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March 17, 2010

Ivan Ljubicic


I. LJUBICIC/N. Djokovic
7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Novak congratulated your serving. Do you feel like you served particularly well today?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I served well. My serve helped me, especially in difficult moments. Especially I felt in the second set I was serving even better than the first set.
But also last two weeks ago in Dubai I was serving unbelievably. You can't beat Novak only with a serve, but it does help you a lot if you can get a lot of free points off that shot.
So all in all, I think serve was really good today.

Q. It seemed like he thought that he was going to be more consistent than you were. He wasn't aiming to take real control of the points. He was just keeping the ball more in play. Was that your impression?
IVAN LJUBICIC: That's his tactic and I was expecting that, because last five times he beat me that was his tactic and it worked out pretty well. It's just that today on court I felt physically much better and I was striking the ball quite nicely, so I was not the one rushing to finish the points off.
So I think he felt maybe that that would be enough also today, but it wasn't. As I said, I was striking the ball nicely, and I felt like I could control the points off the baseline, even though I looked defensive, but I was in a position where I wanted to be.

Q. It seemed like a pretty good atmosphere out there, too. The fans were really into it.
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, it was nice. I was actually very surprised that we were scheduled on Stadium 2 because he's No. 2 in the world, Roger out of the tournament, so I was actually practicing on center court yesterday because I was 100% sure we would play on center.
So of course I was happy when I found out we were going to play on Stadium 2, because I played a lot of matches on that court and I'm sure he didn't. It was maybe a little advantage on my side because of that scheduling.

Q. What's the difference between Stadium 1 and Stadium 2 for you?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Stadium 2, it's smaller. I mean, having said that, it helps more aggressive players. You know, when you have big stadium, it's easy to defend. You can go six meters back, seven meters back, and you're still able to play.
And it's easier to hit the ball harder. Just visually it helps a little bit -- it's easier to hit harder and easier to play aggressive on the small courts. That's why it's extremely difficult to beat Rafa at Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros. It's the biggest court in tennis and of course it's also on clay, so it's really hard to get the ball away from him. It's already difficult itself, but on that court it's extremely difficult.

Q. Can you explain how tough the next Davis Cup with Serbia and Croatia is going to be?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, it's a big deal. Journalists are writing about it quite a lot. I think it start actually in the wrong direction. You know, some reporters say it's dangerous to play and Split and stuff like that, but I don't think that's really the case.
I just think it's going to be great atmosphere and great tie, because both teams are having fantastic players. It's something to play for. I mean, semifinals of the Davis Cup, it's a big game for both nations.

Q. What will it take to actually get any real change in the schedule? It's something that's been talked about for some time. We've had players come into the press conferences here and talk about how short the break is between the end of the season and then getting ready for the Australian Open.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yes. Well, it has been like this for years now. I don't think now it's particularly bad. I just think that our sport has became very physical in last 10 years, and that's maybe why the players are feeling maybe a little bit more tired between seasons, not enough time and difficult to play all these commitment tournaments.
We have to play all eight Masters Series tournaments together with Monte-Carlo. It's not mandatory, but it's still big tournament so you kind of have to play. Then all Slams and 500s and then Davis Cup is in there. It's a lot of tournaments that you really have to play, and it's not much choice.
So I think if we could work out our commitment tournaments to be less than what they are now, I think that would be it. I don't think we need to shorten the season in order to feel a little bit more relaxed and to recover our energies, because I see the girls are having shorter season.
But, you know, to have too long of a break between seasons actually can create more problems than, you know, short ones. Because I know if I'm not playing two months or not competitive tennis, I'm having a lot of problems with my shoulder, with my -- no matter how hard you practice, it's just not the same when you play competitive matches.
So I really like the way the length of the season is at the moment. I would just like to see a little bit less of mandatory tournaments.

Q. How much can be read into this match regarding Davis Cup?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, since I'm not playing Davis Cup, I don't think that's a big of a deal. You know, I know that a lot of probably Croatian journalists will put the pressure now on me that I have to play.
But the fact I beat Novak today doesn't mean that I'm better probably player than him. In fact, I'm not. The conditions in Croatia will be totally different than what they are now. And best of five, it's, again, totally different story.
As I said, since I'm not going to be on the team, I don't think it's gonna have any effect on the upcoming tie.

Q. There's nothing about today that would change that decision for you?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I retired of Davis Cup for a different reason. I never retired and said, Until we play Serbia and Split or, you know, something like that.
It was not emotional decision. It was wise decision. It was something that I felt like it would help my career. So, you know, my career, my life learned me to think with the brain and not with the heart.
I think if I would go back now and play or at least be available for Davis Cup, it would cause a lot of, you know, different talks and definitely would take a lot of energy out of me. I don't think it would be something just smart to do.

Q. Novak said he's still a little bit drained from Davis Cup last week.
IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm sure he is.

Q. Can you sympathize with what he went through?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, but this is exactly the reason why I'm not playing Davis Cup. You just can't. I mean, he played best-of-five sets on clay, five setter against John Isner on Sunday. You know, you have to travel all the way here, different surface, different balls, different -- everything totally different.
And, yes, he can win first round, second round. But he has to aim to be 100% fit if he wants to win this tournament, and he wasn't. If I didn't get him, somebody would on the way.
He was already struggling in Dubai. He played long matches there, and after that he went to Serbia, played Davis Cup, and then traveled here.
I mean, it's just something that you just can't do. That's it. Physically you can't -- you know, it's impossible. I mean, he almost can do it now because he's 20 something, 2 or 3. But if he's 29, 30, it would be even worse. He probably wouldn't win that match against Kohlschreiber two days ago.

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