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February 23, 2011

Novak Djokovic


6-3, 2-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Worked hard for that, didn't you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Tough one. Very relieved. Good to get through. (Smiling.) How do you feel?
Well, it's been an exciting match, to be honest, even though I was struggling. I don't think I've played bad, actually. He played really well in the second set. I did make some unforced errors, but match turned around and he felt the momentum and he was playing better than I did most of that second set.
But I managed to come back. I was aware of the fact that I should return well and that should be the key of my victory tonight. But to be honest, I was a little bit surprised with the way he was returning tonight. He was getting a lot of balls back and he was making me, you know, play an extra shot.
In the rallies, we were quite even towards the end. So just fortunate to go through.

Q. Is there always a drop of concentration at the start of a second set if you've just won the first?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it doesn't necessarily happen many times, but it can happen.
Look, you know, it's all tennis, it's all sport. It's normal to have a little lack ever concentration. But if you have a player who is playing that well - and this is, I guess, one of his favorite surfaces, you know. It's faster than let's say Indian Wells or Australia, and he loves using that serve, that speed, coming into the net. He loves keeping the ball low.
So it's a good win for me.

Q. One of most attractive things about that match was the way both of you were willing to come forward to the net. Do you think that's the direction the modern game is going in, which has been dominated by baseline for so long?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was serve and volley game maybe 20 years ago, and now in last let's say 10, 15 years, became a game of baseliners. It's really difficult to get into the net if you have so many great returners and so many great movers, you know, especially against the guys like Nadal or Murray who have fantastic passing shots, and Federer.
But it's something that you should always have in your I guess repertoire. Always have a little variety in the game and try to use that on the court, because that's maybe a little advantage over the opponent, so you can mix it up when you like.

Q. Do you feel that's getting stronger and stronger in your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I mean, there is still lots of room for improvement. I am aware of that. I know that it's going to be a process where I would make a lot of mistakes in the volleys as I did today, because that's not my really comfortable zone.
I'm working on it. I'm working and trying to your come in mentally and do it. I'm sure that I will improve in that.

Q. So is this the tournament where you're trying out some of these things, and with that comes with mistakes? Is that something you wouldn't do at a Grand Slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, depends of the circumstances. You're right, maybe you use some opportunities throughout the year, some tournaments where you can eventually try out some things that you were doing at practice matches, practice sessions.
But there is not many of those. Because for me, this tournament is really important, as any tournament I take part in. I accept every match very seriously, so it's not just something that, you know, I look at as a practice match or something.
But it's good that I'm coming up, and especially on the faster surfaces.

Q. You played here with your brother, your little brother, who is, I guess, still working on his game.

Q. Do you ever sit down and say, It's really important at your age to get ahold of the volley, to know how to play the volley?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we do talk about a lot of things. It's normal that in a way I can help him out and try to give him as many advices that he can use in his game and in his life, because I have been down that road that he's going now.
For him and both of them, it's really difficult to cope with all the pressure and expectations of having an older brother that's in the top of the men's tennis. I mean, in their practice session, there is 20, 30 people watching. So it's not really pleasant to have that, especially if you're not matured enough. And especially the young one. He's still a kid.

Q. How old is he now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's 15. But they been coping with these kinds of situations for four, five years already. It's definitely not easy, but you have to take the best out of it, your best changes each day.
Both of them, they're trying to have their own goals, their own ambitions. Maybe the path that they're taking is a bit slower and takes a little bit more time, but I have faith in them. I think they're both talented, especially the young one.
You know, the good thing is that they have of course all the facilities and all the conditions they need to be a professional player. So let's see.

Q. Some of the rallies tonight looked exhausting, never mind playing in them. Did you find yourself thinking during those points, I should come to the net now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There were some situations where I could have but didn't go to the net. On my service games, break balls, and thing like that. You know, I was just trying to force my baseline shots too much. Then I had a lot of the mistakes, because here the ball flies through the air quite fast and there's not much control.
But, look, I think my coach will be happy with how many times I went to the net tonight, even though maybe it wasn't more successful. But I was going there and trying to change things. We're working on it.

Q. Is Feliciano someone you can learn from in that regard? He's quite confident at the net.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ah, he's absolutely different kind of player. I mean, he's lefty, he has a one-handed backhand, he's using that slice so it gives him enough time to keep the ball low and get on the net.
For him it's natural to be around the net; for me it's not. That's why it's different.

Q. In the third set, seemed like 3-3 was the key, where you broke him back was the key. But, I mean, just overall in that set, the return was you think the difference for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I guess couple of points decided the winner, because he was playing equally well. Even on 3-2 when I was serving, I should not let that serve go. I was making some unforced errors, some smashes on the net, overheads, you know.
Look, when I needed to return and keep the ball in the play in the rally where I feel more comfortable than he does, that's what did I. Maybe that made a difference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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