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October 9, 2012

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How much attention do you pay to the rankings and how much are you thinking about world No.1?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, No.1 of the world is a goal for me till the end of the year, definitely an objective, something I try to achieve.¬† But it's not daily on my mind.¬† You know, I obviously try to focus on my day‑to‑day commitments that I have on the tournaments and every match that I play on.
This was my mindset always and was working well so far.  So the win in Beijing will obviously give me confidence that I can use this week.

Q.  The fans here in China and in Shanghai are trying to get to see you everywhere, on the court, off the court, in the hotel.  Can you say something to the fans?  Do you think they're crazy or enthusiastic or something?  And all the big three are here.  Who is the most popular player?  Who gets the biggest support?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  About popularity, you will have to get an answer with somebody else (smiling).  I don't know who is.  But there is definitely an indication that tennis is very popular here.  We got to experience that in Beijing.  We get to experience that in Shanghai every year.
Many of the fans are waiting for the players in front of the hotel with their flags, with the new presents that they're giving us, and obviously unconditional support.
So from the players' perspective, I don't think they're crazy.  I think they're fantastic.  They're very loyal.  They I think appreciate players maybe more than anywhere in the world.  So it's incredible how much dedication they put into their everyday support of certain players.
For us it's a pleasure to be here and perform in front of those people.

Q.  The Australian Open announced last week that they are going to increase prize money by 17%, though they haven't said how that will be distributed.  Do you think the players will be satisfied with that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, as I said a week ago when the prize money increase in Australian Open was announced, it's a very positive step forward for players in the negotiations with Grand Slams.  So it's just one of the many steps that we have to take.
That's all I can say.  I don't like to go into the numbers too much because obviously with each Grand Slam individually we are discussing and trying to find a mutual understanding and compromised solution that everybody can be happy.

Q.  Is there better communication now, do you think, between the players and each Grand Slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, the players have met with the Grand Slams in Indian Wells this year.  Obviously it's very difficult to always try to have players in those meetings.  Most of the meetings that are going on are between Grand Slams and the ATP officials, the representatives of the players.
We try always to have some top players on those meetings so we can add the importance to those discussions.

Q.  Are you a fan of the coed joint events, like last week in Beijing?  Do you feel there are too many of them?  If you can explain why you're a fan or not a fan.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm going to have to be neutral at that because I didn't really still form a clear opinion about these combined events.
In one way it's good for the tournament and I think for the city that is organizing a combined event because you get to have male and female top players playing in your stadium and it gets more attention.  On the other hand, it can be counterproductive for both the ATP and the WTA depending on the schedules and things like that.
Grand Slams have been working that way for dozens of years, and it's been working well.  So I have nothing against it.

Q.  In Beijing you showed us you can speak Chinese very well.  You may need some new tricks for Shanghai.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I have to update myself on that.

Q.  My question is if you had an opportunity to learn another Chinese sentence, what it will be to say to the fans?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it would be something for the fans definitely, something that contains support that they have been giving me here.
Most of these things I've been learning and trying to understand because of them, because they've been so nice to me, so I try to return it as much as I can.

Q.  You were just talking about meetings with the powers that be.  A lot of the Grand Slam people were over here the last few days.  Did you have a chance to speak to them during that time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, because I just got here yesterday from Beijing, so I didn't have time to meet with them.
But I think Roger was in the meetings, the players who were here.  I think that was enough.  We have enough feedback, enough information now.  We're moving on.  It's going to take some time.

Q.  I'm a student journalist.  I'm so nervous.  This is my first time to ask you a question.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Take your time.

Q.  My question is, we noticed in Beijing, China Open, you signed your Chinese name in front of the camera.  Do you know your Chinese name, Djokovic, is made up of five Chinese characters.  My question is, have you considered to finish and complete your full Chinese name in Shanghai?

Q.  And then when you finish, in that time it also means you win the trophy in Shanghai, five games.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as I said before, I'm trying to improve my knowledge about Chinese language, pronunciation, and also about writing and drawing the signs.  I just got one under my belt.  I'm not so sure that I even got that one right.  So I have to work a little bit more.  I guess if you said it's five, it takes a long time.
I actually tried to write my full name in Chinese, and it took me about five minutes.  I think people don't have that much time for me to sign them (laughter).

Q.  You just came off a practice session with Andy Murray.

Q.  Is it fair to say among the three other members of the big four you have the closest relationship with Andy than the other two?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, I know Andy I think the most from all these guys because we grew up together playing junior tournaments.  We know each other since we were 11 years old.
It's great also that we both kind of ascended to the ATP top of the men's game in the last couple of years.  More or less, we have the same careers.  He's one week older than me, similar games.
It's nice.  We've been friends ever since.  We have a very fair relationship.  We practice whenever we can.

Q.  After you won your first Grand Slam, it took you a little while to win another one.  Andy Murray is a little bit older now.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Much older (smiling).

Q.  Can you see him winning many more Grand Slams now and do you think he will maintain the level that he's reached this year in the next two, three years to come?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't think it's good to predict anything because, you know, tennis is such a unique sport, individual sport.  A lot of factors are involved.
Obviously mentally it's a matter of staying strong, staying healthy physically, trying to perform your best on a regular basis.
He won his first Grand Slam.  He could have won it already a couple years ago.  He's a quality player.  He's one of the best players in the world in the last five years, there's no question about it.  He's been improving, you know, ever since he got to professional tennis.  He definitely is a contender to win all the Grand Slams, there's no question about it.
Now, as I said, you know, there's a lot of things that can affect that opportunity of winning a Grand Slam:  obviously trying to perform your best always, stay mentally composed.

Q.  I heard you have some business in Serbia, like a tennis club, coffee bar.  Is that true?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not exactly.

Q.  Do you think you are good at business?  Will you be a businessman maybe in the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, right now I think I'm better at tennis, so I try to keep on playing tennis, then obviously business is something that follows up.  You have to have your education in that in order to be successful.
But luckily for me I have a group of people that are qualified to do the business side of my career, and everything is working well so far.

Q.  Could you share more details about the coffee bar.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's not a coffee bar.  It's more like an international restaurant.  Tennis academy also.  We had it for the last I think four years, five years.  We bought the license of organizing a 250 event four years ago.  We had it ever since.  We organized four successful 250 tennis events in our venue, in our club.
I try always to dedicate myself as much as I can to the development of new up‑and‑coming tennis players, especially the ones who are coming into our academy and practicing there.¬† It's nice because you can also form your own tennis school and tennis academy and allow new tennis players to have all the possible conditions to become professional tennis players.

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