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April 18, 2015

Novak Djokovic


6‑3, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Are you satisfied the way you played?  Were you worried when you were down 2‑Love in the first set thinking that he was again back, the best Nadal, or not?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I did have a slower start than he did in the match.  He started very aggressive, playing good, serving well, having breakpoint for double break.  I played a good point there.  I won a very important game not to allow him to have the advantage of 3‑Love.
I started to get into the rhythm, started to kind of play tactically the way I intended from the beginning.
It was a fight.  I think the 3‑All game in both sets, they were the decisive moments in the match.  I managed to win those 3‑All in both sets.
When you get to play somebody who has won so many times, so many matches on clay courts, he's no doubt the best player that ever played the game on this surface, you got to use the opportunities.  You got to be able to step in.
This is the only way I was going to win against him or any other match that I play against him, especially on this surface, is to be aggressive and play my style of the game.  I was aware of that.
Just very pleased with the performance, honestly.  Other than the first three games that I was getting into the match, other than that, it was a really, really solid performance.
I didn't give him any comfort from the back of the court.  I tried to, you know, mix up, always change the pattern, change the angles of my serve, of the baseline play, the rallies.  I think I've done pretty well.

Q.  Most players facing Nadal try to avoid his forehand like hell.  You didn't.  Does that say much about your confidence right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't want to go too much into tactics.  You don't want to reveal too much, obviously.
I do have a certain kind of style of play against him, especially against him, because we've played so many times against each other.  Generally it's all about being able to step in and protect the baseline and be aggressive.
It's something I tried to do.  I tried to look for the opening in any side of the court that I had.  It's not easy because he's moving so well and he's defending so great.
There were a couple of points that were very decisive in the second set.  The match could have gone a different way.  15‑30, 2‑3, I played a couple good points there.  3‑All, very long game.
But that's what happens.  On this high level, when you have a great challenge, you're playing one of your biggest rivals, very few points can decide the winner.

Q.  Considering you are a perfectionist, is there something you're not happy about today's game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I don't think I should be, I would say arrogant, and say there are some things I've done wrong.  Generally winning in straight sets against Nadal on this surface, his favorite surface, is a great success.  So I tried to look at it that way.
A few things here and there, mistakes happen.  You go through stages in the match.  I mean, you can't play perfect, a faultless match with all the winners.  It's obvious.
But important is how you build from that, how you actually recover after certain games that you don't play well, what's your mindset on the court.
I thought I handled my emotions very well.  The tension is always present when you play Nadal.  Of course, in a tournament like this, which is one of the biggest events we have on this surface, it's a big importance whenever we play against each other.  I know that we are both emotional, we both want to win the match.  Of course we are fighting.  It's important to kind of stay with that self‑belief but also control the emotions, not allow them to be against you in a way.

Q.  Unlike you, Rafa hasn't had a great year.  His game started to pick up here.  He beat Ferrer.  Were you surprised by the level of play?  There were some points that reminded me of Roland Garros when you guys were so intense.  Were you surprised by his level?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Honestly, I'm not surprised with the level that we had today.  I thought it was a high level of tennis.  It's something that I think in a way became standard of high performance levels when we play against each other.
I expected to have long rallies, long exchanges, trying to outplay your opponent tactically, of course.  That was the case today.

Q.  Nadal congratulated you.  What would you say to him?  Maybe you said it already to him on the court at the end of the match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, obviously I'm sure that he is not satisfied with the beginning of the season that he has.  For his standards, the results are not there.  But as he's saying, he's starting to pick up his game.  He was playing well in this tournament.  This is the surface where he enjoys the most playing and has the best results.
I'm sure he's going to build from here and do well in Barcelona and so forth.  I thank him for congratulating me.  It's a fight, you know, whenever we play against each other.

Q.  Rafa is the king of clay.  Do you feel the hierarchy is beginning to change, even on this surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's hard to say right now.  One victory does not change everything that he has achieved on this surface, which is much more than me in his career.  I still don't think that I am a better player than he is on clay.
But I'm obviously trying my best to win all the matches that I play, not just against him, but against anybody on any surface.  That's the kind of mindset that I have.

Q.  During the second set at 3‑All, you made a wonderful smile.  Was it a smile of question or a smile of surprise?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's always better to smile than express some negative emotion.  I think it was a breakpoint.  We played that incredible point.  I think I've done everything I could to win that point, moving Rafa from one side to another side of the court, coming out with the full arsenal of whatever I had.  Then he still won the point in an incredible style.  All I could do is smile and congratulate him and kind of move on.
I think that also helped me to kind of just feel released in a way and focused on the next point.

Q.  Can you talk about Berdych and the perspective of winning the second title here in Monte‑Carlo.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, this tournament means to me a lot.  Obviously it's a special event for me because it's played in a place where I live and where I practice.  I practice in this club throughout the year.  So, of course, I am very motivated to win the title now that I'm reaching the final step and playing against Tomas, who also had a very good tournament.
It's finals.  I am aware of the fact that people would put me as a heavy favorite because of the results that I had and the record against him and so forth.  But I still want to keep the same preparation, routine and mindset going, not really get carried away by this win, even though this win is big.  I have one more match to go.

Q.  You won the Australian Open.  You're on your way to a third Masters this season.  Has the thought crossed your mind of you winning all of them, all 13, in one season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Now that you put that thought in my mind (smiling).  All I can say is from your mouth to God's ears.
Well, look, I do my best every tournament.  I don't want to now seem pretentious saying, Hey, I'm going to win it all.  It's not something that I do.  I'm not that kind of guy.
But I will definitely try to win every single match that I play.  I hope to keep the good schedule, keep fit, keep healthy, keep playing at this level.
The confidence that I have is big obviously because of the very, very good start of the season.  I have won most of the Masters tournaments that are out there on the schedule throughout my career except Cincinnati.
We'll see.  It's still April.  First third of the year.  Still a lot more tournaments to come.  I don't want to think too far.

Q.  With Tomas you are 1‑1 on clay.  Is it different with him on this surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, exactly.  Last time we played on clay I lost in Rome.  Only time I won was here in Monte‑Carlo.  But both matches went three sets.
It is different.  I think he actually likes playing on clay.  It gives him time to swing through on the forehand, plus backhand‑side as well.  He has a good serve.  He won against some very good players this tournament.
He's one of the most consistent players we have this year.  I'm sure he's going to be very motivated.
I'm going to try to just follow up on everything I've done so far this week, keep on playing the way I played.  If I do so, I think I have a good chance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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