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January 25, 2010

Novak Djokovic


6-1, 6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It appeared a very straightforward match. Was it on the court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's the fourth round. I knew that from a seeded players, if you, you know, if you look at the draw, I probably had, you know, the best possible draw at the moment.
But I didn't want to underestimate my opponent absolutely, because I've played him the finals of Belgrade, Serbia Open last year. I knew that he's a tough opponent to play against. So I just went to the court willing to play my best from the start.
I think the first two sets I was very dominant on the court, then he lifted up his level of the game a little bit. That's why we had a longer third set. In general, I was very happy with the way I performed today.

Q. Any particular part of your game that you're happy with?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think serve was much consistent today, much more. And I better serve percentage of the first serves.
I got more free points there, which gave me a lot of advantage.

Q. Would you have preferred to play a seeded player to give you more push and preparation into the quarters?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it doesn't -- didn't really matter, you know. If the player comes -- if he's seeded or unseeded, if he comes to the second week of play, he must be a quality player. It's a Grand Slam, you know. To reach last 16, last 8, it's not a piece of cake.
Whoever I play next round it's gonna be a tough opponent. I'm aware the matches will get more difficult throughout this week. So I'm ready for it. Physically I've been putting in a lot of work and intensity into the practice. It's paying off right now. I feel great.

Q. Australian Open is first Grand Slam of the year and of course very important to prepare well. What do you think about this so far and how important is it for you to do well in the Australian Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's the most important tournament of this part of the year for all of us. I didn't have an official match before I started Australian Open, so the opening rounds were quite challenging for me. One of the reasons is obviously that I haven't got any matches for a month and a half.
So I'm happy with the way things are going. Surface is quite suitable to my game. I won this tournament two years ago, so I just look forward to the upcoming challenges. I'm ready to give my 100% and try to get a step further.

Q. So like last year, you had feet problems. Did you do something particular for preparing this season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, last year was specific. I think it was quite different than all the others because I had made some radical changes. I changed the racquet and I faced the role of defending champion for the first time in my career at a Grand Slam.
There were a lot of side factors. I think my game wasn't really feeling great throughout the 2009 Australian Open. This year is absolutely something else. I just feel very confident playing.

Q. You will play Almagro or Tsonga next. Can speak a little bit of those?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven't played Almagro for a long time. I can't really remember last time we played.
But, you know, he's a big hitter and he has a good serve and strong forehand. He's a clay court specialist but still can play really well on hardcourts. This hardcourt is a bit slower than the others, so that's where he has his chance.
On the other side, I played Jo many, many times in the last two years. Probably the biggest match that we played was finals here two years ago. He's improved so much, and he's a top 10 player. Just has a big tournaments behind him. He has been winning the big matches and knows what it feels like to be on a big stage.
So absolutely it's gonna be very difficult for either of us to play against.

Q. If you face Jo, what do you have to focus on especially?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, Jo can beat anyone if he's really on the roll and if he starts hitting the ball well. I just to have keep pressuring him and just apply my style of the game, not allow him to control the match.

Q. You had a great season last year, but didn't do so well at the Grand Slams. Did it bother you to have such a wonderful season but not build on your first Grand Slam in 2008?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In a way I was expecting a lot, especially from Roland Garros in 2009, because I had the best year on clay courts by far.
But, you know, these things happen. I could have done a bit better in the Grand Slams. I agree on that. Probably that was one of the reasons that I didn't get the step further in the rankings.
But, you know, I will prioritize Grand Slams and try to set up the best possible form for these tournaments.

Q. What do you mean by prioritize?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just as I said, I want to try to set up the best possible form and game for Grand Slams. That's where I want to make the best impact, best result.

Q. Does that mean shortening your schedule a little bit more?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's really hard to shorten the schedule at this moment. We have a lot of commitment events. You got to show up at, you know, 17, 18 tournaments a year, plus Davis Cup. So the season is not gonna be much shorter than the one in 2009.
There are certain things you can do in order to perform better in Grand Slams.

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