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April 20, 2012

Novak Djokovic


6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Was it easier to play today than yesterday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Sincerely, yes.  Yesterday I received the news at wrong time.  Well, I think anytime is the wrong time to receive that news.
Today was a bit better, but still a lot of emotional ups and downs throughout the match.
But look, you know, I'm playing tennis.  I'm very satisfied that I was able to, you know, compose myself and get on the court and try to win matches.
I got to the semifinals, which is big result for me under the circumstances.

Q.  Did you consider pulling out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I did.  Yeah, I did.  But I'm a professional in one hand, and life goes on.  I know that I cannot change anything now.  Obviously it's what life gives you and takes you.  It's a normal circle of life.
I was very close to him, so it was a big loss for me and all the family.
But he's with me, I know that, in spirit.  I'm remembering only the nicest memories, and that's what gave me strength to play yesterday and today.  So, yeah.

Q.  Can sometimes actually playing be a bit of a therapy almost?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In some ways, yes.  Over the years, I've learned whenever I play tennis to kind of switch off from everything else.  You get that mindset and that ability to switch off when you dedicate a lot of time to this sport.
So it could have been the case that, you know, in some ways I was getting my thoughts off that.  But still it's present.  Obviously it's not that easy.

Q.  Were you thinking to possibly to go to the funeral and then come back or it's out of the possibility?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, it's not possible.  It's a very sensitive thing to talk about really.  Every religion has a different way of proceeding, the funerals, life itself.
I like to believe that when a person goes away from this world, the spirit stays and just moves to another living being, and we should celebrate the life that that person left behind.
So I tried to focus on that.  Obviously it's not an easy task to talk about because you keep on thinking about a person not being present.  But, look, you know, I have the nicest memories only.  I would like it to stay that way.

Q.  How much stronger do you feel after that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I will see.  I don't know.  It's still very fresh to make that judgment.

Q.  Grand Slams aside, to win a tournament like this in these circumstances, would it rank extremely highly, given the highly charged emotion of the whole week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, you know, I don't believe that I'm the first person in the world that experiences this.  I know that many people understand what the feeling is right now.
As I said, I'm proud of how my family's handling everything.  I'm happy that my two brothers are here with me, at least, my girlfriend and my team.  The rest of the family is back in Serbia.  We are all trying to go through this together, and that's the most important thing.

Q.  When are you planning to go back to Belgrade for the first time, do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Probably next week, yeah, when I'm finished with this.

Q.  Coming back to business.  Berdych is next.  What do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Yes, Tomas has been playing well.¬† Look, you know, he's an established top‑10 player for the last couple of years.¬† He's a threat to anybody on any surface.¬† Big groundstrokes, powerful serve.¬† He knows what it feels like to play on the big stage.¬† He had a great match against Andy today.¬† Hit incredible shots from baseline.
You know, it's a big challenge for me to see if I'm able to keep the focus throughout the whole match because this is the only way I can actually get a win against Tomas.  We'll see if that's going to happen.  I'll give my best.

Q.  In a couple weeks you will be in Madrid playing on blue clay.  Do you like this change or would you have preferred to stay on red clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  This is the first time I answer about blue clay publicly (smiling).
Well, you know, sometimes change is good.  I like innovative and creative people.  Sometimes to be able to have that ability, to be brave enough to have some change, is worth appreciation in some ways.  But, on the other hand, it's going to be the only blue clay court tournament in the world, first time ever in history.  To be honest with you, as far as I know, most of the top players I talked to, nobody agreed on that.
I never played on blue clay.  Rafa didn't.  Roger didn't.  We're going on there and we're going to play for the first time ever.  We don't even know if it's a natural blue clay because natural clay is a red clay.  So we will find out really.
I'm not really too happy about it, you know what I mean?  It's going to be interesting to step on the blue clay obviously.  All the credit to the tournament.  I'm not blaming them.  They fight for their own.
But definitely there is a certain rule within ATP that the president is able to make decision by himself without having players agree to that.  That rule has to be changed because it's not fair.  That's what happened last year.  That is why Madrid has a blue clay.
You know, we'll see.  I don't know what to expect, to be honest.

Q.  Did the tournament ask for your advice?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  They asked for my opinion.  I said, Until I play on it, I cannot give you an opinion.  We didn't have time.  Obviously last year they had one indoor court, blue clay.  A couple players played.  They told me that it wasn't good, that the bounce wasn't the same.  Maybe because it was of the conditions, played indoors.  So, okay, maybe they didn't have an opportunity to make a blue clay court outdoors.  Maybe it would make a change.
Still, I mean, for sure I know the top players didn't try it:  Roger, Rafa, myself, Murray.  If you don't have the top players agreeing on that, it doesn't make sense for me really.
I understand that we all want to see a certain change and improvement in our tennis world.  But on the other hand you need to hear out what the players say, especially the top ones, because we need to feel that our opinion matters.  That was not the case this time.

Q.  Were you in favor when Tiriac brought up the beautiful girls?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Much more in favor, and still in favor (smiling).

Q.  Could you tell me how you manage stress on the court.  Do you have any rituals for the difficult moments when the tension goes up, strategies to face these moments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, you know, I think every player has a different way of focusing in the right moments.¬† There are players with superstitions that could be seen on the court.¬† I don't have that many, you know.¬† Maybe the ball bouncing was something of a habit that I had.¬† But I don't have any more long ball bouncing ‑ at least I hope.¬† I don't count.¬† I guess it doesn't go over 10 anymore that many times.

Q.  Occasionally.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Occasionally, yes, okay (smiling).
But everything that is in the head, I think it should stay obviously private for every player, you know, what goes on in the head.  Everybody perceives things in a different way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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