June 4, 2023
N. DJOKOVIC/J.P. Varillas
6-3, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Novak, congrats. 17 career quarterfinals at Roland Garros. How proud are you of this achievement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm proud of it, but my attention is already in the next match. I mean, obviously quarterfinals, Khachanov, I know what my goal is here. I'm trying to stay mentally the course and of course not look too far.
Obviously the performance of today gives me a great deal of confidence about how I felt, about how I played. So I'm looking forward to the next match.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Have there been times in your career where you've looked past an opponent, whether Rafa, Roger was looming somewhere in the draw, and in addition to that, what have you learned about how not to do that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you always follow the top guys, you know, in your half or whatever, how they're playing. Of course you're looking, you're analyzing everyone's game. You're basically following what's going on in the draw.
But most of the attention is obviously focused on you, on what you need to deliver on the court, how you need to perform, how you need to win the next match. It's only about the next step.
But of course I do keep in mind what the others are doing, as well.
Q. You mentioned the other day that the crowd isn't always respectful here. Just wondered your take on crowd watch today and...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't say that. I didn't say that. Please, I said that the majority of the crowd is fine. They come, they enjoy tennis, they are respectful, they support either of the two players, but there are some individuals that create some issues. But I didn't say that the crowd is disrespectful. That's not true.
Q. How about today? What was your feeling on them today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I thought they were great, especially in the end. I mean, they gave me a very nice chanting and support, and I, you know, as a player, you always want to receive that love from the crowd. Of course I felt great. I thanked them in the interview.
Q. Rafa announced that he had surgery, that he may not be back for another five months. What is your reaction to that? I presume you'd like to see him back in 2024 as soon as possible.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah. It was his birthday yesterday, and he announced that he got his surgery. I got one surgery in my career on the elbow, and I know how hard it is to get back. It's just one of those things that you don't want any athlete to go through.
Sometimes I guess it's necessary. For him it's been several times now throughout his career. I don't know what the severity of or the nature of his injury is, but, you know, if he got on a surgery table, it means there was no other solution.
So, you know, I really hope that, yeah, his rehabilitation process can go well and that we can see him next season. I think that he's so important for our game on and off the court, one of the greatest legends of tennis in the history of the game. We want to see healthy Rafa, no question about it, playing for what he has announced his last season. You know, hopefully he's gonna be able to do that.
Q. You have kind of joked a little bit this week about working on your French, seeking a professor. Not sure when you have time to study a language and add to your collection, but wondering why it is important for you to be able to do those interviews after the matches in French and speak to the locals in their language. Might we hear an "allez" from you after a good point next week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think you'll hear "allez," because I normally kind of encourage myself in my own language, as I have done throughout my career.
I think it's a question of respect. It's a matter of respect -- sorry -- when you are in a particular country to try to speak the language of that country. I think it actually, you know, allows you also to get closer to the people in a way for people to really respect you more as well. It's kind of a mutual respect. That's how I see it.
I was always attracted to languages from a very young age, and because I was training in Germany, had German, English in school, and then learned Italian pretty quickly. French, decent Spanish, as well. So I think the more languages that you speak, I guess the more, yeah, respect you're going to get, the more value you will get from the relationships with people, just from your experience in a given country.
I know it's not the perfect level, but at least I think when you give an effort people recognize that and you try. You give your best.
Q. Could you explain a little bit your sleep routine during tournaments? If you do some naps or other things, I don't know. How do you organize yourself with it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, sleep is extremely important. Probably more important than any other recovery routines that you could do.
Yeah, I like to get at least, you know, eight-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. I'm pretty deep sleeper, so to say. I don't wake up during the night, so I get everything done in those particular amount of hours that I'm looking for.
I mean, especially if you are experiencing some, you know, physical, strong physical efforts on a given day, then your body is asking for more sleep. REM sleep is the most important one between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. So I try to be already in a deep sleep by that time. I don't go too early to sleep but I also don't go late, around midnight or something. I try to get those eight or nine hours of beauty sleep. I think that helps a lot with recovery, feeling good, feeling fresh.
Do I get naps? I get, yeah, if you want to call them maybe short naps, maybe some meditation stuff that I do during the day that it's just kind of a quick reset of energy, 10, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, depends how much I have. Sometimes it's just five minutes breathing exercises or something that will just recharge me and allow me to have a bit more energy for the rest of the day. Basically, yeah, that's the whole routine.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports