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April 3, 2015

Novak Djokovic


7‑6, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Was it maybe your best performance so far today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I would say so.  Important to obviously to elevate the level of performance in the game towards the end of the tournament, and this was the right day, the right time, for me to perform as well as I did.
I'm glad that obviously I managed to realize everything that I intended tactically before the match.  Of course it's always tough to play somebody that serves that well.  It's at times frustrating.
But in the end of the day, it is important to hang in there mentally, be patient, kind of make him play.  That's what I've done.  I put a lot of pressure on his second serves, moved him around the court, always made him play extra shot, had some variety in the game.
I used the court very well, and just pleased with the performance.

Q.  Talking to John, he said that he felt deflated a little bit after the tiebreaker.  Did you feel like that was the time to pounce?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yes.  I mean, I created a lot of opportunities for myself in the first set, even though there was only one break point and it was actually a set point.
I thought I made him work for his serves games a lot from the beginning.  I thought that that has influenced a little bit his physicality.  I think towards the end of the first and beginning of the second set he already felt a business exhausted, and I wanted to use the opportunity and the early break in the second to open the door for me.
That's when I felt like I could start swinging through, and played a great second set.

Q.  How do you practice returning against somebody like that?  How do you emulate somebody like him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I had the guys that I warm up usually with the last six, seven days here in this tournament step probably six, seven feet into the court and just serve as hard as they can.  That's one of the ways.
I obviously searched with my coach, Boris, for somebody that serves close to what he serves, but it's difficult to find anybody.  Karlovic left town, so he's the only one that can prepare me for that serving.
You're just trying to instinctively react, because the first serve of John Isner for a returner is a bit of a gamble if you're in right position or you anticipate or you sometimes rely on the statistic and the pattern that he uses, I mean, the serves that he likes to use in particular moments.
So it's a little bit of everything obviously, and you need to do your homework.  Generally I think it's just a reaction and a good anticipation on the first.  A second serve it's more predictable, so you try to attack it, you try to take advantage of it.

Q.  I came in a little bit late.  The Love‑30 game, early in the match, he had gotten out of a tough situation earlier and played a great game there.  What was going through your mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He played couple of very good points in that game to get to Love‑30, and then I think 15‑30 I served a second serve ace down the tee.  I took my chances, and sometimes that's what it takes.
You got to be brave, because he runs around his backhand.  He loves to hit the forehand return inside out from the baseline as well.  He protects that backhand corner.  He opens up the forehand corner.  Again, it's easier said than done to actually play the ball there.
If he serves as well as he did in the first set, he puts a lot of pressure on your service games.  Sometimes you get tight.  I managed to find my way through that game.  Other than that, I thought I played pretty well.

Q.  This match seemed to demonstrate how much better your serve has become over the past year or so.  It was a very good serving performance.  Something you've been working on diligently or just a good night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've definitely worked on my serve and other elements in my game, but serve was of particular interest in the training, and priority of the training session that I had with Marian and Boris, of course.
We analyzed game and we luckily always have something to work on.  There is always room for improvement.  We tried to work on the efficiency of the serves rather than speed.  I know I'm not able to serve as fast as John or any other guys, but I am able to use my serve accurately and allow myself to have an easier first shot in the rally.  That is something that I was working on.

Q.  You're in the final now; you have a day off; you're in Miami.  What do you do to prepare?  Go party?  Relax?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, go party.  No, I'm just staying at home.  I have a little baby.  Baby gives me a lot of party in the morning and during the day, so I'm partying with my boy and my wife and preparing myself for Sunday.

Q.  Andy Murray in the final; you've got such a good record against him.  Is that something that you feel is perhaps a positive or perhaps goes the other way because Murray will be more determined to beat you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it can only serve as a positive fact prior to our match on Sunday.  The fact that I won I think last six, seven matches that we played against each other, especially the one just recently in Indian Wells, gives me confidence and maybe a slight mental advantage.
But we're talking about small margins.  That's always the case when we play against each other.  Very few points, details can decide a winner.  We have very similar games.  We already played twice this year, and of course in a big match in Australian Open final which was very, very physical, very close.
I expect a battle, long rallies, and I know what is expecting me on the court.  I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine.

Q.  Quickly, he obviously reached 500 career wins this week.  I know you're already into the 600 club, but what do you make of that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I congratulate him for that achievement.  Of course it's a great achievement.  People maybe don't realize how difficult it is to reach 500 wins.
We both are same generation, so we still have lots of hopefully years in front of us.  I hope we can play against each other on many other occasions.

Q.  Novak, Andy Murray we all know is a great hard court player; you've beaten him I think nine times in a row.  How proud of that are you, and does it even surprise you a little bit that kind of streak on this surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's great to have that streak against him coming into this final of Miami Open.  Obviously I will reflect on those matches‑ especially the one, the most recent one in Indian Wells ‑ and prepare myself tactically for what I need to do and execute on the court.
As I mentioned before, we're talking about very small margins that are going to decide a winner.  I'm sure that both of us are equally wanting to win this trophy, so we'll see what happens.

Q.  Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, all the guys broke down by John's big serve and great forehand.  What do you think was the difference between you and the other guys?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's hard to say.  We all are different in our own ways.  Maybe John was a little bit more exhausted today because of the big three wins he had against Dimitrov, Raonic, and Nishikori.
But, again, I was just fortunate enough to play the right shots in the tiebreak of the first set; second set went completely my way.  I played probably the best set of the tournament.
So it's hard to compare my game to Nishikori or Raonic or say what he did wrong and what I did right.  Playing against John, it's always few points that can get you in one way or another.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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