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January 21, 2010

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/M. Chiudinelli
3-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A slow start, and then on paper it looked a relatively easy game. You seemed a bit frustrated.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, definitely I was frustrated, especially at start of the match, because he was really giving it to me. He was very aggressive and stepping in and using ever opportunity that has been given to him.
So automatically I just became too defensive and didn't really make too much. Just waiting for his mistakes. That was a little issue there, but I managed to make that transition from being defensive to being offensive and changing pace and holding the game in control in the second and third set.
In the fourth I struggled a little bit, but I managed to make that important break.

Q. Why did you struggle in the fourth?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, why? Everybody plays tennis, I guess. You can't underestimate anybody. I was aware of his quality and aware that he likes to -- he likes the fast play. You know, I tried to play some high balls and, you know, change the rhythm all the time.
It worked and then in that fourth set, he stepped it up a little bit more. Just fortunate to go through.

Q. What are your expectations for the tournament? Would you feel it would be unsuccessful if you achieved anything less than the title? Where have you set the bar for yourself coming into the season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I always try to have the highest possible ambitions, and that's to win the tournament. But I'm well aware of the, you know, quality of the other players. Of course, some of the other players have probably more expectations than me to win the title. That's normal.
But I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I try to take one match at a time. I really had some bad experiences last year. Unfortunately finished the way I did. So I'm just trying to focus on my own matches put the best possible effort. Then I believe the results will come then.

Q. When did you work on in the off-season to help improve your game from last season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We were unfortunate because we didn't have a lot of time in the off-season. Tried to use it in the best way. That's one of the short, off-season period was one the reasons that I didn't participate in the opening tournaments in 2010. Tried to work really intensively. I came ten days before Australian Open started and spent a lot of hours in the heat. I'm just happy the way I feel.
I believe that I can even play better.

Q. Are you playing well enough to win the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, there are some things that I obviously have to improve in order play better. But, you know, the opening rounds, especially at Australian Open, are where a lot of surprises happen.
Opening rounds are a little bit tricky because you're playing against the players that really have nothing to lose and played a little bit more matches than you. I kind of feel that little pressure. This is what I felt a little today.
As I said, I'm taking it step by step and I'm sure that in two days' time I will play even better.

Q. There's been a lot made of the 2:00 a.m. finish this morning of Cilic and Tomic. What are your feelings on the late games and late finishes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is something that not me individually can discuss. I think a lot of people have to discuss about it.
In one hand, it's really good for the crowd. It's really good for the TV and that's what they want. More entertainment. Night matches is what drives fans really crazy and excited. I absolutely understand from that side.
From the other hand, maybe in Tomic side was maybe a little bit too much pressure. He got used to playing during the day and I guess that's understandable as well.

Q. How hard do you think it is for a 17 year old to deal with that way past his bedtime? What's your advice to him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I mean, he's 17 years old and he's already playing on this level. I mean, you have to give him credit for that. I played him in Kooyong and I said only good things about him. That's what I honestly feel.
I think Australia can expect a lot from him. He's a great talent. He just needs to work physically on some things and to be able to play consistently on this level throughout the year.
But as I said, you know, that all comes with the time. I mean, he's only 17.

Q. You and Roger and Rafa have been at council now for a while. Describe how that's working with the three of you. Do you feel like you have been able to see at the same level on the issues? You talked about the World Cup. What other things are important to you guys as far as the tour is concerned?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I think the most important thing is that the top players are together right now, and that share more or less the same opinion. That's very important.
And we are fortunate enough to have the present leadership of the ATP very understandable on the issues that we have and on our problems that we want to solve.
So we are all working towards the future and making this sport better for players and better for everybody. It's not easy, because we have to take sides on tournaments and players and sponsors and, you know, -- there's many, many issues that we have to discuss about.
Unfortunately I can't say more than that because everything is still in the process and it's pending. Hopefully next couple of months we can make some decisions.

Q. To shorten the season, is that a high priority still?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That is the highest priority, because players feel like the season is just too long.

Q. A lot better players like yourself have a particular trademark shot or style: Federer, movement, say, forehand; Roddick, serve.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You tell me what's mine, because I cannot figure it out. (Laughter.) I still didn't figure out. I wanted to hear if you maybe know.
I don't know. It's hard to say. I like the backhand long line. I'm a baseline player and my game is based from that part of the court.
But, you know, I've been starting to work a lot lately on my volley game, net play, and trying to take the balls a bit earlier and use the chances and be more aggressive. Of course, the serve.
So I could say for myself that I'm all-around player, but probably the backhand long line is...

Q. Are you searching for a style still?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not too much. Really, I just want to get my game as far as possible. That's all. I'm not trying to copy anybody or get a particular style that is gonna look beautiful to the fans.

Q. You won the singles title last year in Belgrade. Are you happy or satisfied overall with the attendances in Serbia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that was a very positive thing that we had a tournament organized for the first time in the history of our sport in Serbia. I was very happy about it. Of course, it couldn't be better. I even won the title in the end, and it was very emotional.
This year we have another tournament going, and we are trying and we are really focusing to improve facilities and to make the players and all the guests who come there feel good about it.
Of course, considering the popularity of the tennis right now in our country, we definitely need to do more. Because the people love it, support tennis, and you can see, wherever we go we have lots of support.

Q. What will you be doing for the next two days? We don't have the heat wave that we normally do in Melbourne. Do you spend more time on the practice court, or stick to the same routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's more or less same routine. I can't do anything in particular between the matches, you know. That's where you want to just work on some specifics and save the energy for upcoming challenge.

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