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March 10, 2012

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/A. Golubev
6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You went through four years of being No. 3 and you changed a lot of things, the diet and the conditioning.  Was there some point along there in your training that you said, I can beat these guys?  These guys are not so good that I can't beat them?  Was there a moment or a flash or a match or training session where you said, I can do it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I cannot particularly pick one moment that, you know, changed things around.  But I think there was always belief in me that I could actually do it.  There were doubts, as well.  There is no question about it.
I went through the tough times where I didn't know really if I can make it, if I can, you know, overcome two biggest rivals and two most dominant players in the game in last seven, eight years.
But, you know, I always believed, and I think that prevailed.  That gave me that, you know, extra confidence that I needed in the important matches.  I think that was the reason why I had such a great year last year.

Q.  Was there any temptation to kinda just throw up your hands and say, Boy, being No. 3 is great; I can make great money; I can win a couple of Grand Slams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there was satisfaction for the results I had in those three, four years that I was No. 3 in the world.
But it just wasn't enough, you know.¬† I just‑‑ I always dreamed of being No. 1 of the world, winning majors, especially Wimbledon, so I always had high expectations for myself, my ambitions.
I knew that in the back of my mind I, you know, I wouldn't be satisfied with No. 3, you know.  I always wanted to be the best.
I think that desire helped me a lot.

Q.  There's 2.2 seconds now between your first and second hit.  Only 2.2.  As fast as you are, that puts you under pressure quite a bit.  Do you think the racquets, we have to stop making them faster, or do you think that the game can even use more speed?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Um, well, it's hard to say, you know, because the game has evolved like everything in life.  I think times are changing, and it's normal to expect that you have more advanced technology and more speed in the performance.
Nowadays, you know, racquets and strings are helping you so much.  You know, I mean, I'm young.  I cannot recall on the wooden racquets because I never played with them.
But it's definitely a big change, because, you know, looking at the tennis 15, 20 years ago and comparing to one today is quite a significant difference because back in the days it was much slower because the technology was different.
Yeah, you can rely on racquets much more nowadays.

Q.  But do you think if they make it faster you're going to be able to stand up to that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you have to.  (Smiling.)
You have to work on your speed, I guess, in the practices even more.

Q.  You talked about what was driving you when you were No. 3, but what, if anything, changed in your perspective towards the sport now that you are No. 1 and now that you've reached a lot of your goals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  From my perspective, nothing has changed, really, because did I not want to change my mindset and my approach to the preparations to the career, to tennis in general, because this is the way that has been working for me in last couple of years, especially in last year and a half.
I want to keep that simple mindset that, you know, always will to prepare well, will to improve, to get better, and that's something that is keeping me motivated and, you know, keeping me grounded for the future, you know.
I think that is the way to keep being successful, you know.¬† And I have the support of the people that are around me, traveling full time with me that are very simple minded as well.¬† And of course there are temptations, things that you can explore, that you can enjoy, experience, especially when you‑‑ you know, being at the top.
But it's very important to keep the simple mind.

Q.¬† When you look at the two goals for this season ‑ let's say Olympic gold and Roland Garros, two of the things that you haven't achieved yet ‑ how do you look at those?¬† How do you compare them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, they're probably right at the top of the priority list for 2012.  You know, Roland Garros is the Grand Slam I haven't won and I haven't played finals there.  I definitely want to try to get to the finals this year and get a shot at a title, of course.
It's never easy, but I think I have a reason to believe that I can do it, because I have had the great clay court season in 2011 and had some really good tournaments in Roland Garros.
And Olympics, you know, every four years we have them.  I had that privilege to represent my country in Beijing Olympics and won a medal there, so it's going to be another extraordinary experience for me and for all the athletes.
I think just the experience of being able to be a part of the Olympics and to participate in such a great event, historical event, is a success already.

Q.  I saw some pictures that show you had a great time playing soccer here, and also in Dubai you said you ski a lot in Serbia.  Roger will say, I will wait until I retire.  I don't want to have to get accident.  You just want to enjoy your time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I do.  You know, everybody is different.  Obviously I'm cautious, you know.  I'm not extreme in anything I do.
But still I do understand that, you know, I'm young and I should enjoy my life, you know.¬† I don't want to‑‑ I know that I must be very dedicated and committed to the sport, to everyday obligations that I have, to the scheduling that is very requiring.
You know, we have to travel 10 out of 12 months.  But, you know, there are things you can always do that can relax your mind a little bit.

Q.  You spoke about belief and doubts.  When did the doubts stop?  Was it after the first Australian Open possibly or was it after last year's Australian Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Hmm, maybe one of the turning points or springboards, if you want to call them, was US Open 2010.  It's when I had the great match with Roger, saved a couple of match points, and then played finals.
I could have had an early exit on thattournament.  I was losing to Troicki two sets to one and break. 
And then I managed to play a good tournament there, and it helped me to get that necessary confidence and try to continue on and have a shot for the top spot in major titles.
Obviously at Davis Cup, you know, Davis Cup win and trophy was a huge wind in the back that we all felt.  Not just myself, but all of us from the team.

Q.  Do you consider it an advantage to be serving first?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  To be serving first?

Q.  Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's funny, because at the beginning of my career I was always choosing to return, you know, whenever I get the coin toss.  I always like to return at the beginning of the sets, but in last couple of years I figured maybe it's a little bit more advantage if you get to serve.
So I guess that gives you a little bit of a mental advantage over your opponent, because, you know, if you're serving first then I guess it's to expect that you are leading in the set, which gives you maybe that edge, you know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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