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March 24, 2010

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were so consistent in Masters events last year. Do you approach these tournaments differently than others, or do anything differently?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, after Grand Slams, these are most important tournaments for us, so we try to prioritize them and set up our shape for these events.
I've played quite well last year. I lost many finals, though, and managed to win the title in Paris Bercy. So this year I feel quite good still, but didn't play my best tennis in Indian Wells.
But, hey, you know, I lost to the champion, so it's good. Now I have a little more time for Miami to get ready, and hopefully I can pull up some good tennis.

Q. I read your interview after Indian Wells. You hoped to do some sightseeing. Maybe Los Angeles.

Q. Did that happen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it happened.

Q. What did you get to see?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, what the tourists usually see in LA, Universal Studios, beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, these kinds of things.
Just relaxing. We don't have that much time to explore the sights of the different cities, because everything we see - well, mostly what we see - is tennis club and hotels.
This time I had a little bit more time to go without the practice, because I needed that after Dubai and Davis Cup. So I took some time off and relaxed, and now I'm back in business.

Q. Your clay court schedule is very, very busy following this. How do you hope to keep your energy level and competitive level up through that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, this is something that I've done over the years. Last two years more or less I had very similar schedule. If I'm as successful as last year on clay, after French Open I'll be very, very happy.
I've played lots of matches. But, you know, playing lots of matches means that you've done a lot of success.
You know, we are working hard on physical preparation here in Miami, because we will not have that much time, as you said, between Miami and Monte-Carlo.
So we need to prepare for clay courts, as well, which, as a surface, requires more energy than all the others. A lot of rallies, a lot of sliding, and so you have to be strong.

Q. I would like to know which is your main goal for this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, my main goal is to try to win another Grand Slam. I will do everything to get ready for French Open, and, of course, Wimbledon and US Open.
I think, you know, if I play as well as I did on clay last year, I have a good chance.

Q. Just watching you practice with Todd yesterday on the stadium, what specifically are you working on and what are you trying to implement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When we are -- we are trying to develop some things in my game and improve service a little bit. I've been struggling with the serve lately, so we've been trying to work on that.
I think he's the right person to work with regarding that issue. But it's a slow process that requires time, so I have to be patient.

Q. I just asked this question to Rafa Nadal a few minutes ago. How do you qualify or how do you consider the treatment of the media, all this circus or all these things happening to Tiger Woods? How would you qualify the development of this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Media, the way -- the way I see it is the media is a part of our lives, part of our profession. We have to -- we have to consider them as, you know, part of our careers, something that we do, and we have to treat them the way they treat us.
I mean, you know, we need them; they need us. So this is the way it goes.
You know, you always have to be obviously very, you know, patient the things you say -- the cautious of the things you say publicly.
So I'm trying not to really discover many things I do in the private life so I don't get into the trouble as some athletes did recently.

Q. Is it especially hard today? There are just so many opportunities now with Twitter and Facebook and things athletes are doing. Everyone has cellphone cameras wherever you are. If you're at a party, somebody could take a picture of you. Is that something you guys have to pay a lot more attention to now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. But, you know, you have to try to minimize that as much as you can, try to get as much as privacy as you can and not getting into the trouble, because, you know, wire world today is huge.
I mean, everything happens via Internet, cameras, photographs, things like that. In a split of a second you can be in big trouble with girlfriend, wife, mother, father, or whatever.
You know, still you cannot avoid it totally, because you are a celebrity and you are somebody that travels around the world and goes to the, I don't know, events and is just exposed to those things.
If it really happens, then you're, I guess, bad luck. So you have to watch your behavior.

Q. Rafa is in a music video and Venus is working on a book. Do you have any extracurricular activities?

Q. No, just in general. Rafa was in the Shakira music video. Do you have...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ah. (laughter.)
Okay. No, I -- well, I have some activities, but not music videos for now. I'll elaborate on that a bit later.

Q. Can you sing?

Q. Can you sing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not as my partner yesterday on the court. Mel B, we played an exhibition yesterday, so it was fun. No, I don't sing.

Q. Can you do an imitation of Rafa in the video for us?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (laughter.)
Okay. I need a girl. Do you have any...
Anyone want to come here so we can do a video?

Q. Last year around this time you were kind of trying to have players come to your event. Are you doing the same role this year, or are they finding interest or...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, as I was saying, the event itself is growing. The difficult thing about Belgrade event is the week that we have it. It's between two 1000 events.
Most of the players, top 10, top 20, will rest that week, especially with a heavy clay court season.
So I was aware of that. I was telling to all of them, Come to Belgrade, you know, and explore a little bit something else. Belgrade has a lot to offer. It's a growing city and it's a developing city.
It's great fun, a lot of young people, and the tournament itself is fantastic. I mean, we are trying to do it as best as we can.
But I was very surprised with group of players -- actually I saw the entry list this morning, and I was surprised with John Isner and Sam Querrey signing up for the tournament.
I was very happy that they liked obviously the last time they were there. They want to come back.

Q. I'm sorry I couldn't make the trip to Serbia to see that tie. It was obviously a really exciting one.

Q. Now that I've had some time to let it soak in, could you talk about John specifically and his game? And did you ever think, given how old he was when he came into the pro ranks and his build, that he would be playing on this level?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: With the serve that he has, he can beat anybody, any surface.
He's a player that improved a lot in last year or so, especially with the groundstrokes, and he gained confidence obviously with winning matches and getting to the later stages of the tournament.
That's what he needed. He showed to the world that he can play as well on clay courts as well as he plays on hardcourts. He gave me a very hard time.
In Belgrade we played four-hour match five sets, and he played like somebody that has longer experience in Davis Cup and not as somebody that just had the debut for his nation.
He was serving extremely well all three days, and it's a big advantage. As, you know, if you have a big serve you get a lot of free points. You put pressure on your opponent. Anything can happen really.
He was playing really well in Indian Wells, and I think lots of actually players around the tour expect him to get to top 10 soon really with the game that he has.

Q. Were you also impressed with how he dealt with the atmosphere? I mean, obviously there weren't many people on his side.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, he played like somebody who has long years experience in Davis Cup. He stayed very cool. You know, the crowd was trying to support and trying, you know, lots of things.
You know, the Davis Cup is very specific competition where, you know, you get to have a big crowd support. It was a match of the big important -- tie of the big importance for us.
Of course for States, but for us it was huge because we never passed the first round of the Davis Cup since we became, you know, independent country of Serbia.
And now we did it, and we are very happy, you know, that we're not going to play playoffs in September and we're gonna try to go as far as we can.

Q. Now that you're running a tournament, when you go to tournaments, do you look at tournaments a different way? Do you have a different appreciation for the people that are running the tournaments? Do you sort of go to a tournament now and see the way they're doing things and take mental notes for your own event?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not just now that we are organizing tournament that I have appreciation. I always had appreciation for the people that are organizing events.
I was well aware of the things that you have to deal with throughout the week or two weeks. It's not easy, because you have to satisfy a lot of sides. You have to satisfy the spectators, make the good entertainment for them so the tickets pay off, make the players happy, and the media. Everybody that has been part of the tournament. It's a very heavy job.
But even now, adding to that, having the tournament back in my country and being a part of it gives me even clearer picture of what's going on.

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