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June 22, 2009

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/J. Benneteau
6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Presumably you would have cared for it to be a little bit quicker than that, the first match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you can look from different perspectives. I think it was maybe -- positive side of it was maybe good that I get some longer rallies and, you know, longer match on the start of the tournament.
I knew that I would have to work for most of the points throughout the match, because I was aware of the quality of my opponent today. It was certainly not a great draw for the first round, but I'm happy to get through.

Q. Did you feel that you were getting more into your timing as the match went on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was really happy physically with the way I was handling the things. And this is a big advantage, you know, towards this big tournaments, Grand Slams.
When you play best-of-five, it's really important to be physically fit and convinced, you know, and confident in yourself so you can rely on your strength throughout the matches.
I think I was quite fresh, even though we played over three hours.

Q. You're confident that as the rounds go on that perhaps you won't have to go 3 hours 28 every round?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I hope. I hope I won't get these matches this long and this late.
But, you know, the court is very unpredictable. Everybody is playing very good tennis. Obviously, whoever plays in a Grand Slam, he has a big quality on his side and he has motivation.
Well, in most of the matches I get in, I get in having the role of the favorite. This puts an extra pressure on me. You know, on the other guys, they have nothing to lose, so it's quite tricky.

Q. What is the special part of Wimbledon for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wimbledon? Well, on my opinion, this is the most prestigious tournament there is, given the fact that it's the oldest event, all this history and tradition going on. It's really respectful from the tennis fans, and of course players and coaches worldwide.
I always dreamed of winning this tournament. Hopefully one day I will get this honor.

Q. It's not often you see a player have to call the trainer on a match point. What were you thinking?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I wasn't trying to think if he's gonna continue on or not. I was trying to focus myself on that point. I knew he's a big fighter.
Obviously, after having this little injury in the third set, again, he continue on playing. You know, you're playing on the Centre Court, a lot of people watching you. It was a long match.
For him to retire on the match point would not be a great thing to do, so I knew he's gonna continue. And then it was quite tricky, but I think I've played aggressive, you know, the next two points, which was good.

Q. Was it particularly slippery out there today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was. I mean, I don't know what's the cause, but it was a little more slippery than I really expected it.
But, again, it's the same for both of us. So, you know, it's the conditions. It's the new roof. There's a lot of things involved.
But it was fun playing on the Centre Court. I think it looks very beautiful.

Q. A lot of people are talking about Andy Murray, Roger Federer as the main title contenders. Are you happy?

Q. To be below the radar or hype in the building?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I've been playing really well in the last two, three years. Obviously, people were talking about me, having won a Grand Slam in Australia, put myself in the position to be a candidate for a Grand Slam title in basically each Grand Slam I have played.
So right now, Andy Murray is in the spotlight, and he deserves it. I mean, he was playing fantastic tennis in last seven, eight months. And it's good. I mean, releases kind of a little bit of pressure off me so I can play relaxed on the court.

Q. And we've spoken before about how you two developed together coming up through the juniors. Is the ego kicking in a bit now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I'm happy. You know, I'm happy to see -- for the sport, it's good to see, you know, some young players coming up: him, Del Potro, Cilic. Hopefully these guys are the future of the tennis.

Q. John McEnroe said today from what he saw he thought you played too defensive. I wonder what you think about that claim?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is maybe a little problem that I had lately. I've maybe played too defensive - not just on grass courts, grass court matches that I had this year, even in the French Open. So I think it's a mental thing a little bit.
But hopefully throughout the matches and this tournament I can break through. You know, I was working a lot on my volleys and my aggressivity in the game. But it's different when you're playing it on the practice and when you're stepping on the official match.
So, yes, I would agree that I played a little bit defensive and I should move on, because I think I have quite good volley and, you know, good serve that I can use.

Q. Obviously Roger Federer is one of the greatest players. As an opponent, what is his greatest point as a player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's hard to say. He's playing most of the shots perfectly, you know. If you look at his game, it's an all-around game, you know, that many people are saying that it's one of the, you know, greatest of all times.
I mean, as you could see after four or five years of dominance, he's still there. You know, he's still motivated to play well, to perform well, to win more Grand Slams. You got to give him credit for that.

End of FastScripts

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