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May 11, 2008

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/S. Wawrinka
4-6, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (From Italian) You didn't miss the presence of high-ranked players such as Roddick and the others, and Wawrinka was playing so well today, especially in the first set. Did he give you a hard time, and did you expect it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I knew that he's a difficult player to play against on this surface, because if you look at his history of the results, he made his best results on this surface. So he's a specialist, and he didn't have anything to lose. He got to the top 10 after this tournament, so obviously he's very happy about it, very satisfied.
But I tried to stay focused all the time, because the role of the favorite in these kind of big matches is not easy to cope with, you know. I didn't think that I'm going to play in the finals against a player who's unseeded, but obviously he deserved to be there. He showed his quality.
So in the end, I did what I needed to do. Even though I won in three sets, I think I'm happy in general with my performance in this tournament.

Q. Have you been asked about your volleying? I just got here. Seemed to be very important to you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. I had some great volleys, especially in the third set, in the important points. I think it was 2-1 or 3-2 for me, the third set, and I had a couple of great volleys from difficult positions.
So I'm happy. That's what I've been working on the last couple of months, and that's -- I'm trying to make my game more open and more -- with more variety so I can, you know, go to the net and stay back, play defensively and offensively at the same time.

Q. You are the best player, this year at least. What do you think you still would like to have better? I mean, where you could find space for improvement, especially one shot or one thing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, nothing especially. You know, I can call on some different things and shots that I need to improve on, but you always have some room for improvement. It's normal. Nobody can play perfect.
Even this year I showed great quality in hard court especially, but even on clay. I mean, I've been playing great. Out of what, ten matches I won nine, so it's great.
I've been very satisfied so far, and that's what I will try to keep on doing. You know, being consistent on the major events with the results and, you know, that's the important thing if I really want to stay on the top.

Q. (From Italian) You speak Italian and you work with an Italian doctor. How much of an Italian personality is there in you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I still need to improve on my Italian. That's the first thing. I like Italy as a country. We have very similar mentalities, Serbia and Italy. We're pretty close, so I've been playing a lot of tournaments in the past on the junior circuit, and I felt like at home.
You know, any time I come here people greet me and host me in the best possible way. I will try to come back here more often as I can in the future.

Q. Now that you've won your first clay Masters Series, it's become very obvious that your game translates to all surfaces very well. Are there adjustments that you make when you come to play on clay, or do you basically approach it the same way as hard court or grass?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure, you always try to make a special tactic or a special approach for a different surface. You can't really play exactly the same game on every surface, because every surface is different.
On grass you need to play more patient and more slice, going more to the net and being more aggressive and having variety with the serves, try to rely on that.
On clay you have to -- clay is the slowest surface in sport, so you have to stay really patient all the time, and physically you have to be 100% fit. So physically I was working a lot in the last couple of weeks.
I was aiming for Rome and, you know, for Roland Garros as my two priorities in this clay court season. But, of course, you know, Hamburg is next week, so I'll try to do the best that I can there. Try to recover in these two or three days.
So I'm very happy that I managed to win a major in this surface, because now I have more confidence approaching the big events on this surface, and on other surfaces as well. So this year has been like a dream for me, but I want to continue. I want to finish the year as the No. 1 on the race.

Q. At the beginning you would you were a little nervous because you are the favorite. What's so difficult about being the favorite? What is the problem?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you can't really explain if you're not, you know, being a professional sportist and tennis player. Then you really feel how it looks like and how it feels like being on the court and in such a big matches and getting the pressure on you and expectations.
It's a part of the sport, so I been having a lot of those matches this year as a role of the favorite, and I've been coping with the pressure really well so far.
So if I really want to stay on the, you know, the top of men's tennis, I need to get used to those things. It's normal. Pressure is part of the sport, and I think pressure is a challenge for every player.

Q. What is your view of the collapse of Nadal and Federer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I wouldn't call it collapse. It's a bit rough to call it like that. They're professional players, and they're humans as all we are. It's normal to lose the first round, second round after so many years of dominance.
Of course, everybody got used to Federer and Nadal playing the finals of every major event, and that's why everybody is talking like that in this way.
All I can say is that mentally they're struggling because, you know, there is so much pressure and so much expectation that they have to be in the final on every surface and in every tournament that they play.
This year they have been not playing as well as they were playing in past years, but we're going to see a lot of them in continuation of the season, that's for sure.

Q. You don't do anymore imitation. Can you explain to us that you don't do because someone asked you to don't do it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, because I don't want to do it.

Q. Maybe because it make you more stronger, you know, gives you some advantage in some way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You think the imitations make me stronger? No.

Q. No. If you don't because people don't want you to.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I just don't want to continue doing it, because this is not what I do best. You know, what I do best is, you know, I win on the court in the tennis. That's what I'll try to do in the next ten, fifteen years.
But imitations, I did it because I'm having fun doing it, and I'm not making fun of anybody. I'm just, you know, trying to bring a positive energy and enjoyment and a little laugh, little smiles, and that's it.
But I heard that some of the players and people started to talk about my imitations as part of the, whatever, you know, negative term. That's what I don't like, so I'll stop.

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