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May 11, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Madrid, Spain


6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You looked way more pumped up at the end of this match than after some of the great escapes you had in the previous weeks. Was it because the level was better? Any other reason?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it just really depends. I mean, level was definitely very high today I thought from both players. I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set. I wasn't winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match.

One break was enough, 5-4, 6-5, both sets. But, as I said, it was quite a solid performance from both players, high quality. I was enjoying very much.

Of course, in the end, you know, 5-All, Love-30, a couple of really long points. I was in trouble, and I managed to get my way out of it, as I said, with some great gets. That pumped me up obviously.

You know, you're trying to hold your composure and always find the right balance between pumped up and having great intensity on the court, but at the same time having calm and concentration.

Especially if you're playing against a Spanish player in Madrid, it's obviously a different game, it's a different feeling. Obviously they have a lot of support.

Yeah, you need to kind of hold your nerves, hold your concentration, and use all the necessary energy in the right moments.

Q. You recently got rid of your entire coaching staff. There are reports you're switching brands to Lacoste. Is this something you're doing to try basically to invent a new Djokovic to take you into the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm not supposed to speak. It's not official. I cannot speak about brands and switches that I have or will not have. So we'll just have to wait and see.

In terms of coaching staff, I would not use the term I 'got rid of them'. I think it's quite negative. We went apart with mutual understanding and agreement.

I mean, it just really does depend the way you look at it whether or not I'm inventing a new Novak. I am definitely entering the new chapter, if you want to call it, of my career, of my life. I'm excited for whatever is ahead of me.

I think the best way to predict the future is to create it. That's how my mindset is basically.

Q. A question related to Gerard Pique. He's trying to organize a tournament, extra tournament, related to Davis Cup. There are some conversations with players. Did someone speak with you, Gerard, someone from ATP, if you know something, if you support that idea?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I spoke to Gerard Pique. There is a Gerard, as well, here in the Madrid tennis tournament.

He's a great guy, and I have tremendous respect for what he has achieved in his football career. To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport.

We did talk several times. But I cannot reveal what we talked about because many of the things are still not official.

There are certain ideas and projects in place where he's also involved. But we still don't know whether or not that's going to come to realization. It really depends on different things.

The tennis world is complexed [sic], if I can say, because there are many different governing bodies and many different associations that have the control over certain aspects of the game or tournaments. The schedule is quite complicated.

But I'm really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better. So hopefully it's going to come to life whatever we are talking about.

Q. You were especially good at the net today. You've been working on it for years. Do you see a reason why some days it clicks like this and other days it doesn't? Is it a confidence issue?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I wanted to impress Feli because he's a great volleyer (smiling).

No, I mean, joking aside, obviously I'm more comfortable on the baseline. That's my game. That's my, I guess, core of my game. But I've been working in last couple of years really with Boris and Marian. We've been talking about that for many times, you know, to try to use short-ball opportunities to come to net. Also recognize the right balls to come to net, not just come at any cost.

So, yeah, there are days when it goes well, like today, that I'm very happy about because I don't get to spend too much time at the net. It's a really nice stat, encouraging stat for my game. Hopefully I'll be able to be as efficient in next matches.

Q. Rio de Janeiro is trying to have a Masters 1000. They're trying to have the tournament that belongs to Miami.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Who is that?

Q. Talking about Rio, I would like to know if they have paid you, because there was a decision last year that they would have to pay you what the debt.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This is the first time I hear about Rio wanting to have a 1000 event, Masters. It's great, why not? The more requests and the more cities we have, you know, that want to have a Masters event, the strongest tournaments we have in the sport, the better it is. That means that tennis is growing in popularity again in Brazil. Olympic Games obviously helped. It was a fantastic tennis tournament in Olympic Games last year.

Whether or not that's going to happen, I don't know. I mean, I have to also wait for the next council meeting to discuss this matter. Obviously there are a lot of cities that would like to, you know, have maybe the higher category of the event. There are many different requests.

It's not easy to satisfy everyone and to give everyone opportunity because we just talked about the complexity of our sport in the scheduling.

Unfortunately most of the tournaments have different owners, whether it's a private owner, whether it's an agency, it's a city, or ATP, Grand Slams. I mean, it's very complicated. It's not that easy to really just give someone a 1000 event.

We have to look from different aspects, whether it's on hard court, clay court, how that affects other tournaments, how that affects the players. It's always a gamble.

But I'll be happy to discuss this matter.

Regarding the last thing that you've said, I don't have any news about that yet. You know, there's not much I can say. I mean, what I can say is that I've had a time of my life in Rio for the first time when I went there in 2012 when I played exhibition match with Guga. That's all I remember. I always have a beautiful time in Brazil, so that's my impression of it.

Q. You just beat a Spanish player on clay in Madrid. What is going on with Spanish players on clay? This year can be the second year in a row that only Nadal makes it to quarterfinals, if he beats Kyrgios tonight. How has the game changed on this surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think you have to differentiate this tournament from other clay court tournaments because of the altitude. Altitude changes things around. The game is faster because of the altitude. It goes into favor of the big servers.

Feli is a big server, and Almagro is, of course. Most of the other Spanish players are mostly baseliners, more constructing the point around the baseline, rather than relying on the serve.

But I don't know if that's the element in the game that has maybe affected the success of the Spanish players here.

But, yeah, probably because you have so many big servers now, you have Kyrgios, Raonic, Thiem, Dimitrov, Zverev, the new generation, tall guys. They're serving 220. It's hard to play against them in these kind of conditions.

Q. You parted ways with your coaching staff, but your box obviously is not empty. You had Pepe Imaz and your brother there. What are they bringing to you this week? I saw you spoke to them or addressed them at some point in the game. You also seem to be much more pumped up compared to against Almagro. You didn't have this fist-pumping action at any stage yesterday. What changed today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I disagree with you because I did have fist pumping and reactions in yesterday's match against Almagro, I just didn't have the reaction at the end of the match that you probably saw today because yesterday was, you know, very, very close, and literally up to the last shot I didn't know whether I'm going to win or not.

There was a lot of challenging things on the court with conditions. I didn't maybe play on the level, in the third set, that I performed and that I played on today for the two sets. It's a different feeling obviously.

I was just so relieved in the end to win the match against Almagro, I didn't think now about screaming or fist pumping.

As I said, it really does depend on a moment when it happens. Today it happened because I've played some really good points, and I saved myself out of the trouble on 5-All. Then in the end, you know, I was happy in the last game to return his serve, his first serves, a couple of times and to win the match.

That was why I was kind of pumped because that didn't happen too many times in the match, especially in the second set. He was winning his games comfortably.

Regarding my team, obviously they are more than a team. They're friends. They're family. They're people that have been with me for a long time, especially my brother. They are there to support me. They are there to give me any kind of energy that I need in the certain moments when I'm in transition, in a way, of kind of being without a tennis coach.

My brother, he's my tennis coach at the moment, but he doesn't like to accept that role. He says, I'm your brother, so I'm here to support you. I value his advice very much on the court, and his observation. But he likes to keep the brother role more than tennis coach, which I respect very much.

So in this transition, they're there for me, they're there with me. I'm completely fine with that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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