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April 18, 2012

Novak Djokovic


6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Probably as good a workout as you could have expected.  First set was probably closer than 6‑Love.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, we had a couple of long games.  I think 4‑Love first set.  Second set, beginning of the second set, a couple of long games.
But I think I served really well when I needed to.  That's encouraging for the clay because you get not to rely on your serves as much as maybe other surfaces, so it's good to have a couple of free points there.
I thought I was really focused first set.  I played really good first set.  I had a tough opponent, obviously, quality opponent that plays good on clay.
For the first official match since Roland Garros last year, it was satisfying.

Q.  How easy do you find the switch to clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It takes some time, you know.  It's good that we had an extra week comparing to the schedule from last years, you know, from Miami.  But it takes time.  It takes at least a week to adjust to the movement, to switch the style of the game.
You have to make a couple of adjustments, I believe.  You have to be a little bit more patient in your rallies.  But the way I played today, you know, I'm happy.  I cannot be happier for the first official match after, what, eight, nine months.  Looking forward to the next one.

Q.  What do you expect from Dolgopolov?  He tends to mix it up quite well.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think you expect the unexpected with him (smiling).
He's a very talented player, comes up with some shots that, you know, are not really typical for a tennis player, what you would expect.  He comes up with some dropshots.  He changes the pace very much.  That's why he's very dangerous on clay, which is a slower surface and it gives him more time to come up with his shots.
So I need to be aware.  I need to be disciplined tomorrow on the court.  I need to, you know, try not to be frustrated with the rhythm that he comes up with.

Q.  Is he, do you think, the most unorthodox player on the circuit right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I think.  Maybe next to Tomic.  Their encounter today was interesting, you know.

Q.  What especially?  Is there something that he does that is so unusual?  Is it the slice?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He has, I think, tremendous speed, racquet head speed, through his forehand.  He's very fast with his legs so he can equally play well in defense as well as he plays on offense.
Yeah, I mean, I don't think that he likes to get too much change of pace.  That's something I'll focus on and hope it works well.

Q.  If you dictate against someone like that, do you take away his threat?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't think that I need to technically change or tactically change my game by big margins playing against Dolgopolov.  I need to stay aggressive, a bit closer to the line, you know, adjust.  I will expect him to play a lot of dropshots, slice, you know, try to change the pace, come to the net.
He has a good serve as well for somebody his height because of the acceleration from the legs, the speed he has, the dynamics.  He is a very dynamic player.
For him it can go different ways.  He can play two, three games incredibly well, but then he makes a lot of unforced errors.  So I'm going to have to stay patient.

Q.  Do you think clay is his best surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  His?  As I said before, I would say yes, because it's slow and it gives him time.

Q.  We all talk about and like to write about the possibility you'll win the French Open, be the first man in 50 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles.  Do you ever think about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yeah, there's been a lot of speculations about that.  I can't say that it runs next to me unnoticed.  I definitely look it up as a challenge obviously, something that would mean a lot to me.  Roland Garros is one of my highest priorities for this year.
But I always like to take one tournament at a time.  It's very important for me to start well here, get some matches under my belt on clay courts.  Then there is Rome and Madrid, obviously, that are very important to defend the titles coming up to Roland Garros.
We'll see how it's going to turn out.

Q.  I believe you watched the Davis Cup here.  Can you talk a bit about John Isner's rise as a clay court player.  Have you been surprised how well he's done in Davis Cup?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, a little bit, yes.  For somebody his height, playing that well on clay, winning against Federer in Switzerland, here against Tsonga ‑ Simon quite comfortably, as well.  For somebody his height, it's a bit surprising the way he moves on clay.  To play best‑of‑five as well as he can, you just have to congratulate him on that.
But his top‑10 success this year, couple of wins, he won against me in the Indian Wells semifinals, had really good tournaments.  This is not too surprising for me because he has probably the biggest serve on the tour.  People I think underestimate his second serve, which is I think even more efficient than the first serve.
I think he adjusted a couple things in his game, maybe the movement, going for the shots more.  That's all he needs to do, you know, because serve is out there.  He can play equally well upon any surface with that serve.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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