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March 24, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Miami, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Novak would like to make a statement, and then we will take questions.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I apologize for being late. I just spent 30 minutes talking to Billie Jean King and to Chris Evert. She is a wonderful lady, both of them. Billie Jean King has done so much for this sport, and she reminds me a lot of my first coach, Jelena Gencic that unfortunately passed away but was a big influence in my tennis career and life in general.

Before we start with questions, if you don't mind, I would like to just look back and give my opinion, again, about the subject that was majorly discussed about the last couple days just to clarify my standpoint. I would like to address that because I feel like what I've said several days ago didn't come across as well to some people.

Of course I wanted to make sure that everybody understands that my intentions not for a single second were wrong. Obviously I feel very sorry if in anyway I hurt my female colleague tennis players. I have a very good relationship with all of them. I have a huge respect for all of them.

Personally, because of the position and the status I have, I feel need and responsibility always to make myself available for young players, both male and female, to give them support and advices, to help them in any way possible in their development to professional tennis.

But I also felt because of the fact that tennis helped me so much to get to where I am today, to share my opinion, and it was my duty to share my opinion on the subject of the distribution of the wealth in sport.

When I say about distribution of the wealth and growth of the sport, I don't make any difference amongst the gender. My beliefs are completely in line with gender equality and equal opportunities. We are all part of the same sport. We all contribute in our own special, unique ways.

That's all. That's all I have to say about that. So if you are so kind enough not to ask me questions about this anymore, because I think I've said everything I need to say.

Thank you so much.

THE MODERATOR: Any questions for Novak? Raise your hand and we'll give you the microphone.

Q. Can I ask what mood Billie Jean King was in when she spoke with you and what you roughly spoke about in the 30 minutes? Was she in a good mood with you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She was in a very good mood with me. We spoke about many different things. We spoke about the opportunities that one tennis player has, our sportsperson that is in the top of his career, to use his influence as a platform to make a positive difference in the world, in different fields of life.

We spoke about her beginnings, my beginnings; we just with had a very nice and friendly chat.

Q. You obviously get on well with Andy. Will you perhaps seek him out as well to clarify your thoughts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Andy actually send me a message yesterday. Again, we spoke very openly and frankly about it. I send a message to Serena, Wozniacki, Ana, anybody that I know just to make sure that they understand that I never had any intention to offend them or to come up with any kind of negative connotation in my statements.

So as I said, I have a very friendly and respectful relationship with both male and female tennis colleagues. Honestly, I was a little bit surprised and shocked with what kind of proportions, as I mentioned, this entire story got into media in last few days.

That's why I felt the need to share with you today and clarify my thoughts and views on everything.

Q. Does it surprise you the amount of ripple and shock wave that your statement made? Does it reaffirm how important of a platform you have?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, I'm privileged to be in the position where I have lots of attention to what I say. The way I was educated and brought up, I always tried to use that influence in a positive way.

Again, with what I said couple days ago, I have to repeat again: There was no bad intentions. It came you across and probably people understood it in a wrong way because I didn't express myself well. I'm not a native speaker, so I tried to do my best in English.

Again, the proportion of the outreach of this story was tremendous. I think it was mainly because of the momentum in which I was sharing my views on this subject. Because it all started with a question to me about the statement of Raymond Moore, which of course I think is very inappropriate.

Unfortunately, many people probably had the wrong idea and thought of my statement to be something in line with his statement. So I'm just glad I have the opportunity to actually share with all of you and with people around the world what my views are.

I hope everybody understands it now.

Q. On behalf of the two women here, what are your views specifically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Haven't you just heard what I said? I mean, I also gave a statement yesterday on my social networks and I just said in the opening statement of the press conference.

Q. We are just saying if you would like to clarify your views on the prize money issue.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I never had an issue with equality within gender and sport and in any other field of life.

Q. You also said that you felt if men were attracting...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was referring to the tournaments and the wealth as distributed towards all the players: High ranked, lower rank, female, male, young, old. I was talking in the name of all the players, that we deserve more of the well distribution that is generated on a certain tournaments. That's what I was referring to.

Q. All genders?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, all genders.

Q. In the name of Novak Djokovic Fan Club, we want to congratulate you on a fifth title in Indian Wells, and we want to welcome you here as defending champion. What makes this tournament different from other 1000 series?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Miami has been a tournament with a long tradition and history. I think the crowd, the audience, is very passionate about sport, tennis. It's very international, especially a lot of South Americans which are very passionate, caring, and loving people. They appreciate what you do, you coming here. They love watching top, world-class tennis.

So for me, Miami tournament represents something special because it was a first big tournament that I won back in 2007. It helped me to believe and to build my self-belief and self-confidence. In the rest of my career I used it is as springboard basically for everything that was coming after that.

Q. You are very good friends with Marcelo Melo from Brazil. Did he talk to you about Brazil since Olympics are there? Are you interest to come back to Brazil? Excited to play Olympics since it's one of the titles you don't have in your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm very excited to come to Rio for the Olympic Games. I was there once in end of 2012 when I played an exhibition event with Guga Kuerten. I have only the most beautiful memories from there.

Marcelo Melo is one of my favorite guys on the tour. Very genuine, very funny, and obviously a great player. I was very glad to see him get to No. 1 of the world recently and to see him play some of his best tennis in tournaments and win Grand Slams.

So, yeah, I'm hoping that the Brazilian experience for us this summer in Rio will be successful and amazing. I'm sure, actually, it will be very beautiful, because people are very friendly and very welcoming there. They love sports.

Well, Olympic Games are held every four yours and that's most renowned sports event in the world. I'm going to be proud to be part of it.

Q. Your first opponent is Kyle Edmund from GB. He said he once warmed you up at Wimbledon. Do you remember that at all? Have you seen him play much?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I remember. Couple years ago. I don't know exactly. Was two or three years ago. I remember. He's a very calm -- seems very mature for his age, the way he plays, behaves off the court. Very respectful of the game and of his colleagues. It will be a pleasure to play against him. Obviously he's one of the youngsters that everybody is looking up to and expecting to make a great breakthrough.

He has played, if I'm not mistaken, recently quarterfinals, semifinals of an ATP event. I think quarters in Doha, and he was playing very well. I look forward to it. I look forward to it because I think also Great Britain, other than Andy Murray, needs a young player who has quality and potential to be at the top.

Q. For the first time in a while at an event, yourself, Rafa, and Roger are here. Talk about what that means, especially to have Roger back.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course it's great to have Roger back. He hasn't played I think couple of years in Miami. He had that injury after Australian Open that prevented him from playing in Dubai and Indian Wells, but he's such an important player for our sport and personality, of course, with everything that he has achieved in his life in his tennis career.

So I'm very glad that all the top players are taking a part in this tournament. We'll see some top-quality tennis. I see the fans are already excited. They come in big numbers already for the opening days of the tournament.

So I look forward to it. I've had very successful last couple of years in Miami, and the fact that I have five days in between the Indian Wells final and the first match here gives me enough time to really get used to conditions, get ready for the challenge.

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