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June 4, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Paris, France

N. DJOKOVIC/A. Ramos-Vinolas

7-6, 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Obviously a very difficult first set. What do you put that slow start down to? You had one earlier in the tournament, as well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just didn't start off the blocks the way I wanted. You know, he started very solid, not making errors, and just spinning the ball well, getting a lot of balls back.

A lot of breaks, rebreaks in the first set. But it was very close. It could have gone either way and just glad that I managed to win that tiebreaker, because after that, obviously I started playing with more freedom, more confidence, you know, obviously being set up after an hour and 15, 20 minutes, feels obviously much better than being down a set.

Second and third went really well. I thought especially in the second I have done things very well from back of the court. Mixed it up, you know, and didn't give him any comfort zone on the court. I always made him guess, which was one of the keys.

Q. You have developed a very special bond and relationship with everyone here at Roland Garros. The crowd and the ball crew, you're making a special effort to celebrate with everyone after your wins. Is that important for you to do to give you the momentum and confidence to go into the second week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. I mean, I think over the years wanting to win this tournament so much and kind of failing to do that and the last step several years in a row, you know, people recognize my efforts and I guess willingness to get my hands on that trophy.

But at the same time, you know, we established that connection that was extremely important for me, especially in the last year's final against Murray. I felt very supported throughout the entire tournament and especially in the finals, and I, you know, cannot forget that. That's something that will stay in my heart.

And of course, the atmosphere tonight is very special because it was the last match of the day. The crowd was really into it. They wanted to see good tennis, but also have fun and entertain themselves, so hopefully they did.

It was really amazing couple of times both players received a standing ovation for the efforts, which was nice to see that the crowd appreciates and recognize the effort. And for us as tennis players, obviously playing in front of such crowd is always a great joy.

But in particular for me because of the previous year experience and what they gave to me was something that will stay with me forever.

Q. You played Dominic here last year in the semis and played him in Rome. How much of an impact do you think those matches could have on the next one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously never losing to a player always helps mentally a little bit, but I don't think it's gonna play too big of a role, actually. I think he really will step it up and try to do something special. Try to, you know, play his best and really take, you know, take on the challenge.

I'm sure he's going to be as motivated as ever, so I expect him to come out and really play his best. I'm going to be ready for that. I have obviously played him last year semis here, played a really good match, played an incredible match against him in Rome.

But it's different conditions, it's best of five, it's Grand Slam, obviously. It doesn't need to mean anything. But still, knowing that I have beaten him, you know, a couple of times on clay here last year gives me that confidence, and hopefully I'll be able to do same.

Q. Rafa Nadal lost 20 games in four matches. Five games per match. 1.6666 per game, per set. But apart from that, he got a warning today for time violation, and I'd like to know your point of view about this, because he says if I play 20 rallies it's not fair that I have only 20 seconds to regroup and start. Are you in favor of the clock?

Q. Would you put a clock?

Q. Depending on how many rallies there were?

Q. What do you want to do to solve this problem? Because you also have sometimes...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, look, I have spoken about this before. I'm aware that I'm also one of the players that is on the radar because of my ball bouncing, because of my certain routines that I'm late in certain times of the match.

And I accept when I get the warning, but when I get the previous kind of prewarning, kind of a gentleman's gesture from chair umpire where he says, Well, you have to speed it up a little bit, because you don't know whether you're late or not. So sometimes that happens. If they give me that prewarning and then they give me official warning I will never say a word.

Although it's at times a bit frustrating when the chair umpire maybe doesn't recognize the circumstances that you're in, because sometimes it doesn't depend on you. Depends on how quick the towel comes, you know, maybe a ball kid drops a ball, you lose a few seconds here and there, and all of a sudden you're under pressure because you have your own routines when you come to the line. Nadal, as well. We all know that.

You know, sometimes I feel like we should all have an understanding and toleration for certain situations. But rules are there to be respected. I have nothing to say against that, which is fine. It's same for all the players.

But, you know, I think we all participating in the match. Even chair umpires, they're not running left and right, but they still know tennis very well. Most of them, they are good. You know, they are fine.

So, I mean, couple of times it happens where, you know, you're in the midst of the fight you get the warning, and then you feel like it's too early in the match or it was just after one rally that was only one single time that you went over the clock, which I don't think is fair, and that happens, as well. One time you go over and then right away they give you warning. That's something.

You know, we all people. We all make mistakes and judgments that we think are best in that moment.

Q. I'm sure you have heard about the attacks in London. Do you have any worries about your safety or your family's safety preparing to come to London in a few weeks?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, when I heard about it today, obviously I was, you know, upset as everyone. It's very disturbing that one of the biggest cities in the world, most important cities in the world, you know, some of the most popular locations in the town suffering these terrorist attacks. So of course, you know, it makes you wonder a little bit, makes you question certain things.

I didn't get to that thought of, Oh, should I go, should I not go to London with myself, my family. Because it can happen anywhere. I mean, if it happens in London, happens in Paris, Nice. It can really happen anywhere.

I mean, if we live in fear, you know, that's not life. I also believe that you kind of attract, you know, certain things that when you are, you know, living under stress and fear of everything.

So, you know, if it's a destiny for you to, you know, be somewhere in some place in a wrong time, I mean, it can happen to all of us. God forbid.

But everything will progress the same in terms of my plans for Wimbledon and I will try to go there with family, and of course be conscious. I think it's always about being conscious of what time of the day or night you go, where do you go, but, you know, it's very unpredictable.

Q. Along those lines, while you certainly participated in some tough Davis Cup matches, talk about the role of tennis. Do you think it helps bring people together? Or is it just a frivolous sport or in some way when we all gather at tournaments like this with so many different cultures, does that help in the bigger picture?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Nelson Mandela said that sport speaks universal language that, you know, gives strength to the people and creates the union between people like nothing else in the world.

If Nelson Mandela said that, then you can imagine, you know, the power and the influence of the sport. It really is.

Everywhere you go around the world, there is a certain sport in certain parts of the world that is the most popular or most followed, and you see how passionate people get about that sport and really does represent, the athletes in general represent a lot of those true values that people can relate to.

So that's why I think people just generally identify themselves with athletes and with the sacrifice, you know, with the fair play, with team spirit, and those kind of values and never-give-up type of mindset, you know, working ethics and integrity, so on and so forth.

Of course, you know, we are all competitors, but in the end of the day, firstly we are human beings. Me, I could never imagine that I personally could have that many followers and people who appreciate what I do. So I'm very grateful for that. I always try to remind myself where I came from and where I am at the moment.

Alongside of what I do, playing tennis and trying to create a certain legacy, you know, on the court and off the court, I'm trying to be conscious of especially the young people, children who are looking up to you and following what you do, say, you know. It's not always possible for you to be in a perfect, say, demeanor, but you always give your best and you always try -- I mean, at least from my side, I always try to share as much as I can of that emotion and love, as well.

So I see it particularly in my country and to what extent sport has influenced people and how positively it is impacting their lives, and I'm just grateful to be in the position to be one of those athletes that can be part of that impact.

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