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April 24, 2008

Novak Djokovic


6-0, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is there something you can do better on clay today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, sure, you always can do better. You can't play a perfect game.
But one thing is for sure: I'm very, very, very happy and satisfied with my performance, especially in the first set. I managed to keep the control of the match, be patient, but aggressive at the same time.

Q. When you are trying to be patient but also aggressive, like you've just said, how do you pick the right moment to change?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it comes with time and experience on the tour. As much matches you play, the bigger matches, you get that experience and knowledge. That's what I got in last couple of months, I think. And I matured a lot in my game. Even though I haven't won a major event on clay, this is something that I want to do this year, and I have a high goals.
I think I have a good game for this surface. I worked a lot. Hopefully it's gonna pay off.

Q. How did this match compare with your previous wins against Andy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, it's very difficult to compare because we never played against each other on clay. It's absolutely a different game, different style. I said on the end of the match that for him it's a good thing that he started working with Corretja. You know, Corretja is really one of the better players in the last 10, 20 years to play on this surface. He can teach him a lot.
But I had a feeling that he was a bit too passive throughout the match. He was not taking his chances. So I used mine when I got them.

Q. Are you pretty optimistic about this short clay season from what you've seen so far?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. But I'm taking it step by step. I don't want to rush into anything. Even though I'm really happy with my two matches so far, but it's just a start of the clay court season. As I said, I'll try to be consistent with my high level of performance on this surface.
Even though the schedule is really, really, really difficult this year, especially on the clay, we have three Masters Series events in four weeks, which is a little bit strange, but for everybody is the same. You got to get used to it.

Q. Is there anything special for you when you play at the French Open - maybe not the tennis, but the ambiance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, for sure, Grand Slams are the biggest events. You feel very privileged to be there and just participate in such a great event. And Paris, French Open, has the best clay on the world. I think I play my best tennis there because the clay is a bit faster than in the other events, like Rome, Hamburg, here. It suits to my game, though.

Q. Grass is the kingdom of Roger Federer. Clay is the kingdom of Rafa Nadal. What about you? Do you think you have more chances on clay to gain some points in comparison with Federer? Do you think clay is better for you or Federer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you never know. As I said just recently, it's just the start. It's just two matches and one tournament has passed on clay and still a lot to come.
Clay is a very tricky surface 'cause you have to be physically very, very prepared and fit to survive all those thrillers and long points and long matches. There's a lot of players from South America, Spain, you know, Latin parts, who are playing a great tennis on this surface. So it's not easy.
You know, you have to really try to save the energy as much as you can and then keep that high level of performance, what I said.
But still not considering myself as, you know, a first, second or third player on clay in the world because, as I said, I never won the major event on clay. I had some good results on French Open especially. So I'll take it step by step and see how it goes.

Q. You and Andy very much matched each other in the first couple years coming out of the juniors in terms of rankings. On today's evidence, you look a long way ahead of him. Do you feel that or do you think he is better than it showed today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't pay attention comparison between us 'cause it's not only our rivalry; there is so many players on the world and you just have to take care of yourself and individually pay attention on what you do just to stay on the right track. And this is what I am trying to do for a long time.
Even though last three or four meetings I won, and last two were in -- you know, in Miami was 6-Love, 6-1, and here 6-Love, 6-4. If you look at the result, it seems so easy. But it's never easy.
You know, you have to stay focused all the time. The second set today could go either way. Andy, as I said, still needs to gain some experience. He was struggling with injuries throughout all clay court season last year. So he has room for improvement, for a lot of points this year. I'm sure he's gonna get through.

Q. Obviously when you think about your game, do you feel he doesn't do himself justice against you when he plays you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think that's a question for him. I don't know. I can't -- I can't compare my matches with him and his matches with Roger or somebody else. Maybe he has a problem if he plays with me, but it's not a question for me.

Q. How can you comment on the fact that this tournament in Monte-Carlo in the quarterfinals will play 7 of the top 10 players from the ATP list, if I'm not mistaken?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What do you mean? 7 out of 10?

Q. No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9. Only Andreev is out of the top 10.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You mean in quarterfinals?

Q. Yes. This is one of the strongest quarterfinals.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah, it is. This is sport. This is tennis. You never know what is going to happen. It's very unpredictable. But obviously the top players are showing their strength in important situations.

Q. Do you have any memories of the French Open that you like or some you didn't like?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I have more or less only good memories. Whenever I played on the center court especially of the French Open, I got crowd behind me. I had a nice feelings every time I play there. I made quarterfinals and semifinals in last two years. So I'll be more than happy to get back there and play well.

Q. But your memories about the Italian Open are not that good?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Really? No, why? I played quarterfinals. I remember that match with Rafa, quarterfinals last year in Rome. I was frustrated because I played well but I couldn't do anything. I think most players feel like that when they play him on clay.
But, no, yeah, I like playing. The tennis club in Rome has a lot of history, so it's always nice. And you can hear the crowd cheering in the football stadium, as well.

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