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August 14, 2011

Novak Djokovic


6-2, 3-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Novak is the first world No. 1 to win an ATP tournament in his debut since Pete Sampras in 1993, Hong Kong. Also his 10th overall ATP Masters 1000 title, ninth on the season.
Questions for Novak.

Q. You spoke all week about this being your first tournament at No. 1. Each match there seemed to be a moment where your opponent looked up, remembered that it was you, got tight, gave you some additional opportunities to win the matches. How much fun is it to have the Djokovic effect, the world No. 1 effect?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is probably a little mental advantage when you get on the court knowing that you're the player to beat. But, on the other hand, it adds the pressure and expectations as well because you are a favorite to win each match you play, whoever you play against.
It's a right balance in the end, you know, trying to just think about the match, think about just the next point, you know, figuring out tactics to win against the opponent that day, not thinking about the position that you have or whatever.
But today I started off really well. I played a first set and couple of games better. I should have made that break in the second set. I didn't. I got him back in the match.
I did get tight in the end. It was even match. He served well. He was moving well. I played one good return game in the third set, and it was enough.

Q. Did you feel a little bit more human today on the court that he had more chances to beat you than usual?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am human. I can definitely assure you of that (smiling).
But, yeah, it was a close match, for sure. A couple of points, one good return game in the third set, decided the winner. But it's a finals. You can somehow expect that the players are evenly matched and they both want to win the title badly. This is something that I was aware of before the match.
I knew that he is not going to give me the match and the win. I knew that I have to fight for it. Up to the last moment, you didn't really know who is going to win. But I believed I could do it.

Q. Did you have a problem in the first set? You were looking over your shoulder.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Throughout this tournament I carried little problems with the shoulder. But it's okay. Nothing major.

Q. You seemed at times to be wearing your heart on your sleeve, trying to pump yourself and stoke yourself. What are you saying to yourself in a situation like that? How often do you throw the shoes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I do have a couple of shoes, then I throw one.
Yeah, I was going through a lot of emotions. I think I was more nervous than in the previous matches today. Well, it was the final. There was a lot of tension going on. It was a very close match.
He wanted to win that match as much as I did. That's why, you know, we were quite intense. It was a mental fight, as well. It was not just physical.
But, you know, I managed to hold my composure when I needed to. I think it was decisive.

Q. You were talking about your shoulder that was bothering you in this tournament. Having as great a run as you are having right now, winning tournaments, is it taking a toll physically and mentally on your health?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not so much anymore because I just know what to do now in order to prepare myself. Each day I'm spending a lot of time working, recovering, doing different kinds of therapies and stuff to get myself in the best possible shape.
I think my scheduling this year is really good even though, as you said, I played many matches. I think I've had necessary rest of two weeks after Wimbledon. So I had more than enough time to get recovered.

Q. How much more satisfying was it that it was your first tournament at No. 1 and then you win it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was a big satisfaction.

Q. When he congratulated you at the end of the match, he seemed to make you laugh. What did he tell you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we are very good friends off the court, so we joke around all the time. He told me that I should give him one of these tournaments sometime.
But, no, it was great playing him. I'm happy to see him doing well. I think he's experiencing the best time of his career in last two years.

Q. You won everything in Masters Series except you didn't compete in Monte-Carlo. Do you regret missing Monte-Carlo?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I did regret because I live there. I consider it as my home tournament.
But it was I think the right decision. If I look at it now it was the right decision because I took some time off after Miami. I had very exhausting matches there, tournaments. I needed to take off to get ready for clay.

Q. In this streak you're on, how have you avoided not having a letdown, a bad day?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I guess it's just all about having positive attitude on the court every day, waking up every day wanting to improve, wanting to win, being determined, being professional. It's that desire and motivation that keeps me going. Every match I play, I try to win, regardless which match is it or whoever is across the net.
I'm sure that there is going to be, you know, bad days. I just feel that now I'm playing the best tennis of my life. This year by far has been the best in my career. I'm enjoying it. That confidence that I'm carrying helps me a lot.

Q. At times during the match you looked frustrated. You were making gestures like, What can I do? What was frustrating you at that time, especially in the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There were frustrations. I wasn't using my opportunities. I was maybe too defensive in some points. I mean, it's normal. It's nothing strange about me, you know. I like to show my emotions on the court. That's just who I am.

Q. Can you be better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think you can always be better. You can always improve. You can always work on some things, so yes.

Q. What stroke?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think I don't need to change in particularly the style of the game or just make some major changes in my game because I think this game is good enough, you know, to play well and to win tournaments on any surface. I just need to make some adjustments, maybe getting to the net more often, working on my serve to get more free points there.
It changes all the time. You cannot perform your best always. There are matches where you play just perfect and there are matches where you don't feel well. It changes day-to-day.

Q. You're setting records all the time. Greg mentioned in the beginning that you set another one today by becoming the first person in history to win five Masters Series tournaments. Does that mean something special to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, history making, of course it's special. Of course, it's an honor and privilege to be part of the history of the sport that I love and that I play.

Q. Two weeks ago you were talking about a certain fashion show. You like to joke around, do impressions. You were kind of quiet this tournament. Is there a specific reason?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's because you haven't seen me. As I go out from here, I'm not quiet, believe me (smiling).
But I could not come to the fashion show. I finished off my day late. But if I did, I would make it fun for sure. I'm sure the guys had lots of fun. They told me it was cool.
Yeah, I like to enjoy things. Why not? Something that keeps your mind a little bit off tennis, because tennis is the longest season in sport, very requiring sport. It's always mental each day. You have to be professional 100% on the court, work hours and hours, play matches. People don't even realize the free time that we don't have, things that we are sacrificing to be here.
Whenever I have the opportunity to experience something else, why not? I enjoy it.

Q. Your impersonations are YouTube legend. Does anyone dare poke fun at the world's No. 1 player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Tipsarevic did this year. There's a Monte-Carlo player show that goes on each year. It's about players taking a part in that, let's say, theater show, impersonating others, making fun of celebrities or tennis players, athletes, whatever. I've been taking part there already five, six years in a row. This year Janko did a great job of impersonating me actually. He did a great job. And he's planning to do it again next year, so...

Q. Earlier there was a question for the tournament director about young player development in Canada. What can you tell us about young player development in Serbia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think Serbia has lots of talent in tennis, in sport in general. Of course, by the success that they have, we can see that that's true.
We are trying, of course us tennis players as well, to contribute in some ways to the development of tennis players in our country, to try to create a system and use our knowledge and experience to help the young ones coming up.
I think it's much better than it used to be because tennis didn't have any tradition in our country. But now it's being probably No. 1 sport in our country. There is a lot of interest in kids, federations, clubs to create more champions. I'm sure we will have that.

Q. Does it bother you in any way that Federer or Nadal would probably for the average person still be the better-known tennis player than you?

Q. How come?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Why I should be bothered by that?

Q. Because you're No. 1.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So I'm enjoying my moment. I don't need to think about anybody else.

Q. What's your next big goal on the horizon that you want to achieve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, look, there is this motivation each day I play to win. I'm still 24. I still have lots of desire to win all the time tournaments that I play on practically. I play every match 100%. That's just the way I was learned to do and that's the way I always have played.
There are some goals. Of course, US Open, that's somewhere where I want to perform my best eventually, try to get another shot at a title. Then another Davis Cup would be great this year.

Q. The Monte-Carlo show. How accurate was Janko's impression of you and did he make you laugh?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He made me cry laughing. It was fantastic really. It was great. It's too bad that people around the world don't get to see that. We will work on that. We'll try to get it more public so you can actually see the funnier side of players.

Q. Novak, we all get nervous when we play tennis. You said you got tight. What kind of conversations do you have with yourself when you're getting a little bit nervous like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Step in, you fool, hit that shot!
Well, I'm trying to encourage myself, of course. There are times when I am negative to myself. But, look, you know, I think I did hold my composure in important moments today, and I played well when I needed to.

Q. Are you definitely going to play Cincinnati?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am going to play Cincinnati, of course, yes. Looking forward. I'm going to play some golf first, then some tennis.

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