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March 14, 2012

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/P. Andujar
6‑0, 6‑7, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How did you feel about the match today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think I played one of the better sets in last couple months in the first set.
You know, he surprised me with his aggressive approach.  He was taking the ball early and was playing well.
Second set, you know, I start playing a little bit more defensive, and I think that allowed him to come back to the match.  All the credit for him, you know, to play the way he played.
And then, you know, the third set I regrouped.  I think the second set I could have won, but, you know, I managed to stay calm mentally and just to find my rhythm again.

Q.  With that second set, did you feel you dropped down just a notch, or was it him more lifting?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it was a little bit of both.  You know, as I said, I allowed him to start kind of controlling the rallies; in the first set, you know, I was the one who was in the court.
This changed.  For some reason I didn't move as well as.  I was holding on my service games very closely, and he was winning comfortably.  So we got to the tiebreak, and I thought that there is my chance.  I didn't use it when it was presented.
But, look, you know, overall I think it was a good match.

Q.  Are you pretty friendly with him?  Do you know him pretty well? Because there was quite an embrace at the end.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I know him really well.  We go a long time.  I think we played actually only one match under‑16 in Belgium.  I had six match points, and I lost that match 7‑6 in the third set.  So we still do remember a little.
We joke around a bit at the times when we were growing up.  He is one year older than me, but we know each other very well.

Q.  When do you think you played your best tennis last year?  Was there ever a tournament like you were in the zone the whole time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Ah, pretty much all first half of the year.  I mean, I played great.
Australia was incredible tournament for me, and, you know, when you start year with a Grand Slam win, it gives you a lot of confidence.  I was playing on that confidence run, and I was trying to, you know, be 100% committed to every match that I play.
I think that mindset that I had on just taking one match at a time helped me to have the streak that I had.  But it wasn't easy, of course.  Everybody was talk talking about when the loss will come, and it had to come sometime.  I was aware of that.  But I was not trying to think about loss or trying to think about every win that I had.
So I think clay court season was pretty much fantastic for me until the semifinals of French Open.

Q.  Do you think you are at that same level at the moment?  Is it still too early in the year to determine if you are playing as well as you say that you did last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You know, I believe I'm playing better as the tournament goes on, and that is the goal, obviously, to perform as best as I can.
Of course my best changes day to day.  It's not easy to always perform 100% every match you play on, because it's a different opponent, it's different conditions that you‑‑ you know, and as the tournament goes on you, you know, there is more importance, there is more pressure of the matches.
But I believe I'm playing better, and in that first set and in the third set today I think I've played, you know, as well as I played in this stage last year.

Q.  Looking forward a little bit, when do you think you're going to make a decision about Davis Cup and Serbian Open, and does it make any difference to your thinking that the Czechs have decided to play Davis Cup on clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I've heard about that.  Well, it depends, because I'm not thinking as far‑‑ right now I'm entered in Serbia Open, so I'm intending of playing it.  But I still am not certain the way‑‑ how my tournaments are going to go now in the States and Monte‑Carlo.
Again, it depends, as well, for Miami what's gonna happen for Davis Cup.  I definitely always look forward to play for my country, but the schedule is getting more difficult nowadays.

Q.  What's so intriguing to play Berdych or Stepanek?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, they've been around for a while.  They are great players, all‑round players on different surfaces.  I think they know each other really well, so they make a great team for Davis Cup.
You know, we had that chance to experience how good of a team they are in Serbia 2010.  We won 3‑2 and we reached the first finals of Davis Cup.

Q.  Have you been in Prague?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've never been in Prague.  I've never been in Prague.  If I decide to go to the Davis Cup, I would definitely try to experience a little bit of the city.  I heard it's beautiful.

Q.  At the top of the game with you and Rafael and Roger, you seem to have Nadal's‑‑ you seem to be able to dominate him.  Nadal seems to be able to dominant Federer, and Federer and you seem to be the playing the closest matches.  Do you think right now that is the best matchup in the game, you and Federer?  How do you see it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, first of all, they have been the two most dominant players in the last eight years before Murray and myself got to that top four of the world.
They have achieved so much, and I have tremendous respect for both of them.  I think their rivalry is if not the best of all time.
But I have as well played many matches against Roger and Rafa.  They are both different players and they both present a big challenge for me every time I played them.
It's something that, you know, our matches in the past have made me a better player; made me to understand what I need to work on to win against them.  It's thrilling for us.  It's challenging, as I said.
I think it's interesting for the crowd, for the tournaments, to always see the top players playing against each other.  It's something that at the present moment gives men's tennis that extra positive vibe in sports.

Q.  Did you see any of Roger and Milos last night?  If you did, what do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I watched the match, and I thought Roger did really well to come back to that match.  And, you know, we all expected Milos to serve the way he serves.  He's always serving really strong and using that as a great weapon.
It was a close match.  Milos has a bright future in front of him.  He's a very nice man in the first place, and somebody that you could feel that is very committed to the game.  He's very professional.  He understands the match play, what he needs to do in important moments.
That's going to be crucial for him to overcome those challenges in the future.  But he has potential to be top 10.

Q.  What needs to happen in Miami for you to go to Prague?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I still don't know.  I mean, I can't‑‑ I don't want to make any assumptions or predictions what's gonna happen.  So I'll just see how it goes.  The time will show.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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