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March 15, 2013

Novak Djokovic


6‑3, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  There was more people today than the other night, eh?

Q.  Perfect performance for you, but at the same time maybe Jo not up to what you expected?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I try to pay attention on my game.  I really didn't care about how my opponent felt.  I just tried to focus on the job I need to do, and my performance was really good.
I served really well and used the shots around the court well, and that's what matters for me.

Q.  You have been here in America, I don't know, 10 days or so, and you come here all the time.  What do you like best about American culture, American life?  Just reflect on that.  Do you think your country could learn anything from what we do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there is always something that you can experience new, you know, in every country.  I'm sure that Serbia can learn from America and America can learn from Serbia also, a lot.
Every culture is different, things that it can offer.¬† You just have to be open‑minded to accept the differences, I guess.
As an athlete coming to America, one thing that I really respect a lot is the appreciation for athletes here in United States.¬† Wherever I play tennis, I see that, you know, people really have a big passion for this sport and sport in general.¬† You can see many different sport channels, and on the biggest sport network, ESPN, they are broadcasting‑‑ I thought I saw a baseball match of kids 12 and under, 14 and under live on the biggest network.
I think that says enough about how much people really like sport.  You know, that's a very healthy way of life.  I'm really glad for that.
So as a professional athlete, it's always a pleasure being here.

Q.  You just said you felt you played well today.  If you have to break it down, what pleased you the most and were there any aspects of today's match that you might change?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, things went well from the start.  You know, it was quite different conditions from that previous match when I played at night and was much slower.  Today was a hotter day obviously, and the ball's going through the air much faster.  That required a big focus and adjustment steps before every point and every shot.
I thought I did well.  I was in the balance.  I returned well when I needed to.  He made a lot of unforced errors, which obviously helped me to get in front.
When it was important, I didn't allow him to come back to the match.  I didn't allow him to have an opportunity to believe that he can maybe have a break back and get back into the match.
So that was very important for me to stay mentally, you know, committed throughout the whole match.

Q.  As you say, he made a lot of unforced errors.  In some ways, would you prefer to have more of a workout heading into the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I had plenty of tennis last two, three months.  I'm fine.

Q.  Historically some players have had trouble sort of being No. 1, back to Wilander and even Pete for a while and some of the women.  Could you talk about just being No. 1, what's great about it?  Is there anything that's not so great?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think the position itself carries a lot of advantages and some disadvantages, you know.  On the negative side you lose that, let's say free time and privacy because it's a very global sport, so tennis players are also very recognized athletes around the world.
On that perspective it's very positive because, you know, you can see how many people around the world appreciate what you do.¬† Obviously being No. 1 of the world is a pinnacle of this sport ‑ of any sport ‑ and I'm sure that there is so many hundreds of thousands of tennis players around the world who want to be where I am in this moment.
So I am aware of that fact, and that keeps me very grounded and makes me appreciate every single moment spent on No. 1 of the world.

Q.  Maybe a little word on Rafa who is playing on hard court for the first time in almost a year and already in the semis and having not played in seven months.  Are you impressed or did you sort of expect it considering who he is?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, sort of expected, yeah, considering the career and the success throughout his career that he had on all the surfaces.
It wasn't a big surprise, but, you know, there was always something ‑ let's say a wonder ‑ if he's going to feel physically fit or not to play four tournaments in five weeks, you know.¬† That's very demanding for somebody that's been off for seven months.
But obviously he's building the confidence.  He feels good, and he's very motivated, I'm sure, to perform his best.  So he's been playing great tennis.

Q.  Obviously you don't know who you're going to play.  As we need something to preview the next round, can you preview both potential opponents?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Murray?  Last match in Australia, finals, went the distance, almost four hours.  We played many thrilling matches in last two, three years.  We are building the rivalry, and hopefully it's going to develop as our careers go on.  He's been playing really, really well, especially in 2012, which was his best year, no question about it.
The other hand, Del Potro is a powerful hitter from back of the court, big serve.  He moves really well for his height.  US Open champion, so he knows how to play on the big stage.
Whoever I play against is going to be a big challenge.

Q.  Obviously you faced Jo Willy's serve today which is pretty tough.  If you have to say three or four toughest strokes that you face out there on the circuit, what are the really toughest strokes that you have to handle?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, Nadal's forehand would be probably right up there; Isner's serve.
Yeah.  I hope you're happy with these two answers.  (Smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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