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March 12, 2012

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/K. Anderson
6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You have seen this avalanche of players from what was once Yugoslavia.  There are so many names and you're at the top level.  Why is this happening now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's been happening for the last couple years, I guess.  Croatia always had a good tennis tradition, female and male players.  Serbia just had couple of players:  Monica Seles when she was playing for Yugoslavia and ?ivojinovic.  Not many players though.  We didn't have such a great history.
But, you know, four years ago that changed, and one generation came out of the blue, really, with the support of their family and the great desire to succeed in this sport, which is definitely different.  Very difficult to succeed in.
It's individual sport, so you have to put a lot of effort, a lot of dedication, commitment.  You cannot rely on the teammates by yourself.
So there is a lot of sacrifice, but I think very strong mentality from the players that come from this region helped it succeed.

Q.  Today's match, even though it was 2 and 3, would you say it was a lot closer than the scoreline indicated?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was, especially in the start.  We had a couple of long games, especially the one at 2‑All.  You know, I expected that, in a way, because I have played him.  Last two times I have played him a won straight sets, but, again, the opening set, especially opening five games, took half an hour or more.
So he's very aggressive on the return games.  He has a great serve, as you can imagine for his height.  So I had to return well, I had to just be patient, and wait for my chances.
I haven't served well in the opening set, but then it all came down to, you know, his service games.  I think I served well and put a lot of pressure on him and returned really, really good.
So I'm really happy with this win today, you know.  It wasn't easy to expect to win.

Q.  Do you think Kevin is far off from maybe knocking on the top 10 door?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, he has the game for it, definitely.  But, you know, it all depends from the consistency of the performance that he can deliver really, because nowadays every top player is playing every major event, every Grand Slam, every 1000 event.  So there's not much, you know, room for skipping any events, especially on the clay courts as well.
So, you know, you have to be consistently successful in order to be in the top.

Q.  You're obviously aware that there has been a bad virus going around here in the last few days.  I just got the sense you were maybe struggling a bit out there today.  Anything to do withyou feeling not 100%.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm happy to say nothing is going on yet.  I'm not gonna invite any bad luck with that.  (Smiling.)
I'm taking care of‑‑ yeah, I'm okay.  Taking care of it.

Q.  After that long game 2‑All in the first, did you feel he had spent a lot of mental energy on that and it was a good opportunity for you to make your run?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, usually after long games like that, if you manage to hold, the next game is the opportunity.  That's where I think I felt, you know, it's my time to step it up.
He missed couple of first serves, and then, you know, I think that long game, you know, has taken a lot of energy out of him.

Q.  You had some problems in Australia; you said it might have been because of the flowers, allergies or anything.  Did you ever sort that out or figure it out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I got it all sorted out.  I wasn't talking about it this year.  Might have been‑‑ was I?

Q.  I thought you did this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That's strange.  Thanks for reminding me.  (Laughter.)
Well, no, I mean, so far so good.  There's still a couple of places where‑‑ because it's normal you're changing time zones and countries and conditions in a weekly basis, so it's not easy to always be 100% healthy and fit, you know.
It's normal to expect that.  You're human.  Your body sometimes is losing energy and getting allergies.  But it's okay for now, I can say.

Q.  If you could go back in history, so to speak, and have a fantasy match with any player who you have never faced, who do you think you might pick?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Pete, for sure.

Q.  Such a great first and second serve and forehand, how do you think...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I would love to return that serve.

Q.  How would you do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, he has been my idol, and I had that privilege to meet him couple of times and discuss tennis, as you can expect.  He gave me some really great advices, you know, from his own experience when he became No. 1 and what it took him to stay there for a long time.
We have kind of a similar careers, you know, rankings‑wise, and so it was a very valuable experience for me to sit down and chat with him.  Unfortunately never had an opportunity to hit with him and to play an official match.
But, look, you know, I would love to.  At least an exhibition match would be a satisfaction.

Q.  He's known for his professionalism, his focus.  What was his prime message?  What was the takeaway you had from the conversations with Pete?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, just keeping things very simple and being committed.  You know, staying who you are and what you have done so far, not changing really much, you know.
I mean, everybody is different.  Everybody has a different way of committing and being professional on the tour, so you have to adjust the things that are suitable to you, to your personality, and that's more or less what he was telling me.

Q.  What about Andre?  You have a great return just like Andre.  How did you see him when you were growing up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, Andre has a different personality.  I think they both made a revolution in the sport in a way, you know.  Pete with his, what, six years being No. 1 of the world, most Grand Slams just before Roger.  You know, it was incredible what he has done, you know, so much success, incredible talent, great serve, mental strength.
And then you have Andre that gave this I think dose of fun and enjoyment and entertainment to the sport in the way he was dressing and playing, behaving on the court, you know.  It was just so interesting to watch Andre play.
So I think they both made a difference in the sport.

Q.  When you describe Andre, a lot of people say those things about you, as well.  Do you feel like you relate to his game and personality?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In a way, yes.  In a way, yes.
I had an opportunity to play with him.  I played an exhibition event just before Wimbledon I think couple years back.  Just that year he retired I think was his last Wimbledon.  We played an exhibition event, and we were joking around about our stretching because I was lifting my leg all over the place.  He said, I never got a stretching or massage.
But it's just incredible, you know.  He's a legend of the sport, and was great to be around him.

Q.  You have a big birthday coming up this spring.  Have you given any thought to what you'd like for your 25th?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  French Open title (smiling.)  Just coming around there, at that time.

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