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February 24, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/V. Pospisil
6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You didn't look entirely comfortable out there this evening.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, first match since Australian Open final, so still looking for that rhythm on the court.  But I managed to stay mentally tough.  Patient in rallies, I thought.  As soon as we get through the rally, I have a better chance of winning.  He's a very flashy player, aggressive, goes after his shots.
Served well.  Served well first set.  I just utilized my opportunities.  His second serve, when his first‑serve percentage dropped, I knew that's my chance.  I won a lot of those second‑serve points.  I think that's what decided the match, even though my serve wasn't at the level where I wanted it to be today.  So hopefully the next match can be better.

Q.  Do you feel sometimes when you go on court that players fear you, that they are already beaten before they go on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, of course there is that mental factor for a player, you know, playing against somebody who is, you know, one of the top players on the tour.
I remember when I was coming up and playing against Roger, Rafa, in big matches where I felt like the whole tournament I played great, and then against them, for some reason, it doesn't happen the way you want it.
That's the pressure of playing against somebody that is so successful and a favorite.  I guess coming into the match you already have that mental edge.
Doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to stay like that throughout the whole match, so you need to be the one making an impression on the court and showing you are there to win.  I guess that's what gives you that push.

Q.  Over the last few days Nadal has sort of been complaining.  He says, I'm not the same player I am, I'm tired, my fitness is not good, you know...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You obviously love him (smiling).

Q.  Do you think he's bluffing or do you have kind of a thought on his situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I'm not in his shoes, so I can't really say how he feels.  I know him for a long time and I know one thing:  that he's a great competitor.  He's been struggling with injuries throughout his career, it's obvious.  He had couple big injuries that kept him away from the tour for six months‑plus.
If he's going to play as well as he did in previous years now in the clay court season or hard court, we don't know.  We don't know what tomorrow brings.
Obviously he didn't play at the level, you know, that is recognizable for him in Australia.  His standard was lower of play.
If it is because of the physical fatigue or anything that concerns his physicality, I don't know.  I mean, I'm sure that he speaks his mind.
But again, an example, he was absent from the tour in 2012 for most of the year and then coming and having his best year of his life, so, you know, you can't really say.  It's a bit unpredictable with Rafa because he's such a strong player, and he has a very powerful game so he relies on his strength.  He relies on his movement.  And if his body is not listening to him, then it's kind of difficult for him to play.
But clay court season is coming up.  I'm sure that there's where he wants to perform his best.  That's the surface that hurts him the least out of all the surfaces on the tour.

Q.  I don't know whether you are not feeling great.  You sound a bit sort of croaky.  Have you found the conditions a bit challenging this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  They are challenging, but I thought the last two days were quite nice comparing to the weekend.  There was a lot of sand in the air, sandstorm and so forth, something that is common for, you know, the desert but is not so common for the time that I spent in Dubai for the last nine years.  I haven't seen three days in a row like that.  It's a challenge.
For us tennis players, we need to be able to adjust very quickly, and that's probably one of the most demanding things about our sport, in sport in general, is the fact that week in, week out, you need to switch from indoor, outdoor, from dry air to humid air, different balls, different surfaces, is that obviously can potentially, if you are not, if you don't have too much time potentially because in the match and in practice it's sort of different movement, can potentially hurt you.  It can hurt your groins or shoulder or knees or back and so forth.
So I'm not saying it's the toughest sport around, but it's definitely one of the most demanding one in terms of scheduling and the differences of the conditions that we play in.

Q.  You could win your 50th career title here.  Are you a guy who focuses on these milestones?  Will you have a very special celebration?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I didn't have any special celebration for 40th or 30th, but I think as 50th is something unique, so I'll‑‑ you know, I'm not sure.  It's early to talk about the title here.  The tournament just started.  Hopefully can happen here, and if it does, then we will make it count.

Q.  You will also go one more than your coach.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I know.  I received that information few days ago, and that's why I have a motivation more this week (laughter).

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