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May 20, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Roland Garros is unique Grand Slam that you haven't win. How do you feel and are you better prepared than last years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I feel excited to participate in this year's Roland Garros, as any other year. Of course the expectations are big not just from my side but from people around knowing that this is the only Grand Slam I never won.

Of course people, you know, are very eager to find out whether or not I can make it this year, and that kind of anticipation existed and it was present also in the last couple of years.

So it's not the first time I get to encounter this kind of sensations and pressures and so forth. The preparation is going well this week. I'm not going to change anything in particular. I'm going to keep the same, you know, kind of routine and program that I have been respecting for many years.

I got ten matches out of two weeks, which is maximum I could get out of Madrid and Rome, and it was a perfect way of getting the match play that I needed before French Open.

So I can comfortably say that in terms of match play I'm ready. Now is just the fine tuning and getting that necessary, I'd say, supply of energy and freshness to play best of five on the most demanding physically surface.

Q. Last two tournaments you have played Murray in the final. From what you can tell, which part of his game do you think has changed or improved the most in the last few weeks? He seems to have gone up a slight level on clay.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think people talked a lot about his second serve, so I think second serve is one of the parts of his game that he was dedicated to, and, you know, prone to obviously work for.

He did have some progress there. You know, he gets more depth and more, lets say, speed on the second serve, which of course helps him a lot to, you know, kind of have an easier first shot in the rally.

Q. About Andy, you have some practice with him. He practices with Rafa, too. It's pretty rare I think at this level to have top rivals practicing together. I can't remember you practicing with Rafa or with Roger. Is there any reason why it's maybe easier to do that with Andy than any other one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, no particular reason. I've know known Andy for a very long time. Yes, certainly things are different now when we are No. 1 and 2 of the world than they were maybe five or ten years ago when we even played doubles together in Australian Open, I remember.

But we still kept a very respectful friendly relationship off the court, and on the court, of course we do want to win against each other, but it's never against other opponent to -- never any intention to do anything against your rival.

As long as it's like that, of course I'm more than happy to practice with him. That's probably the best possible hit I can have, you know, best possible preparation for any match, you know, because our practice sessions are like official matches. Honestly, we practiced now in Madrid recently and we played a set and a half. We both felt like we played a match, you know.

So it's good. Not all the time, I guess, because it's not easy to always keep that kind of high level of concentration and intensity when you're playing against one of your top rivals. But, you know, of course it's something you're looking forward to and to see where you are and things that you need to work on.

Q. This morning the draw came out, and I think you know who you are going to play in the first round. Normally are you a kind of a player who likes to watch like a whole draw and to find out which stage of the draw you are going to play against a specific player, or do you like to focus on like one match, one opponent at a time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I can speak in my own name, but I think if the other players allow me, as well, the curiosity is too strong, so we all have to look at the draw. I think we all go through the draw.

Now, whether or not you imagine yourself playing with somebody, top seeded players in the later stage of the tournament, that's personal. I try to keep my thoughts directed only on the next challenge, even though I do look at the overall draw, yes.

Q. As you said, you have come into this tournament with different pressures and mindsets. Undefeated, maybe some defeats and lower expectations. You turn 29 on Sunday. What is the level of urgency you feel this year compared to other seasons?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, to be honest, age is just a number for me, so I still feel like I have plenty of more years ahead of me, which gives me more comfort in terms of opportunities I'm going to have at the title of Roland Garros, which releases more pressure for me this year.

So of course I anticipate myself, as everybody else, to try to get my hands on this title this year. But if it doesn't happen, you know, there is always another year, because I don't have any intention of slowing down yet.

On the other hand, even if it never happens, I need to be very humble and realistic and see my results and my career need to be satisfied with what I have achieved so far. Even if my career was done tomorrow, I made some achievements that I must be proud of.

So that's how I approach things. I don't try to approach them from a point of view of being obsessed with this tournament or with any other tournament, for that matter.

Q. Could you imagine it not happening?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can, because so far it hasn't happened. (Laughter.) So I'm imagining it every day.

But I'm also imagining myself, you know, being the winner.

So let's see what life has organized for me.

Q. For obvious reasons the tournament said that they have beefed up security here this year at the French Open. Has this tournament in the past lacked a strong security? See incidents in 1999, '13, and last year with a kid running on court. Has there been a difference compared to other tournaments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Personally I never had an issue with security in this tournament. I'm aware of events that you've mentioned, and certainly with what has happened several months ago in Paris and where the world is at this moment, of course we need to tighten up the security.

I have nothing against it. You know, better safe than sorry.

Q. When you arrived on the tour you were known for your sense of humor and your impressions. Do you regret that today the next generation seems less funny? (Laughter.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Those guys are funny. In the locker rooms and, you know, off the public eye, they are funny.

I guess the tennis and sports world overall has become so, you know, demanding in every aspect of that word. The new generations feel like they have to be 100% serious. I understand that. I honestly do.

I feel like personally I have, you know, I try to balance things always and never leave the fun part behind, which is very important for my personality, character, and my life in general.

But I understand it, because I also personally feel that there is each year, you know, more at stake. It seems like it's getting more serious. Of course it's getting more advanced in terms of, you know, improvements of the tournament and where we are getting with the game.

But, you know, we should never leave that entertainment part out of the equation, because every sport needs personalities. Every sport needs to see the human side of you, as well, especially people who come to watch you play. Of course they come to watch you play tennis, but they all like to see your human side.

I think it's a nice balance always to have that in your mind.

Q. What do you think about Roland Garros without Roger Federer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's definitely a loss for the tournament. We're not used to seeing Roger skipping Grand Slams, seeing that he hasn't missed one for 60-plus times.

But, you know, obviously the nature of his injury is not light, and it kept him off this tournament that I'm sure that if there was any chance he could play he would participate.

But, you know, even without him the tournament is going to be played, and I'm sure it's going to be an exciting one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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