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July 10, 2015

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Gasquet
7‑6, 6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  During your time working with Boris Becker, what's the best piece of advice he's given you to be a successful tennis player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's about the mental approach, I think, especially when you're in the big tournaments and you're facing different adversities on the court, especially in the later stages of Grand Slams when things are getting tougher from every point of view.  It's where I think his contribution is the biggest to me and to the team.
Ever since he came to our team last year, obviously for me, it's a pleasure to have a legend of our sport next to me who is mentoring me and is giving me advices to be better.

Q.  With you back in the final, I'd like to go back to the end of last year's final and think about the emotions you experienced, maybe when you covered your eyes what you were saying to yourself.  It looked like you were talking to yourself at that moment.  What was going through your mind and what you were saying to yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it was very special moment, as it always is, in final of Grand Slams, but particularly here in London, where the most famous tennis tournament in the world.  This is the tournament that got me going to play tennis and inspired me to become a professional athlete and to dream big, to be able to fight for the trophy.
So when I actually have achieved it for the first time and won a trophy back in 2011, it was a dream come true.
But in 2014, last year, it was even more special because I won against the greatest player of all time on grass courts, and maybe greatest player of all time overall, Roger, in five sets.
It was very emotional because it was a match that could have finished in fourth sets.  He came back and had to really be mentally strong, stay composed and kind of keep that self‑belief on the court.
I did spend a lot of energy in order to get that trophy.  Knowing what I went through has obviously taken away a lot of emotions out of me.  I expressed those emotions on the closing ceremony, and I thought of all the people that have participated in this success.  Of course, I was very fortunate to share this trophy and great success with them.

Q.  And what you said to yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In these moments, obviously, only the most joyful, positive thoughts come to your mind.  I can't recall honestly, but I remember I was really proud in that moment, just really fulfilled in every segment of my being and of my life.

Q.  I'm curious about how you deal with emotions going into a Wimbledon final against whoever you're playing in this case, this will be a crowd favorite for different reasons.  Does it motivate you knowing it's all up to this specific match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Look, it's finals of Wimbledon and it's the most important match that any player, tennis player, can have.  I'm going to get myself prepared for whatever is expecting me on the court.
It's not the first time that I'll experience this particular feeling.  I'm going to try to use the experience from the fast in order to get myself in a right state of mind.

Q.  Talk about your shoulder.  You didn't have a medical timeout.  Can you tell us how it feels?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Woke up with a stiff left shoulder.  Just received some changeover treatment.  It wasn't really a medical timeout.  Nothing major that concerns me for the next match.

Q.  In previous years you've visited the Buddhist temple in Wimbledon.  Have you done that this year?  Is that somewhere you'll go tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, I've been actually once before the tournament started.  Look, it's not the place where I have to go in order to get my thoughts together.  It's one of the places where I like to walk around and like to have kind of private, peaceful time.  But there are many places where I do that.  Common park is one of them, as well.

Q.  On your bike?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  My bike?  Well, probably by foot pushing the baby's trolley.

Q.  You don't push the baby?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Of course.  I'm not a tennis player when I go back home, I'm a father.  Get used to that role.

Q.  Can you comment on the match today.  Seemed the first set was the key today.  After that you maybe settled down.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The first set was really close.  I thought Richard played some really good tennis, especially from the backhand side.  It was really difficult for me at times to play any kind of ball to his backhand side because he was really going for it, especially along the line.  He made a lot of winners.  He used the chipped backhand, slice variety as well.
As I said, it was very close, but that was probably the turning point.  Winning the first set tiebreak was psychologically very helpful for the rest of the match.

Q.  You've been No.1 for a lot of weeks in your career now.  I'm wondering if it's been even harder to be No.1 than you thought it would be with all the pressure, always being the favorite.  Maybe assess what it's been like over such a long period now.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Being No.1 of the world was always the dream, kind of a goal and ambition that I had when I was younger.  At times it sounded very unrealistic, you know, for many people around.  But I believed it, and my closest family and people who were really with me from the very early childhood, they believed it, too.  We had that vision.
I worked very hard to get myself to that position.  I have to work even harder to stay there.  It's completely two different situations, two different roads that you have to take.  There are obstacles on the way that you need to encounter, that you need to overcome.
But if you ask me which is the tougher, I would say, you know, staying there.  Staying there, managing to on a daily basis maintain that self‑discipline, the professionalism, continuously motivating yourself and finding ways to really keep going.
You are the hunted one.  There are many players that want to be at that position, so that makes it that much harder to stay there.

Q.  When you say you are the hunted one, is that the motivation for you to stay in front of everybody else, to stay ahead of everyone else?  You know they're all chasing you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  My biggest motivation is the sport itself.  That's where I find a lot of energy, from the love and passion that I have towards playing this sport.  If I don't have the drive that comes from that intrinsic feeling of just being on the court and enjoying hitting the tennis balls, I wouldn't be able to stay there.  There is no chance.
Of course, there are other ways of motivating yourself.  I want to win every tournament that I'm on as much as other players do.  I know I'm not the only one who has this kind of intention and goal.
But the most important and the greatest, I'd say, source of drive and energy is love for the sport, just the people around me.

Q.  It's possible in this situation you're again in the final, going next week to Buenos Aires to play Davis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, today is final.  I am not going to Davis Cup.

Q.  30 years ago, Boris won his first tournament here.  If you were to win this weekend, you would equal his three triumphs also.  What would that mean for your team?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  As you said, we are a team.  We do this together even though I'm an individual athlete on the court and by myself, trying to win the matches.  Regardless of who is on the court, in my box, supporting me or not, I need to do my job.  I need to be able to overcome certain challenges, mental challenges, physical challenges, in order to win matches and to be at the top.
We put ourselves in a position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy.  I think the continuity of this results is giving us a lot of hope, a lot of belief, and actually gives us a reason to believe that everything we're doing is for the right cause and we've been doing it in a right way.
Boris, for sure he's got a different motivation now than he had when he was playing.  I'm sure he's going to answer better.  But he's going through the emotions with me like when he was playing.  At least that's what we talk about and that's what he tells me.
I can see that.  There are times when he doesn't sleep well before the big match, stuff like this.  It's just the connection, the link that you make between the two.  There has to be that kind of chemistry in order to really deliver, you know, team‑wise, something that you want.

Q.  A year ago you came into this final having not won a Grand Slam in a year and a half.  You won this final last year, then won in Australia this year.  How much of a sort of change in momentum did you feel the final was a year ago, and how much confidence do you have coming in having already won in Australia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was a very important match for me to win last year in Wimbledon final because I've lost quite a few Grand Slam finals.  You know, I was on the verge to win.  Roger came back.  We went down the wire in the fifth.
To win that match in five sets against Roger on grass was definitely something that gave me a lot of confidence.  Few days after that, I got married.
That was more than a few things that happened in a positive way in my life.  Of course, I became a father as well, entered a new dimension of joy and happiness and love.
I'm trying to stay on that wave as much as I can and hopefully I can do well on Sunday.

Q.  Roger just took the second set as well.  Can you talk about the challenge of facing Roger in the Wimbledon final here is like for you?  And if it is Andy, can you explain your really good record against Andy in recent matches.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Roger and I played many times.  He's one of my greatest rivals.  He's one of the people that actually made me a better player, as well.  In the matches against him, I went through a lot of different emotions and things that allowed me to understand what I need to do to become a better player and to win against him and win Grand Slam trophies.
He's so good and so consistent, we shouldn't spend too much words about him.  We all know how good he is.  He's the greatest ever.  There's not enough praises for what he does.
But this is where he loves to play.  This is where he plays his best tennis, I think.  The Centre Court of Wimbledon, seven titles.  It's his court.  He loves it.  He usually rises up to the occasion.  He's always playing his toughest when it matters the most.  That's why he's a big champion.
If I get to play him, it's going to be probably the biggest challenge I can have.
Andy, on the other hand, is also somebody that loves playing on this court, especially the last couple years with winning his first Wimbledon, having the crowd on his side.  He loves that.  He enjoys the fact that he can be a home‑crowd hero, a player that everybody supports.
It's a lot of pressure, as well.  We have to understand that.  It's not easy for him to play here.  But he's been doing very, very well.
So if you asked me who I would like to play, I cannot tell you.  I have no preference whatsoever.  I would like them to play a little bit tomorrow, the fifth, and then let's see who comes out on Sunday (smiling).

Q.  You spoke earlier of thinking of the people who were so invested in your success when you were young.  Comes to your mind your former coach Jelena.  I know you think of her often, if she were here, what do you think she would tell you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  She would probably remind me of all the moments we spent together on the court, especially the moments when we were visualizing that Wimbledon trophy, talking about this tournament.
She would probably tell me that this is what I'm born to do.  This is something that I always wanted to do, to be in position to win the biggest trophy in the sport.  I'm sure she would refer to that.  I would get a lot of inspiration from that.

Q.  I wanted to ask about your impressions of the other players.  Do you still do them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not much honestly.  Not much.  I felt that there was a time for me to stop doing that.  I just felt it started being something that didn't come spontaneous.  I think people asked me too many times.  It wasn't really as it was at the beginning, if you know what I mean.  I don't like doing things when somebody forces me to do.
It's something just for good laughs, with zero intention to offend anybody.  So maybe the time will come again, who knows.  Maybe a few other players I get inspired by.

Q.  Is it always goosebumps after you qualify for the final or is it starting to feel normal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's not normal.  Sometimes because of the high standard you set up for yourself, you take certain things for granted.  I try to always kind of put myself down and remind myself that it's a great achievement and I should enjoy it and I worked hard for it, get that inspiration for next one.
Tennis is a complex sport.  Very quickly you always have to reset your mind because you always have a next match tomorrow or in two days.  You have to kind of leave whatever happened behind you and move on.  Sometimes it happens that you don't even have time to reflect on what you have achieved.
But Grand Slams are the biggest events we have in the sport.  So, of course, it's very special to be here.

Q.  How do you manage to maintain the passion for a sport that consumes almost your whole life?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think we have to go back all the way to the beginning, why I started playing this sport.  I started playing it because I fell in love with it.  Nobody has ever touched a tennis racquet in my family, so it was a sign of destiny.  God and life have arranged things for me to play this sport.
Starting from there, I already have a very special storyline and some kind of source which I feed on constantly.  Of course, now I have a family.  My wife and my son, my parents, my brothers, all the people who are close to me, who have always been there for me, they keep me, as well, intact to this kind of lifestyle and sport.
They always remind me why I play it, why I'm here.  They always try to be the great support to me.  It means to me a lot when I'm on the tour.

Q.  Did you say earlier that Boris has sleepless nights before your games?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We don't sleep together, so I heard that from him once, but I can't say how many sleepless nights.  You have to ask his wife (laughter).

Q.  Is it good to have a coach that gets that nervous?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He doesn't show that.  He doesn't show that.  He's extremely tough mentally, always was.  As a player, now as a coach.
We only talk about that after the match is over or tournament is over.  We talk about it a little bit.  He never says that.  He never shows his weakness.  I think that's one of the characteristics and virtues that has helped him to be a champion.

Q.  Serena Williams yesterday said, looking forward to the final, she doesn't need to win another Wimbledon, that primarily she wants to have fun.  Does that apply to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm sure she tries to also find that, I'd say, new source of inspiration and motivation, why she's there, why she's on the court.  Also she's 32, 33 years old.  She's one of the best tennis players ever to play the game, both women's and men's.  She's incredible whatever she does.
I probably think she's trying to relieve some of the pressure that she has.  Everybody talks about the Serena Slam.  Everybody talks about the Golden Slam, will she make it?  She has another match, US Open as well.  She's so dominant and superior on the court, it's really a pleasure to watch that.
I'm sure she has fun, but she also wants to win it.  That's for sure.

Q.  What's more important, fun or winning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I would say both.  Winning while having fun (smiling).

Q.  That's not good enough.  Stop trying to fudge it.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, what do you think the reaction of the people would be on Sunday if I step out and say, It's not about winning or losing, I just want to have fun.  Roger or Andy, if you want to play, just for good laughs.
I do have fun.  I do enjoy playing tennis.  Of course, I have to.  But in order to get myself going, that's the point.
But when you're on the court and fighting for the trophy like this, you want to win, trust me.

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