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March 18, 2015

Novak Djokovic


6‑4, 7‑6

Q.  He served incredibly well tonight, and seemed like you were seeing the ball like a softball.  Talk us through that and his service games a little bit.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I definitely tried to get as many returns back in play.  Doesn't matter how the return goes.  I just wanted to make him play an extra shot, put some more pressure on his first serves definitely.
But he didn't seem to be missing a lot of first serves.¬† I think over 80 ‑‑ I think 85% of first serves in first set.¬† Managed to play an incredible game on 3‑All and break him.¬† After that, anybody's game.
Got to a tiebreak.¬† We both got tight.¬† But I served very well.¬† I think I only missed one first serve entire tiebreak.¬† He missed that first serve on 5‑6 and got into the rally.¬† I knew that as soon as we get into the rally I have a better chance, but still, it was really tough match.

Q.¬† Can you go back to the 3‑All game in the first set?¬† How do you lob a guy who is 6'10"?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, he and Karlovic, because they are so tall, when they approach they come very close to the net.  It's not much space where you can pass them, so lob is one of the good options.
It worked two, three times in important moments.

Q.  Everyone talks about being uncomfortable when you're playing somebody like him.  How much of a rush does it give you to go 15, 133, 137, and then 141, all first serves, and then break him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, well, you know, it does definitely give me some confidence on my serve if I manage to break a guy who managed to serve four or five first serves in in that game with the speed you just mentioned.
But it is very difficult to hold your nerves and be composed until the very last point.¬† He had some chances.¬† He had the break point, love‑30 and 5‑4 for him in the second.
So not easy.  It's a win in straight sets, but second set could have easily gone different way.

Q.¬† Obviously a dangerous player.¬† Ranking‑wise he's going to be out of top 20 now.¬† Do you think that represents his talent?¬† Do you think he should be higher up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, he was top 10.¬† He's a quality player.¬† If he serves this well‑‑ you know, he also moves pretty good for somebody that is as tall as him.
He has big forehand.  I think since started working with Justin Gimelstob he's trying to emphasize his aggressive game.
Yes, he's missing a lot, but, again, all he needs is one double fault from an opponent, couple of good, aggressive shots, and the break is there.
With his serve, if he serves wellhe can ‑‑ doesn't matter, regardless of the surface you're playing on against him, can win against anybody.

Q.  What do you think he should be doing better with his talent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, it's not easy to be consistent, to be healthy, and to be fit.  If you are 6'10", you know, two or three times more effort you have to invest physically on the court than maybe myself or some other player.
I'm sure that he's going to say better, but it takes time for him to recover, especially when he plays on clay with all the slides and everything.
But he was top 10.  Everybody is aware of his quality, and I'm sure that he can be again.

Q.  You're returning at 35%, best in the world.  He's returning on the 6%.  Does that a testament to how good his serve is, that you can be a top 20 player and win 6% return games?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think I you brought all the facts.  It's all legitimate.
I agree with you.¬† I mean, as I said, in days when doesn't feel that great from the back of the court, just needs to serve one ace per game and gets to the tiebreak and opponent makes one or two mistakes and he can win 7‑6, 7‑6.
These are the advantages of guys like him.  He can hit any angle he wants and his second serve bounces even higher than the first.
Again, to be consistent on this high level you need to keep on winning against top players.  It's not easy for him.  As I said, mentally and physically he needs to be fit.
We're going to see how he's going to do the rest of the season.

Q.  (Regarding Tomic.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, Tomic, you know, I think everybody expected from him a little bit more of a success and consistency and to be higher ranked player in the last three, four years considering the quarterfinals of Wimbledon he played when he was 18 and great results in Australia.
But he didn't seem to be doing so well asideof the, you know, Australian Open Series, couple tournaments and Australian Open itself, and maybe grass.
So he struggled a lot with the consistency.  I think he's getting mentally more confident and more comfortable on the court and start to believe even more.
Perhaps also the success of Kokkinakis and Kyrgios motivated to him to really get serious and work.  The talent and touch is there.  He's got game.  It's going to be a tricky match for me.

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