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April 1, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Miami, Florida


7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough match. Tough conditions. Does Goffin surprise you, especially his serve and especially the way he's competing out there the last three, four weeks?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was aware of the level that he raised his game in last couple of months. And the fact that he has played the first semifinals of a Masters 1000 event in his career in Indian Wells gave him obviously confidence coming into today's match, and I knew he's going to try to take his chances, going to try to be aggressive.

He plays very clean, a tennis that is beautiful for the eye, you know, to watch, and the way he moves. Also, I think he improved his serve, first serve, especially in the first set. I had difficulty to kind of read it. It's not as powerful and strong as maybe some other guys', but it's very precise and efficient. Also, he backs it up with a very efficient and good quality first shot after the serve.

So, I mean, it was evident that we both struggled with conditions today, you know, especially after a tough start that, you know, I think three games went 15 minutes and then, you know, the whole first set lasted for hour and 15 minutes. Physically a great battle, lots of exchanges from the baseline.

I was kind of expecting something like that, but I think we were both really trying to catch some breath, you know, after some points. It was windy, it was humid, it was warm. You know, it was like everything was thrown out there on us to kind of resist that. And to overcome those obstacles and conditions was something that I'm proud of, and I managed to stay tough I think in the right moments.

Of course I was a bit fortunate in the tiebreak, but I made him play always an extra shot. Second set was even better.

Q. The tiebreak, that point at 4-All, what were you thinking in that point? Seems like when you get in positions where, you know, you could possibly get beat, you just find that extra shot or make that extra move. Just talk a little bit about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was on the back foot on that point. He was the one dictating the play. He was the one attacking. And, well, he came to the net and I anticipated where he might, you know, smash that ball.

I think he framed it a little bit, which allowed me to get that height and I was just at the right place at the right time.

Sometimes, you know, those kind of situations appear and you try to put yourself, as you said, in the right position and just make your opponent play an extra shot.

He was taking the ball early. Every shorter ball he was coming in. You know, I had to defend well, which I think I have done, done good in that tiebreak.

Q. Can you address the possibility that you play Kyrgios in the final? (Off microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think he's definitely a very intriguing player to watch. He does have a personality and he's very unique. I think it's interesting for tennis fans to have Kyrgios, definitely, as somebody that competes in a high level.

He's young, but he's managing to, you know, perform his best in the big matches lately. He won against Nadal in Wimbledon, and he had some big wins against top players this week, as well.

You know, he's got the firepower from more or less every corner. You know, he's got one of the best serves. I think he's picking his spots very efficiently. His second serve is very impressive in tough moments.

I watched a little bit of the match yesterday against Raonic. When Raonic had some chances and break points and second serves, you know, Kyrgios would go for it, something similar to what Ivanisevic used to do, high-risk second serve. But it's working. He has that great technique, great motion. Tennis-wise, he definitely has skills, he has the quality.

He's a big guy but he moves well. He's improving. You can see that, you know, the team of people around him are definitely making sure that he gets better and better. I think he deserves to be where he is at the moment, semifinals of the big event. He's going to play Nishikori, so I don't think it would be fair to talk about him playing in the final because Nishikori is someone that is more experienced and more established, has played more of these kind of matches. Let's see what happens.

Whoever I get to play obviously is going to be a challenge. I think today's match at 1:00 p.m., these kind of conditions, helps me to kind of adapt and get a clear picture of what's going to expect me on Sunday.

Hopefully I can use that in my favor.

Q. (Question about angles and if Novak has ever studied geometry.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you. That's a nice thing to say. I take that as a compliment. I must admit math was not one of my favorite subjects.

I was more kind of a, you know, geography/languages kind of guy. But I did go through the initial stage of my tennis career with my former tennis coach, Jelena Gencic, and we went through this I think period of psychology and strategy planning and trying to work on that angle a lot, especially forehand, backhand short cross, and she was insisting a lot on me to play those kind of shots.

I remember when she was telling me that when she worked with Monica Seles, that was the same thing. When Monica was -- I remember Jelena Gencic, my first coach, she was always in my ear, saying Monica did this, Monica did that, she went to sleep that time, she played this shot. So Monica was definitely one of my idols growing up because I had privilege to work with a coach who had worked with her.

She had over 1000 drills. I mean, it's incredible. I never seen any coach have that many well-thought drills that you can work on from the baseline, midcourt, you know.

So from the very early stages of my career I worked on that variety and the game. I think getting that angles and opening up the play -- it's mental game in the end of the day. You have to prepare yourself obviously physically, hit many tennis balls to get better and improve your skills, but I liked that match analysis kind of part where, you know, you try to take away -- it kind of exposed the flaws of your opponent and take away the time of them and get efficient on the court.

Q. (Question about Kyrgios' personality, impact on millions of kids around, positive and negative.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thank you. I mean, obviously I have tried to always have this awareness of, you know, so many people and especially kids, which my Foundation is engaged with in education, many, many children around the world that are not daring to dream and not able to have kind of access to most basic needs that we have.

So sometimes you take things for granted because you are part of the society that works and kind of functions in that way. But I think the experience that I had in childhood, the circumstances which I grew up did help me to, you know, keep that always in back of my mind and make sure that I show this humility and gratitude also of being in the present moment and being cherished with this beautiful sport that I'm in love with.

So I do agree. I think it's very, very important for the character strength and, you know, character features and overall observation of one person, whether it's a sportsman or whoever to always keep looking to give back in any way possible.

The new generations now coming up, you know, hopefully they have that in back of their mind. Hopefully Nadal, Federer, Murray, myself, you know, the leaders of the generation that is at the moment present and on top of the men's game, we can somehow influence them in a positive way or inspire or, you know, help them.

Of course I think it's important that you cover every aspect of your being off the court, as well, in order to get maximum potential out of yourself in every sense of that word.

So let's see. You know, they're still young. I can remember myself in that age. You know, you're learning every single day. So of course they are focused on tennis and it's their priority, they want to win and they want to get better, but the influence and the impact that they have every time they are sitting here and talking to you guys and, you know, the reach of their words is tremendous because in society it helps a lot.

With a couple of words you can, you know, change somebody's life. So, yeah, hopefully they have that thought.

Q. I'm going a little bit off topic here. Last month I saw in the headlines of the press about the payment of exhibition you did with Guga in 2012. I understand the government did not pay you when it was agreed. I wondered if they have settled it with you, if it's still in the way of settling, and how do you feel about that four years after?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This is not going to impact my arrival to Rio or anything that has to do with Brazil. I enjoyed very much my stay there, my exhibition with Guga that is one of my favorite guys ever from the tennis world. You know, that's not going to change.

Of course there is this legal procedure that is ongoing and it's still not settled. But we'll figure out the way. You know, I'm not somebody that prioritizes money ahead of, you know, some core human and life values that I felt very strongly in Brazil during my presence there.

We'll figure out a way.

Q. When you just won the match today, you are in the final here for the seventh time, you planted a kiss on the court. What was going through your mind at that moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just wanted to make sure that the court feels my love, even though it has -- I felt a lot of heat from above and from under, as well (laughter). There was a lot of warm kind of dynamic emotions going on, so a little kiss just for good-bye and see you in two days. That's all.

I love that court, because I have had so much beautiful memories in the past. You know, I won this tournament many, many times. It's one of my favorite courts. I think sometimes we take it for granted. It's nice to give a little kiss to the court.

Q. I know you talk about Nick already a lot, but there is another potential opponent in the final you're going to play, Nishikori. So if he makes the final, it's going to be the second time for him to play the final of Masters 1000. It's going to be the first time he played in the final against you. So it's not a big deal for you, of course, but do you think it affects his mentality or like play style or plan against you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he does look very composed on the court, so I don't think that he's going to feel any much different, you know, because we have played against each other so many times that maybe the occasion of being in the final can influence, you know, in a very small percentage his kind of mental approach and preparation for the match.

But, you know, he looks very mature on the court, very experienced, as well. He's somebody that has been around and played so many, you know, matches in the big stage. I don't see him being too overwhelmed or nervous about the occasion.

I think even though he has played only one Masters final, he's played many other, he's played Grand Slam finals, so he's been around for many years.

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