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March 31, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/A. Dolgopolov
5‑7, 7‑5, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  There were like two matches in the same one today.  What happened until 4‑1 in second set, and how did it turn?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not as great of a start as it was in the first two matches, that's for sure.
I felt just it wasn't my kind of a day today.  Just on the warmup the entire day was one of those days where you don't feel so great mentally.
But I fought.  I fought my way through.  I was frustrated.  I was, say, losing my composure in the first set, because I didn't feel good.
So I was just trying to find a way to come back in the match.  He was playing well.  He has a very unorthodox game, tricky opponent, mixes up the pace, and can easily get you out of the rhythm.  That's what he has done.
I got tight, and then, you know, set and a half he was a better player.  It was just believing more, and I was just kind of hanging in there, fighting a different battle inside of myself, I would say.  That was the biggest battle that I fought today.
Yeah, just came back in the right moment and found a way to win.  That's a positive that I can take out of this match.

Q.  Just a bad day?  Nothing hurting?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no, it was nothing hurting.  It's just I played a lot of matches.  I had a great start of the year, but in some other way ‑‑ you have to go down because of the cameras.  Sorry.  (Laughter.)
It's taking a little bit of a toll mentally on me.  I mean, I don't feel that I'm very fresh on the court, even though I'm trying.
Again, I'm in the quarterfinals of this tournament.  This day off tomorrow will definitely serve me and help me to recover mentally mostly, because physically I'm fine.  I feel okay.
Hopefully I can, you know, perform better in the next one.

Q.  Next week you will be at 141 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the world, tying Rafa for six most of all time.  First of all, do you pay attention to those milestones, and what does it mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, of course I do pay attention to those milestones.  I'm very proud of the achievement and being able to stay for so many weeks at No. 1 of the world.
It always gets me back into childhood and those early days of my tennis career and dreaming of becoming No. 1 of the world.  So I don't take anything for granted.  I believe that it took me a lot of hard work to get to where I am.  Even more work to stay.
So I'm aware of that fact.  Hopefully I'm able to keep that consistency going and the self‑discipline, and I'm sure the results will follow.

Q.  Are you at all concerned about some of these Houdini escapes?  Because all three matches there have been some fiddly situations that you have had to get out of.  I mean, as you also were asked about on court, nine lives and things like that, is it concerning at all to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in ideal scenario, ideal world, you don't drop a set and you win a tournament, right, every single tournament that you play.  But that's not possible.
That's just how it goes in the life and in the sport.  It's normal to have some up and down and moments when you feel more or less comfortable on the court.
Even though I have had a great record in this tournament, it doesn't necessarily mean that I, as a No. 1 seed, you know, are going to get easily to the finals and fight for a title.
There are thousands of players around the world who are on the rankings and who are fighting to get their spot in the biggest tournaments in the sport like this one.
Again, I'm worried that I have expectations behind me.  As soon as I get on the court, especially in the final three, four matches of the tournament, people expect me to win comfortably in straight sets and just get out of the way.
But it's much more difficult than it seems from outside of the court.  Obviously I need to work.  I need to earn it.  If I have a bad day like I had today and my opponent is playing well, I can lose a match.
I was literally a game or two from losing the match.  I'm just happy to be able to bounce back.  These particular matches do help me in a certain way mentally to gain that confidence and, you know, self‑belief in a way that I never give up and battle till the last point, and it sends a message also to the other players, as well.
So as I said, I'm in the quarterfinals of a tournament, and I don't look back anymore.  I try to, of course, analyze things I need to work on.  Mostly mentally to be, you know, committed and hopefully now, as the matches will get tougher ‑ obviously playing David Ferrer in the next round ‑ I need to be in the top shape to win it.

Q.  When you lost the game to fall behind 5‑4 in the first set, broke your racquet, walking off the court, the crowd cheers, arms raised up.  I wasn't able to translate that gesture.  What were you saying to the crowd in that moment?  Did it make it harder for you?  Did you get even more upset.  You seemed to play better after that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  Well, I apologize.  That was a gesture of just feeling bad for what I have done.
But as I said, you know, I came on the court and already didn't feel comfortable from the first moment.  Just one of those days where you don't feel the ball very well.  You're feeling a little bit heavy in your legs and you don't have much patience, as well.  I get frustrated.
But, again, managed to find my way through.  Alex played great end of the set, beginning of the second, as well.  He was dominating the play.  I got a little bit tight.
The result of this match could have ended differently easily if I didn't come back and manage to play some good shots.  So all in all it was a very strange match that I'll definitely have things to take from, and hopefully carry positives into the next one.

Q.  When you're a little bit tired from playing so much past couple of weeks, you see Roger is not here and Rafa is out, does that make it more or less difficult to become motivated to go out there and play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Honestly I really don't pay too much attention on the other players' results.  Of course they are my biggest rivals.  When they are not around, you know, tournament seems a little bit different.  There is no question about it.
But from my perspective, it's just important to do my job, to do what I need to do.
Roger didn't come to play this tournament.  He was obviously wants to focus on the clay courts, and Rafa lost early.
But it changes nothing in my approach.

Q.  What specifically did you do to regain your composure?  Because you were getting frustrated, emotional, all that stuff.  Is there something specific that you tell yourself at that moment, or how do you calm yourself out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, actually, today I was trying to calm myself down, because inside there was a big fire.  (Laughter.)  You could see a little bit of that in the first set.
Just try to get to the state of mind where I have a serene, controlled mind and emotions and where I'm able to just be in the present moment.  That's where I was focusing on.  That's, for most of the time, what I tried to, I would say, reach in the moments when I'm losing, when I'm down, when I don't feel great.
It's usually the not the game itself, but your own battle that you have inside all these obstacles and challenges on the way that you have to overcome in order to get back.  Of course the experience of having this situation, organizing my life, has helped to overcome this situation, as well.

Q.  You were always kind of fiery.  Is this something you have had to overcome?  Do you think Novak of years ago would have lost this match today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Probably.  Probably.  That experience and of course work, inner work and work on myself, understanding how to improve, grow, develop into a better tennis player and stronger person mentally has definitely influenced, I would say, finding a better way or a way in these tricky situations.

Q.  Like two veterans coming up against one another in the next round with David.  What are your thoughts about playing Ferrer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Did you say two veterans?

Q.  Yeah.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You were referring to me, I guess?

Q.  You have been around long enough.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Okay.  Thank you.  That's a first I have heard that.  (Laughter.)
Thank you.

Q.  Meant in the nicest way.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Wait, wait, wait, this is ‑‑

Q.  Meant in the nicest way.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  This is a milestone.  This is a big thing for me to hear.  (Laughter.)  I have to gather my thoughts here.  I have to ‑‑whew.  All right.  Reality just hit me.  Thank you for that.
Yeah, it's been a long time I have been playing tennis, but I have never heard "veteran."
Playing against David, yeah, it will be a clash of two veterans, and the younger veteran will win.  (Laughter.)
Sorry, I don't know what to say.  I'm totally amused by what you just said.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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