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April 14, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/A. Ramos‑Vinolas
6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How did you feel today to be back here on this court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I felt very good.  I thought, considering the amount of months that I haven't played on the clay courts, to play against somebody that is a clay court specialist, and win in two sets, I thought it was a very good performance.
I can just take positives from today.  Maybe the beginning of the second, there were a few games where I did drop a little bit with intensity and concentration.  But overall was a high‑quality performance and I'm happy for that.
Of course, the fact that I'm playing at home, in a way, because I spend a lot of time in Monte‑Carlo, I practice in this club over the course of 12 months, hard courts, clay courts, I know people who are doing the courts, friends with them, it really is a different and very special feeling.  So I'm trying to enjoy it and see how far I can go.

Q.  What happened at 3‑2 in the second set?  You were both waiting quite a long time.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, well, the court got slippery.  We talked about should we water the court or not.  Then we waited a bit too long for the people who were taking care of the courts to water the courts.
Then Fergus Murphy said, Let's play another two games instead of waiting.  Alberto thought because that side where I was on was a bit slippery, I said that, he was like, Why should I play on the side that is very slippery instead of waiting for a couple more minutes?
I said, No problem, let's wait.
Of course, we don't want any injuries.  When it's a bit warmer, like it was today, the courts tend to get a bit dry, of course, slippery.  That's why we waited for the courts to be watered.

Q.  How did you cope with the birth of your child?  Did it change your routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, certain things are definitely different, there's no question about it.  I had to adjust, but my routine more or less is the same.
My approach to tennis, my approach to everyday practice is the same, with certain adjustments.  Of course now I do have a responsibility back home.  My, let's say, time off is decreased.  But I do enjoy it.  I do love to fulfill my father duties and husband duties as well.
In a way it gives me, of course, a lot of energy.  When I became a father, I felt an incredible emotion.  I felt very serene.  I felt very peaceful, very fulfilled.  It's just something I never experienced before.
Ever since then I've been trying to nurture and be present at every moment of my son's life because I know he's growing very quickly.  Of course, trying to balance everything with tennis.  I think so far it's working pretty well.

Q.  If you win here in Monte‑Carlo, I believe you'll be the first to have won three back‑to‑back Masters at the start of the year.  You've overtaken Rafa for the number of weeks at No.1.  How important are these to you?  Are you aware of them?  Do they inspire you?  Is it completely irrelevant?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, for the weeks spent at No.1, that's something I'm aware of, and I've heard about it.  The other possibility that you just brought up, it's the first time I hear it.  There's always every week something new.
I don't think about all the possible records or milestones that I'm able to achieve.  Of course, the fact that I think I'm sixth on the all‑time list of weeks spent at No.1, of course it's an incredible achievement.  I'm very proud of it.  No question about it that I'm aware of it.
But, you know, the kind of mindset that brought me to where I am right now is a mindset of a player that is very committed, dedicated, disciplined, very much in the present moment.
I don't want to take my thoughts too far ahead because then I'll lose the necessary focus that actually keeps me where I am.

Q.  Your French has improved a lot this past year.  Is it something that came naturally by living here or do you have a very good teacher?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, considering my best man at the wedding is also my best friend who comes from here and we know each other from Monaco, and his first language is French.  He hasn't spoken to me French in so many years.  It's very strange.
He's right here behind you, so I'm actually talking on purpose about him right now.  Can't believe that he doesn't want to speak to me in French, so I didn't improve it before.
I had to fight alternative ways.  I have two little cousins from Geneva.  They taught me the basics.  Two little girls.  Well, they're not little anymore.  One is now 19 and one is 15.  They speak great French, perfect French, so that's how I started.
Then over the years, of course living in Monaco, it's the official language, French.  It's a very global language.  I wanted to know it.
Again, I am still not content with where my level of knowledge of French is, but it's getting there.  I mean, I can communicate.  Thank you for complimenting me.  It's very nice of you, even though I don't get, let's say, grammatics right.  I try to put the words out.  So people, they need to really concentrate to understand what I am saying.

Q.  You're also very good in Italian.  It's easy for you to grasp.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not easy.  But Italian is, let's say, a bit easier in my case to learn than French.

Q.  Edoardo Artaldi I know takes care of your business.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He is my Italian teacher.

Q.  When you do things with Peugeot, for instance, do you follow up to see what they're doing?  Now they produce a game which is very complicated that you can participate if you want to win two tickets at Roland Garros.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  This game, I don't know if he's also following, but you are.  Good job.
I am not informed about the game, but I am informed about certain general things like the promotion, obviously what they're doing to kind of utilize the material, the fact that we have the partnership.
On the other hand I'm trying also to be respectful of that relationship.  I think it's a good match.  That got me even more closer to learning French.  I guess that's even more responsibility for me.  I'm more linked to France.

Q.  How many years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's confidential.  I'm sorry.

Q.  You haven't played against Nadal since quite a long time.  He's one of your biggest rivals.  Do you kind of miss it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, not so much, honestly (laughter).  We have played over 40 times.  I'm sure that I'm going to play him more.  Maybe it happens this week, maybe not.
But, you know, he's somebody that has made history in this sport.  He's probably looking at the amount of matches that we played against each other, my biggest rival.  He's an ultimate challenger on clay courts.  This is where we are right now.  We just entered the clay court season.  I'm sure that, yeah, it would be very challenging for me to stay on the court with him and play against him again.

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