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January 22, 2013

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/T. Berdych
6‑1, 4‑6, 6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Tomas just said he thinks your the fittest player on the tour at the moment.  Do you feel like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's flattering to hear that, definitely from Tomas.
Well, you know, I consider myself fit.  I have a great team of people around me that are doing the best they can in their expertise to make me feel ready for physically, mentally, emotionally, every match, every challenge.
Obviously, it's not easy to always be at your 100% fitness.¬† But after a five‑hour match two days ago against Stan, I was quite convinced I could recover for this one.
The team did a great job.

Q.  Gilles Simon played four hours and could barely move against Andy.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It all depends, of course, from the player and their respected routines that they do after the matches.  We have certain kind of things that we do.  It has been working in the past.  It worked well this time also.

Q.  What is that routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I can't say that.  Sorry.  Have to keep it private.

Q.  Do you know what other people do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  I know some.  But most of the top players are keeping it private, and I think that's the way it should be.

Q.  Do you feel you do more recovery than other players do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† As I said, I mean, I don't know what they do so I can't really compare myself to them.¬† I just try to respect the same kind of program of preparations and post‑match recoveries that has been respected from our team in last few years and has been working well for us.

Q.  You can't go into specifics, but has there been a bit of trial and error in how you have come up with the routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Even though it's individual sport, the importance of a team effort is essential in this case.¬† Definitely in the situations where you play a Grand Slam where you have to be ready for five‑hour matches, and then of course if you go through those matches you have to be ready to recover in just a day and a half time.
As I said, it worked before.  We use that necessary experience to implement in this particular situation, and it worked again.

Q.  In the early part of your career you had a reputation for pulling out of matches because of injury.  In retrospect, were we unfair to you or was there a point where you felt you had to be fitter?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  At the start of my career I went through a lot of different kinds of challenges physically, mentally.  Everybody makes mistakes.  I was aware of the fact that I need to improve because I wasn't feeling well, especially in the heat.  I had lots of health issues.
Maybe that's one of the reasons why I'm being so cautious and so committed when recovery is in matter because I've had those experiences, bad experiences, before in my career and I know what it feels like.
I don't want to go through it again.  I am aware of the importance of an everyday practice and recovery basis.  So as long as it's like that I think I'll be all right.

Q.  As a sportsfan, could you understand how it could be surprising for people to see?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You can go through different kinds of discussions about these things.  I mean, the people who don't know tennis, who have never been in those kinds of situations would not truly understand what the player has to go through, not just when you prepare for a Grand Slam, but also during a Grand Slam.  After five hours of match, you need to really put a lot of time into recovery, different kind of recoveries.
As I said, I understand that many people have many different views and opinions, and I respect that.  But I'm doing everything that is legal, that is correct, that is natural that I can, possibly can in my power, and it's working well.

Q.  If you had not gone gluten free do you think you'd be able to do what you're doing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in the past few years people have been mentioning the gluten free diet as a secret of my fitness and the success that I've had.  It's just a part of it.  I have so many different things that came together I believe for me and I understood what I need to do, together with my team, from being professional on the court, off the court, maturing, mentally, emotionally, having the right diet.  So many things.  It's just a part of the puzzle.

Q.  What can you do to keep David from keeping you out on the court for four or five hours?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I need to be aggressive on the court, that's for sure.  I need to step in and try to be in control of the match, otherwise he makes his own rhythm, he makes his own pace on the court.  That's where he's very dangerous.  He's a great competitor.  He's somebody that has a lot of respect from all the players because he's playing so many tournaments and works very, very hard.
You can see because he's basically in his 30s one of the fittest players around and is playing the best tennis of his life in the last 15 months.  It's the semis of a Grand Slam, so I expect a tough match.

Q.  Did you see the match today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've seen a little bit of that match.  Two compatriots playing against each other.  Almagro was very close to win, but didn't close it out.  Credit to David for hanging in there.

Q.  What gives you more pure pleasure, a clean winner or making an impossible get on defense and getting the ball back in play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Clean winner, making the work as quick as possible (smiling).

Q.  You hear this question every slam.  It's going to be you and Ferrer, who is the No.5 player.  Roger and Murray are still in there.  Are you surprised that some of the other guys outside of that group can't break through at the majors?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I guess the expectations are always higher for the top players to reach the final stages of a Grand Slam.  You rank the top players as favorites and main contenders to win the title, but you can never rule out the second group of top 10 players, from five to 10.  Del Potro, Tsonga, Berdych, Ferrer, those are the guys that can surprise, that have proven on several occasions they can win against top players.
We are all trying to focus on our own matches and go through it.  It's the way it is.  There has been a certain domination in the last few years from the top four.  As I said, we can never underestimate the quality of the rest of players so it can happen anytime.

Q.  To someone who is 25, does 30 or 31 seem very old?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no.  Well, I mean, if you see the players like Ferrer, Federer, they're in their 30s and they're playing unbelievable tennis.
As I said before, I believe the players became much more professional than when I started playing professionally six, seven years ago.  I see the players around the tour.  They're very committed to practice, to recoveries, to what they eat, what they drink.  It makes men's tennis and sport improve and evolve.

Q.  You started very quickly tonight.  Would you have had any concerns at all if you would have had to go four or five hours tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I felt good enough to go another five hours.  But I definitely wasn't thinking about it.  I tried to get the work done as fast and efficient as possible.  I was very happy with the way I started the match.  Very aggressive out there, going for my shots, which wasn't the case against Wawrinka.  So it's a good improvement and very encouraging for next match.

Q.  On the other side of the draw, Andy has been scheduled in the day, which means if he wins, his first night match would be the semi.  Do you think that would be any disadvantage?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't think so because Andy has a lot of experience playing day, night, playing on this level.
Again, he has to win his quarterfinals tomorrow.

Q.  Is it difficult playing in the twilight when you're losing the daylight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, there is a certain change.  You have to adjust to it.  Playing in the day, playing at night, those conditions are different.  The ball travels through the air faster under the sun.  The more heat there is, the faster the ball goes through the court.
I've played many night matches in this tournament.  So I kind of got used to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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