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August 14, 2013

Novak Djokovic


7‑5, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Novak, please.

Q.  Could you just take us from Monaco serving at 5‑4 in the first set and the next three games.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, from that moment, I played well.  Also, the start of the match, but between 4‑1 and 4‑5, four quite bad games for me.  I stopped moving my legs.  I didn't really go for my shots.
So I let him kind of dictate the play and wait for his mistake, which was not the right, obviously, tactics on the court.
But all in all, I expected a little bit of a challenge for myself ‑ especially because he's a good player ‑ but also because it's the first match here in Cincinnati, which has different conditions from what we played in Montreal.

Q.  A lot of times the players say how the conditions are different.  How would you describe them?  And then looking ahead to the US Open, how do you think Cincinnati is a good prep, or is Montreal maybe a little bit better for the surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's really hard to say.  I think all three tournaments are different.  Even though they're hard courts you would think, but we play with different balls in the US Open.  It's just different conditions, different air.  So air also affects‑‑ you know, if it's more humid, the ball travels through the air slower, faster.  It all really depends.
In the end of the day, it's all the same for everybody and you have to adjust.  It's not the first time that I'm going through this kind of a transition, and hopefully can get better as the tournament goes on.

Q.  How concerned are you that the ATP hasn't filled the CEO position yet?

Q.  Yeah.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, obviously, we had a big tragedy with Brad and caught all of us in ATP a little bit unprepared.  I think that with respect to him, I think this Heritage Program that he founded, I think, is something that has to be cherished and looked up to as a tradition in upcoming years.
Of course, we are still in the process of finding a CEO, and as serious and as global as this sport is, I think we need to kind of move on and I think find the CEO as fast as possible, because it's very important for the progress of our sport.

Q.  You talked about the conditions and getting used to them.  How long does that usually take you in a tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It takes definitely a few days.  So a few days, two days of practice; today was the match.  Unfortunately, you don't have more time.  The perfect scenario would be that you practice at least five days before the tournament starts, but you don't have that time.
So as the matches go on, you kind of have to find your way and your rhythm.  As I said, this isn't the first time this has happened because there are back‑to‑back Masters in different countries, and you have to adjust.

Q.  In the semifinal against DelPotro at Wimbledon, he hit some pretty massive forehands.  It seemed like he was hitting them harder than he was in the past or used to in the past, or did you notice any change in the way he was hitting them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  His forehand was always very big, so I didn't really notice too much difference from the past years.
When he doesn't feel tired, when he's physically fit, he can really beat anybody on any surface.  He has a big serve, big game.  He moves really well and has a good anticipation for his height.
He has this powerful forehand.  Obviously, he doesn't have that consistency ‑ and he's very tall player ‑ so for him it's double, if not triple the effort to spend as much energy on the court as it is for me or for somebody else.
That's why physically for him it's always a struggling kind of sensation.

Q.  Does it feels like he hits it harder on the run maybe than anybody?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  On the run, yes.  I think he has the strongest forehand on the run, that's for sure.

Q.  After the match, you went up to a girl kind of on the side and gave her a hug.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Three girls.

Q.  Three girls.  Were they your biggest crowd support today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I haven't seen them before, but during the match I heard them well enough.  Whenever I was on that side they were really cheering me on.  I try to always pay attention on those things and those people who come out there and buy tickets and support you very hard.
So that's the least I can do.

Q.  You and Andy and all the top guys, whenever you win a tournament, you both turn to compliment your team on the job they've done and you compliment the other guy's team, not just your opponent.  Obviously you weren't playing 10 or 20 years ago, but has tennis become more of a team sport?  Obviously, it's you out there by yourself, but to what extent has it become more important to have a group of people around you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's a good question, because it has changed.  Even when I started playing professionally 10 years ago and now it feels different in terms of the question that you refer to, you know, the team kind of effort.
Even though it's a player alone on the court ‑ and officially it's an individual sport ‑ there is a big team of people behind the stage who are doing their best and sacrificing their own lives also and time with their family in order to kind of live the dreams and achieve all the goals with you.
So traveling with you, it's a huge commitment.  You need those people also to be very focused and committed to what they do in order to get the best outcome.  It has become such a professional sport to a very high extent that I do congratulate the opponent's team also, because I am aware of how much my team means to me and how much his team means to him.
It's also their success, and that's the reason why.

Q.  Do you have any sense why that's changed, even in your career, since you started playing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think that everything is evolving, so the tennis is also.  You just need to be more professional in terms of everything, and you can't do it by yourself.
You can play the tennis and you can do just so much by yourself, but the rest of the team is there for a reason, to make sure that you eat proper food, that you, you know, sleep on time, that you do the proper exercises, proper recovery programs, so forth, so forth.
There is a lot of things that are on the schedule, let's say, before and after the match.  It's not just match itself.  It goes for an hour or two or three, but it's a preparation for the match that really counts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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