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January 22, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-1, 7-5, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you get any official statement from Australian Open why your message to Lleyton Hewitt has been cut last night? What's your comment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have no comment. I don't know. I've done it, but it wasn't there. I don't know. I guess we have to ask them.

Q. Difficult to adjust to this condition on this court tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think, at least it's my subjective feeling, that Margaret Court is played slightly slower than Rod Laver Arena. But nevertheless, you know, the ball bounces low. It's pretty good for a type of player like Andreas Seppi who plays very flat and very solid from both corners of the baseline with a lot of depth.

It's not easy to stay with him on the baseline, you know. So I think that I started very well. A set and then a couple of breakpoints early in the second. Didn't use that. He started serving well. I backed up half a step back. He started playing more aggressive tennis. Not as many unforced errors.

I think I served my way out of trouble several times. But, you know, certainly I must be pleased with a straight-set win because both sets, especially the third, could have gone a different way.

But I'm still not very satisfied, you know, with certain parts of the second and third set. I think I could have done better. But, again, I played a quality player who took out Federer last year here and who has been on the tour for many years. He is not afraid to play big tennis on a big stage. He likes it, I think.

We practiced a lot, so we know each other's game well. It was a great test. It was a physical match, a lot of exchanges from the baseline. I'm just glad to go through.

Q. When Federer was dominating for a few years, he said about himself that he had created a monster. What would you say about yourself at the moment being so dominant?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I guess everybody lives it in a different way. I think because of the very high standard that you set yourself with great results over the years, you expect from yourself a lot. A kind of commitment and dedication to the sport that is necessary from a tennis player today is very high and you have to be very professional in every aspect of your life.

But, you know, again, it's your choice whether or not you're accepting that challenge and you're accepting that demand. But it's true that the more you win actually the higher expectations are from yourself and from others.

But again, you know, it's better to be in that position than to not have that success. So I'm personally very grateful to be in the position to play and be the best in what I do. That's what I always dreamed of. I think each and every tennis player starts this sport with an idea to be the best.

So, of course, it makes me proud, all the achievements. But I still feel like I can do more. So that's something that keeps me going.

Q. Can you talk how the expectations got greater through the years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's almost like, you know, after the season that I've had, 2015, anything aside from a title or a final is not a success. Somehow, even though you don't think that way personally, you know, there's a kind of just an energy, you know, a feel around you that is created by people close to you, the media, the tennis world, so forth, because of this high expectation.

You know, I guess it's all in your mind. That's why I've been trying to keep the same team of people around me and follow the kind of a lifestyle that I think works for me well, that got me to where I am. Try not to pay too much attention on certain speculations, predictions and so forth, because that can cause a distraction that I don't need. I don't need an additional pressure because pressure is part of what we do and it's already there. It's present. It comes in big portions, especially in the Grand Slams.

So you try to keep it very simple. You know, when the tough gets going, you try to dig out what's in you. You've got to be tough, not just on match days but on off days as well. People follow you in your practice sessions. You know, you can't just go out on a court and hit a few balls because you know there are people watching, maybe opponents' coaches are watching. It's a constant feel that you're under the radar. That makes you stay in that kind of frame of mind that is very intense and focused.

But yet again, you need to find the right balance. Each and every player is quite different. Each one of us finds something different in our private lives that relaxes us and gives us serenity and gives us that balance that I think is very important. If you get carried away by this pressure, if you are too much in tennis, then it's not good, as well. You know, you burn out very quickly.

Q. It's more a joy than it is a burden?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. I mean, look, again, it's my choice. Nobody's forcing me to be here and play tennis. It's completely my choice if I want to compete on this level. As I said, I try not to take things for granted. There are people around me, families that support me, to live my dream, to live the kind of a lifestyle of a tennis player that is quested for me. And as long as there is joy in it, as long as there is pleasure in it, I'll keep going.

Q. We know how particular you are about what you put into your body. I'm curious to know why you've chosen dates to eat on the court and what do they give to you during a match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, dates are I think one of the fruits that give you the low glycemic index, which is very important, because you don't want to have a strong shot of sugar and then it takes you down very rapidly like, okay, I don't want to name certain brands. It's not the place.

But, yeah, I do really pay a lot of attention to nutrition. More than that, it's my passion and it's my hobby. It's something that I enjoy exploring more.

Dates are something that I've been consuming on the court for a while now. But, you know, people get to see what we eat and drink on the court and think that that's giving us the hydration or the energy, sustained energy, throughout the match. But it's actually what you do before that is even more important: the way you hydrate yourself, prepare yourself, what you eat the hours before, how much you sleep and all these things.

It's not only about what you see on the stage but backstage that prepares you for that so you don't get into the crisis, physical crisis, like cramps and so forth that I see many players get into because they don't prepare themselves well.

Q. You've had to answer tough questions this week. Did you find it any more difficult to prepare for this match in any way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Honestly I've had quite a few press conferences in my life. I understand how I need to carry myself. Obviously this subject of conversation, I would say speculation, has came up, and it's not a regular, I would say, subject of press conferences.

But, you know, it is what it is and we expected it. When we heard the story would come out, we all expected we going to get questions from you guys. I'm just glad that I still didn't get any this press conference because I have nothing more to say there. The story that was supposed to be big is not really big.

I guess we have to shut it down.

Q. Andy said it might be distracting for some of the top players, especially people like you who have had to answer questions.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You have to deal with it. You have to deal with it and accept it. I respect you guys. You're doing your job. But, you know, if you answer five times the same question in the same manner, there is no use of going further because there are no new information or evidence that can create.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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