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April 12, 2011

Ivan Ljubicic


7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were the better player on the big points obviously.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, yes. To summarize, absolutely. I was a break down in both sets, but he struggled to close it down.
It's the first week of clay for both of us. It's really difficult to find the balance between defense and offense, which is the key on clay.
I think I was a little bit more patient at times. Of course, he's not a patient player. He goes for his shots. On clay, he gives you a little bit more than normal.
I beat him already on clay before. I know that I'm going to have my chances. It's really about staying patient and calm because I was really mad when I lost that first serve in the first set because I felt like I was supposed to hold my serve quite comfortably. After losing that serve, I was really nervous. I was just trying to keep calm, then wait my chance. Because on clay it comes - it always comes.

Q. You seemed to feel the ball quite well, doing dropshots the end of the first set. Did you feel the ball really well?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I like this ball. It's a Dunlop ball that goes quite well through the air. If you hit hard, you still can kind of control it. It's a different ball. We really have two types of balls. Dunlop is really heavy. Then the light one, Wilson and Head, they are also good, but maybe not so good for clay.
I practiced really well last week. I had good practice sessions. That gives my confidence. There's nothing else you can really rely on except practice sets that you do, because we didn't play any matches on clay.
It's good. It feels really good to win two matches and be still in the tournament. Kind of the schedule was perfect for me. At this age, you really need day off. I was lucky to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. I'm going to try to take most of it and prepare for next round.

Q. You obviously feel at home here.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, it's different. After the matches, after the day, you go home, except going to the hotel. I practice on this course every day of my life when I'm not at a tournament. It feels special. It relaxes me actually more. I don't feel like it's a normal tournament. I don't feel the tension of the tournament.
And I know that the members of the club and everybody here in Monaco talk about this tournament, the result of this tournament throughout the year. So for me it really means a lot if I do well here.

Q. It was a little bit difficult for you in Indian Wells and Miami. You seem to be fully fit again. How do you feel about your game?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, game is good. Okay, I didn't play maybe well in Miami. But I really injured myself badly in Dubai. I had half hour of tennis between Dubai and Del Potro match in Indian Wells. I was not able to really practice, this ankle pain. For me now it's about staying fit, healthy, trying to stay away from injuries and pain.
At the moment, cross fingers, it's good. Of course, clay, it's a little easier on the joints, knees, ankles. I hope I'm going to stay fit for the rest of the season, if possible.

Q. During the conference Tsonga said he thought that he was a lot better player during a set and a half. Do you feel that way?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't know. I mean, I won the first set, so I cannot say that he was 'a lot better player'. I mean, definitely he had chances. I had my chances, too. It's about taking chances.
Before the match, I had an interview with one of your colleagues. I said the match is going to be about a couple of points. I think that was the fact. He was not able to close out the first set, and I took advantage of it. The second set again, he was a break up, and he was not able to close it. It's a little bit because I played better, but because he played bad.
I think he's that kind of personality. He feels always confident. He feels that he's the better player on the court. I think that's why he is where he is, you know, one of the best players in the world.

Q. You also said yesterday your game fits well to bother him.
IVAN LJUBICIC: I mean, this is my game. You know, you can like it or not like it. I cannot play Berdych's game, boom, boom, boom all the time. Sometimes you get matchups that your game doesn't suit your opponent. I also have a couple opponents that I don't like to play against, like David Ferrer. Sometimes these matchups don't suit you.
In Rotterdam I felt like I was playing maybe a little bit too aggressive, I was trying too much off the baseline. When the ball crosses the net a couple times, I feel like I have that little bit of edge, you know, between us. So maybe 55% of the rallies I'm going to win.
That was really my goal today, as well, not rushing into the rallies, trying to keep the ball across the net as much as possible.
He also had a tough match yesterday. I also had that in mind. I also served better today than I did in Rotterdam, which is also key. When you have two big servers, it's really important to be the one who is maybe a little bit higher. And I served well on the big points.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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