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June 26, 2009

Novak Djokovic


6-4, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Novak Djokovic.

Q. You're playing so well through the first three rounds, yet it seems that you're getting very little respect for being a top four seed. Another strong win again today. Why do you think you're not getting the kind of respect that a top four seed deserves?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't know if that is a question for me. But, anyway, I realize the situation that I am in right now. You know, Andy Murray and Roger Federer are in the spotlight, and obviously, you know, they deserve to be in that situation because they have been playing great tennis the last six, seven months.
But you have to look from the brighter side. I think it's good. It releases kind of the pressure for me.
Today I performed the best match so far in Wimbledon, which is really encouraging for continuation of the tournament. You know, more matches I play, match after match I play better, which is always a positive fact.

Q. In what way do you think it's an advantage to be under the radar a little bit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I just said, you know, it's all about mindset I think when you get to these stages of the tournament.
Obviously as the fourth player of the world, in most of the matches I get in I get in as having the role of a favorite, and I'm aware of that. But, again, media is part of our lives, and of course you feel the effect of all of that.
Right now I feel quite okay, you know, that people are not talking about me too often, which gives me a freedom to perform the best tennis I can on the court.

Q. After today, that could change. That could have been a very complicated match for you, but you took control of it very early, played extremely well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was saying prior to the match that return is probably one of the key elements in the game against Mardy. And I think that element in the game was actually, I think, the best today from my side.
I was making him always play an extra shot, which he obviously doesn't like. You know, he has a big serve and he gets a lot of free points on the serve. But since I returned that well, he was having a lot of ups and downs and very low first-serve percentage in.
So I put quite a lot of pressure on his service games. And then from the baseline, as you said, I think I played aggressive, which is good, which I am trying to do more often.

Q. Do you think you are playing well enough at the moment to go all the way in this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm taking a match every match at a time. I'm really happy and satisfied with today's performance. You know, if I play like today, I think I have a good chances to get far in the second week.
But, you know, as I said, I have to go slowly and not underestimate any opponent that I play against.

Q. Do you think it would be silly of other people to underestimate you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I don't know. If I perform like that, there is no reason to underestimate me.

Q. Given that the grass isn't playing like a hockey rink, that you've had a lot of success on fast surfaces outside of grass, there shouldn't be a reason why your style can't fit into grass, no?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: True, true. Well, the hard work, I think it pays off. This year I had an early exit in French Open, of course which I didn't really want. Yet the other hand, it gave me an extra week to prepare on this surface.
I played the finals in Halle and won three matches here. It looks like it's paying off, you know, the work that I have done on this surface - on and off the court.
So, you know, I think I have an all-around game that can be quite successful on all surfaces.

Q. You have a pretty complicated relationship with the crowds. It was not too long ago where after the matches, especially at the US Open, you were doing your impressions. Seemed like you were everybody's new favorite player. Seems like in the last year, perhaps because maybe you offended the wrong people with certain impressions, seems like you're a more reserved character, don't care about what the crowd thinks anymore. Is that true? Do you care?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I wouldn't say. People don't see the practices. I think that's where I'm most relaxed. Again, certainly some things have changed since I got to the top five of the world and won a Grand Slam.
I got extreme amount of the pressure and obviously expectations on each event I play on. You know, I had to get used to that and set my mind that the people are, you know, looking at me always as one of the favorites in each event I play.
So I was coping with that -- I didn't cope with that pressure really well in the start of this season, so maybe I lost myself a little bit there. But, again, you know, I think I'm enjoying. I do something that I love to do and successful in.

Q. You said at the beginning that all the attention's been on Roger and Andy, and deservedly so. Is that because of Roger's résumé at Wimbledon and Andy's been playing fairly well recently? Talk about what that has to do with you. I know you've had some bumps in the road this year, but you've also been pretty consistent.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. But, again, as you said, I think you're right. Andy is coming from this country, and obviously a lot of people expect him to do well and to become the first British to win Wimbledon after a long time.
Then on the other hand you have Roger, who has equaled the record of Sampras' Grand Slam victories and four or five Wimbledons under his belt, so he's very respected player here. It's normal that they are in the spotlight in this moment.

Q. Is it special having your brother in the stands cheering you on and cheering every point?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, I hope he's going to take the best out of every tournament he watches and every match. I'm really happy that I have the support of my closest ones, my family and my brothers. I have always been emotionally very connected to them, and their support means a lot.
You know, whenever they are able, they come to support me. And the youngest brother, hopefully, is going to follow in my footsteps and do even better one day.

Q. You made a great performance of Thriller in Monte-Carlo a few years ago.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: How do you know that?

Q. By YouTube. How are your feelings about his death?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shocked like everybody. I think there's not much to say about that. Really disappointing. All the world is probably listening to his music right now.
Yes, maybe it's not really a good task to talk about right now. But two years ago -- we always have this players' show in Monte-Carlo during the event. We impersonate some players, we do some locker room stuff, what the players do good and bad, on and off the court, and then we do some dancing stage, whatever.
We choose the video. So we chose Thriller and I was him, so you can imagine what it looked like.

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