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May 28, 2015

Novak Djokovic


6-1, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How are you feeling with your groin injury, looked like, in the late second set there? How much was that affecting you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thankfully it's nothing major. So it's not concern for the next match, which is the most important thing, obviously. Wasn't pleasant with the conditions that were changing today, and I think a little bit of heavier conditions made the court a little bit more wet and it was pretty slippery. So I think that's when it happened, I made a couple of slides that were quite, I'd say, unusual, you know, with change of directions. And it happened in those dynamic movements, jammed the hip a little bit. Thankfully it's nothing serious, really. It's going to be fine.

Q. That point in the third set when you touched the ball before it bounced, has that ever happened to you? How strange was that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Never, never, ever happened, and it should never happen again to me (smiling). But, yeah, I guess a little bit of lack of concentration. That game was a pretty poor game for me, and I don't know what I was thinking, honestly. It was just reaction. It was a funny situation. It was funny to me, because I was 4-1 up, double break. If it was 2-All or 2-3 down, I wouldn't be smiling, for sure, after that point (smiling).

Q. Your next round opponent is 19-year-old Kokkinakis. There are other youngsters like Coric or Kyrgios who managed to get in the third round. So my question is: Have you noticed any particular young player out there, aspect of their game? Why I ask that, Federer asked Kyrgios for a practice session before Roland Garros last year and Nadal has talked about Kokkinakis' forehand. So is there anyone in particular, any young player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think you named players that are already making their way through professional tennis, and they are truly making a statement with the wins that they had in the last 12 months or so, with Kyrgios winning against Nadal in Wimbledon and Coric against Nadal and Murray in few months' time. So that deserves a lot of praise and respect. I think all of them, Kyrgios, Kokkinakis, and Coric, are showing some great skills and potential to be, you know, one of the top players. But it's a long way ahead, you know. Of course they are showing some great talent, some skills, movements. They all have a complete game and what it takes to get all the way to the top. But it's a very physical sport nowadays, and it's the consistency is one of the key words I think in order to really be one of the contenders for a top 5 or top 10 in the world, depending on what they want to achieve. But they all have talent and potential, no doubt about it. I like Coric and how he approaches the matches. He has a very mature mindset for somebody that is only 18. I practiced with him quite a lot in the last couple of months, and he does remind me of myself a little bit at that age. He's a great fighter, very solid from baseline, both sides. He's improving his serve, as I have seen. Now he's working with Thomas Johansson, the Grand Slam winner, and can help him of course from experience point of view. I'm sure he knows what to do. We talked a lot. And as I said, he does have a very professional, very mature way of approaching, not just matches, but the tennis life in general, which is nice to see for somebody his age. It's not that usual to see that. So I wish him all the best. I think he's going to be very, very good.

Q. You didn't play on Chatrier today, but can you talk about how that court feels in comparison to the other center courts at the other slams. And along with that, players talk about it being so roomy and other things. Do you think that that makes solving Nadal, because you played him many times on that court, a different proposition because of the space?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Can be one of the factors of his success, because he plays far back behind the baseline. And for an opponent playing against Nadal on Chatrier, it seems that you have to put double as much effort than any other court in the world, because it's so much space and it feels like you can't make a winner. He's getting every single ball. Plus the balls are a bit heavy, especially with the conditions that we are experiencing so far in Roland Garros. It's perfect for him, for his style of the game. I guess that's one of the factors. But again, I don't think that's the most important factor, I mean, for his success. He has lost only one match in his entire career in this court. So you've got to give him credit for that. And of course it's his quality of the game that is very suitable to the clay courts.

Q. (Off microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, he does. He does. Comparing to the four other Grand Slam center courts, it does. It's the most roomier one, however you use, whichever terminology you use for that, spacier, roomier (laughter). Excuse my English.

Q. I'm wondering if you can think back to 10 years when Rafael Nadal won here for the first time in 2005. Were you aware of that? Were you paying attention and thoughts of at that point for you as a teenager coming up, you know, did it motivate you at all? You know, how much were you watching --
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Motivate me? I'm sorry, I didn't get the first part of the question. Referring to Nadal --

Q. In 2005. How much you paid attention I guess at that point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To his title, first title?

Q. Here, correct.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, of course, I'm a year younger than he is, and so I didn't get to see him as much in junior events because he didn't play much of junior tennis. He was so advanced that, I mean, he was what, 15, he won his first match. And then very soon after his first tournament, you know, he started making his way through. And 2005, as you mentioned, he won his, when he was what, 19, first Grand Slam here. So of course the entire tennis world knew about Nadal even before he won his Grand Slam here. They were all talking that he's going to be a next-best thing. I'm sure he proved everybody right (smiling).

Q. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at your match in Paris-Bercy some years ago. Can you just explain the relationship between both of you, if you inspire each other?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, we are friends, we know each other for several years. It was great to have him today. Of course for my match he's -- I'm his fan. I love the way he plays football. I know him personally, as well. Of course that makes us even more closer, and I went to watch him. He played for A.C. Milan. And ever since then we are friends and we are in touch and whenever we can we watch each other perform. So he came with his children, I think, two years ago in Paris. And his children, he told me today they are also playing tennis and football. And, you know, it's nice to hear one of the best players in the world talk about, you know, follow tennis, talk about tennis, and, you know, in a positive way. So yeah, this is the relationship we have, and I'm going to follow him. I hear he's playing in the finals of French Cup on Saturday here in Stade de France. If the schedule allows me, maybe I will go to repay him the visit.

Q. I know it perhaps depends on the results here, but do you have any plans to play at Halle or Queen's or would you be happy not to play a grass court tournament at all, even though it's an extra week this season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven't entered any of the two yet, but because it all depends how I feel after French Open is done, depends how I do in this tournament, and then I'm going to decide what I'm going to do. If I decide to play, I hope that one of the two tournaments can grant me a wildcard. I will be very thankful (smiling). I will be grateful for that. If not, I will play doubles, I guess (laughter). Maybe. Or quallies. Sign up for quallies.
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