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September 1, 2009

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/I. Ljubicic
6-3, 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you talk about your work with Todd Martin, how you came to contact him, what you're getting out of that relationship?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I can confirm now that we started cooperating and working. The last couple weeks we have been negotiating and trying to work things out. Definitely we started working Monday after Cincinnati. We spend the whole week together away from the site at one place in New Jersey.
We had a lot of hours on the court daily, and of course fitness with my coach, really trying hard to work on some things to improve the game and get ready for the most important tournament in this period of the year.
So Todd, being a top-five player, playing a couple finals of the Grand Slams, and, of course, many other tournaments, and he's very respected in the tennis world, and he's a person that can help me a lot in any way, his experience. And he brought freshness to our team, which is always welcome.
I just really look forward to it. So far the things have been functioning quite well for all of us.

Q. What was the link? Todd has been around for a long time. Who did you know that knew Todd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You don't think we're a right match (smiling)?

Q. I think you're an excellent match. But who...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was, you know, thinking about working with somebody that can help me out with my, you know, serve and my volley game, you know, a lot of different variety, and somebody that has been on top of the men's tennis, and somebody that has a positive attitude and great experience.
I think Todd is a perfect guy for that. He always looks for positives, and this is exactly what I need. Well, my agent was the one who contacted him in the first place. He was interested. From then on, it was more of how are we going to find the right deal, of course, financially and otherwise. And he accepted.
I think the most important thing for me is to be next to the guy that I just described. And we are going to try to work as much as we can, as much as his schedule allows him to do that. Marian is still in the game. He's still my coach. I'm not stopping to work with him. So we're going to have a nice team together.

Q. Is it to the end of the year, the end of the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We gonna see. This period, before the US Open and throughout the US Open, is kind of like a test period. If we like to work with each other, if everything goes well, we gonna definitely talk for the schedule afterwards and then see from then on.

Q. This match for you today was a walk in the park.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Really (smiling)?

Q. How are you going to stay mentally strong?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I would love every match to be this way, believe me. I would love every match to be a walk in the park.

Q. How do you stay mentally strong?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's not easy. Look, maybe it seems result-wise and game-wise. But, you know, if you play a big server who has been the third player of the world, won a Davis Cup, had a lot of titles under his belt, so much experience, you've got to be cautious. He's got a baby on his way recently. He's not on his best as he was a couple years ago. He hits the ball well and he serves great.
I was aware of his quality. I just needed to be patient and then wait for the chances. And that's what I did. I moved him all around the court. I served extremely well, which helped me in my performance today.
So far physically I feel really fit. Obviously game-wise, as you saw today, I am in a good form, good shape. Let's just hope I can continue this way.

Q. Bearing in mind your early years, do you probably know his game as well or better than anyone else?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I know his game really well and he knows mine as well because we have been practicing in the same team with the same coach for a year. Not just that, but we live in the same place. We practice with each other many, many times. We're very good friends. He's one of my best friends on the tour.

Q. Are you curious how the fans would welcome you this year after what happened last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I mean, this is past. What happened last year, the way I get it, to be honest, was like, I don't know, a fight with a girlfriend. Just a little fight with a girlfriend. These things happen. It was something that everybody can learn from it.
I always felt like at home here. I played so well last three years. I see no reason for me thinking about something that happened already.
So today was great. I just hope that the fans will behave nice, you know, in the next rounds.

Q. You're such a fun-loving guy. You have a lot of personality. You became a fan favorite because of that. Did that have any effect on how you act or hold yourself anymore?

Q. How you carry yourself.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think every individual, every tennis player, is different. You can't compare me to somebody else. This is the way I am. This is my personality. I am trying to enjoy what I do on and off the court as much as I can, do some things, like impersonations, which a lot of people liked, and I was very glad for that.
They were asking actually today, the small kids when I was signing autographs, When are you going to do more impersonations? I just came to see that.
Well, I'm here a little bit to play tennis.
No, I don't care for that, just impersonations.
Okay. Maybe I'll think about it.
I still don't have up my sleeve some ideas. But, you know, it all comes from tennis, I guess. I am more relaxed when I'm on the practice, to be honest, because then I can enjoy. On the court I try to do my work, win the match and hope the people will like it.

Q. Did you have a Todd impression?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm gonna work on that. Actually I'm gonna try to impersonate him or do some things regarding his personality. I think he's not going to love it. Actually, he saw it. He was in Montréal for a couple of days. He saw my second-round match against Polansky. It was my second match in Montréal. They showed on the big screen, because I did the fashion show in the underwear, but really like Speedos. So you can just imagine. Don't look on YouTube, please. It was really funny.
He said, We gonna work now, and I beg you, I don't want to see that anymore (smiling).
It was just for fun. Yeah, he's a great guy. When he needs to work, he works. When he needs to have fun, he's very relaxed, so we have a lot of fun together.

Q. This may be Marat Safin's last Grand Slam. What will you remember about his career and what will we miss when he's not playing anymore?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A lot of things. I mean, he's a unique guy. We gonna miss a lot of his talent, first of all. He's a fantastic player. I mean, with the way he was playing for couple of years that he was No. 1 and winning two, three Grand Slams, playing some of the best tennis that ever could play. He was all-around player. He had this strong personality. He was fearless.
And then we going to miss a lot of racquet throwing, screaming. I think the fans love him for that as well. But he's a fun guy. I talked to him. He said he wants to go mountain climbing I think somewhere in Argentina in January or something like that. So I might join him for a little preparation. No, I'm joking (smiling).

Q. You are very loose. Did you take any of his example when you started coming on and becoming a top player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, he was one of my role models I think because we are still working with the same agent. He has same agent as I do, so we got to practice quite often, young ages when I was coming up. He helped me a lot.
For me, I remember the first time I hit with him, one of the first time I hit with him. I was warming him up for his match in Bangkok. It was like four years ago. It was only a 20-minute warmup. I had to change three shirts because I was so nervous. When you get to play with some of the idols, obviously you get nervous.

Q. His sister was in here and she said he's given her advice, but sometimes it's hard to understand what he says.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's hard.

Q. Has he ever given you a great piece of advice or anything on how to handle the stress?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes, but not regarding tennis.

Q. What was it regarding?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That's all I'm gonna say (smiling).

Q. This would be the most interesting part of the interview.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I know. If these cameras are off, you guys aren't writing, then maybe (smiling).

End of FastScripts

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