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May 15, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How do you feel about the semifinal in Madrid? Where does that leave you in your progress this season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thought it was probably the best tournament in a while for me in terms of results and in terms of also the way I felt. It's a step in the right direction.
Of course I am still not playing as well as I can, but that's a good thing, in a way, because you know that there is still room for improvement. So I keep on working daily and I keep on trying to perfect my game, get it to a higher level. Hopefully this week things will come together even more.
Q. Usually, at this period of the season, everybody was asking you about the French Open, winning Roland Garros, and now you don't have any more question about the French Open. Does this clay season seem different for you in a way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is. It is slightly different. Considering the results that I have had in the last six months, they were not as good as maybe the previous years.
You know, it's normal that it feels different from my own perspective and perspective of other people, but, you know, it's sport, and this is the circumstances that I'm in. I'm trying to work as hard as everyone else to be the best as I can.
Obviously the level of performance now is better than it was two months ago, so that's a positive thing. I'm trying to channel that in the right way and use it for the confidence. That hasn't been that high obviously because I haven't won too many big matches this year.
But again, I know what I'm capable of, and I trust myself and my own capabilities as a player. And I have played so many matches on the big stage that I know what it takes to win big tournaments.
So I'm sure that, you know, as I keep on being dedicated and work hard that the results will also follow that.
Q. Do you have any news for us about your new coach? Or you have no hurry for the moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not yet. Not yet. You will be informed (smiling).
Q. With this level, you say you're not playing as well as you were, with this dropoff, was it something sudden for you? Can you point to a moment where you had something and it slipped quickly in a sort of flash, or was it more a gradual decline? Wins and losses, you can see everything from the outside was going well, and then maybe the loss at Wimbledon to Querrey and then after that not so much. For you, was it less sudden?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was mostly, I guess, after US Open, things -- I had a lot of ups and downs in terms of results. I had a good tournament in the World Tour Finals, played finals there, but then again, when I played against Andy, I just didn't find that A game that I needed. And that has happened, you know, several times also this year. When I needed to come out with the best game, I haven't.
I think it's a combination of things. It's a game probably, you know, mental/emotional aspects, as well, that I haven't really been so fresh, I would say, after all that I have achieved in the previous years. After Roland Garros and Olympic Games and a lot that has happened at that time, I think it had taken a lot out of me.
I didn't even know. I wasn't even aware of, you know, the circumstances that I'm going to find myself in. But, you know, those kind of circumstances, you know, helped me to really think about and reflect on everything that has happened in the previous ten years, because once you are in that kind of a machine and that kind of a cycle of the tennis tour, the engines are always on.
Eventually there comes a stage, and now it's where things are not going as well, and then you really need to be able to reflect on what has happened and then try to be a new, better version of yourself. That's what I'm trying to do.
So I'm still as motivated as ever. I still want to do well, and that's why I'm here in front of you guys. I love this sport. So I'm going to keep on going. And the way I have been playing in the last, you know, three, four weeks, it's given me a lot of encouragement and also a lot of excitement for what's coming up this week, and of course French Open, as well.
Q. As a fat journalist, I look at you and you seem very, very thin. Maybe too much. Did you ever think it could be one of the reasons why you are not strong enough and maybe this diet, no gluten, didn't maybe help you so much? And what is your reaction about the fact that Federer just signed a contract with Pasta Barilla? He's apparently following different advice.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I'm going to start with the second question. That's fine. I mean, if that works for him, I wish him all the best. Barilla is a big company, so I'm sure that's a good match.
It's your own perspective, I guess. I respect your opinion, but I don't think the way you think.
Q. You're not thin?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, it's your own perspective.
Q. Your first match will be against Bedene or the Italian wildcard. From our perspective, if it is Bedene, what do you make of playing him? And are you aware of his recent run of wins, 26 in the last 29 matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I have seen him play actually a little bit, some highlights of his match in semifinals in Budapest because he played a Serbian guy, Laslo Djere, and I saw he won a couple of challengers.
He's a very capable player on this surface. Very quick, very talented.
You know, he obviously has to win his first round today, and then we'll see. Obviously I have respect for anybody that is across the net, and that will not change, especially for someone that is in form like Bedene.
But I know I have played him before and I know what to do. We played actually Roland Garros last year. I really want to focus on my own game and the evolution of my own game and really try and get to implement things on the court that I want to and to be able to play the best tennis that I possibly can.
So then, if I do that, I know I can win against anybody. It doesn't make too much of a difference for me.
Q. I begin my question, I like to say I'm from Brazil, and my family is also from Serbia. My grandfather was born in Belgrade. I'd like to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So you can ask me in Serbian, then?
Q. I never been Serbia yet. I try in the future.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay.
Q. I know you looking for a new coach, and I just play with my brother some matches and I won. I'd like to know if I can send my curriculum to become your coach.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure. Sure. Sure. (Smiling.)
Q. On the coaching thing, you said before Madrid I think that you hoped you might be able to work with someone who had been through similar experiences to you and there weren't many people like that. When you're speaking to people, apart from recruitment, do you talk to people maybe who you don't want to be coached by but just talk to people about their experiences? As you mentioned, a lot of people have been through the ups and downs. Is there any kind of canvassing, like outside the recruitment process?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not really -- I don't think it works that way with these guys, you know . It's not a recruitment. It's more of a conversation and more of a sharing the experiences and I guess trying to help one another in these situations. And obviously I have so much admiration for especially the athletes and the tennis players that have made history of our sport. Obviously I looked up to many of them.
To be able to, you know, to speak in person or on the phone with some of them is -- of course, it helps a lot. I had that privilege to work with Boris for three years, and he has brought a lot to my career, to my life.
You find a very common ground and common language very quickly with these people because of the fact that you can relate to each other in terms of what you have been through. I mean, they have been through more or less everything that I am going through. That makes it easier in terms of finding common sense and subjects for discussion.
I appreciate any kind of advice that I can get, so sometimes it's a conversation or two. Sometimes it evolves, as it was with the case with Becker, into a relationship that lasted for three years with a lot of success.
So it really -- it's not a -- you know, these conversations don't go, like, Hey, I'm recruiting you. Can you send me your CV, or something like that? It's not like that.
It's more a friendly conversation and relationship where you try to establish a common ground whether or not you can understand each other and see whether there is some kind of chemistry, and then it might evolve into something that could be a professional relationship, as well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports