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July 30, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What part of your game improved the most over your professional career? (Question about tactical or mental part of game.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, my game is based on the baseline. I rely a lot on my groundstrokes from back of the court.

But over the course of my career, I tried to work on the approach game, and, you know, maybe using the opportunities that I have, short balls to come into the net and then finish off the point earlier. Of course, you know, I'm not as natural on the net as maybe some other players, but I think, you know, I have improved that part of the game in comparison to maybe three, four years ago.

And serve, you know. Serve, I was working on my serve a lot the last couple of years, and I think especially second serve has gave me a lot of advantage, the depth of the second serve and so forth, which this tournament is not working very well but in general in last couple of years it has served me very well. You know, it allowed me to kind of back it up with a first easy shot in the rally.

That's from the technical, let's say, side. Certain strokes on my game.

And from the mental aspect, I have obviously tried to focus on, you know, getting that in-the-zone kind of state of mind throughout my career. You know, I was fortunate to have many tough matches and experiences which allowed me to face those, you know, big points and big matches and coping with pressures. And of course experience has taught me a lot. But I also had to work on myself as a person, as a tennis player, because it's all linked and it's all connected.

You can't really separate the two personalities, you know, myself on the court and off the court. Whatever happens in my private life, you know, whatever, this serves me emotionally and can reflect on my game. It's hard to just switch off. Of course it's possible to some extent, but generally you're the same person.

So, you know, to get to No. 1 was one thing, but to actually stay there and try to be consistent took a lot of effort from every aspect of my being to really get to know myself and to improve, you know, in every way possible. So that allowed me to prosper actually.

Q. We talked about this before. The dominance that you had over certain players, you talked about Berdych before and how you have done so well against him. You have never lost to Monfils. Kei you have done really well against. What's the preparation going into these matches? You realize at some point in time they're going to get to you? How do you approach playing players that you have done so well against?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously you do have certain comfort, mental comfort, knowing that you have had plenty of success against the next opponent.

Nevertheless, that is not a certainty. That's not a guarantee that you can win the match. Actually, the more success you have against the player actually makes him more eager to come out and play his best tennis.

So that's why, for me, the kind of a mindset and one that I want to have are and one of the biggest priorities I have in my mind is come out with the right intensity and start well from the first point, because if I manage to get the control over the match and, you know, feel more comfortable and get that lead, I feel I have a very good chance to hold the lead all the way through.

So that's the kind of mindset.

Q. You have been at the top for quite a long time, so I'm sort of wondering if anything really surprises you anymore in the standpoint that the match against Berdych you said it wasn't perhaps your greatest match. But then today you played against Gaël Monfils who is red hot and he's playing his best and you win the match quite easily. You said you were quite pleased with the match. So the quick turnaround in your performance from yesterday to today, does that at all surprise you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It doesn't, honestly, because it's not the first time that it happens. It obviously depends. Each day is different, you know. The player and the person you were yesterday is no more today, you know. Today is a whole new, different day, a new challenge.

I try to, you know, kind of open myself to whatever is coming my way and try to understand that each day is an opportunity to really right the wrongs from yesterday.

So, you know, I have had previously these particular situations, circumstances, where I wasn't comfortable one day but next day it feels better, because, you know, when you don't play well and you win, it gives you a lot of mental boost and I think confidence that you carry into the next day.

So that's why I feel maybe more comfortable on the court in terms of play and in terms of mental attitude the next day.

Q. Milos out of the tournament, seems like you have become the most popular player amongst the fans. I counted maybe a dozen Serbian flags in the crowd. People were cheering your name. How much does that mean to you coming to a foreign country and having so much support from the fans?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, it means the world, of course. I'm very grateful for the support of Serbian people who live here and of course Canadian crowd and all the international people coming to watch this tournament. It's one of the biggest tournaments we have in sports.

So of course Canada, historically, has had much of a tradition and respect towards tennis. So people traditionally know that each year there is a Rogers Cup and they come and then you can see they are knowledgeable about sport.

And of course there is a big Serbian community in Canada, in Toronto area. So I'm very glad that I'm able to perform in front of those people when you're in Toronto one year and Montreal, as I said, I always felt like at home. I felt very much accepted, so it's always pleasure to play in such environment.

Q. Tomorrow you're playing Kei, a player quite a similar style to you. Do you find that at all challenging? What are you going to do to prepare for that match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, Kei is one of the quickest players we have on tour. He loves to play very close to the line. You know, we played a couple times this year. So I know what's expecting me, and, you know, we played I think in finals of last hard court event prior to this one. It was in Miami earlier this year.

So, you know, I know that he loves to take the control of the rallies and just to kind of overpower his opponent from back of the court.

But, you know, I know what to do tactically. I have played him many times. I will try to prepare for that match and eventually get a win.

Q. You talked about your second serve earlier and how you have been working on it. Your pace seemed a little bit slow early on and same in yesterday's match. Something going on, trying to do something different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. Just happens that, you know, every once in a while you lose that kind of rhythm on the serve. So today was better than yesterday. Tomorrow, again, is a new day. I'm hoping that I can regain that pace, because I know also Kei is going to be on top of my second serve. He's going to try to take his chances. I will try to use it smartly.

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