give credit to Seppi.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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