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May 11, 2007

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just how good is Rafa at the moment? He seems maybe better than ever.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, certainly I knew that he's the best player in the world on this surface before the match, and I was aware of that.
What I was trying to do is to go out there and be aggressive, but in the same time try to be patient, which is very difficult. Because the balls you don't get back on the hard courts you get back on the clay.
He's really feeling comfortable on this surface, but I'm really satisfied with the way I played today. Just I have time to improve.

Q. Have you learned much from today's match about how you would play him next time on clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I always learn some new things when I play against the best players in the world. Every match is a new experience.
Yes, today I've seen, you know, what I need to improve on and what I need to do so I can play better in the next match and maybe try to win.
Of course, you know, it's very difficult to play him on this surface. It's the surface he prefers. But, you know, I'll really do my best and then practice and try to beat him on the clay if I have the next chance.
In this moment I'm really happy the way I play on clay. Even today's performance was really good. He was better, and that's all really. I won last week tournament in Estoril. Won two very difficult matches here before Nadal, and playing with a lot of confidence. Helps me a lot.

Q. You tried to play a lot of dropshots. Did you feel that this was the right tactic against him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's one of the things, yes. To try to, you know, put him out of the comfort zone. You got to try to do something else, and you got to be physically really hundred percent ready.

Q. Were you worried at all today having won Estoril and the tough matches here the physical part of it? You seemed to hold up physically. Were you worried you might not be able to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I worked a lot after Monte-Carlo tournament, the week after, and as well in Estoril I worked a lot on physical preparation, because I want to be physically ready for the Rome, Hamburg, and especially Roland Garros.
I think here I had the very difficult matches, but today I felt pretty good on the court and I was running a lot. You know, we had long points, long games, so I'm really happy with the way I feel now. I'm not too tired, you know.
So not too exhausted, and that's a positive thing because that was the goal at the start of the clay court season: To prepare for the major tournaments.

Q. What do you think you should improve in your playing for to be closer to him, to Roger or Nadal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not really in a hurry anywhere. I'm trying to practice and to focus on my career. And I know that I need a lot of experience and a lot of things to improve on so I can get to the place I want to be: The best player in the world.
There is time. I'm only twenty years old this year. I hope my career will be ten to fifteen more years long. You know, what I will try to do is to improve more on the volleys so I can, you know, use my opportunities. Because I have pretty good groundstrokes from the baseline, pretty powerful and aggressive, but I need to go more to the net so I can use those opportunities, and of course serve consistency.
There is a lot of things. You cannot play perfect. There is always things you can improve on.

Q. You play well on all surfaces. Where do you rate clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I prefer mostly hard court. You know, clay is one of the surface I play well on as well. You know, of course I lost straight sets against a player who didn't lose close to 18 matches in a row, so I'm not really down because of it.
You know, I still have confidence and I still think that I'm one of the best players in the world on this surface as well.

Q. We could watch you and see that you see an opening, and that opening against most players you'll hit a winner into. What goes through your mind when you see the opening with him and it seems like so often he can get them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, with the balls you make winner on hard court against him or some other players, and here you get the ball back. Here the conditions, the courts are pretty fast, so it should be better for the other players to play against him.
But it seems like he likes it as well. He can play on all kinds of surfaces. He proved that in Wimbledon last year. I'm aggressive type, you know, of the player. I like to make winners, and sometimes I make a lot of unforced errors because of that. But these are some things that I need to improve on: Consistency and more patient.

Q. On clay this year do you think he's got further away from everyone compared to last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's playing really fantastic tennis. In Monte-Carlo he didn't lose a set. Nobody had a chance against him. Barcelona as well and here as well. He's playing really impressive, so he's getting away.

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