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February 28, 2009

Novak Djokovic


7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Novak, please.

Q. Are you satisfied?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course. Winning the tournament, any tournament, is a huge success, and especially here in Dubai, which has a history of being one of the strongest events in the Tour. That's the reason they got a 500 event from this year.
They are very strong, even though they had difficulties with the pullouts from the top players. But even still, I think we had a great week.

Q. Given that you had a very tight schedule from Marseilles to here, and then a very difficult semifinal, was it fighting qualities which got you to this title more than anything?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think so, yes. Physically, and mentally, I was really involved in this tournament, especially from quarterfinals on. In that semifinal, I had to fight my way through even though I played during the day, which I didn't experience in the first three matches here. It's quite different for me.
But I was really proud of myself, and, you know, I got to the finals and I had nothing to lose then. Nobody is favorite in the final. I think it's a match where everybody has a motivation more to win the title.

Q. Do you think you played well today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I played aggressive, and at certain moments, you know, I was, as well, patient, and mixed it up, the pace, which I think David didn't like. He likes -- he likes to play the same pace, and he's a very hard-working player. He makes you earn every single point. That's why he is at the top for many years now.

Q. He kept coming back at you, as well, didn't he? Whenever you looked like moving away from him, he fought back.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I was a bit fortunate in the last game that he missed that forehand on break ball, because he was returning quite impressive, that game on 5-3.
But I stayed with him. I knew that, you know, I have chance on his service games all the time, because I was returning really well, and I just needed to keep my focus on my serve. And it worked well, especially in the last moments in the last point, yeah.

Q. Has something happened to you, the ace?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I don't think so. I don't think it ever happened on a match point. I served an ace but it was called wide and I asked for a challenge.

Q. Is this going to help you for the Davis Cup, even if it's not on hard court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, it certainly is a little mental advantage I think. But in the other hand, there are a lot of factors which are quite different, including clay court, including competition, as in Davis Cup, which is a team competition, our only team competition there is men's tennis.
And there is no expectations there really. It's very unpredictable. Plus, we are playing in their home ground in front of 15,000 fans. So certainly they are favorite. And he is going to be favorite in that match, to be honest, if we play against each other.

Q. How quickly can you get there, Novak? Are you going to try to get out tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am getting out tonight back to Serbia for a day, just to do some things, and then I have to be there on Monday. On Monday afternoon, I'm already there. It's a different environment, different surface; I have to get some practice.

Q. Outside of the obvious career highlights of the Australian Open and the Shanghai victory, where does this one rank amongst your successes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as you can see, especially after the semifinal win, I took it very emotionally. And I really try to enjoy every single victory I make, because I know, and I'm still young.
And as I said, every victory, I have is a special one, because the whole world is playing this sport, and to be No. 3 in the world is a big success.
So I just to have been satisfied with what I am doing, but still having the high ambitions. Winning the Grand Slam in my age and a couple of major events, it's quite good, but I think I have a quality to do more.

Q. How would you assess the first two months of this year, for you, and how significant is this title in the context of those first two months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's a very important title. I had not started the year the way I may be wanted it and the way maybe the people expecting me to.
I made some major changes; racquet, which was -- which was quite risky at this time. But, look, I take my responsibility and that's what I did, so I just have to move on.
And as the season is going on, I feel more comfortable with the racquet and I feel comfortable on the court more. I try to release the pressure that I have and just play the tennis that I played in the first part of the 2008, and if I do so, I think I will be pretty successful.

Q. This is your first tournament victory of 2009, and your next tournament, you're going to be the defending champion at Indian Wells. This must give you some confidence going into that event.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Certainly. It certainly does. I had to come here to play, get some matches outdoor before going to Indian Wells.
I am aware of the fact that I will have a very difficult time, going to Davis Cup, play on clay, which really doesn't go on my favor for Indian Wells.
But, look, that's the sport, and representing the country is something special. So playing the Davis Cup, and then hopefully I can get ready for Indian Wells.

Q. Considering that there are a lot of injuries to the top players, do you feel the field is going to be the same?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm trying not to think about that, because usually, you know, the people say if you think about negative things, negative things come to you.
I try to stay positive and not pay attention too much on the injuries and the schedule; that it's really, really tight and tough for me, and for the other players, of course, who are playing Davis Cup in the next couple of months in Europe on clay. It's never easy physically and mentally.
But, you know, I just have to get used to it and try to hold on, stay healthy.

Q. You said that you were getting criticism after the Australian Open, a few days back in the press conference; do you think you are now trying to prove something to everyone?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I am not proving anything to anyone. Believe me, everybody has a right to his own opinion, and everybody has a right to say what they want to say.
Of course, there are critics on my game and there are critics on everybody's game. It's not possible that everybody likes you.
But I'm just trying to stay focused on the right path and that's it. You know, work hard, and the results will come.

Q. After this win, how far off your top form do you think you now are?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I've played two great matches, I think today, and in the quarterfinals, as well. Semifinals, really big struggle for me and make it a lot hard, but I think with the fight, I managed to stay in that match and win. But overall, I think it was quite a good tournament for me, which, of course, gives me a lot much confidence for the upcoming events and continuation of the season.
I can't actually rate my numbers where I stand now with my form, but certainly, I feel confident and I barely wait for another event.

Q. When you arrived here and Rafa and Roger weren't here, did you think the tournament was yours for the taking?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, without the first two players in the world, me as a No. 1 favorite, obviously I had a lot of expectations, and Andy Murray, as well. That would be a dream final if he was able to come to the final.
But again, saying -- I cannot underestimate anybody, and even though there was a lot of pullouts, saying again, I think we had great matches and a great week, and hopefully next year, everything will settle down.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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