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April 20, 2013

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/F. Fognini
6‑2, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You already won the title of the shortest match in this tournament.  The question is, do you like it, because it was not really a test for a tough match which you will have tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I had many tests already during this week, a lot of tennis.  I don't mind having a short match.  I actually am happy about it because I can be physically very fit for tomorrow.

Q.  We asked Rafa if he was looking forward to playing you.  He said, No, I'd rather play somebody easier.  What is your feeling on the other half of that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, whenever you play Rafa, you know what to expect.  You expect the toughest challenge possible on clay.
I'm ready for that.  You know, I was focusing only on the next challenge, on the next day.  I'm very happy that physically, mentally, emotionally I have been improving as the tournament was going.  Each day I feel better on the court, more confident.
Of course, I will have to be on top of my game.  I will have to be focused and motivated from the start to the end in order to have any chance of winning against Nadal.
I know.  I played him so many times on I clay.  I know what I need to do.  Of course, it's easier said than done.  But we can expect a good match.

Q.  15th match in a final against him, which is incredible.  What makes it so special to play against him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, I mean, we have this rivalry that goes on for last five years.¬† It has developed over the years.¬† We are fighting for No.1 of the world, especially in 2011.¬† We played on a very high level.¬† That's the first time when I actually managed to win against him on clay courts, back‑to‑back, Madrid and Rome.
I lost to him twice in the final here in Monte‑Carlo.¬† But, as I said, it's always a big challenge when you play a top player, especially Rafa, who hasn't lost here in eight years.¬† I think that says enough about his record and qualities.
But I need to have a very optimistic mindset in order to get a win.  I'm not going out there to play my best; I'm going out there to win.  That's how I'm going to feel tomorrow.

Q.  Fabio, you knew him since children.  Did you expect him to do more?  Did you think after the week he had it was normal because of inexperience that he had that he had like that?  He said Serbians are more hard working because they are not so spoiled as some Italians who always have the mama behind them.  I would like to know a comment from you on that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That's what he said?

Q.  Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, definitely I expected more from him today.  But I don't know, I was not in his shoes.  I don't know how he felt.  Maybe he was injured or not.
But for me it was important to step on the court and get the control of the match.  That's what I did right away.  I was aggressive.  I knew what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to stay as short as possible on the court to get quick points.
I played really, really well.  He made a lot of unforced errors which helped me to win.
For 'mama' comment, we are close to our mothers as well in the family.  But I don't think it has much to do with that.  But I think it's individual also.  Depends how you perceive things in life, what you want to do really with yourself, what are your goals.
In today's professional tennis, you need to be 100% committed in every part of your life.¬† If you want to be a top player, if you want to reach these stages ‑ I'm talking from a personal experience, I learn things about myself and tennis life every day basically, so I know how demanding it is.

Q.  We asked Fabio about your physical problems.  He answered with a big smile and he said, He beat me in 52 minutes.  What physical problems?  I want to know is the ankle problem an old story or not?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What do you want me to answer?

Q.  Is the ankle story an old problem?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm handling it much better than I was at the start of the week.  As I said, it has been improving, the pain has been decreasing.  The pain is still present, but it's much, much less than before.

Q.  Can you talk about the conditions of play, how it could influence the game tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We'll see.  Today was quite different.  The start of the day was very windy, it was about to rain.  Then after a bit better weather, more steady with no strong wind.  It's the Mediterranean.  You can never predict what is going to happen.
Whatever the conditions, I will try to perform my best because that's the only way I have a chance to win.

Q.  Going back to the 100% commitment you need to be at the top.  You were very close to the top at No.4, stayed there for a while.  Is that what you're talking about, that extra commitment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, definitely.  It just requires full commitment, private and professional life.  You can't separate the both.  Whatever happens in your private life affects your state of mind on the court.  Bottom line, this is a very mental game in the end.  Everybody works very physically hard, game is improving.  You're getting incredible matches, incredible rallies, breaking records in last five years.
Bottom line is mentally if you're really ready to commit and ready to understand the game, to sacrifice in order to be at the top.

Q.  It might have been said before the ultimate test in tennis was Roger Federer on grass.  Now they might say it's Novak Djokovic on hard courts.  Would you say the ultimate is Rafael Nadal on clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes (smiling).

Q.  You said about 100% commitment.  Fabio was saying he was a bit injured because he played football tennis with his coach before the match.  Do you think that's eccentric, part of the charm of sport, or do you think that's bizarre before your biggest ever match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He's going to answer better on that.  I can't really say because I don't know what he's doing before his every practice or every match maybe.  Maybe that's part of his routine.
Bad luck that happened today.  But I don't know.

Q.  Of the 15 finals you played against Rafa, which is the most memorable for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, they're different.  It's tough to pick one because we had so many different finals on different surfaces.
Obviously time‑wise and excitement‑wise, maybe the Australian Open 2012 final.

Q.  Have you surprised yourself by being able to go deep after the ankle or did you think if you could get through the first match...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I believed it could get better.  I was getting also these positive signs from my team, medical team.  Convinced as I go on the tournament, it's going to get better.  Of course, nobody can really guarantee that.  I had it in back of my mind.  The first two matches were definitely struggling for me.  To overcome those challenges was a big task.  It was very important.  Mentally also.
At the start of the week, the way I felt in the first match, if somebody told me I'd be playing finals, I'd be very happy to hear that.  But as I said, I was taking it match by match.  After every win I feel very content and very fulfilled because just knowing the circumstances that I was in, every win is big.

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