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June 24, 2009

Novak Djokovic


7-5, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Afternoon, everyone. Novak Djokovic. First question, please.

Q. Was it too easy today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I don't think it was easy. Actually, I made it more difficult for myself. I think I didn't start really well the match. I was quite nervous, I don't know, just waiting for him to make mistakes, which was obviously wrong thing to do, because he was going for the shots. He's very aggressive and really good return, and he was putting a lot of pressure on my serve.
So I think I was dropping service games in the third set especially when I was up. So this really shouldn't happen in upcoming matches.

Q. I think it was the same round you went out last year, right? You ever have the thought of that when you go out today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not really. Well, I didn't have a lot of success last year, so I could think about that. I have no expectations really for Wimbledon this year. I don't try to create a pressure on myself that I need to get far in the tournament. So I just play each match by a time.

Q. When you look at Mardy Fish across the net, what do you see? What are his biggest strengths and challenges to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he's a big server, so I think any fast surface to play against him is a difficult match. And you have to respect his achievements in last couple of years. Especially on the Grand Slams he's playing really well. We had I think two matches in the last two or three years, and I won them, but it was really close.
So I can't rate myself as a favorite in that match, a big favorite, because I think he's been playing well. It's gonna be interesting. I think the key on my side is going to be return, if I'm going to be able to make him play more than he expects.

Q. What do you think he's improved in the most?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he has always been very aggressive. But now he's making less unforced errors, I guess.

Q. You seem to be downbeat about your chances. Clearly you have the game to trouble anybody.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I do. I'm aware of my qualities. It's just that I don't want to, as I said, create an extra pressure on myself, because I know how hard it is to deal with it. And I'm happy that the people are not talking about me in this moment.
To be honest, I wish for that so I can really focus on my game and try to perform my best tennis as possible.

Q. Is the crowd important to you here? Do you try to build a relationship with the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everywhere the crowd is important. And, of course, it's a big advantage if you're able to get the crowd on your side. So I don't know if I have done it or not here.

Q. When you try, what do you try to do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't ask from them to cheer me up. But I guess everybody has their own favorite player, so...

Q. You said that you're just as happy people aren't talking about you; that you're not the favorite. Why is it that, and how is it different when you are one of the favorites for you psychologically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was different, because then there is a lot of side factors, obviously. Media is one, which has an affect on your psychological, you know, situation in the certain moments, in the periods when you play tournament, for example. When I played this year's Australian Open, I had a lot of expectations as the defending champion.
But yet again, I changed the racquet and some things. Of course, I felt a huge amount of the pressure, and I couldn't really deal with it in the best way.
So, as I said, you know, in one way it's great to be on the top. You know, there are a lot of advantages. But, again, disadvantages on the other side.

Q. You're fairly friendly with Gulbis because you trained together.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Gulbis, yes.

Q. You know Andy fairly well. As a spectator, how interested are you in that match tomorrow? What do you think about it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't know they're playing each other. But, well, I think maybe they played before on grass in Queen's, yeah. Yeah, Andy has improved, I mean, lots since then. Gulbis is a big hitter, obviously. Andy's gonna try to, I think, calm him down, you know, with the wise style of the game that he has been showing lately.

Q. What have you made of all the hype surrounding Andy Murray at Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't understand.

Q. What do you think of the hype that surrounds Andy Murray?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have really nothing to think about it. I don't know. He deserves to be supported I think by the media and the crowd because, you know, he's been the best British player in a while. He has a quality to win the Grand Slam, that's for sure.
In the other hand, he has a lot of pressure. You know, when he gets to the court, everybody expects him to play well.

Q. Have you noticed anything in him? Is he still relaxed on the practice courts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he has a haircut, different haircut (smiling).

Q. You played on Centre Court the other night. You played on No. 1 today. Was any difference between them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: From what I have noticed and experienced, I think Centre Court is a little bit more slippery. I mean, that's how I felt. Maybe it's because of the shade that's been created later in the day on the Centre Court, and that's why the grass gets a little more slippery.

Q. You were saying you felt at the Australian this year you didn't handle the pressure as well as you could. Do you feel that's true of your 18 months since you won the Australian, or do you feel you've done yourself justice, perhaps?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depending from which perspective you're looking. Everybody can judge my 18 months, you know, in their way. And everybody has right to think what they want to think.
But maybe some things could have gone the better way. If I can turn things, I would. Again, everything happens for a reason. So, you know, I have changed some things. Obviously I have been dealing with some situations that I have not been dealing before, so it's a learning process.
Hopefully I can gain the experience, you know, which is going to be very good for me and useful in the future.

Q. Clay, grass and hard courts, where would you put your confidence or your best game on the three surfaces?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Hard courts have always been my favorite surface. But I have been playing extremely well on clay courts. So I think this year clay courts I've been more successful, if I don't count Roland Garros.

Q. Grass is way down?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's not way down, but I don't think that it's more suitable to my game. But still I think I have this all-around game which can, you know, do good on all the surfaces.

Q. There's a story in the British press this morning about match fixing in tennis. Can I ask you, have you ever experienced anything like that in your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Never personally. But, of course, I've heard about it, in many cases that the players have been involved. I cannot say if it's truth or not for individuals. But this is certainly something that we have to fight against, because doesn't deserve a place in our sport.

Q. When you watch Roger Federer, what do you appreciate most?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, his dedication to the sport, I think. It's amazing just to see the person who has been so successful. I think after five years of dominance, it's just amazing to see him again motivated to play well and win more Grand Slams.
I think this is really something unique with him.

Q. Let me ask you about last year's Olympic Games. You were playing there, but there had been discussions about air quality before the games. Were you actually worried going there playing? How did you feel when you were actually playing there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it's passed a lot of time since then. I don't know why we should talk about it now.
But anyway, I think it was a very successful Olympic Games for me because I won a medal. So I have best memories from there. First time playing Olympic Games is an experience that every athlete wants to have.
But the air, yes, air was an issue. But it was not just for me, it was for all the players.

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