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March 13, 2009

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There was information that Djokovic family has purchased tennis tournament. If that's so, if you would be kind to speak about that. What are the plans? And if not so, do you still plan to buy a tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's already done. We have a tournament. It was -- it was a process of getting, buying a license, and that's what we did a couple of months ago.
We already are building up the object, the site. The club is getting ready. The nation is living up for it, really, because the tennis is probably No. 1 sport popularity-wise in Serbia. So everybody is very excited to see the best, you know, to see pro players in the world, in Belgrade after a long time.

Q. You've been having a tough time playing on the clay Benidorm. You're back on the hardcourt. But tell me, there was a sort of a statement given from your, let's say agency sort of, about how the Serbian media covered the event in Benidorm, did it have anything to do with you, or was it...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I don't have information about it, really.

Q. If you could just talk about your feelings coming in as defending champion, and how do you see this stretch now? We talked a lot last year how hard it is to play well for a whole month in America here. Is there any way you're going to approach things differently in that regard?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I have my own routine, which was I think working for me in the States. Success-wise I think I made my best results, next to winning the Grand Slam in Australia.
In the last two or three years I've played really well, especially in Indian Wells where I feel very comfortable. Surface suits to my game, and the weather is always nice. So just somehow when you do well in one place, next year you're coming with a lot of confidence and motivation to repeat the success.

Q. Just talk about the start of the year. It was obviously not exactly what you wanted, but then you won Dubai. Just talk about the process of finding your rhythm and your confidence again.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, I made some changes. You probably know that I changed the racquet, and this was quite a big decision for me. It took really quite some time to get used to the new racquet. And I was patient and waiting, just waiting for my chance. I was playing quite good in Australian Open.
Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the tournament. But overall, since, you know, the start of the season, I played much better in last two months. You know, Dubai title, that gives me a lot of self-confidence now, and the belief.
I think I've proven to myself that I still have a lot of quality and I can -- I can do well. It's a great leadup to the Indian Wells/Miami.

Q. There is a notion among the players that it's almost impossible, so to speak, to win four Grand Slams in a row because of the game became so physical. What do you think? What's your stance on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, nothing is impossible, you know. There are players now which are quite different than the ones 10, 15 years ago. It's a more physical game now, and there's a lot more commitment tournaments. It's not easy, you know. The schedule is really tight for all of us, but it's the same for everybody.
It's hard for the top players, especially if you're participating again in the Davis Cup. You always want to perform your best tennis and you always want to give 100%.
You know, what Nadal is doing in this moment is just -- it's incredible. You have to give him credit for that. But, you know, not everybody is physically ready as he is.
As I said, you know, nothing is impossible. But winning four Grand Slams is an achievement everybody should be proud of.

Q. You mentioned what happened in Australia. Does it bother you when you're criticized for not finishing matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it does. You know, it certainly isn't pleasant when something isn't right and people are talking something which isn't true. But I'm tired of, you know, proving whatever I need to prove.
I'm just playing tennis for myself, and I always have put my health as a priority to everything. Because tennis is probably, you know, my life in this moment, but it's not the only thing in my life.
I don't know. Depends how healthy I am. Depending on how many years still I'm going to play this sport. But, you know, I need to live after that, as well.
It's just that this reputation which has been going around, I don't think it's right. But everybody has a right for their own opinion.

Q. Can you talk about your attachment to the falcon? I understand that you had a lot to do with why that was chosen for the motif for your clothing.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's one of my favorite animals, and I think it describes in some way my personality, as well. I play pretty aggressive game and I'm very emotional, and I'm kind of connected to that bird. My grandfather used to call me always when I was younger, Falcon, falcon. Doesn't make any sense in English, but in our language it does.
I came up with that idea, and I was very grateful and privileged that I have my own line, you know, with the company adidas is. It's a big responsibility, as well. Hopefully I can make it successful.

Q. It's a hunting bird. Do you feel like a hunter?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you're always hunting something, right, in your life? It's a process.

Q. How well do you feel about your fitness right now? How fit are you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I feel okay. After Dubai I was feeling really well, and then we had to go to Spain to play Davis Cup on clay, which was interrupted by a lot of bad weather and rain. We couldn't really get a lot of practice, and then it was a quite exhausting two days playing matches against Ferrer and Nadal.
But then again, I had more than enough time to prepare well, so I feel good.

Q. At the beginning of the season, do you feel more like chasing for the second spot or just maybe defending the third spot that you have right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I always try to go a step further, so I'm not -- I'm not trying to defend anything. I'm always trying to improve, so I don't pay too much attention on rankings, really.
I just -- I just try to play as consistent as I can on the major events and try to perform my best tennis, and I know there are still a lot of things in my game that I need to improve on.
Hopefully a combination of a lot of those things can bring me success continuation of the season.

Q. Can you talk about your experiences playing this tournament last year? Because you had a great run, but also off the court you had some fun. You were on the Tonight Show and then after you won the title you went to the Lakers game. Can you talk about that whole experience here last year on and off the court, and does your approach change this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't think it should change. You know, winning the title, I think it's the highest possible goal in any event. I'm staying in the same resort. I'm not really superstitious, but trying to keep the same rituals, and it's working well till now. So let's see.
Last year was very exciting. I think that the Grand Slam win gave me a lot of confidence. So the events I played after Australian Open trophy was different, you know. It's a different approach. Confidence means a lot. It's a very mental game.
So if you're winning a lot of matches, then things are going more smoother on the court.

Q. Do you have any big plans outside of the court like last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not this year. I'm not running to Lakers' games.

Q. Are you hunting Roger, Rafa, or anyone in particular? Just another Grand Slam title?

Q. Are you hunting Rafa, Roger, as a falcon or just prey in general?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just prey in general.

Q. This shoe, correct me if I'm wrong, it's called Genius, and it's attached to your name. I was wondering who came up with the name?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They did. There's no connection with my ideas for that. I'm not really that in love with myself.

Q. Do you have any input in designing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, certainly. We did -- we worked almost two years on that shoe. And it's not easy once you have your own line. They've really done a great job. They really tried to help me out with it. We talked about design of the shoe, the stability and things maybe I want to improve, and I got the great shoe this year.

Q. This time last year, you talked about things that you wanted to improve in your game, and one of them was moving forward, using the net a little bit more. Do you think you still need to work on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, I do. But it's a hard switch, you know. I'm a baseline player, and, you know, I can't -- I can't just switch to a serve and volley player. It's impossible. I wouldn't feel comfortable on the court.
But there are situations in the match, and important points when I really can, you know, use the chances a little bit more often to end up the points shorter.

Q. You just played Rafa again, and I realize it was on clay, but has he really gotten that much above the rest of the tour? What can you yourself do to just catch him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we're coming back again to this confidence, you know, subject. It's incredible. You know, I felt in myself, as well, when you start winning a lot of matches, then you just -- you just feel the ball differently on the court, so I think he's doing that incredible.
But on the other hand, the bonus for him is that he's physically the strongest player on the tour, and mentally he's -- he has this incredible ability to stay focused from the first to the last point. You know, even if he plays final of, you know, I don't know, Wimbledon, even if he plays first round of the 250 events, it doesn't really matter for him.
But I don't think that he's unbeatable. He deserves to be No. 1 in the world right now, but there are players that can win against him, especially on this surface.

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