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April 18, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important was it for you to hold the first game in the first set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sorry for being late, first. Well, today's match was difficult for me because it's a first match on the clay, different surface, different style of the game, and different movement. So I had to be more focused, and I still cannot find exactly the game for the clay.
But I hope it's going come with the matches, and it was very important to hold the serve at the start of third set, because, you know, he started to play well in the middle of the second set.
I gave him opportunity to come back into the match and he used it. You know, he prefers this surface. He plays his best tennis on this surface.
You know, the first game of the third set, I was trying to win that game so I can actually stay in the match, because he started to play much better than me. I managed to do that, and everything else was routine after that. I played with a lot of confidence and managed to win.

Q. When so many of your shots keep on coming back, did you have to resist the temptation to hit harder and harder? I mean, it's part of the clay court game: You hit a great shot and it comes back.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Exactly. I think I need to be more patient on this surface. That is the fact which I was missing today, especially in the second set. I was too unpatient trying to make a winner from every position, which is impossible on this surface.
Like I have to say again, I'm still trying to get used to the surface and the style of the game which is different. But, again, everything will come with the matches, and I hope tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to play better.
And, of course, the players which are, you know, playing on the hard court are playing much different on the clay. The balls which you think that it's going to be a winner comes back, so physically and mentally you need to be much more prepared.

Q. How would you as assess Gaudio's play, and did that affect your rhythm?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he won the French Open, you know, a couple of years ago. So he's a very good player, especially on this surface, and he's a very dangerous player for every player in the world, even considering the fact that he's not in the best shape in the moment. I knew that before the match, but I had to be careful and patient, which I wasn't, you know, especially in the second set.
You know, I knew that I have to be in the control, that I have to have to be aggressive and just play my style of the game, which I usually do, but with more patience. And you know, every match I learn something new. I'll put out the positive and negative things and thoughts and just try to improve for the next match.

Q. (Question in French) Gaudio is well-known because he's very good clay court player, but also because he's difficult to play because he complains all the time and sometimes he just gives up. Is there a sort of special preparation for playing against him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. Just against players like this you just need to keep your focus all the time. From the first to the last point. That is the thing what I was trying to do, and I am happy that in the third set I remained the focus and the concentration from the start of the set until the end of the match.

Q. (Question in French) Do you have a word to say about your next opponent? It might be either Benneteau or Ferrer. You played them both in Indian Wells recently.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it's going to be an interesting match tonight between those two players. I won, like the gentlemen said, in Indian Wells against both of them. But, again, it was different surface.
I think Ferrer prefers more clay and -- well, Benneteau plays on both surfaces pretty well. So whoever wins tonight is going to be a difficult opponent for me, but of course I'm going to do my best to win.

Q. (Question in French) How is your physical condition? Are you fit? Because you were talking about the fact that clay is a different game, but it's also a physically different. Are you ready to play a marathon, a very long match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I want to -- if I have a very high goals for this year clay court season, I'm going to have to physically prepare a lot.
Last year I had a good clay court season: Won my first title and played the quarterfinals of the French Open. But actual physical preparation was one of the main reasons why I couldn't go further in the French Open and the big ones, the major ones, on this surface.
Of course, I am one year older now. I am much more mentally and physically stronger than the last year and playing with more motivation and confidence.
I think it's going to be a good season for me, because I'm going to put all of my strength and all my focus on the physical strength and preparation.

Q. When you saved the breakpoint at the start of the third set with the ace and it went really quickly, were you expecting a tougher third set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, honestly saying, the way I started the match and the way the match was going, I felt pretty comfortable on the court and playing with him. I felt like everything depends on me.
I started to make a lot of mistakes in the second set, and he just played his game and used the opportunities. Very experienced player.
In the third set he was on the run. He won a couple games in a row in the second set and was playing with more motivation. Well, I expected at the start of the third set that it's going to be more difficult, but, you know, like I said -- like the gentlemen, said Gaudio is the kind of player just when he loses a break up or two breaks up he starts kind of losing it up.
You have to stay in the match all the time, which I did. The third set was more or less after the second or third game pretty easy.

Q. (Question in French) Earlier you said having high goals on clay. What are those goals you have for the season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, last year I started playing on the clay with a little bit lower-ranked tournaments like Amersfoort, and I was trying to win a lot of points to come into the situation when I will be seeded in a big tournament, which I managed to do. This year I have a different plan and different program.
Well, I think I've proved to everybody that I can -- that I have enough quality to make a big results even on the big tournaments or the Super 9.
In every tournament I go with the thinking to win. I've won against Rafael Nadal just a couple weeks ago, and that victory means a lot for me and for the future. So I'm going to go step by step. I'm not in a hurry anywhere.
But I have high goals, yeah.

Q. Are you going to be the one who will beat Nadal on clay?

Q. Do you think you can?

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