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March 29, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Miami, Florida


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That last game was really crazy. He was just crushing the ball; you were crushing the ball. Did you ever think it was going to end?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is going to end sooner or later. I had some luck in that last game where he missed couple of easy forehands to get the break back and get back into the match.

But I just think I stayed tough when it was most needed. In the important moments I just tried to make him play, make him run. He has very powerful strokes from back of the court, so he either makes some really amazing shots, down the line mostly, and some great inside out forehands, or he makes a mistake.

It's kind of a gamble playing with him whether you want to step in or try to make him play. It took me a little bit because I played him only once, China couple years ago. So it took me a little bit of time to get used to his serve pattern as well. I didn't expect him to go that much kick wide, but he was kicking the ball a lot and trying to open up the court.

He came out with a good game plan. He's young. He had not much to lose. He was confident obviously winning a lot of matches this year. He was motivated to win. I could see that. It was a straight-set win, but far from easy. It was a tough match.

Q. I asked to Sousa and to Thiem about how difficult is to beat Novak. They also said how good you are. How do you think it's so hard to beat you in the court? What do you think you can improve yet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I always think I can improve. I think that's one of the reasons that I keep working hard and keeps me going in a way. Of course I have a lot of self-believe and that's what got me here, but I'm also self-critical of my game. I do always find things I can improve and get better on.

But generally each player has a different style, and you try to improve your virtues in the game, your skills. On the other hand, also try to reduce the flaws in your game as much as possible.

So, yeah, I mean, I know going out on the court, especially at this stage of my career, that a player really needs to play, you know, on a high level consistently to win against me. That's something that gives me confidence. It gives me that mental edge that sometimes decides the matches like this.

Q. You had a few double faults today. In general your serve selection was excellent. You just did great work on his backhand; got him off balance on the forehand. Talk about that process in your mind, how you decide, how you choose, your philosophy going in.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I thought the first serve was really good today. The first serve percentage was high.

Second serve wasn't working that well. It's also due to the pressure that he was imposing, stepping in on my second serve. But I just didn't find the rhythm today. Generally I know I can't serve like Isner or Raonic or these guys. I don't have that much power.

But I go for accuracy, precision. I pick my spots. I think that's -- in the long run, down the stretch, that's what matters the most, where you can actually get the most free points or easier second shot. That's what I focus on.

Serve is one of the elements in my game that I've worked on very hard last couple years, and it's paying off.

Q. What's the bigger take away, that you faced 15 breakers or that you fought off 14 of them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Can you go again?

Q. What's the bigger takeaway for you? Are you happy that you were able to fend off 14 breakpoints, or are you upset that you faced 15 of them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, a little bit of both, I would say. Generally I don't get to face that many break points, but conversion of break points from my opponent today was only 1 out of 14, so that's a positive in a way.

But I'll try not to get myself in those positions too much.

Q. You just said a few things about Dominic Thiem. For you as the No. 1 player in the world and seeing the next gen coming through, one, do you think it was a bit of inexperience that maybe didn't see this match go to three sets on his part? And as part of the that, how exciting is it for you as the world No. 1 to be playing the next gen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is exciting, because tennis definitely needs the next generation of young players who are playing the way Dominic does and challenging the best players in the world.

It's normal evolution in life that sooner or later we'll -- the time will come for all of us, and we need some new faces and players that are able to follow and lead the tennis world in the future.

So Dominic is one of the leaders of this generation, no question doubt about it. He's already established himself as a top 20 player last couple years. He's getting stronger and more confident.

It's a process for every young player to really develop and understand what it takes mentally, physically, emotionally, to get to the top of the world and win major titles. It's a long road ahead for him and for everybody else, but definitely they are on the right track.

Kyrgios is another prospect, somebody that has a bright future if he continues going on this path.

So it's not easy. Of course nowadays it's tougher to break through to the top than it was maybe ten years ago when I was doing it. That's my opinion. Game is physical nowadays more and the point system is such that it doesn't go into the favor of bit lower ranked players trying to break through.

It takes a lot of effort, and I do appreciate and respect the young players out there. I see their effort; I see their commitment and dedication. Already in the locker room you can see which guys are ready to take responsibly this kind of lifestyle. You really need to be fully committed to it.

Q. On Dominic, obviously he's been gaining more confidence. In February he won the Acapulco Open. You're obviously No. 1 in the world; you've never been there, neither has Roger. Would've considering down the road playing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I will consider it. I'm hoping it's going to come sooner than later. I've heard a lot of beautiful things about the tournament in Acapulco, so maybe that's going to be one of my next destinations in the upcoming years.

Q. You always find a way to have the crowd have a lot of support for the other guy. Either you're destroying their idols or now the next generation guy is coming up and everybody is excited to see a good match. Does it get you angry? Amused? You roll with it? What's your feeling about this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, in the end of the day of course you would like to have the majority of the crowd supporting you, being behind you in the important moments, because that kind of support kind of de-stresses and you gives you that necessary strength and motivation to really showcase your full potential, if I may say.

Obviously it's better playing with crowd behind you than crowd behind your opponent's back. Now, I don't feel that every match I play against opponent, against the crowd. I don't feel that I play against the crowd at all. Crowd loves to see entertaining matches, but I get a lot of support. I don't take that for granted. I am really grateful for that.

In the end of the day, whatever is the situation and whatever crowd decides, you know, who to support and which side to go, I got to do my job. I need to try to focus on this moment and executing the game plan.

But we have to be honest that it's better when you have crowd on your side.

Q. Maybe you shouldn't be so dominant, huh?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think everything has its up sides, but I'm definitely very privileged to be where I am. I cannot complain.

Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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