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May 5, 2013

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What do you think of the courts?  You had a little practice on it.  Is it in a kind of condition that will please the players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The court is great.  The one where I practiced is great.  I haven't practiced on the center court.  I'll try to do that tonight to get a little feel about it.
But also from the opinions of the other players I can hear only positive comments, so it's great to see that.
You know, of course from players' perspective it's always positive to see a tournament is doing everything they can to make a player feel comfortable playing on the court, and of course feeling good off the court as well.

Q.  Probably your first match will be against Grigor Dimitrov.  How do you feel about this match?  You already played once.  How do you feel you're about preparation in the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In Romanian.)
Yeah, well, I've played him in Indian Wells, I think, and he's very talented player.  He has capacity to play in a very, very high level because he's very talented; he's an all‑round player, and he showed it.
With his style of the game you think that he can play his best on the hard courts and the faster courts, but he showed in Monte‑Carlo when he pushed Nadal to three sets he can play equally well on clay.
There is an altitude here, 500, 600 meters, which helps the servers and more aggressive players.  The ball travels through the air faster, so that can make Dimitrov very dangerous on this surface.
I absolutely want to not underestimate my opponent.  I will just try in this next few days to get as much time on court as I can in order to get ready.

Q.  If I'm not mistaken, the last time you played Dimitrov he had like three double faults in one game serving for the set.  Talk about how big is the mental gap in between the four top players and the rest of the players.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there is definitely a gap.  You know, the four players are the ones who are winning all the Grand Slams and major tournaments.
Men's tennis is in a very high level; competition is getting stronger.  But we cannot count out all the other players outside of the Top 4.  Players like Ferrer, Berdych, Tsonga, these kind of players have shown in the past that they're able to win against the Top 4.
That's why men's tennis is now very interesting.  I guess the experience that we have playing on a top level and winning that many major titles helps us get that necessary confidence, and also I guess emotional stability in some crucial moments during the match.
Maybe the other players don't possess that kind of confidence.

Q.  You won in Monte‑Carlo against the specialist on clay, Rafa Nadal.  Do you think that this year you can win Roland Garros and Mutua Madrid on red clay?  Are you going to focus on this Grand Slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I'm taking one tournament at a time, so I will try to get as far as I can in Madrid.
Then I will see how it goes after that.

Q.  There has been a lot drama with prize money, all of that stuff, courts and all that.  Do you feel that this is how tennis is going to be from now on with the players banding together, or is it back to tennis after the prize money announcement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I don't think it's back to the tennis.  Tennis was always there.  I don't see why we should think of it in a negative context.  I thought it was a very positive step of course for the players to get the prize money increase from the Grand Slams, which means that the players are united I think maybe even more than ever.
That can be something to rely on for the future, not just for prize money increases.  It's not about money.  It's about players having a strong voice and players agreeing on what they want to have and what they see the tennis looking like in the future.
Hopefully it's going to stay like that.

Q.  About your ankle, is it okay or you can rest or it's doing better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's okay.  It's better every day.  I've been doing a lot of work from the end of Monte‑Carlo tournament till now in order to obviously get ready for Madrid.  It's a very big tournament that I like to play.
Hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever I play, it's going to be perfectly fine.

Q.  Can I go back to the prize money.  Wimbledon are paying almost 40 million pounds this year, the biggest ever pot in history.  When the players hear figures like that, what do they actually think?  Do you think it's justifiable when a lot of the nations of the world are suffering that there is a lot money being paid to tennis players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, depends how you look at it.  Let me remind you there is not only ten players in the world.  There are thousands and thousands of players that are trying to participate in Grand Slams.
Also let me remind you for a player who's ranked over 100 in a world who plays qualifications and has to travel to Australia, he's not able to cover his expenses of the travel, hotel, play the tournament, stay there for a few weeks, and to have a coach.
So he has to choose between something.  I think the people are taking that for granted a little bit.  I am aware of the fact that the top players are earning big money; there is no question about that.  This is not about top players.  It's about all the players, especially the ones who are lower ranked and struggling to have a decent life and also play all the biggest tournaments in the world.
Grand Slams are the biggest, most prestigious, respectful events we have in tennis with the longest tradition.  We definitely are thankful and we salute the decision of the increase of prize money from all four Grand Slams.
It's a positive step, because players are also the ones who are bringing a lot of benefits to the Grand Slam.  This kind of correlation and collaboration should be mutual, both ways.
So we're moving in the right direction.  I believe that now many players are happy with the decisions that were made this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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