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August 30, 2011
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
N. DJOKOVIC/C. Niland
6-0, 5-1 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You're in here a little earlier than expected. It was kinda quick.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, I don't think I'm lacking any time on the court or matches. This year has been a very long year. So I really don't mind that I spend less time on the court.
I think I've played well for these 45, 50 minutes that we had on the court. It's unfortunate for my opponent, obviously. He had food poisoning he told me after the match.
But I felt great on the court, and that's something that's really important for the start of the tournament.
Q. How tired are you at this point in the season, playing so much?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm not really tired, you know, because I switched to the mode of Grand Slam focus, you know. Not really caring about what happens, it's just I'm trying to be in the present, trying to prepare well, and be 100% mentally and physically fit for the matches that are about to come here.
You know, today was great opening performance. I know it has been long year, but it's not the first time that -- you know, I've played many matches in the past, as well, but, you know, you've got to adjust to it.
I think, you know, right now with my time I'm doing a quite good job to stay fit.
Q. How would you describe how your shoulder felt in Cincinnati and how it felt today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the shoulder in Cincinnati didn't feel good obviously, and throughout the whole week I was carrying the, you know, kind of pain and discomfort in my shoulder.
But after Cincinnati I took some time off, and I did everything in order to recover the shoulder. Today I didn't feel any pain. I served well and I played well, so I have no concern.
Q. Have there been any times this year where you just didn't want to go out on the tennis court, didn't want to get up in the morning and just wanted to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is always those days, you know, where you don't want to get up and, you know, you don't feel like playing. It's normal, you know. Everybody has those days. Bad days in the office, if you want to call them.
But, you know, in the end it's yours job. It's your profession. You have to do it. You go on the court -- especially if you're playing big tournaments, big matches, you have to try to play your best. That's something that, you know, always keeps me motivated, the will to win.
Q. When you think back on your performance here last year in the finals, do you primarily feel pride of your achievement of getting that far, or is there any disappointment? How do you think back on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I actually have great memories from New York and from the US Open. Last four years, two semifinals, two finals. I played great, you know, throughout my whole career on these courts.
That, you know, gives me enough reason to believe I can play well. This year, I think this year more than ever, you know, I have a good chance. I'm playing the best tennis of my life and I have a great confidence.
Yeah, the conditions are suitable to my game. I love the entertainment. I love the crowd.
Q. Speaking of entertainment, for years you were trying to pass Roger and Rafa. In terms of entertainment, Rafa is almost like a rock star. He's so appealing. And Roger is beautiful and perfect and graceful. How do you think you're taken and received here in North America?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What about me?
Q. You're No. 1. Just don't hit me when we're doing an interview.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You spent all your words already on that. (Laughter.)
Q. What do you think your image is like here? How do you think it's changing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, it's equally important, of course, to play well on the court and to do your job to win, you know. As much as you're successful and as much as you win, you get more attention from the media and from the people, and you get more respect, obviously, from your colleagues.
But I think it's really important as well to carry yourself off the court in a good way. I have been learning that throughout my whole career, and last couple of years I have experienced some good and bad situations on and off the court.
But I accepted that all as a big lesson in my life and, you know, something that can serve me well for my future. You know, I'm aware of the responsibility that I have as a present No. 1 to, you know, represent the sport as well in some ways off the court.
So I need to do that in a best possible way. You know, I'm trying. You tell me, how am I doing?
Q. And the maturing process, how critical was that for you for your breakthrough this year? Do you put that as the No. 1 reason?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I think everything in general just came together. And as I said, you know, I think progress is a slow process. It takes a while to really understand the game, understand the life that I'm having, and you learn from your mistakes obviously.
You know, you try to get better as a person and as a player each day you wake up. I think maturing this year, you know, helped me a lot on and off the court.
Q. Do you think that we're past a time in tennis where we're gonna see 17, 18, 19 year old Grand Slam champions? Is it just not possible anymore?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's really hard to say, you know. It's hard to predict if that's possible, but maybe I'm wrong. In my opinion, it's much harder to have, you know, teenagers as, you know, Grand Slam champions or No. 1s nowadays because it takes time for a body to develop and to get stronger and to get experience. It's so competitive nowadays physically much more than it used to be.
Q. Last year Jack Sock hit with you during the rain and before the final, and now he's out here and he belongs to CAA like you do. What do you think of his future and what's to come for him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was saying last year that, you know, I'm really impressed by his game. His professionalism on the court, I think he has a bright future, you know, if he continues on being determined and focused on this sport.
I've practiced with him quite a lot last year, actually, and during the tournament -- he has won the US Open juniors, so I have to give credit for that. And, yeah, he's a really nice guy off the court, as well. I wish him the best.
Q. Roger last night said he felt the conditions were a bit slower. Did you feel that too, or do you think that's because he played at night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is difference I think in the night sessions and matches during the day. I think, you know, during the day the ball travels through the air faster than in the night. So maybe that's why it was a bit slower.
I don't know. I didn't spend that much time on the center court, but I still I don't feel any big difference from last year. I think it's more or less the same surface.
Q. To clarify a subject you touched on in the press conference yesterday, what importance has this egg, the hyperbaric chamber had in its therapy for you? How much have you used it in the last year? Is there any sort of controversial aspect to it in your mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, I said yesterday, and I'm gonna repeat it I think for the last time, you know, because I really wouldn't like to speak about it anymore because I don't -- there is no reason to open the subject.
I have used it a couple of times, very few times last year just to test it and see how it is, and since then I haven't used it at all, you know, this year. So I cannot really say what's the effect.
It doesn't have any influence on my success that I had in last 10 months, so that's really all I can say.
Q. Is there something controversial about it, for those of us that aren't that familiar with it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I really don't know. There is nothing controversial. As I was aware, you know, many athletes, successful athletes, have been using that in the past. But as I said, I haven't used it for 12 months so I really don't know. I didn't keep track with its technology.
Q. I don't know if you remember Gaston Gaudio the Argentinian player. He's confirmed today officially that he's a retired player. What do you remember about him? What do you remember about his game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he's a Grand Slam champion, you know. He won Roland Garros and he had -- I think the year when he won French Open and the year before, year after, he had couple of best years in his career. He was the player to beat on the clay courts, you know, next to Rafa, Coria. You know, those guys were ruling the clay court season.
Yeah, he's very talented. One of the nicest one-handed backhands. Very relaxed guy off the court. Very nice.
Q. It's very rare actually that we ever talk to someone who has their dream come. Wimbledon, obviously, you became No. 1. Is it something that actually since you were a little kid you were thinking about it? Did it change your life? Did it change how people are around you, or were you surprised nothing changed? Did you think something like that would really change things for you, or in the end it hasn't changed much?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I wasn't thinking about, you know, the period after achieving my dream and winning Wimbledon and becoming No. 1 what's gonna happen. You know, I really try to, you know, take things lightly and see how it would work for me.
But after that I have won Wimbledon I took some time off and I got to think about everything that I've been through. And to be honest with you, I even have more motivation to play and to win more Grand Slams -- now more than ever that I know that I can actually, you know, perform equally well on any surface, that I have equal chances on any Grand Slam that I play.
So this is something that gives me a lot of desire to come back to the game.
Q. Do you see and read things about people are saying if you win here you might complete the greatest season in the history of men's tennis? Does that sound real?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sounds big. (Laughter.)
No, this year has been tremendous, best so far in my career, and there has been a lot of talks about history making and this incredible run.
No doubt I'm extremely honored and privileged to be part of the elite of the players that have made, you know, the history of the sport in some ways.
But my main focus is really on the court. I need to take one match at a time. That's the only way I can really perform well.
Q. Next year the season will get two weeks shorter. Do you think that that would be a good length of the season for you, or would you still want the season to...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we were all really engaged in the schedule issue. I mean, top players and most of the players will have been, you know, kind of complaining about the length of the season. I think it's good. It's really good for all of us to have a bit shorter season.
You know, it's not an easy thing to do. It's not an easy process of changing the schedule because there is many things involved. It's not just ATP. It's ITF, it's Grand Slams.
So can't always look at it from the players' perspective. You have to look at it from the tournaments' perspectives as well, what's good and what's not.
So the intensity is gonna be I think the same, if not higher, next year because of the same commitment tournaments. But at least it's two weeks shorter and we're going to have a bit longer of off -- season.
Q. You'd be happy with that, or still need more time off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports