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March 26, 2012

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/V. Troicki
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Do you feel your form is getting better with matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I feel I started off the tournament well against Baghdatis, who is always a tricky opponent on any surface.
Played a good match, but it was under different conditions, obviously, and I needed some time to get used to the heat today and, you know, the different conditions.  Obviously the ball travels through the air faster when there is sun.
Generally I feel that I have been playing well in these two matches.  I did have some ups and downs, especially in today's match, but I'm confident that I can, you know, raise the level of performance in every match.

Q.  About the net incident, do you remember anything like this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He was too strong (smiling).
I never had this situation.  I don't think even Viktor had it.  So we joked around a little on the net.
And, yeah, I mean, that's what happens, I guess.  I don't know if anybody had these experiences before.

Q.  I have quite a general question.  A few years ago, like before you started playing, the big cliché was clay is a slow surface and the other surfaces are fast.  It doesn't seem this way anymore.  It seems like sometimes clay can be faster than hard.  Can you assess how you look at the situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That's true.

Q.  Even the grass.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it really depends where you are.
Again, it depends from the altitude the city is in or dry air, humidity, hot weather, cold weather.  It all affects the speed of the ball.  Again, there are different balls used in Grand Slams, used in ATP events, depending on which ball sponsor is sponsoring the tournament.
So it does all affect, really.  I mean, people don't even realize.  If you're not aware of how the tennis world works, you know, you're not aware of these small details that can actually change the performance of the player.

Q.  Speaking about the fact that you were just talking about, how much you had changed tactically between different surfaces?  If I think about last year, you pretty much won Wimbledon and the Masters Series on clay with the same.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I do have a certain style that I have been playing with throughout all my career.  I do make a certain adjustments for particular surfaces.  For example in Wimbledon, where because of the grass, which is the fastest surface in sports, the ball bounces quite low.  Especially in the opening week, you know, you have to be more aggressive, focus on the serve and return.
And clay courts you have to be physically very fit.  You have to pay attention to your endurance, because points get very long and you have lots of rallies so you have to be ready for, you know, long matches.
You know, so it all really depends where you are.

Q.  I haven't seen you since Australia, but I notice that you've gone to your hometown.  I think you had a couple weeks' holiday.  The time you spend there, is that kind of like a real treasured holiday for you?  Because I'm presuming you don't go there very often.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yeah, I don't go there very often.¬† I spend most of my time when I'm off the tournaments in Monte‑Carlo.¬† That's where I live.
Serbia, you know, is my country and Belgrade is my city, but I don't get to spend much time there because I don't have a lot of privacy.  I prefer having a peaceful place where, you know, I can focus on my preparations.
But, you know, time to time I go there and visit my family.  Obviously I have all the family living there.  After Australia I used my time off and went skiing in the mountain where I started playing tennis, so it was a very special, you know, couple of days for me.
I haven't been on that mountain for the last six years.

Q.  I was wondering if you liked the 60 Minutes special that aired last night?  I was going to ask you to elaborate on something that you and a lot of players from Serbia have talked about, and that is how growing up in that country during those hard times has made you hungrier for success.  Can you like elaborate on that?  Why do you think that is?  How does that manifest itself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I loved the piece on CBS last night on 60 Minutes.  We were looking forward to it.  We were excited to watch it, even though I don't like watching myself.  My girlfriend, my team was really excited.
It was really nice, because in a way I feel a need to represent my country and to allow people to see in public my story and how, not just me, but all the athletes, the tennis players, how we grew up, especially the generation that had to go through wars and difficult times where, you know, you didn't have much conditions, support, didn't have a professional facilities that could accommodate you and allow you to develop yourself into a professional tennis player.
Most of us were spending quite a few years out of our country for those practices and trainings.  But we were always coming back and reflecting on that mentality.  I believe that that's actually something that made us, you know, stronger and gave us the opportunity to be where we are.
Because not many countries in the world have been through what we did, what we have been through.  We know how it feels to, you know, lose the close ones, lose your own people in the war, touch the bottomness as a country in every aspect of the life, and then, you know, stand up and be stronger, you know, be reborn out of it.
You know, it's just the situation that nobody likes to remember, but it's part of our lives.  We are just proud to, you know, reflect on that wherever we go and say, Okay, you know, that's something that we been through.

Q.  What would you say the spin potential is of the Penn balls at this tournament compared to other balls like Wilson or Dunlop balls?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, that's something we have been discussing a lot, you know, between the players.  We believe that it would be better for us, for our health actually, to have same balls played, you know, prior to each Grand Slam.
But it's very difficult obviously because, you know, most of the tournaments nowadays are controlled by different associations, federations, and it's kind of difficult to find common sense.  You know, because we are using the Penn balls, ATP balls in most of the ATP tournaments we're playing.  In Grand Slams we're using different ones.
It takes time for us to adjust to it.

Q.  This visit back to your place of birth, do you still know people there?  Have relatives there?  Did you actually sort of walk past those courts where you learned to play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yes, I had, because ‑‑ it was nice to have this flashback of childhood and memories from growing up and spending a lot of hours on those courts as a kid and dreaming about becoming the world's best player.
It all started from there.  It was too much snow, though, to see the courts that were covered in snow.
Yeah, it was great.  I met a lot of people that I grew up with, and they're still there.  They're still in a great bond with that mountain.  You know, so it was really nice.

Q.  Juan Martin Del Potro he's coming back to the top 10.  You faced him last year.  Do you see him as a potential top 5 this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Um, he's always a threat to any player on any surface because he has a great talent.  He's a US Open winner from 2009.  He's somebody that has been already in the top 5.  He has a great serve, very powerful groundstrokes, and he's got a quality definitely to be a top 5 player.
Now, it's easier said than done, really.  You know, you have to be consistently successful in all surfaces, because now the intensity is very high.  You know, players are playing so well on all the surfaces, so he's gonna have to stay healthy and play well on clay, on grass, everywhere, in order to be top 5.

Q.  You're playing Gasquet next.  Can you talk about things in his game that you feel make you confident going into the game?  They always ask you about the player's strengths.  What are the weaknesses you spot, and how comfortable do you feel going into the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Gasquet has one of the nicest one‑handed backhands in the game.
I think he still hasn't used his full potential, you know.¬† Everybody was talking about his talent when he was 16, 17.¬† He made a great breakthrough and he won against Federer, I think, in Monte‑Carlo.
So he's at the very early stage of his career already a top 50 player, and he's got a lot of experience and a lot of variety in his game.  You know, very nice serve; he can play equally well defensively and offensively.
You know, it's gonna be a very tricky opponent, obviously.  I just need to go out on the court and be aggressive, because that's where I feel most comfortable.

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