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February 26, 2015

Novak Djokovic


6‑1, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  That went nice and smoothly.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, that went good.  Obviously conditions today were a little bit difficult for tennis with the swirly wind on the court.  Marsel Ilhan obviously struggled a little bit with his back, but I never played him before.  He had four matches in this tournament coming through the qualifications, beating some good players, Feliciano Lopez yesterday.  That obviously earns him respect.  I didn't want to underestimate him even though he hasn't played that many matches in the big stadium before.
So he lacks a little bit of experience and confidence on being in the big stadium.  That's where I used my opportunity from the start.  I made double break, and I felt like I was in control of the match.  I didn't allow him to get into the groove.
So it was a good performance.  I still feel like I can improve and I can get my game to high level, but so far, so good.  Tomorrow it's going to be the most difficult match of the tournament, no question about it, against Tomas.  That presents a big challenge, obviously.

Q.  I know you know Borna pretty well.  What was your take?  I don't know if you saw any of his match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I have seen a little bit of the second set, and he has played tactically I thought very well.  He has fighted for each point, each ball.  I have talked a little bit yesterday about his fighting spirit.  And for an 18‑year‑old, he's very matured on the court.
I congratulate him on a big win.  I thought it's definitely one of the two biggest wins that he had in his career, a very short, very young career.  But already beating Nadal and Murray in four, five months, it's quite an achievement.
I'm sure that he's feeling very proud of himself right now, and, you know, he's one of the most talented players.  Probably he stands out.  After, you know, generation of Nishikori, Dimitrov, him and Kyrgios are probably the two players that are able to compete at such a high level.
So now will he be consistent or not?  Time will tell, but it's still early to talk about that.  He should enjoy, cherish this victory, because it's a big one.

Q.  I remember seeing you play Tomas in Beijing last year, and it was one of your most emphatic performances.  What is it about the matchup with you and Tomas that brings the best out of you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Obviously when you're playing an established top‑10 player and one of the biggest rivals on the tour, and Tomas is, definitely, somebody that has been on the tour for so long and playing in the highest possible level, I think that the best player in the world that hasn't won a Grand Slam yet I think next to Ferrer, and he has a big game, big serve.  He has won against all of the top players on different surfaces.
So, you know, people don't talk about his game too much because he hasn't still won a Grand Slam, but he definitely deserves always to be in the mix of the favorites for an event, and he's been showing that, especially in this event, back‑to‑back finals, '13 and '14.  And I played him in '13 final.
I think this surface more than others is quite suitable to his style of the game.  It's pretty quick.  If he serves well, he can win against anybody, so very few points will decide a winner tomorrow.
As I said, it really depends from the surface that I play him.  You know, if it's a little bit slower, then I feel like I have more chance to get more serves back in play.  And the longer the rally goes, I think I have a better chance of winning those rallies.
So I try to move him around.  He's a big guy and has a powerful game.  Even though he moves better this year, he's still heavy, he's still big.  He's not one of the best movers around the court.  That's where I try to use my opportunities from the back of the court and mix up the pace and not give him the same rhythm, because that's what he likes.

Q.  You have played all your matches here at night.  Does that differ hugely between day and night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  I think conditions play even faster during the day.  I think Tomas knows that better.  The last couple of years I have played, and Roger, as well, night matches only, and obviously that helps as you progress in the tournament when you get to the semifinals or final stages and when you're playing a top player, it does help for the vision and for just an overall feel coming into the match.
But again, it's not Tomas' first night match either tomorrow, so I'm sure he's going to feel comfortable.

Q.  I know you normally, like a lot of the players, you keep the same tournament schedule, but this year you entered in Doha as a first.  How hard is it when you add in a new tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I haven't played for several years the opening week of the season.  One of the reasons is because I finish the season before pretty late, and I always take a little bit of time to prepare myself and get myself ready for the Australian Open, which is the most important event obviously for the first part of the year.
But this year I decided to do so because I felt like the year before I came into Melbourne maybe not with enough match play.  It's a great tournament in Doha.  I really was very pleasantly surprised with the organization and, you know, how much people really appreciate tennis there.
So, you know, good tournament.  I'm still very strongly considering to play next year.  When you change your routine, obviously it doesn't matter if it's a 250 event or 1000 event or Grand Slam.  It is a tournament, and it is an official competition tournament where you want to perform well.
I don't ever take away anything from my approach to the matches.  I try to be committed to every tournament, because I know a lot of people come and pay tickets to come and to watch you play regardless of where you do play.  There is a responsibility as a top player to present yourself in the sport that you play in the best possible manner.
So that's something that is always in the back of my mind, you know.  I maybe wasn't as fit and as ready to play in Doha at 100%, but I was in Melbourne.  I started off the season in the best possible way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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