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March 15, 2012

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/N. Almagro
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  When you play this well ‑ seems like this was your most complete match of the tournament ‑ do you say to yourself, If I play this well I'm not gonna lose; I'm just gonna beat any opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's definitely satisfying to play well, you know.  This is something that we all want to do, and we all practice very hard each day in order to play as best as we can, you know, in the official matches.
At this stage of the tournament it was important for me to stay mentally focused from the first to the last point.  I am aware of the quality of my opponents.  As the tournament goes on you're going to play more difficult opponents.
It's gonna get tough out there, and it's really important to hold your composure and try to play as best as you can.  I mean, today I served well.  I think I didn't lose many points on my service games in both sets, and that's something that I have been working on, you know.  I have been trying to get more free points on the first serves.
This obviously hasn't been my weapon in the past, so, you know, I tried to use my serve in the best possible way, and then it gives me more confidence for what's coming up after that.

Q.  With this run that you've had, there is this feeling that you've pretty much crushed everybody.  That's really not the case.  You have had unbelievably tough matches, and they've turned in those moments where you really have to be tough.  In the past that was a spot where you weren't considered the tough guy.  How did you teach yourself that toughness like today, for example?  You go 3‑1, you get broken, you come back, break, hold at love, and then the whole game changes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, you know, you have to try to hold your nerves at the important moments, especially if you're playing a top 10 player.  And if you're playing the world's top players, you know, you obviously feel a little bit more pressure than in opening rounds, which is normal.
But I have played so many matches on the tour and the big stage, major events, and I learned over the years what I need to do in order to play my best when it matters the most.
I guess I use that necessary experience, you know, to perform my best, to cope with pressure, and, you know, just understand, you know, what shots I need to play at a certain time, even though sometimes you don't need to go for winners.  Depending on your opponent, of course.
Today I had a very powerful ball striker on the opposite side of the net.  He's very solid from groundstrokes and has a powerful serve.  But I knew that he's inconsistent with that, so I just needed to hang in there, which I did.

Q.  Specifically if you'd go just a touch further, when you're in real trouble, which is relatively rare, but what is your monologue?  What are you saying inside yourself?  Is your mind racing?  Do you tell yourself, Calm down?  What tactics are there?  What's inside?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  A little bit of everything.  In those moments, it's really important to be as positive as you can and just be composed and be focused on the point that's coming up.
You know, if you start to think too much about what happened or what's gonna happen, then, you know, you're losing that focus.  Then it can affect your reactions, your game after that.
You know, I try to think and have the very simple mindset even on the court, you know.  Take one point at a time, one point at a time, you know.
That is the only way I can really deliver my best.

Q.  As well as you're playing and the fact that you've been doing it for quite some time now, do you still at times surprise yourself with a shot that you might play in a match and think, Where did that come from?
Well, I don't think there is any more surprises, to be honest.  I've played many years on the tour and I know that everything happens for a reason, so I believe that every shot that I play is a result of the work that I put into, you know, every day.
Of course there are some incredible points that I have played in games and matches in general in the last couple of years, but I still believe that work is behind it and that nothing is happening on an accident.

Q.  Away from the match, when you're on change of ends and suddenly you see on the screen an advertisement for Head and you on top of a biplane, is that amusing or distracting?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, today I thought, Well, just remember that moment and remember that it was a lot of fresh air up there, so try to breathe in, breathe out.  (Laughter.)
No, it was one of the craziest experiences I had, to be honest.  Head came up with this commercial.  I was wondering if they considered the insurance and everything that comes with the risk of that commercial.
But accepted it, and I think we made a good job.  We made people talk about it.

Q.  In general, and for yourself, how much of a factor do you think revenge can be in tennis?

Q.  Revenge as a motivating factor in tennis?  How much is it for yourself and for other people in general, do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't believe in revenge.  I believe revenge is a very negative sensation, very negative word.  So I don't like to revenge to anybody for anything.  I believe that, you know‑‑ I guess you just need to focus on every match.  That's it.  Have this positive mindset, not thinking about revenging, because that's kind of takes out the negative emotions, I believe, you know, in my case.

Q.  How much are you in touch with Jelena Gencic these days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Jelena Gencic?  I spoke to her a couple weeks ago when actually I was in Belgrade before going to Dubai.  We try to be touch all the time because we haven't seen each other for four or five years.
Yeah, she has had an incredible effect on my career, and she has learned me all the basics of the tennis.  I always go back to her and, you know, share the success that I had and remembering those moments in the childhood when we were starting to play tennis.
She was one of the very few people, including my family, that actually believed in me, that believed that I could be the best and I could be, you know, a Grand Slam winner.

Q.  Why is it so long that you hadn't seen her?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Um, it was‑‑ she was away for a little bit, and then I, you know, I started traveling, and then I‑‑ you know, we lost contact.
But then, you know, we came back.  What's important now is that we are in touch.

Q.  That sort of famous moment when you first showed up and it said you had a headband in the bag and everything ready to go, talk about that moment and also how she instilled belief into this little kid.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, you know, it's a nice story considering the fact that Serbia was not a tennis country.  We didn't have any tennis history.  We had Monica Seles that played for Yugoslavia before she came to the United States, and ?ivojinovic and couple more player, but, you know, Serbia was never specifically a tennis country.
It was more team sports, basketball, volleyball.  That's where we had lots of success.  So young kids coming up, you know, 90% were‑‑ you know, whoever wanted to become an athlete was looking up to these team sports.
Tennis was very expensive, especially at the time when we had wars and economical crisis and a lot of problems as a country.  So to be able to buy a racquet and pay a coach and all these things was really expensive for our standards.
But, you know, my parents made a sacrifice.  You know, I'm blessed and grateful, you know, to be out here and with their help.
I was fortunate, as well, to be meeting on the way, you know, of me growing up as a tennis player, developing as a tennis player, some people like Jelena Gencic, Niki Pilic, those people who have great knowledge about this sport and experience.
Jelena, she's 75 now, I think, and she's still playing seven hours a day each day; and Pilic as well.  He's that generation that's playing six hours a day.
So these people are more than just tennis coaches.  They breathe tennis, you know.  They lived every day‑‑ they have this positive fanaticism about the sport.  So that's where I have this discipline and professionalism.  It comes from that time.

Q.  Did you ever think at some point when you were a kid that team sports would fit your personality better, or was the individualism of tennis something that really attracted you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think the individualism of tennis and just being a very special sport, something that wasn't developed in our country, wasn't that popular and supported by the country.
So it's hard to say what I felt as a kid.  As a four year old I can't really remember.  I just remember I fell in love at the first sight.
Again, it was not by accident.  They were making three tennis courts in front of our restaurant.  It was probably for a reason.  It was kind of a destiny for me to be able to start and play tennis and get the racquet.
You know, in my family nobody played tennis.  They were all professional skiers or soccer players or something else, you know.
So that's how I started, you know.  Really, I'm spending a lot of time hitting balls and I was watching‑‑ whenever I wasn't on the court I was outside and watching somebody playing.  I was really obsessed with the sport, and I guess that desire is still present.

Q.  I understand from Tipsarevic that the Serbian men's tennis team is going to stay in a house near Wimbledon during the Olympics.  Couple quick questions:  One, is there anything you'll miss about being in the Village, and who is going to be the domacin, the host of that house?  Will there be any competition over the title of grill master?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, first of all, yes, it's true we're gonna stay in a house nearby, because it's more I think convenient for us to be closer to the Wimbledon tennis courts and be able to come on time for practices, for matches, and not to be worried about the traffic in London that can be horrible sometimes.
You know, we do feel a little sad and maybe regret that we're not staying in Olympic Village, because Viktor is the only one of us four that hasn't played Olympic Games.  You know, he would really love to stay in the Village, but he understands that it's maybe better for his performance to stay close by.
But we will go there.  We will definitely be out there.  You know, the 2008 Beijing Olympics were incredible experience for all of us.  We got to see the best athletes in the world, to have a meal with them, to have a chat, which is not something that happens every day.
Who is going to be the host?  Well, we are all men in the house, so I don't know.  We'll try to get a woman at least, you know, to take care of us.  (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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