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January 19, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How tough was that four sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, actually it was not so easy like it looked results-wise. You know, I had opportunity to finish it earlier, serve for the match at 30-Love in that game.
You know, I made some really easy mistakes, and he used the opportunity. He came back. It was my fault.
I was lucky that in the fourth set, start of the fourth set, he was 1-Love up and breakpoint and I managed to get through. After that, it was pretty much routine. I was playing pretty well in the end of that fourth set.
Generally I'm not so happy with my game today. There are some things which I played really good, like I was serving well. I was playing volleys pretty well. But I made too much unforced errors. I will have to minimize that. I will have to minimize that if I want to have some chances to beat probably Federer in the next round.

Q. Most people find it difficult at the start of a year to kind of get into a groove, into form. You've started so well. How do you account for how well you've started this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I had, you know, pretty good preparation time, preparation period. I finished with the last tournament in Paris, in Bercy. After that I had about two weeks holidays, and then I started to work mostly with the fitness. That was my most important maybe thing in this preparation period. I wanted to work on my fitness to be ready for the whole next season, this season, and some things in my game, like serve, a lot of net approaches, going to the volley.
I think I've improved a lot. Results are showing that I did everything -- I did everything right like I should do. I like playing here. I like being here. But I never had any big results in Australia. And this year I'm unbeaten still in singles, so it's really good thing.

Q. Where did you do all the physical work?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I did on the start in my country for about two weeks, and then I went to -- I did it on the mountain, and then I went to Austria for one exhibition tournament. It was more fitness preparation. I just started to play tennis a little bit. It was more exhibition, just practice. Then I started to work more on tennis.
Then I went to Monte-Carlo for about two weeks, the two last weeks of the preparation period, more tennis, less fitness. I think I did it great. I'm feeling really, really good now. I have just a little problem in my shoulder, but not big that I need to be worried so much.
But I have this kind of problem, and that requires a little bit of rest, a little bit of not playing tennis. Right after Australian Open, I'm going back home to rest for five, six days.

Q. Most people would probably describe playing Federer like climbing a mountain. How are you looking forward to that challenge, if it does become that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You said right, it's a big challenge for me. I'm really looking forward to it. I had a chance to play him two times already: one time in Davis Cup, one time in Monte-Carlo, two different surfaces. I lost both of the times (smiling). But it's okay. I have good experience.
You know, everybody follows him a lot. Everybody kind of knows his game. But still he's so perfect, he makes everything look so easy. Really the players and people ask themselves, Is there anyhow how we can get through to his weak points?
I'm aware of that. I have to say, you know, I don't know how many, nine wins in a row I have right now, but that doesn't mean if I play Federer that I'm going to stop here, that I'm satisfied that everything I did, I'm already giving up. That's not the case. I will really try to play my best tennis. I will do everything to win.
I'm just not going there to perform and try to play good tennis. I'm going there to win. This is my goal.

Q. What is the key to serve well here in Australian Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What is the key to serve well?

Q. Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know how to answer your question. It's just a thing of how did you practice, how did you prepare for it. Every surface requires different kind of serve, different kind of style of the game. I've worked a lot on my serve in the last couple of weeks, month. I think I'm serving pretty well right now.
I had the luck that I don't play on a hot weather, humid weather. I was playing first matches. I finished pretty early. But, again, during the day when it's humid the ball goes faster. When the night comes it's a bit slower. Everything depends.

Q. You've made some changes in your serve. Do you have an opinion on Nadal's serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I've seen a little bit change of his technique. He's trying, as well, to improve on his serve, that's for sure. We all know that he's a nightmare for all the players from the baseline because he's really fighting and he's a big competitor.
But, you know, he's still struggling with his serve. He's trying to improve, as well.

Q. You say you worked a lot on the volley. Did you feel that was a part of your game that needed a lot of improvement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I was in many situations in the last year when I basically could finish the matches, win the matches, and I didn't in some particular points, some important points. Some points when I had the chance, I didn't go to the net. I just stayed back. I was really struggling with that.
I sit down with my coach and we talked about it. We just worked a lot on these things because I think that's kind of future of the tennis. You know, you have to combine all the things together. It's not easy because, you know, tennis has changed a lot.
Fifteen years ago, tennis was serve and volley. Most of the players right now I can maybe see just couple of players who are playing non-stop serve and volley. You see Federer, who can play everything really: serve and volley, stay at the back, offensive, defensive.
Really, that is kind of game which is bringing you good results and bringing you everything right in today's tennis and in the future as well.
I'm going to try because I think I really have good game from the baseline, pretty aggressive, pretty consistent. I just need to use my opportunities. That's why I'll work more on the volleys.

Q. A lot of players when they step on the court against Roger don't believe they can win. A few moments ago you sounded convinced you can win. Why is that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I go with the white flag on the court, what I'm doing here, you know? I'm aware that Roger is the best in the world and everything. But I'm repeating again: it's tennis, it's my life. Of course, it's a dream of everybody that they play against Roger on the center court, you know. Then, on the other hand, it's not a dream because they're going to lose (smiling).
But still it's a nice thing. I'm going to be motivated, that's for sure. I don't have anything to lose. He's the best player on the world. He's defending champion here. You know, I'll give my best, that's for sure. I'm going to try to win. Just don't have any things to say about that any more.

Q. What is your strategy going in? What do you think you have to do well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I try to do something special, it's not going to be good because I'm playing my game best. I'm feeling most comfortable with my game. I'm going to try to play my game and just be calm and steady on the start, not to force too much, not to rush.
You know, usually when you get a chance to play with Federer or with Nadal, these players on the top of the tennis world right now, you usually on the start want to have many winners and short points. I'll try to avoid that.

Q. Nadal probably has had the most success against Federer. He's left-handed, a different kind of athlete. Is there anything you can take from his success that you might be able to use in your match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I can take a racquet in the left hand and try to win like that (smiling).
No, I mean, it's totally different kind of game, Nadal and me. He's one of the fastest players. He's a big fighter. He has these heavy spins. He's a lefty. That's maybe advantage against a Federer. I'm not play spins, that's for sure, against him because that's not what I do.
You know, I was watching a lot of their matches. Again, I have to say it's different style. I can see some things, you know, for sure. I'll really try to find some weak spots of Federer. There is not many, but I'll try to just play my best tennis and win in the end.

Q. Jim Courier said on TV generally against Federer, the thing is to hit every ball to the backhand. He said when he played Pete Sampras, he wouldn't give him the satisfaction of running for the forehand. Strange strategy, but he's very stubborn.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everybody has their own opinion. I respect Jim's opinion. He was the best player in the world. From his side of view, that's a good thing, of course.
You can look some things. But in general I'll try to play my game.

Q. What did you do on your vacation? You said you love to ski. Do you still ski now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I do ski. I didn't get a chance to go to the mountain on my holidays. I went to Dubai actually. I had holidays there because it was nice weather. I wanted to be somewhere in some tropical place where is the hot weather, just relax.
I got chance actually to ski there, as well, because they made this huge center for skiing. I went there one day. It's good.
You know, you have to use your holidays as much as you can, relax as much as you can, because it's tough business, it's tough sport. You are on the tour, on the tennis court, what, 10 or 11 months in a year. These two weeks, you really need to use as much as you can.

Q. Where are you living?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm living in Belgrade right now. I'm mostly spending time there, practicing there.

Q. A year ago there were these people flirting with you, like you were a pretty girl at a dance, well, from a certain country. I guess that's not happening that much any more.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't get the question. Who was flirting?

Q. A certain country was flirting with you. They were maybe trying to have you come to their country.

Q. Do you miss that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no. I don't miss that.

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