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August 8, 2012

Novak Djokovic


6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It looked like a lot of fun out there today.  Was it good getting back to I guess an early round match with maybe a little less pressure on you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, for the first match it was a decent performance.  Obviously at the start we played very long opening four games, and I was struggling to find the rhythm, obviously, as most of the players who came in late from London do and did.  You had some surprising losses today.  Del Potro and Tsonga out.
So it's really difficult.  We're not even two days here, couple of practices, and it's totally different conditions, time zone, ball bounce, everything.
But I love playing on hard court.  It's my favorite surface.  Obviously when I needed to play well and be patient, I've done that really well today.  Serve was working really good, so that's a positive.

Q.  The big theme this week seems to be the physical health and fatigue.  How are you feeling after that match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm feeling good.  I'm physically fit.  It's just a matter of time that it takes to adjust and get used to the conditions.  That's why, you know, especially in the opening rounds I'm trying to be out there every point and really commit to the whole match.

Q.  Do you think that Bernie is a little bit too much in awe of you when he plays you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Too much in?

Q.  In awe.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't know.  That's a question for him.  I mean, we know each other really well.  We do speak the same language in a way as well because comes from that region.  He's Australian, but he comes from ex‑Yugoslavia.
We do get to practice a lot together.  We know each other's game.  He's very talented and has a lot of variety in his game and a lot of shots that are unorthodox in a way, so that gives him the possibility to play well on different surfaces.
But, you know, he played well in the opening five, six games, but then he dropped the level a little bit.  I used my opportunity, you know.  So it's really hard to say if he played bad or good.  I was just trying to focus on my game.

Q.  Because of the friendship that you'll have had for a few years now and the amount that he talks about you, have you ever sat down with him and given him any sort of advice or tips or suggestions?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yes.  We've spoken many times.  Obviously I was at his position once and I'm aware what he's going through.  He needs to obviously keep on working and stay dedicated to the sport.
As I said, he has a lot of potential.  He played quarters of Wimbledon, he was around 30 in the world, so he definitely has the shots, has the game for it.  He's a very strong, very tall tennis player.  He can use the angles from the serve very well.
Again, it's very competitive sport nowadays.  It's not only about playing well and being physically fit, it's about trusting in your skills and believing in your abilities to be out there and be one of the best.

Q.  Given the swing at the top ‑ and it's very competitive, obviously.  You were so dominant last year and Roger has found his way back to the top; Rafa had his run.  When the shifts occur, what, in your opinion, is the most dominant aspect of it?  Is it physical?  Is it psychological?  Is it tactical in terms of determining how those shifts occur?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it's a little bit of everything involved.  I think those two guys, Federer, Nadal, and, you know, Murray, myself, and couple of other players improved the sport in a way.  We make each other better players, and we need to work harder because we know that the competition is getting bigger and more intensive.
So, you know, maybe only 15 years ago you had the top players missing a lot of big tournaments, majors.  They were not going to Australia and so forth, so forth.
Now, I mean, you have all the top players playing all the tournaments and then reaching the final stages of those events, which tells you enough about the competition in the sport.
But it's good.  I think we are setting standards for a lot of new generations, and it's really good to be part of that era.

Q.  When you're playing out there, are you playing point to point, game to game, or are you thinking of the larger match and maybe tiring this guy out and breaking his will?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I try to take one point at a time and really focus on the present moment.  Obviously you do get to think about the bigger picture and what is the right tactics in order to beat your opponent.

Q.  Your old coach, Jelena Gencic, after Wimbledon or the Olympics came out and said she felt like there were some personal problems that were affecting you.  Could you speak about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  I prefer not speaking about my personal problems.  Everybody has one, so it's normal.  You're going through ups and downs and through difficult stages in your life and something that is a challenge in life, and you need to overcome it and try to become even stronger after that.

Q.  Del Potro and Tsonga lost today, and Andy looked pretty tired.  You seemed fresh.  I don't know if you are.  Are you surprised how well you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I had the shortest flight.  (Smiling.)
Well, look, you know, I've tried my best after ending Olympic Games in those two, three days as much as I could to get ready for hard courts.  Had a couple practices yesterday, one today this morning, and try to play as much as I can, but, again, on the other side, not force too much.
You know, turned out to be good for now.

Q.  Conditions looked very slippery at times last week.  How much better do you feel about your footing being back on hard courts, and what effect does that have on the rest of your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, footwork is essential in this sport, so obviously timing of the ball depends from the footwork as well and the way you adjust to the surface.  Naturally it takes a couple days at least for you to really get into the right form.
So unfortunately this time we don't have those couple days more than we would like, but it's not the first time.  We were aware of that fact, and we played for last month, month and a half on grass courts all the time.
So it's quite different, indeed.  But it's the way it is.  Hopefully I can find my right form tomorrow.

Q.  You and Andy have known each other a very long time, so how impressed were you with the way he played at the Olympics and winning the gold medal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I knew always that he's a great quality player, so he deserved it.  I mean, he came up with the best game when he needed to.  He had couple of close matches, but obviously felt that that is his moment and used it.
He deserves to be one of the best players in the world.  I mean, his results are showing that.

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