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January 21, 2012

Novak Djokovic


6‑0, 6‑1, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It's looked pretty clinical out there.  How has it felt?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it felt great.  Obviously I feel for my opponent, who evidently could not move on the court.  He could not get over, you know, into the rally two, three strokes.
You know, I think most of the people expected him to just retire the match and walk out of the court.  But he managed to stay.  So all the credit for him and happy birthday.

Q.  Could you feel your level at all as a result or not really?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, considering the fact that I lost two games the whole match, I think I've played really, really well.  You know, I'm not taking his situation right now in matter.  But looking just of my game was really well, really fantastic from serve, the return, all the shots, going to the net.
I'm happy with the way my first week went here in Australia, and hopefully I can continue the same way in the second one.

Q.  Can you recall at a Grand Slam where you've started in such form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, obviously the goal for every player who's taking part in this Grand Slam is to do as best as he can and to start off the 2012 season in the best possible way.
I think to all of us, especially the top players, it's important to go far here in Melbourne and feel that, you know, we have enough confidence that we are in the right shape and just start off this season the way we want to.
I always played well in Australia.  This is the only Grand Slam I won twice.  As I said before, the reason that I skipped the opening week of the season was because I wanted to get ready for Melbourne.
The conditions are great.  They're very suitable to my style of the game, day and night.  I'm really looking forward to next week.

Q.  Now that you're through, will you watch tonight?  If so, what will you take out of it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I will try to watch the match.  It's going to be quite interesting because Lleyton has been playing some really good tennis ‑ I think the best that we have seen him play in last two years.
On the other hand you have Raonic, who is one of the up‑and‑coming players, very young but strong, powerful hitter from the baseline, great serve.
I think a lot depends from his serve, the way he's going to serve.
Look, you know, Lleyton is playing probably his favorite court in front of his home crowd.  It's not going to be easy for both.  I hope they go distance (laughter).

Q.  Would you rather play Lleyton and the crowd or the young Canadian?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Doesn't matter really.  Just try to focus on my game.

Q.  Of all the surfaces you play on around the world, do you consider this the best suited for your game in terms of speed, how the ball bounces, how you feel moving on it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Probably, yes.

Q.  Given the conditions we could face in the second week with the weather here, how important is it to be fresh both mentally and physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it's really important.  You know, the positive out of this first week is obviously my performance that has been great, you know.  I don't think that I need to work particularly in some shots of the game.  Maybe just serve and maybe a little fitness today, just get ready for the second week.
You know, I didn't spend that much time on the court.  I don't think I'm lacking any match play.  I don't think I'm lacking any practice.  I've had lots of practice in the last five, six weeks.
Right now I just want to take one match at a time, focus on the next one, and use this, well, physical let's say freshness that I have in this moment.

Q.  Some people might think that after what you achieved last year, coming into a new year it might be perhaps a burden, something heavy on your shoulders.  You seem to be in sort of a chirpy mood, relaxed.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think that helps me to stay committed and stay focused.  But it's not just one‑man effort.  The team of people that is around me is helping me to perform my best on the court and to keep the very simple style of the life, you know, concentration that I had for every preparation for every season so far in last five years.
It hasn't changed, even this year.  Even though I do have, you know, a particular situation, let's say, which is different from last couple of years where I didn't have to defend every single point in first six months in every single tournament.
But, look, you know, it is the way it is.  I don't want to spend my time and energy thinking about dropping points, you know.  I'm really thinking only about improving my game, improving myself, staying really focused.
The bottom line is that, you know, I'm 24.  I feel that I'm playing the best tennis of my life.  I'm at the peak.  So I should use every moment and enjoy my tennis.

Q.  A lot of women, female tennis players, get to pose in their swimsuits for the Sports Illustrated magazine.  Do you think that men should have the same opportunity?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Okay.  I will choose my next words very carefully (laughter).
Well, I don't know.  I guess, yes.  We should all have equal rights.  But I am not thinking about that too much.  I guess, you know, women are more attractive than we are.  They have a lot more to show, I guess.

Q.  So you wouldn't say no if it was tastefully done?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm not getting naked for anybody, except my girlfriend (smiling).

Q.  When you were 17 you were playing in Italy with Piatti.  Then you were a big supporter of AC Milan.  Now you have a media manager who is Italian and you are sponsored by Sergio Tacchini.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Which is Italian.

Q.  I would like to know if there is a reason for all that.  You trying to put up the image of Italian tennis, which is a disaster?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Oh, don't be hard (smiling).

Q.  How do you explain it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's simple:  I like Italia.  I like their mentality.  I think I always got along really well with the people from Italy.  I know Eduardo for many years.  Well, he's not working anymore for Sergio Tacchini, but he used to work.  That's kind of the connection.  I just feel comfortable.  I spend a lot of time in Italy.
I really feel that Rome, for example, is one of the tournaments where I have probably the most support after my country.  You know, I feel that I am very welcomed there and the people appreciate what I do.  So it's really comfortable.

Q.  What is the biggest advantage and the biggest danger of having an easy week like you did in the first week of a major?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I don't think there is any disadvantages considering the fact that I've played so many official matches.  In some ways maybe some would think the match play is going to affect maybe my next match, that I'm going to play somebody who is, you know, more difficult opponent, I guess, higher ranked.
But I don't think so because I've had enough matches, especially in 2011.  I've had a lot of practice.  I think I'm physically fit.  So, as I said before, I think the advantage of it is that I didn't spend that much energy, you know, so I'm getting fresh into the second week.

Q.  The year just started.  But from what you have seen till now, do you think by the end of this year we will talk more about the Fab Five, including Del Potro, instead of the Fab Four?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Can be possible.  Anything is possible, especially if we are talking about a player who has won a Grand Slam before.  You know, Del Potro has always lots of respect from all of us, is one of the best players in the world, even now that he's not top 5 or top 10.  I think game‑wise he deserves to be there.
I think there is not just him, but there is a lot of other players who are still contesters for top 5, like Tsonga, Berdych.  I think they're all performing very well here in Melbourne.  Tennis has improved a lot.
I think in general men's tennis is experiencing some really good times.

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