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April 2, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the press conference for the Serbian team. We'll open the floor for questions for the captain and the team.
Q. Novak, you're obviously very familiar with both John and Sam. What are you going to have to do this weekend?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's not about my matches against them, but the whole tie, because it's a team competition. Team effort is a priority here. Even if I win my both matches, it's not going to be enough to win the tie. So we need to win the 3 points.
That's what we came here for. We are very glad to be in quarterfinals again. Of course, USA is the most successful nation in this competition. They have a lot of good players. As you mentioned, Sam and John are the leaders of this team. And, of course, Bryan brothers which are the all‑time best doubles pair.
They are very strong. They have chosen these conditions because they believe it's going to go in their favor. They have a strong serve. With this altitude, it helps the serve more.
But we played in these conditions before. I played Sam and John, you know, in previous years few times. I know their styles of the game. This competition is very unique because you get to rely on the home support. So it's going to be quite different. Obviously we going to have an extra motivation to play and win for our country.
Q. Nenad, you've run across the Bryan brothers throughout your career. Can you talk about what makes them difficult to face and what the challenges are in trying to beat them.
NENAD ZIMONJIC: I mean, they've been playing since they were born together, so that makes it the most difficult part, I would say. I have played them many times with a different partners. It's going to be a very difficult match because it's a best‑of‑five set match.
They're definitely favorites here in this tie. But we're going into the match believing we gonna win. I think we also have a good team, no matter who I'm going to play with. We haven't decided yet. Probably will do after the first day.
But definitely it's going to be a tough match because they don't make too many mistakes, they cover the court really well, they help each other when they're serving, and that's what makes it tough.
Q. Viktor, you're in a position to play all three matches, which is different than anybody else this week. What are the challenges for you in getting yourself ready for that?
VIKTOR TROICKI: Yeah, we still haven't decided who's going to play. Personally I feel ready and fresh, yeah, fit to play all three days if I have to. I've been in that situation.
Yeah, I think it won't be easy, I know, but I'll give my best if I have to go on the court all three days. Yeah, we'll have to see day to day how the matches go. We'll see the result after the first day and then we'll decide, as Nenad said, who will play doubles.
Q. Viktor, the three years since Serbia played the U.S. in Davis Cup, can you talk about how your team has progressed.
VIKTOR TROICKI: Well, yeah, we won it three years ago. Obviously the biggest success for our country as a team, and personally my best experience on the court winning that Davis Cup title. Yeah, it just felt great. Gave us all a lot of confidence on the court.
It's just a great feeling. We have a lot of fun when we're together as a team. We really enjoy the time being on the squad, on the team. Yeah, unlucky for us Janko is not here. He's been with us for a lot of years. Unfortunately he was not ready for this tie. But hopefully if we win this tie, he'll be in the semifinals with us.
Yeah, as we said, we all love playing for our country and we try to give our best. That's why we do so well.
Q. How much does experience in the Davis Cup help?
CAPTAIN OBRADOVIC: You should ask players, of course. I'm not playing the ATP, so...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we all know that this competition is the only official team competition we have in sports. The experience playing together as one team for many years obviously helps approaching the ties like this one that require a lot of team energy and team effort in order to overcome an opponent as strong as the USA.
As I said before, USA has the most trophies for the Davis Cup competition, has a long tennis tradition and history. Serbia just recently, maybe in the last five to ten years, started making a name for themselves in tennis, both individual and team competition.
So we won this competition in 2010. We know how it feels like. As Viktor says, it's one of the best experiences we had as tennis players on the court. We will try to revive those memories that we had during that Davis Cup final against France at home.
We wish that we played at home because the home advantage is definitely something that helps in this competition. But it is the way it is. We won when we were guests and hopefully we can prevail this time again.
Q. Novak, four times a year you play over in the U.S. Talk about what this does for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's been a long road in USA for me and for all of us players. We played in Indian Wells, Miami, and now this is probably the fifth or sixth week consecutive spending time in the USA.
It's fine. You know, we came here to play for our country, which is quite different from what we do throughout the year. We play individually, you know, for us. Now it's all about Serbia, it's all about bringing the win to Serbia, hopefully getting a step closer to another trophy that we are all aiming for.
Q. Novak, do you have friends or acquaintances in Idaho?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.
Q. Did I not read that you knew folks in Sun Valley?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sun Valley, yes. Boise, no. They'll be coming probably. They're American, so I don't know who they'll support, but...
Q. Novak, as you mentioned, Davis Cup is a little bit newer for Serbia. What role has Davis Cup played in your career and how is it perceived in Serbia?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, tennis over the years has become one of the most popular sports in our country. The fact that it's individual made it even more special for our people because Serbia is a nation of team sports.
Having an individual sport being one of the most popular is something that is very thrilling for us tennis players to see. The Davis Cup title came in the right time, in 2010, when there was a big expansion of tennis throughout Serbia. There were 20,000 people celebrating that win with us.
I mean, Viktor said, it's the best experience he's felt. I won Wimbledon in my career, I managed to come to No.1 in the world. But sharing such a big trophy with your teammates and your country, playing and winning for your country, I think is not comparable to anything that you can experience.
Q. Are any of you feeling the effects of the elevation?
NENAD ZIMONJIC: The conditions are normal for like this type of court, the altitude. The ball flies a little more, it's more difficult to control. But more hours we spend on the court, the better we are getting with the control.
It's going to be the same for the American team, as well. So they have to deal with the same problems adjusting. But that's what we've been doing, like, over the years, changing the conditions every week.
As a professional, this is plenty of time to get used to it.
Q. What do you think of the court and the setup, how close the fans are, that aspect of the event?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the arena itself is beautiful. It's big, 12,000 capacity. We have great facilities, great locker room. We are staying in the women's basketball locker room, which is very thrilling for us. We get to experience that.
We have great conditions for practice, for preparations. That's the most important thing for us, obviously. The altitude that we spoke about just recently is an obstacle for everybody. But as Nenad said, we have more than enough time to get used to it.
Q. (Question regarding Novak's success back home.)
VIKTOR TROICKI: It's very big. You cannot even imagine how big it is. Definitely the biggest sports person, biggest athlete in our country's history. We had really, really big names, but he has been the most successful one. It's true.
All the people in Serbia, also abroad that are Serbians, feel it. He did a lot in the sport, he did a lot for the country outside the sport. He's a true figure and really great guy. I know him since we were young.
Yeah, he's just a great person, great personality. He might be the future president of Serbia (laughter). I hope he puts it to like some good position.
No, but he's a great guy and he has done a lot for our country. Yeah, tennis has become really the biggest sport in our country since he has done so much and has been No.1 in the world.
NENAD ZIMONJIC: He's like Elvis Presley.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: And Michael Jordan together.
Q. (No microphone.)
VIKTOR TROICKI: Gluten. You should try it (laughter).
I don't know. I think I never heard of gluten before like three years ago. I never heard of it. I still don't know what it is, but I guess it helps him.
I'm allergic to non‑gluten, so...(laughter)
Q. (Question regarding Serbian Americans following the tie.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In certain parts of America there's a big community of Serbians, like Chicago, for example. I think there's a community of 300,000, 400,000 Serbians. It's not so far away. Hopefully they can manage and come and support us obviously in their time allows.
We hope for that support because, as I said, in this competition it can be decisive, it can be crucial. You can't compare it to any other individual tournament really because you have the national captain sitting on your bench. Behind the court you have 10, 15 people from your team, your colleagues, supporting you every single point standing up. It really kind of awakens that patriotic energy inside of you that maybe you don't get to experience as often on the tour.
That's why you get even extra motivated to perform your best and to bring a point to your country.
Q. Do you feel this year you can go all the way again this year?
NENAD ZIMONJIC: That's the reason why we're here. We believe we have a really strong team to play any team out there. It doesn't matter if it's home or away tie.
Unfortunately Janko is not here. With him we have more options and we are stronger. But I believe with this team that we have here, I think we can still find a way to win. With Novak being No.1 player, the experience that we have, the energy, I think we strongly believe we can achieve that again.
That would be amazing thing for all of us. To use this time that Serbia has as many successful tennis players, I don't know how long we'll have to wait to have this kind of generation again. Maybe never. But I hope somebody will come who will manage to make better results than all of us made.
We all love to play for our country. Everybody was very supportive. Like you've experienced, and like Novak said here, it's a team competition. One tie, one of us is going to make a difference. The other tie, somebody else. Viktor made a big impact, I would say, in that Davis Cup tie against the U.S. the first day when he beat John Isner. That helped a lot for our team.
This is a competition where everything is possible. So you just have to give your best. We all have support from the team. That's what counts.
Q. (No microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depends from what I think perspective you're looking at it. I mean, the experience that I maybe have playing in the big matches on the big stage can eventually help in certain moments. But I would agree with the comment about that rankings don't matter in this competition because it's just very unique.
As Nenad said, anybody can make a difference. So it's why every single match is important. Not only your participation as a player on the court, but your participation with support for the players, your contribution to the success in this tie.
Q. Novak, what is life like as No.1? How hard is it to stay there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's great. I always dreamed of being No.1 of the world. I always wanted for myself to be in this position. I'm trying to embrace every moment of the time spent in this position.
It is challenging, obviously, because all the players in the world want to be in that position. They want to be the best in what we do, which I understand. But I'm trying to keep the positive mindset, and that is to enjoy every moment of it and try to take it really step by step, tournament by tournament, and not really think in advance or not be concerned about somebody potentially taking away the No.1 ranking.
I know that eventually it's going to happen. I don't know when. But I will try to stay there as long as I can.
Q. When was the turning point for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it was the mental thing in the end, understanding of life around tennis, making few adjustments, but mostly self‑belief and confidence in the right moments against the top players in the major tournaments.
I was very consistent with my results. I was four years No.3 of the world after 2011, still very successful. But I wasn't managing to make that extra step when I played Federer, Nadal, these two guys. They were very dominant and I wasn't managing to break that dominance because I didn't believe enough mentally that I can do that, that I can overcome that.
I think that was the biggest change. But it was a process of learning and it came right at the right time.
Q. (No microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That was one of the big parts of the confidence that helped me to make the unbeaten run of over 40 matches. There was a strong wind in the back. It was a huge confidence boost. There's nothing like it.
Q. (No microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, because I don't travel alone. I look at it in that way. I try not to go deep down in philosophy. I really try to keep things very simple in my approach towards this sport really because I have a great team of people around me, always four, five people full‑time traveling. They make sure they put on their expertise and their knowledge so they can make sure I feel good on the court and do my job and win and try to enjoy also, embrace the life that I have.
Who knows what can happen tomorrow. So I try to live in the moment and, as I said, not go too deep in the philosophy of whether it feels lonely or not.
Q. (No microphone.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I don't think so. We didn't agree exactly what we want to do, but there's always something that is right there on agenda to do. I think our national captain could suggest maybe.
CAPTAIN OBRADOVIC: We going to record some musical spots, video.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Harlem Shake. We'll think about it.
Q. (No microphone.)
NENAD ZIMONJIC: As long as I enjoy it and as long as I have the spot in the team. As long as I can help the team, I will be here. If my body allows it, if I'm on the top of my game, if the team captain and whole team thinks I can help them, I'll be here.
But like you said, it's been a long journey for me. I'm happy and fortunate to play for many years and to experience being from the really bottom, because we had to start all over, to play with three different generations in the team to get to this point where we played in front of our home crowd, 20,000 people, your family and friends, everybody watching. That was amazing.
Q. (No microphone.)
NENAD ZIMONJIC: I think it's just being professional, loving what I do, trying to become as best as I can every day, taking care of my body and working every day. That's what I think it is.
Q. (No microphone.)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: For me it's very important to be part of this team. I'm very thankful for being here and thanks for captain who call me to be part of this team.
For me it's all about learning. Maybe one day I'm going to come and play, so I'm enjoying here and I hope I'm going to keep being in Davis Cup.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yeah, it's great to be with the team here. These guys are amazing on the court, outside of the court. So I'm really happy that I'm here. I'll try to do my best on the court, outside, to try to support my team as best I can. Hopefully we win this tie, so...
Q. (No microphone.)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: No, they are very nice people on and off the court. We are enjoying, like I said. It's really good.
Actually I played World Cup team in Europe. I lost two matches. Didn't go well. But hopefully one day I'll play in main Davis Cup, so I'm going to give my best. We'll see how it goes.
Q. Novak, you have some fun out there, like to entertain a little bit. How do you balance the seriousness that's required and having fun?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I really look forward to the Davis Cup ties in weeks throughout the years. As you can see, we have a great atmosphere in the team, friendships that helps us to be better, to enjoy, equally focused and support each other to win the matches and the tie.
But again, enjoy off the court. We have a lot of fun things that we are doing that we cannot discuss right now because we are going to watch the Champions League football (laughter).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports