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May 8, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Madrid, Spain


6-2, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations.

Q. Andy still remember the match you played ten years ago here. Not here exactly, but in Madrid Arena. He beat you then, but since then, what? Ten years after.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (Shrugs.) Ten years after the result is different, but ten years after we are the two best players in the world as well, which at that time maybe it seemed like something that will be very challenging for us to achieve.

But we both thrived to be at the top, and we've known each other since we were 12. I think you can see already in those junior days that both of us have serious intentions to conquer the tennis world and try to make a serious mark with our name in the tennis world.

So I'm very pleased that I have developed a great rivalry with somebody that I've known since very long time and somebody that I have a very good and friendly relationship with on and off the court.

I think today there were couple situations where we showed respect to each other, which was truly something that is unusual, honestly, to see on the highest levels. I always like to look back at those moments and take that as a highlight rather than only results and rivalries and who wants to beat who more and stuff like this.

I think it's nice to see actually in the midst of this important match and a fight that you're showing your human side and expressing your character values that unfortunately in this sports society where we live today are not seen often.

I'm glad we have done that and send the right message to many young kids and tennis players.

Q. Congratulations. Can you just talk us through this match? You started unbelievable, and then it was really a huge fight until the end and the last game of 15 minutes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, I started very well; played terrific tennis in the first set. Couple of close games in the second, beginning of the second set, and then I made some unforced errors and double faults in the game when I dropped my serve in the second set. I couldn't get back.

He started serving very well, especially down the T and deuce side. Very precise and very strong, and he was backing that serve up with aggressive first shots, and then just about an hour it was split sets.

Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third. Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close.

Of course I did not want to let that service game go because I know that Andy will capitalize on his opportunities and start to play better if he broke my serve.

So I fought. I fought very hard, and I'm just glad that I managed to finish that game.

Q. Congratulations. Today you have reached the same number of tournaments than Borg and Sampras. What does that mean to you? Those kind of records are an extra motivation for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. I hear it the first time now, and it's obviously very flattering to be alongside such legends of the sport, tennis players that I was looking up to, especially Pete Sampras. When I was growing up he was ruling the tennis world.

To win as many titles as he did in his career, it's quite amazing. It's an achievement that I'm very proud of. As you said, it's a motivation more. When you get to this particular I would say phase of your career, you need to constantly look for more ways of inspiring and motivating yourself to keep going and aspire to new goals.

That will definitely help my motivation.

Q. After the early exit in Monte-Carlo, how important is this victory for you, especially as the preparation for Roland Garros?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, came at the right time. I mean, I had an amazing opening four months of the season. Early exit in Monte-Carlo, but it happened for a reason, because I needed some time to really recharge my batteries.

Three weeks was more than enough to get some freshness and new breath, I would say, on the court and get ready for Madrid. I came here early, got used to the conditions, and played a really fantastic tournament that will definitely serve as a great confidence boost before Rome and of course French Open, where I want to arrive in a best possible shape.

Q. What are your final thoughts on this tournament's organization and its people?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very positive. I mean, I haven't played Madrid since 2013, so three years. Been a long time that I played here last before this year. I've had a great welcoming, great reception from all the people in this tournament, and everybody that was trying to make me feel like at home.

They have done that, so I enjoyed my time spent in Madrid. I think that this tournament definitely sets up a high standard of organization. They are trying to make all the players feel comfortable and motivated to play well, play on their highest.

Q. I would like to ask to you talk more about your tactics and strategy. Seems like in a lot of these matches you come out and you're hitting very deep, very hard, and then later in the match, on the key points, there are more conservative swings and targets and you put up a defensive wall that the opponents can't penetrate. How are you so successful with that all the time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I prefer playing like I did in first set, but sometimes you get to the nervy moments and you get a little bit tight. That's when you try to loop maybe the ball a little bit more without going through it.

So, yeah, I mean, it just depends who you're playing against, what surface you're playing on. But in the last game, I tried to take one-two punch kind of tactics, you know, not get myself in a long rallies. You know, it worked. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't. But I always try to make my opponent play an extra shot.

If I have a shorter ball, I need to take my chances. That's the kind of mindset.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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