home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 28, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Eastbourne, England

N. DJOKOVIC/V. Pospisil

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know it's your debut here at Eastbourne. Wonder if you can just tell me what you've made of the town and the tournament.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's nice to experience a new place and a new tournament. So far it's been a very positive experience, all in all. A few days ago we had a beautiful day, so got to see a little bit of the town and went to, it's called Beachy Head, I think, and incredible, stunning views. Just beautiful nature.

It's a small town, but there is a lot of people on the courts in these days. Combined event, also a lot of matches on the centre court, outside courts. Full schedule. If the weather permits, it's really a tennis festival.

The people really show their appreciation and respect for tennis players. So far, as I said, it's been a really nice experience for me. I have been enjoying every day.

Q. How relieved are you to get the first win under your belt?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first official grass court match for me this year. As I was saying before, I haven't had any leadup tournament to Wimbledon for seven years. Since 2010, actually, was the last year I played Queen's. And other than that, this last six years was only Wimbledon.

It was also due to lots of matches on the clay courts and first part of the season. I was fortunate to have lots of success in the first part of the year. But the schedule changed and we gained a week on grass. Obviously now it's easier -- you can have a little bit more time to kind of adjust to this unique surface.

I'm glad that I came here to Eastbourne. I have had a great couple of days of training with good players, different styles of game. Yesterday obviously commenced the match, and it wasn't really enjoyable to, you know, see the rain falling all day.

But today we kind of played a full match, so I'm glad for that. I felt good on the court, considering it's the first match. I have played against an opponent that has a really good game for grass. Serves well, comes to the net, has a good variety.

It was a really, really solid win. I'm happy with it.

Q. We talk a lot about match toughness which covers a lot of different aspects of the mental game. What is it you're looking for in the however many matches you play here this week that you haven't got coming into Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the first thing I'm looking for is to experience that match play. Mentally, physically, tactically, every way you look at it. Just try to get as much time on the court as possible, first of all, because grass is very different surface from any other.

The movement is very different from clay or hard court. You've got to be very soft, very gentle, but yet very reactive. Sometimes when it's raining and when it's a bit humid, then the grass courts get quite slippery.

So, you know, it takes a little bit of time to really adjust to all of these aspects. But what I'm looking for is exactly that, trying to get as much of the match situations as possible, hear the referee and chair umpire say 30-All, 4-All. Those kind of intense moments is something I'm looking for, obviously, and I'm sure most of the players here before Wimbledon.

Q. Who's helping you here scouting your next opponent and preparing game plans? Is Andre watching on TV at all and talking to you afterwards?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, actually Andre is following a lot. He's watching TV, my matches, trying to follow any of my next opponents.

But here I'm with my physiotherapist and my agent/coach this week (smiling). He's helping me out. He's right there. He's smiling. He beat Stefan Edberg in -- where was it? In Napoli, Under-18. That was a big win. He was very talented, although he stopped early to play. You know, he's helping me out with, you know, with tennis, with the organization, with scouting, as well.

I actually, the other day after my training session, stayed for a couple of games to watch Pospisil's first match. Try to do that as well today. It's very kind of informal tournament, as well, here in a good way where you can go around the grounds and kind of interact with people.

Sure, people come up to you, but they respect, as well, if you're going with a purpose to a certain court to observe a match or something like that. That's what happened the other day. People are really kind of respectful and giving me space for certain time until I finished with my scouting.

So that's the nice thing about this tournament. I don't get to experience that. Usually I am, as most of the top players, in the locker rooms or especially in the areas where the players are going around. So it's nice to go around the outside courts and observe, because that's what we all used to do. It's good to do that again for a change.

Q. Might you speak to Andre later just to have him talk you through...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, of course we will. That's what we do. Even though when we are a distance from each other or not together, we still keep the communication on more or less daily basis. He shares his thoughts. He obviously wants me to share what I feel and how I see things.

You know, it's still quite early in the relationship, so we are still getting to know each other, getting a sense of how we go about tennis, about life, and what are our perspectives and analysis of the match.

But so far we have managed to connect very quickly. That's the great thing.

Q. This time a year ago you came into the grass court system with all four slams. How different do you feel now mentally? Is it liberating coming in maybe less of a favorite?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, in a way it is, to be honest. I was very fortunate and privileged to have so much success in the last eight, nine years, and kind of entered most of the tournaments as one of the biggest favorites to win it. So for a change it's good to not be one of the top favorites.

It is, as you have mentioned the term, "liberating" a bit. It releases a bit of the pressure. It's always there. I mean, you still feel it. It's part of who I am, what I do. And what I have achieved so far has added to those expectations from the people around. I try to lower those expectations myself, you know, because I really want to be as much as I can, in this stage of my life and career, in the moment and trying to focus only on what comes up next, which doesn't mean that I don't want to win the trophies and so forth. Of course I do. That's why I'm playing professional tennis. But it's just that I need to take things a bit slower and try and recalibrate so I can get to the level where I want to get.

Q. In the past you have obviously played Boodles as your warmup, which is a completely different kind of scenario. Do you feel returning back to the tour for a warmup is something you might consider going forward, or do you look forward to going back to the sound of Champagne corks popping in the stands?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That's exactly what I wanted to say. The only difference -- not the only difference. One difference that makes Boodles special from the other tournaments is the sound of the Champagne bottles being opened, and glasses, and a lot of chanting and talking and laughing in the first rows especially (smiling). People get to enjoy themselves there. And players, as well.

You get really some good matchups, but you don't play for points. You know, it's different. It's still a match, so your score is being called, which is good, you know, for a player mentally and to get some match play, you know, and play points on the grass.

But in the other hand, you don't feel that pressure of "I need to win." You know, I like Boodles. Patricio Apey is one of the people in charge there. Has always been very kind to me.

You know, I have always felt like at home there. Came with the family, with my team.

So this time, this year, it was not to be because I came to Eastbourne, but in the years to follow I'll sure consider it to go back.

Q. You said it's been liberating for you not to be one of the favorites. Do you think it's the opposite for Andy Murray right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. To be honest, you've got to ask him that question. One thing is for sure: him being a home and crowd favorite, and, you know, also defending champion, he does get a lot of expectations and pressure. I mean, undoubtedly so. But also, it's expected because he plays so well on grass, and he won couple of Wimbledon trophies and played a couple of finals and won Olympic Games. You know, it's probably his best surface.

I'm sure that people put a lot of hope and faith in him, and I'm sure he feels it. But in the other hand, he knows how to deal with it. He has demonstrated that so many times in his career.

Q. Can you really talk about less pressure when you're the No. 2 seed? We don't normally talk about No. 2 seed at Wimbledon having less pressure.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I want to thank Wimbledon for getting me two spots ahead than I'm actually ranked. So it's probably due to also the good results I have had in the last three, four years in Wimbledon.

Whether it helps or not, I can't say at the moment. I mean, it doesn't make too much of a difference other than I'm not going to potentially meet Andy in semis rather than finals, but it's too far away. I don't see things that way. As I said, I don't see myself as one of the top few favorites.

I'm glad that I'm one of the top four seeds, which is important, in a way, but whether I'm, you know, 2, 3, 4, it's not a significant difference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297