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May 1, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A how do you feel for the tournament in Madrid?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel excited to be back. Last time I was in Madrid was three years ago. I missed being in the city. I missed being a part of this tournament.

Unfortunately in 2014 I was prevented to come here to this tournament because of an injury; last year the decision of the team was to make that kind of scheduling. Madrid unfortunately didn't fit in last year. That's why I skipped the last two years.

But I'm glad that I'm back, because this is definitely one of the biggest tournaments we have in the world, and especially on this particular surface.

I'm excited obviously to get back on the clay courts. I didn't do that well in Monte-Carlo, so I hope I can have a bit more matches during this week.

Q. After Rafa winning in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, do you feel he's your biggest rival here in Madrid, in the upcoming clay tournaments.
How do you look towards Rio? In less than one hundred days the Olympic Games will start. Do you feel confident that you could win a gold medal there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, I think Rafa is everybody's main rival on clay courts because of his history on this surface and the results that he had throughout his career that deservedly put him as always I think one of the top or probably the top favorites on any clay court event as a matter of fact.

Of course, he did not have 2015 clay court season the way we used to see him play on a very high level. It was not up to his standard. This year he's showing already much higher quality of tennis and performance. He really played terrific both in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. I'm sure he's very motivated to do well here in Madrid and continue to do well on his favorite surface. He's definitely the player to beat.

Regarding Rio, yes, of course I'm looking forward to it. Olympic Games are happening every four years, and for any professional athlete in the world it's a huge honor to be part of Olympic Games.

I had that honor twice in my life so far back in Beijing 2008 and London as well where I've had some nice results. Won bronze medal in Beijing and in London carried the flag for my country.

So I managed to experience, you know, some incredible moments that I will never forget. That's why I am very excited, as I think everybody else, to be in Rio and be healthy and well-prepared to fight for a medal.

Q. You won this tournament in 2011; now five years later you are the best ATP player. Do you feel confident to win this again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I've always had very high expectations of myself. Knowing that I won this tournament in 2011 and played couple of semifinals and good tournaments in the past in Madrid gives me a reason to believe that I can do well.

Of course I'm quite a different player today than I was three years ago or five years ago. I think more confident on the court and physically and mentally more mature than I was in 2011. Even though that year was one of the best seasons I've had.

But the conditions are quite different in Madrid compared to other tournaments. It's high altitude and the ball flies through the air very quickly and you have to adjust to those particular conditions.

So I'm glad that I arrived earlier. I have some very good practice sessions and I'm just hoping to get the best out of myself this week.

Q. Today you were training with Andy Murray. You were showing great level. How do you feel after your first training session here in Madrid?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So far so good. I've had time after Monte-Carlo to be at home, spend some time with family, recharge my batteries, and kind of analyze what I have done so far in this season. Because it's been one of the best starts of the season I've had in my career. A lot of the matches and not too much time off.

So it was great to get an extra few days. I arrived now a bit earlier and practiced already three times here. I'm going to play on Wednesday my first match, so it's going to get better every day I'm hoping. I'm working towards that. Let's see what happens.

Q. Rafa made some news in the last week by filing a lawsuit in Paris against Roselyne Bachelot for defamation. I'm sure you know about this, about him having tested positive or something. Curious what you think the impact of that lawsuit could be on the sport and other top players. He's saying things about wanting more transparency from the ITF with publishing all the testing results, if you think that would be a positive outcome of this lawsuit as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think we all agree that we all want the sport clean and of course as transparent as possible. I think we all agree that we want to be playing the sport on an equal level in competition terms. The crowd, when they come to watch us perform on the biggest tournaments, they want to know it's played under fair conditions.

So of course it's a very tricky position and situation for Rafa in this particular situation. I think he has done right thing to protect himself and integrity of his own brand and achievements he had in all these years of work and results that he put in.

And the sport itself, because Rafa is definitely one of the best players in the history of the game, one of the most important players we have.

That's all I can say.

Q. Just follow up on this. Andy was quoted saying that in fact maybe there was a doping issue in tennis. Just your thought on the general atmosphere of maybe suspicion.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is a lot of speculation. You know, that has been the case from the beginning of this season. I think doping, match fixing, anything that has to do with that is completely unacceptable and not welcome in our sport.

But us players are obviously getting a lot of questions regarding that. I think all of us, all we can say is that -- which is actually true -- we're not qualified to talk more about this particular subject. We have to leave it to the authorities and the structures in the sport that are qualified and that, you know, are obviously being a part and being involved in this process of investigations.

They have to obviously finalize those investigations, and then when the results come out, then we can say more. For now, that's the only thing where we stand and what we can say.

Q. With a bit of hindsight looking back at Monte-Carlo, it was obviously an early loss that no one is really used to from you. How do you feel about that match looking back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I honestly completely forgot about that match. There was not much positive to remember out of it.

Again, playing in the tennis club where I spend a lot of time during the year is always a particular feeling that I enjoy. I live very nearby to that tennis club. So it wasn't nice to really lose kind of at home.

Again, I haven't really felt that I was ready to play in a competitive clay court match after I had the five months behind me that were very intense but very successful as well.

But, you know, that took a lot of energy out of me. I was thinking that I'm ready. Worked hard. But few days off after Miami was not enough. Vesely played a great match and deserved to come out as a winner.

On the brighter side, as I was saying before, it's good that I had more time off to spend with my family which I fortunately with the lifestyle I have don't have too much.

Right now I'm here, back on the court, and I have obviously a little bit more freshness that I'm going to try to use for competition this week.

Q. Three years ago your last match here was with Grigor Dimitrov. A very, very intense match. Do you think it's possible this year to repeat that final? How do you feel about it? You can meet on the final.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's a long way to talk about the finals. Grigor, if I'm not mistaken, is playing finals in Istanbul, so I'm sure he's going to feel confident coming here to Madrid.

Yes, I remember that match. He played it very, very well. On the other hand, yeah, everybody was going through a lot of emotions on the court. It's been a while that I've competed last in center court in Madrid, so I look forward to that.

I hope we can have that final, but it's still too early to talk about it.

Q. Boris and Marian were both there in Monte-Carlo. Here too. How do you decide to have the full team at each tournament? Was it scheduled like this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, Boris was supposed to be in Miami and there was some complications. Then Marian was not also able to be with me after Indian Wells. Dusan Vemic that I used to work with came in for couple weeks in Miami and helped out.

Boris is here only for two days. He's going back home tomorrow. He's going to be back in Madrid, so came just for a few days of practice. Just depends. We have a general plan we try to stick to in the schedule. Approximately know which coach is going to go to which tournament.

Sometimes it's actually nice to have them both because they both contribute to the training and to the improvement process from both mental and physical aspect. And emotional aspect on their own special, unique ways.

They both communicate with me in a different way, which I think it's good to have different perspectives and different angles of looking at things.

Q. Regarding the doping business, do you think it's fair that you have to constantly talk about it, defend yourself, and all of this stuff every tournament, after every match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What can I tell you, my friend? It's part of what we do, part of our life and our profession. I don't look at the media as rivals or opponents. I don't come here thinking I'm going on a battlefield. I feel like we're all part of the same world. We're all part of the same thing: We're on a mission to cherish and celebrate this sport.

Of course I understand that you have certain questions on the hot topics, and doping and match fixing are one of them this year. Going to try to give my best to always answer in the right way.

As I said, I can't tell more than I've said already. That's the situation for now. So we just leave it to the hands of the authorities to do their job and we'll see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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