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March 16, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Indian Wells, California


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations today. Less drama.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I'm actually glad to have a match like this with not much complications.

I think we both started to play well on our service games, and he was 30-Love on that game when I broke him. Then he missed four first serves. I managed to step in and return very well on those four second serves that I got and just used the opportunity.

You know, after that I was feeling more comfortable also on the return games even though Feliciano is a very difficult player to play against. He's left handed and he has a big first serve and he can hit angles, comes to the net, so very strong, physically moves well.

But I was very solid. I didn't allow him to come to the net too many times. It was a good performance.

Q. You obviously looked more comfortable. When you went out for the match, were you thinking about some of those close calls you had over recent times, knowing that he's a lefty and he can be so dangerous?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I have respect, you know, for his game, which definitely, you know, made me very cautious of approaching this match and made me very determined to impose my game plan from the very beginning.

Obviously trying to be patient and wait for the opportunities, and when they presented, I needed to capitalize on them. Which I did.

I don't think he has played on the level that he can, but I just think that I made him play an extra shot, which is very important against players like him.

Q. Wawrinka after a tough match today said this was a match without brains, and that got us talking about some of the really smart, and, I don't know, brilliant people in the game. Who do you think are the one or two really smartest people you have met in your years of tennis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Intelligence in terms of tennis intelligence or just overall?

Q. Let's do both.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Out of players or anybody on the tour?

Q. Anybody. Coaches.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, well, it's hard to come up with some names, but obviously, I mean, Roger is somebody that has been evolving over the course of his career and always trying to get better.

All the top players, I mean, have, I'd say, very high level of sports and tennis intelligence, otherwise they wouldn't be there.

And other than that, I mean, there are people who obviously rely more on the mathematical side, more on the data, statistics; there are people who rely more on gut feeling, instinct and just, you know, kind of figuring out the situations and doing what they think it's most appropriate at that time.

I believe the best way is somewhere in the middle. I think the technology today helps you very much get better in every aspect of your game and career, but if you start to calculate too much it can be a bit distracting.

So tennis is a very special game and requires a lot from one player and a team. I guess you try to work on yourself and your personality, strengthen your character features in order to, I'd say, get better in tennis, as well.

It's all correlated.

Q. Did you get a chance to watch the Nadal/Zverev match? If so, what do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I did. They played just before me. And, yeah, as well tough luck for Zverev, because he was he was not one point but one volley away from winning the match. If he would have won, it would be, you know, deservedly so.

But on the other hand, Nadal has shown how he has been one of the best players ever in the game and one of the toughest competitors. He never gives up and makes you earn your victory.

Credit to him. Credit to both of them. I think they played a great match. Very entertaining to watch. Zverev has a very bright future if he continues playing this way. He's on the right path. He's very young, so we will see more of him in the future.

Q. You have mentioned how every match this tournament you have gotten a little bit more comfortable. Was there ever a point in the last month or so maybe when you had a little time off where you thought you lost some of the momentum you had in 2015 or this year, or is every tournament you're starting all over?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it's a little bit of both. I think as a tennis player you need to accept the fact that, you know, once the tournament is done, whatever you have done, if you have won the tournament, you have to forget about it. Take obviously the beautiful memories of it and move on.

The next day is the next tournament. If there is one thing that tennis players have learned over the years is to move on quickly and adjust to different tournaments and different quests, I think, that are, you know, ahead of us.

So we don't have much time really to celebrate. We don't have much time to rest, as well, as maybe some other sports.

But, in the other hand, this sport has a lot of advantages. It's a beautiful sport. It's individual sport. So you get to experience everything by yourself and you can see actually the work that you put in and dedication and sacrifice, that it pays off or doesn't pay off.

So it's a real-life challenge playing on the tour, and I enjoy every minute of it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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