home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 17, 2013

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/M. Youzhny
4‑6, 6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  First question, please.

Q.  How is the ankle?  Felt okay out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it felt okay.  I had a part of the match where I twisted it again, unfortunately.  But, you know, protection, the tape, was good.  So I managed to overcome that pain and go through the match.
So I'm very happy to win.  I'm just happy to compete, to be honest.  I didn't know if I'm going to be playing the tournament up to yesterday basically.
I know that my game is still not there, obviously, and I have a lot of ups and downs through the match.  Physically also I think I've put double the effort than I do usually because, you know, I still don't feel comfortable.
I haven't practiced much.  An hour maximum a day.  Obviously it's taking its toll on my game.  But, you know, as I said, happy to win and see what tomorrow can bring.

Q.  The fact that it's a different surface, the movement is so different, the lack of court time you had coming in, almost bigger than the sore ankle?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, I knew there is going to be some kind of sacrifice that will be made, and that is obviously lack of practice on this surface that can affect you in a negative way when you're playing a competitive match, as I could feel today.
But, again, I wanted to compete.  I got the positive signal from all the doctors, from all my team.  I think that my ankle is in a good state as the days are passing by.  Obviously I will have to play every day a match.  Today was a big test, over two hours.  I had a great quality opponent.
As I said, you know, my movements on the clay are still not at the maximum and not where I want them to be.  But as the days go by, I think I'm going to slowly get into it and hopefully I can elevate the level of performance in the next match.

Q.  In the third set it seemed that you had the match pretty much in control.  It slipped away a little bit after you got the warning.  What happened at that time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah.  Well, at certain parts of the match, I think especially in the second set, beginning of the third, I played really well, felt great.  You know, he I think also stepped into the court, so credit to him for getting back into the match.  Me, I pulled back a little bit.  Then we were quite level.
Time violation, you know, the rule is there.  I have no arguments against time violation.  The only thing is, I spoke to the chair umpire after the match, ATP supervisors, and the only argument that I have is I think it's fair to players as the chair umpires were doing it in past years to have a pre‑warning.  It's not in the rule books, but at least if I go over the limit once, twice, I think it's fair on a changeover, you say to the player, Okay, you're a little bit slow, hurry up or you're going to get a time violation.  In that case I have nothing to say.
But sometimes the players don't have a sense of the time they spend on the court.  You're thinking of rallies, the next point, so you go over the limit.  It's a slower surface, so it requires a little bit more time.
I think that if chair umpires are a little bit more fair towards the players in terms of having a pre‑warning, having a little chat before they really give an actual warning, I have nothing to say then.

Q.  Can you describe how you decided to play yesterday and how to deal with the frustration of not playing at your best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Obviously, it's frustrating when you're not playing the way you want to play.  As I said, I had this half hour period in the match where I played really good.  That's a positive sign.  I have to keep on encouraging myself, being positive with the team, trying to take it slow and see, as I said, what tomorrow brings.  I hope I will be playing better.
As I said, you know, it's expected in a way because I didn't play points.  Basically on my practice, I was just trying to move.  So I played a few points here and there in the last practice, I saw that I could compete.  Today was a big test.  My ankle survived.  I'm in the next round.  That's what matters.
For me it's important not to have a bigger risk of injuring myself.  I enjoy this tournament very much.  As I said before, if it was not Monaco, I would consider not playing.  But I'm trying to play my best on the court and I'm really happy to see the full stands also for the match.

Q.  What was it like for your ankle yesterday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  On Monday and Tuesday I was really kind of pushing myself on the practice, trying to see how far I can go.  I didn't feel any pain in those practices, so that was a green light for me and my team.

Q.  Going back to the 25‑second rule.  Are you clear when it starts?  If you're drawn up to the umpire's chair for a dropshot, then when does it start?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  As much as I know, it starts as soon as the point is over.  They count basically until the moment you toss a ball.
You know, it's a rule that we have to respect.  As I said, I mean, I have nothing against the rule.  Sometimes it's difficult because it doesn't depend only from you.  You're asking for a towel.  Maybe a ball kid is a little bit slower, then you lose five, ten seconds there.  It can be negatively affecting on your own time.
On the other hand, as I said, if I go over few times, maybe one, two times you can tolerate.  But after time violation, it's all okay.  As long as I have a sense that I'm too slow.  That's I think the chair umpire's role to be fair to the players.

Q.  If you have to play Ernests Gulbis, what kind of challenge do you expect?  He has won a lot of matches lately.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He's a very unpredictable player.  I think we all know that.  He's flashy, can play incredibly well.  He also can play bad because his game is aggressive, he's going for all his shots.  He has a big serve.
As you said, he has won many matches, is on the run.  I think that helps his confidence.
Now, I'll see.  I'll see what the next challenge presents to me.  I'll try to get prepared for that match as best as I can.
Obviously I know when I'm at my best I have a good chance to win.  So I'll try to pay attention on preparing physically and mentally to perform as best I can.

Q.  You say you twisted it again.

Q.  At which point in the match was that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Breakpoint second set, when I broke him.  I was returning.

Q.  Was it stressful?  Was it painful?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, for the next 15 minutes, then it kind of faded away because I had a good protection.

Q.  On the time rule, do you think there should be a shot clock?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  If that's one of the options.  You know, I don't think it's really necessary.  I think what's necessary is that we consider all different sides of that rule that was implemented this year on the tour.
I understand that they want to be more strict on the rule.  That's why they came up with that.  I respect that.  No problem.  I'm probably one of the few players that they are looking carefully and see how much time I spend on the court.  I know that I maybe take more time than some other players.
But as much as you know it's fair and you have this pre‑warning, I have no problem with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297