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August 10, 2011

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/N. Davydenko
7-5, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Novak.

Q. What was going through your mind in that first set when you found yourself down the two early breaks of serve? How tough is the first match back after a long layoff?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is different, different feeling, definitely not playing four weeks any official match, and changing the surface obviously. I've played last two tournaments on clay courts, and then grass courts. Coming on hard courts with no matches, coming into this tournament, yeah, was a challenge definitely.
I was playing an unpredictable player against who I never know what's coming up next. In the first opening games, I needed some rhythm, and he didn't give me any. He was hitting the ball as hard as he could. He was the better player.
But I hang in there and I knew that at some point he's going to miss some shots and I will get a chance to get back into the match, which actually happened on 4-1.

Q. You're talking about missing shots. The forehand volley he missed at 5-4, deuce, shifted the match completely. Do you remember that? Do you think that was a big momentum shift?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, you know, he's a really strange player who I think the tougher the ball is, it's easier for him to play, which is a bit strange because you don't get that from other opponents. So he was missing some easy shots when he shouldn't.
Well, I got back into the match. When I needed to use my chance, I did. Then, you know, second set was much more comfortable for me.

Q. Is it a different feeling for you walking on the court being No. 1? Anything different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, there's not much difference. The difference is that I haven't played any match in four weeks.
Of course, it feels great. I mean, the stadium was packed. It was a fantastic feeling playing in front of the crowd that really likes tennis and likes following all the players.
You know, this tournament has a history of a lot of successful tournaments where there's a lot of spectators coming to the matches in the opening rounds. So they show their appreciation for the sport, which is great for us to perform in front of such a great crowd, so...

Q. How happy are you to be back to business after basically holidays?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm happy to be back competing. It's been four weeks. Obviously the holidays came at the right moment. I was enjoying those holidays, for sure. But I needed to come back and I needed to work hard and prepare well for the season.
I think physically I'm quite fit. I'm hitting the ball well. Of course, I need maybe another match or two to really get into the right form.
It was really important for me to overcome this challenge today, an opponent as tricky as Davydenko. I'm playing some doubles, as well. So this will help me to get the right rhythm for the next challenges in singles.

Q. With all the ceremony that went on celebrating your arrival on the tour with Mr. Lapierre, how do you actually feel here, having been on court for a ceremony, now back for business only?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, it's something that I did not experience before, so I am very honored and really of course flattered and pleased to have these ceremonies organized in my favor, of course. Being No. 1 is a big responsibility, not just on the court but off the court as well. Just trying to handle it in the best possible way, but on the other side trying to keep my life very simple, the way it was before.
I haven't changed my approach to my profession, to the sport, to my practices, to my matches. This is the way it is supposed to stay. Luckily I have a team of people that is keeping me on the ground and we are really working hard.
I am motivated to make more success and to win more tournaments regardless of my ranking.

Q. Rafael Nadal just opened a Twitter account a few days ago. I want to know how do you see Twitter as a way to express yourself or be linked with your fans?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you said it. I wasn't really involved enough and I didn't have a great knowledge about social networks up to, let's say, one year ago. Things change, I guess. You know, the world is changing. I think it's all about technology these days. Everything goes through Internet, everything goes through social networks, all the communications.
I think on a positive side it really helps for us tennis players to communicate with our fans, to keep them updated with what we do, pictures, interesting stuff. I think they're happy.
For us, it's really important to have loyal fans, to have people who are supporting us, who are coming to the tournaments. It makes our game easier on the court. Of course, it's really nice to see that somebody appreciates you as a player and as a person as well.

Q. Psychologically do you anticipate there will be anything more difficult or harder about maintaining the No. 1 spot than there was getting there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's something that I will see. It still has been only four weeks since I've become No. 1. This is my first official tournament.
I will repeat again: my approach hasn't changed. I'm really trying to do everything that I have done, even before I become No. 1. Of course, the world is looking at me a bit differently, which I think is obvious to expect.
But, as I said, you carry a lot of responsibility when you are playing and when you are off the court. You represent not just yourself but the game of tennis in general. You need to handle yourself well. It carries a little bit more weight on your shoulders.
But, look, you know, it's a challenge, it's something I've always dreamed of. I don't want to think about negatives and worry about things that might happen because I have become No. 1: Will I keep it long enough? Will it come to my head? Will I struggle with emotions?
Look, I've become No. 1 of the world. I achieved my dreams. This is all that is going on in my head, all I'm thinking of, just enjoying the moment.

Q. One word on your next possible opponent.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Now is the rain, so I'm waiting for them to finish.
Del Potro, Cilic, both of them tall players, big serves. They're both playing great, I think the best tennis on hard courts. The conditions here are a bit faster than maybe some other tournaments. I think it goes in the favor of those two players.
But I've played them before earlier. You know, it's going to be a tough one definitely.
THE MODERATOR: Questions from Toronto.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Are you kidding me? This is incredible. Hello, Toronto (laughter).

Q. How do you feel today that you are pronounced as the best player in the world?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: How do I feel?

Q. Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel great. You know, as I said before, I achieved the dreams of my childhood. I had a bit of time to enjoy the success that I had, but now it's back to reality, back to the tennis court, back to business.
You know, regardless of my rankings, I need to go out on the court and play each match to win. Right now I need to focus on that.

Q. You were down 1-4 and he had a serve. What did you think at that moment? You were not warmed up or what happened?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Did I practice enough (laughter)? I'm kidding.
Look, you know, he has played a better first five games. He didn't give me a lot of rhythm in the start of the match. I didn't play a match for four weeks. It took me some time to, you know, get used to the conditions, get into the match.
I needed to hang in there. I needed to wait for the chances. I did. I turned the match around on 4-1 when I broke him the first time. Then I felt much more comfortable.
How is life in Toronto?

Q. Windy.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Is it raining?

Q. They quit the match because lights fell down on the court so they suspended the play.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we have suspended play as well.
This is cool (laughter).

Q. Novak, are you prepared to actually win again in Montréal because your first win was Montréal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I will see. You know, I will see how far I can go. I'm taking it step by step. I'm really trying to perform my best tennis every time I step on the court.
I am aware that my form isn't 100% yet. But it's kind of normal to expect that the first couple of matches after a long break, you're still trying to find the rhythm on the court.
You know, I think maybe if I manage to play well next match, I will slowly get into the right direction.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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