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March 14, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/M. Baghdatis
6‑1, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Were you happy about the way you started this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Great performance against a quality opponent, against somebody that was former top‑10 player and that knows how to play on a big stage.  No complaints.  Everything was working well from the beginning to the end.

Q.  You stretched out a little bit the leg at the beginning and in the middle of the first set.  Any concerns there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  There is a minor problem with my left foot that I hope is going to fade away as the tournament goes.

Q.  You said you always try to play soccer here.  Talk a little bit about the recreation in Indian Wells.  Who plays?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as far as I have seen over the years, more or less everybody is playing.  You know, football is the most global, most popular sport in the world, so it's obviously popular in tennis.  On the tour a lot of players play it.
So we try to use the time that we have after practice or in the warmups and so forth.  Because the goals are already there, so we get a ball and shoot and play a few games.
It's, you know, part of this tournament, part of what this green area represents to players.  You know, not just playing football, but also warming up and cooling down.  It's really nice.  We were just talking about it the other day, that it allows players to have a little bit of space on a nice grass surface, you know, before or after they are on the tennis court.

Q.  At this tournament specifically, you know, you have done very well.  Rafa has done really well and Roger has done very well.  But in the last nine years of this tournament, no one has won back to back or repeated as champion.  Does that surprise you, or is there something about this tournament that makes it hard to win consecutive years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, this tournament as well as Miami feel like a Grand Slam in a way, because, you know, you need to win six matches to win the tournament, to win a title for a seeded player, and seven for an unseeded.
So the only other tournament where you need to win seven matches to win a tournament in main draw is Grand Slam.  It's spread out to what, 12 days.  You know, the tournament goes on for 12 days.
So it allows you, because it's the best of three, to have the days off between the matches, which is good for players.  But in a way, it does feel that this is one of the strongest tournaments that we have on the tour after the Grand Slams, and maybe that is the case why, you know, it's difficult to win it twice in a row.
But, you know, it's hard to comment on that fact why it is in such a way that nobody has won it back to back.

Q.  But does that inspire you more to try to win it again this year because it hasn't been done for a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I will always find an inspiration to win this title.  Thank you for giving me another reason to fight for it.
But, yeah, of course.  I really respect this tournament and what Larry Ellison and all the people who are leading this tournament and organizing it are doing for the sport.  It's great.
Just talking with Rafa and the guys in the locker room, and we all have great impressions whenever we come here.  We feel like the facilities are improving each year.  They are doing their best to promote the event, and it's really growing.  It's good to see that.  It's serving as a great example for the other events.

Q.  Great match.  You entered like 15 tournaments last year, and now that you're a new father of a child, are your plans the same this year?  Do you expect the same?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah.  Well, the schedule is going to be more or less the same.  Of course this year I also committed to play Davis Cup.  I played opening week in the season in Doha, so maybe I played a few more weeks more.
But it's just the beginning of the season.  Of course my plans are to be in the biggest events in sport that we have in Grand Slams, 1000 events, plus Monte‑Carlo and few other 500 events.
But I don't know what the next day brings.  I hope I can stay healthy and I can play well on the big tournaments so I don't need to play other tournaments.
You know, it's been the case like this forever.  I have been very fortunate to be consistently successful in the big events over the course of last five, six years, which allowed me to play with the schedule the way it suits me the best.
I think it's something that also gives me more time to prepare for the big events.  Gives me longevity, you know.  Try to avoid injuries, because tennis is a very demanding sport in terms of, you know, physical aspect.  You need to change the surfaces on a week‑to‑week basis, adjust to the time zones very quickly, and it all takes a toll on your body.
We are all humans, so we need some time.  That's why it's important to arrange scheduling such where you need to peak on the biggest tournaments like this one.

Q.  Have you maintained pretty much the same level with your tennis since Australia?  And when you look at this event, obviously the courts, the surface itself, are a little bit slower because of the desert air.  Balls are flying through.  How much do you have to really adjust to combat that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I played Davis Cup indoors.  Before that it was Dubai outdoors and now it's outdoors again.  I do need time to adjust to it, and that's why I try to come here as early as possible.
Of course, as I said, I played Davis Cup.  I couldn't come early Monday.  Practiced a few days in LA and came here.  Practiced three, four days before my first match.
I'm pleased with the way I'm playing.  Of course having won the title in Australia, it allows me to have and carry this confidence into every other event that is coming up in the season.
So I do feel confident when I step on to the court also the fact that I have a great record in this tournament.  So, you know, that's something that is positive and that I will try to maintain as the tournament progresses.

Q.  You tweeted out that great picture of you dancing with your wife.  It was great.  I presume you have been doing some ballet work.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I have been trying to keep up.  My wife has been doing more than me in the last couple of years.  Every once in a while she does it.
I joined, and I really enjoyed that ballet session that we had, so I will pick up a few things and use it for my own, you know, physical preparation.  I think it's great.
I think people underestimate what ballet dancers are really doing and how much effort and energy they have to put in in dancing and creating such a gracious and beautiful looking moves, you know, with the music and everything.  It's really an art.  Now when I have actually done a whole session, I respect it even more (Smiling.)
I used to like watching ballet, and now I'm even enjoying it being on the dancing part.  So we will see.  We'll see.  We like doing it.  I did it because, you know, I wanted to spend some quality time with my wife, and I think that's something that maybe we as a couple can do more often in the future.

Q.  A fair amount has been written about ballet and dance.  Do you think it sort of refreshes you, lightens you, gives you timeless...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Of course, of course.  Gives you that great posture and allows you to have this gracious movements combined with the beautiful music.  And of course you're spending the quality time with your loved one.  What else can you ask for?

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