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August 31, 2015

Novak Djokovic

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've had a relationship with UNICEF for a couple years now. Last week you got a UNICEF promotion, and now this partnership with the World Bank. The World Bank thing, how did that come about since that's a new thing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to kind of use the success that I had in the sport that I do for all my life and contribute to the humanitarian work.

Ever since 2007 the foundation has been really active. UNICEF in Serbia inspired the mission of our foundation, and that is to commit to the preschool education.

You know, I was honored to be selected as an ambassador for Serbia for UNICEF, of course, just a couple weeks ago for worldwide global ambassador. That's something that I cherish. It's a great privilege to be one of the I think five or six athletes that are on that list.

It's a great responsibility. It adds another dimension of, I'd say, commitment from my side to the education. The reason why the foundation is focused on the preschool education in Serbia, unfortunately under 50% of children in Serbia go to preschool institutions partly because of economical reasons, and partly because of the lack of awareness of what those institutions and programs can do for you.

I'm glad that the work of the foundation has been recognized, and that is a great favor to all the people who work in our foundation with my wife and of course all the volunteers and all the people who show their good heart and make sure that they represent the foundation, my name, in the best possible way, and of course make sure that a lot of kids have access to the education, which is most important for us.

Q. What are you looking for most at this US Open? Is it a match against Federer? You recently said he changed his style. Is it a challenge for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not looking for a match against Federer. I'm looking for, I think, what most of the players are looking for here, and that's the trophy. I'm going to do everything in my power to get an opportunity to fight for a trophy. That's all I'm looking for.

Q. You've been producing some of the best results of your career since becoming a father. In what way is being a dad helped you on tour and as a player, and in what ways has it been challenging?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it has been the best thing that has ever happened in my life. As I was saying before, it did not come to me in any way that it can be a distraction. In contrary, it only added a new dimension of energy and love that I manage to use for my tennis as well.

I never thought I could experience such unconditional love, and now I understood what all the people who were parents before were telling me. You'll see. You'll see what it actually means.

You know, I'm just blessed to be able to follow his development and every day change. His presence here in New York with my wife, of course, means a lot to me because they give me that serenity I need during Grand Slam.

Q. No matter how you feel, how you prepare, what people talk about, it's always there when a tournament starts, first match, some measure of nerves. What is your reaction after?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Only positive. I lost three games the entire match against a player I never played against before. Can always be tricky because you're approaching the match without really knowing how he's going to react. First time playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The experience of playing in that stadium before many times has helped me to kind of step it up and execute my game plan and be aggressive. I think I've done great from the first to last point. Everything worked well.

I couldn't ask for a better opening of this year's US Open. Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.

Q. Is it a big relief to start a big tournament like this with such a dominating victory, or is there also something to be said for being tested a little bit more, even at the beginning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you're making, first of all, yourself feel good on the court. You're trying to approach every match in a way that you want to approach.

Of course, it's easier said than done to really play well. Especially in the first matches of a new tournament.

But with a dominant win like the one today, it adds to your confidence, your self-belief. But it's also making a statement for everybody that is out there watching. We are all watching each other's matches. We are all seeing how each other progresses.

It's important you're out on the court with the right intensity and you're sending a good message, and I've done so.

Q. You made history by making a mid-match interview after the first set. Would you imagine talking to a journalist after the first set today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. But I think it's interesting. I didn't hear about it before. As you said, it's the first in history. If she didn't mind - and I see that she didn't because she won the match - it just depends from player to player.

What I think they're trying to do here is kind of implement a same kind of media interaction as in, for example, other sports, like basketball after first or second quarter.

I don't know how much it can really work in tennis, but I think the impression of this first interview has been made. I think most players in the locker room are talking about. It's going to be interesting to see if somebody is going to follow up and accept to do the same.

I will not, definitely, this tournament. But who knows? Who knows what the future brings?

Q. You're 20-1 in majors. The one match you lost the guy played out of his mind. Do you find it amusing that people are talking about Roger, people are talking about Andy, his resurgence, given the way you're playing? Do you get a kick out of that, everyone is trying to create the rivalry?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I understand it. Being part of the global sport, of course there's a lot of media attention, speculation, willing to create some kind of rivalry, storyline that people want to see and be part of.

It's all exciting. Of course, I'm really excited and grateful to be part of the sport that I always loved. Of course, I was getting ready for this.

In a way, being part of that era of Federer and Nadal has also helped me improve and get better as a player.

I'm used to it. I'm used to it. I don't pay too much on the speculations outside of the tennis court. Of course, the expectations are always there, first of all from myself, but from all the people around.

Because I have faced this particular situation so many times, I know how to deal with it. I know exactly on a day-to-day basis what I need to do in order to keep my calm and just do the things that I need to do in order to play my best. That's all.

Q. Does it ever annoy you that you're taken a little bit for granted?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In a way it's a compliment, you know, that people would see me as maybe winner or finalist at least of most of the events that I play on. I accept it as a compliment.

Pressure is part of what we do. I mean, it's always present. You know, sometimes people expect too much of you. But, again, I don't play for anybody else except myself and my family, my country, so I just try to focus on that. You know what I mean?

I don't try to read too much of the news and stuff like this that would maybe create a possible distraction.

Q. When you are training to become a champion, one of the things you can't possibly prepare for is celebrity status, especially like back in Serbia. When that was first happening to you, was it weird, difficult to adjust, or was it natural straightaway?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was not natural because, I mean, I wasn't in this situation until I made certain, I would say, results on a global scale I think when I was 19, 20. That's when I started to experience it more in my country.

It was a delight, of course, for me as a young guy who dreams of being a successful tennis player and being globally recognized and appreciated for what he does. So back in my country when I saw that the people really appreciate that and come to me and compliment me for my tennis, what I do, of course it's very flattering.

I find it same today. I try to have this kind of approach. It's obviously different 'cause today I wish I can have a little bit more private time with my family when I'm in my country.

But, again, I understand this is part of my life and what I chose to do. I chose to do that, and I cannot complain and say, Hey, I don't -- I have that free time because it's my choice completely.

I enjoy it. I enjoy mostly when people approach me and compliment me for me as a person, not just as a player. That's something that I really respect a lot.

Q. You said you felt more in control of your strokes because of the roof construction. Can you elaborate a little more how that affected things?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I practiced I think three times before the tournament started on center court. I could sense the biggest difference in, I would say, a little bit less -- kind of lack of swirly conditions. A little lack of wind conditions on the court, which was kind of always an obstacle for the players here at the US Open.

You had days when it's really difficult. I remember especially 2012, semifinals and finals, two matches that I played, were extremely difficult conditions. The wind was changing direction all the time.

These particular conditions, it's really hard to find a proper balance, anticipation on the court. It's actually good we're now a little bit protected from that. It allows players to kind of swing through the balls. I would say from a spectator's point of view, nicer tennis.

Q. You've had this relationship with Peugeot. What was your relationship with cars growing up? As a little boy growing up were you into cars? Did you watch motorsports? Open the engine and poke around? Do you like cars?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, as most boys, I was playing with the cars, but I never really felt too passionate about cars. It was never my kind of thing.

But until -- I don't know if it's politically correct to say this. I like Peugeot of course. It's my sponsor, but since they're not present in the American market, I can say this here. I love Tesla cars.

For me that's probably the best car in the world. I love it. I'm in love with Tesla cars. I'm in love with anything about Tesla, as a matter of fact.

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