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June 3, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Paris, France

N. DJOKOVIC/F. Verdasco

6-3, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You have played two Spaniards so far. Last one was a bit of a battle. How did you step up your game today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first three games almost 30 minutes, so, I mean, that was quite a beginning for both of us.

Very physical, very long games, a lot of exchanges. He came out on the court with a lot of self-belief, and he started off, you know, pretty well and made me work very hard.

I think being able to win the first set and get ahead was crucial. You know, I made that break I think on 3-1, and then after that I held my serve. That helped, obviously, because I knew that if we go the distance, I think I have pretty good chance against him.

I mean, he's such a talented player. He's got weapons everywhere. I mean, serve, forehand, everything. He loves playing on clay. Beat Dimitrov in three sets last round. He was in good form.

I think in the most important moments today, I just managed to play an extra shot in the court and just made him run and just made him uncomfortable. I think from that point of view I did very well. I was very happy with the overall performance, especially in the third set.

Q. Looking at this first week at Roland Garros and your performance today, how close are you to playing the level of tennis that you want to be playing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. I don't really think about that. I'm just taking one match at a time, and right now, considering I played almost four hours last match, I felt pretty good physically today, had no problems to go the distance in long rallies, and I won in the three sets against, you know, a player who is in form, especially for this surface.

So, I mean, that's all positives for now.

Q. Rafa said at the start of the tournament that he felt that the Chatrier was more slippery than previous years. You seemed to complain to the umpire today on that. What's your position on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, just it was a very warm day, and after the first set they decided not to water the court, which I thought it was not the right decision. That's all. I just questioned the decision from the chair umpire, actually, that he's listening to the grounds people.

What I don't like is that there is no participation of the players. So they don't ask players whether -- you know, we are the ones who are playing and sliding and not sliding, so we can give them the most important feedback.

But, you know, it doesn't seem like they care too much about our opinion, and that's something I don't like. If we reach the consensus that we should water or not, that's okay. With me, you know, that's fine. If majority decides that it shouldn't be watered, I'll be okay with the decision.

But I think we deserve to be part of it.

Q. Did you ever see Marco Cecchinato playing, and did you know about him before this Roland Garros surprise?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I have known of him for many years. I mean, I have practiced with him many times in Monte-Carlo when he was part of the Piatti, Ricardo Piatti Academy team, and he trained a lot where I reside, where I live. We trained a lot on hard court, clay courts. And we actually trained this year before Monte-Carlo tournament.

I know now his game and I practiced with him, I watched him play. For sure, he's playing the tennis of his life. He won his first title recently. Today, you know, yes, Goffin was probably tired a little bit from the match with Monfils, but still, to pull out a big upset for Marco is quite impressive. Congratulations to him for a great tournament.

And even though he's not a seeded player, he's still in quarterfinal. He deserves respect and he's got nothing to lose in our next match. So I'll approach it very seriously.

Q. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are progressing quite well in this tournament. They are very young still. We asked them before, like, what does it take to go all the way at the Grand Slams. When you were their age and pressure was on you to win Grand Slams, what was your attitude to that situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Years (smiling). It takes time for most of the people. I mean, it takes time to achieve your full potential, so to say, game-wise, mentally, you know, it takes time to really understand the difference of being a part of the Grand Slam comparing to other tournaments, because it is different.

Playing best of five, you know, being a top player, Zverev is someone that is in this situation, you know, he hasn't -- I think this is his first quarters of a slam, and he's already, you know, top player. He's won, you know, against all the top players. He's won three Masters events in less than 12 months.

Deservedly he's one of the best players in the world, but he hasn't reached, up till this tournament, second week of the slam, because it's different. You have to deal with a lot of different things aside of obvious best of five.

But both of them have obvious quality and both of them are very committed to this sport. You know, it's not a surprise to me to see them doing well. Dominic has been doing well on clay for many years, and especially here in Roland Garros. I think he's been reaching semifinals and '16, '17, and now again quarters. It's going to be a good match to see.

Q. Will you be watching any matches tomorrow, maybe a women's match, and if you do would you have any thoughts about it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Any particular match?

Q. I don't know. Maybe Serena and Maria?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They're playing each other?

Q. Yeah.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay (smiling). Well, I'll try to catch a glimpse of that. But I have off-court duties, as well (smiling).

Q. People are going to see your name in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam and think that's normal, but you're coming back from pretty far. Is this match and this qualification more special after what you went through, have a special meaning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's important for me, obviously, especially considering all the circumstances that I was in in the last 15 months. So, I mean, it's quite achievement to get to the quarters of a slam for me, and I always played well in slams. I always try to kind of build my form in order to peak at the slams.

As I said, Rome was the best tournament I have played so far this year, and now Roland Garros is probably even better. Hopefully it's going to get even better.

I have been many, many times in quarters of Roland Garros and all the slams, and of course I do appreciate it, considering it's a different kind of situation for me.

But I don't want to stop here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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