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August 27, 2013

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Berankis
6‑1, 6‑2, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Is starting at night not a bad way to get going in a slam?  Does it feel different than starting in the day?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is different.  I think the night sessions in New York are quite different from any other tournament because of just the vibe that you feel with the people, the crowd gets involved.  There's a lot going on in the changeovers.  It's very exciting, always entertaining.
It's fun, you know.  It's fun to play in front of the crowd.  Biggest stadium we have.  Looks quite impressive from down there.  I think most of my first rounds in the Grand Slam last five, six years here in US Open, I was starting at night.  So I had experience before and knew how to play.
Berankis was playing his first night session.  That's where I was looking for my chance to start pressing from the start, and I was playing on a very high level.

Q.  In the third set when you were in control of the match, you were trying a few new things, maybe returns, coming to net off the second serve.  Was that part of the plan to try everything?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You know, when you are up, you maybe try here and there to hit and come to the net or try something new, but nothing in particular.  You don't really want to experiment on the court too much.  Because at that stage, you know, you have to play every point like it's a match point.
So that kind of mindset was for me from the first to the last point today in the match.  I was just very happy with the concentration because I didn't play so well in Montréal and Cincinnati in the warmup tournaments for the US Open.  So I had 10 days to really give everything I can on the practice courts.  I was very committed and put 100% into my preparations.  It's starting to pay off.
Of course, the first match was as well as it could be.  Now I need to continue on working and stay on this course.

Q.¬† Usually players don't like to share details on their routine.¬† There is this book about your gluten‑free diet.¬† Can you say why you've decided to share it?¬† What do you think about players that are trying this gluten‑free diet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Well, now more players are gluten‑free, I see that.¬† But this particular diet changed my life really in a positive way and affected positively my career and my overall feeling on and off the court.¬† So I particularly wanted to share this kind of food regime and this kind of change that affected my life positively with the people, just present them my own experience.
I am not trying to, through the book, influence somebody's life and tell the people how they should eat or live or maybe, you know, treat their food.  But I'm just sharing my own experience and hoping that people who are reading it can actually take some valuable, you know, examples and experiences to implement in their own life.
I already got few positive comments from random people, which is really nice.  I think in the end of the day, you know, from the athletes' perspective, it's really nice that sometimes people follow your example.  To hear that somebody reading from my book felt positively, effected a positive change in their life, is something really nice to hear.

Q.  In the book you talk about meeting this doctor who introduced you to the diet.  You had so many issues before physically.  Where do you think you would be at if you didn't follow the diet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I can't say where I would be really.  I mean, I believe in life everything happens for a reason.  So for a reason I met some interesting and knowledgeable people who helped me to achieve what I need to achieve in life and to become what I became.
I met this doctor.  Through other people that I was meeting in last few years, I tried to absorb the knowledge that they have, in a way kind of implement that in my own life, in my own philosophy.
What is good for me doesn't mean it's necessarily good for somebody else.¬† Everybody is different in this world.¬† But you always try to improve as a person and as a player.¬† I've been always open‑minded about sports science, about nutrition, about health, about general well‑being, because that's something that is part of my job also and my life.
I want to feel good and I'm always seeking to learn more and more about this.

Q.  Andy Murray did not seem happy to have to wait until Wednesday night to play his first match.  What do you make of the US Open format of stretching the first round over three days for the men?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we have Monday finals.  I think that's kind of a compromise that the tournament made with the players.  I don't think it's necessary to talk more than that.  We know that we are going to have Monday finals next several years.
In that particular circumstances, I think it's okay to stretch the three days for first round, even though this is the only Grand Slam that actually has this kind of format.
But it's better like that rather than having back‑to‑back days.¬† Super Saturday and Sunday final for men's tennis is really difficult.¬† I said a lot of times, I've experienced it, it's not easy.¬† For some reason it's always raining Sunday in New York for a few years.

Q.  For more than three years you've reached every major semifinal.  Of all your recent accomplishments, what perspective can you share on what that particular accomplishment means to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, my approach to this year's US Open, of course it encourages me the fact that I've done so well in the last five, six years in US Open.  Probably next to Australian Open, my most successful Grand Slam.  I've been consistently in semifinals, finals three years in a row now.
I love playing on these courts, especially the Arthur Ashe.  It's a Grand Slam.  And Grand Slams always demand the best out of every player.  You know, top players are always saying how important it is for them to always perform their best and set their form for Grand Slams, because these are the most important tournaments we have in the sport and this is where you want to win trophies.  All the attention of the sport goes directly to these tournaments.
This is the last Grand Slam of the year.  I have high expectations for myself.  There is no difference in my approach this year than last few years.  Knowing that I've done so well in past years, had such a good record, gives me enough reason to have this confident and optimistic approach.

Q.  Can you talk about working with Wojtek Fibak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, he joined the team this year for US Open.  It's kind of a trial in this tournament to see how it goes, how he's going to fit in the team.
We worked very well last six, seven days of the preparations for the Open.  And tonight's match went really well.  He has an important role in the team.  He's consulting myself.  My tennis coach has a very good relationship with me.  We know each other for many years.  He lives in the same place where I live.  He's been a very good player.  Top 10.  He had a great doubles, singles career.  Coached Lendl for many years.  He's somebody that has huge experience in this sport.  He knows a lot of people.  He shares a big love and passion for this sport.
That's something I'm looking forward to find out more from him.  I think he has a great input and a great way of observing the tennis matches.  So hopefully, you know, we can work together very well in this tournament.

Q.  Why did you bring him on?  Was it recent results?  Did you need a new pair of eyes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was a team decision.  I never try to make decisions on my own, because even though it's individual sport, it's a team effort in the end that really counts.  So we discuss everything that is on our agenda basically.
We all agreed that we might need that extra help, you know, and consultation.  Wojtek Fibak was the right person for us at that moment.  We will see how it will go during these two weeks.

Q.  Speaking of your team, could I ask a question about Pierre?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  About Pierre?

Q.¬† Today Caroline Wozniacki shocked us that Bruno is not non‑gluten, yet Bruno wants a play date with Pierre.¬† Do you think glutens and non‑glutens...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Do you think the food regime affects their health?

Q.  No.  Is it okay if they associate?  Caroline actually wanted the two to go out for a play date, which is not I'm sure acceptable to you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is acceptable to have a play date.  It is not acceptable that they dine together because they have a different food regimes.

Q.¬† But Pierre's non‑gluten regime...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Pierre is following his daddy's diet, for sure.  That's why he's so fit.

Q.  Today in Chile Nicolas Massu quit tennis.  I wanted to know your thoughts on his career.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:¬† Okay.¬† I didn't know that.¬† Well, he struggled last few years with injuries and everything.¬† He was a very successful player.¬† He was a top‑10 player.¬† I think he achieved something that nobody achieved in history of tennis in terms of Olympic Games, winning singles and doubles gold medal, which was incredible in Athens.
I remember it was 2004.  Yeah, I remember that time he was playing extremely well.  I had a great relationship with him.  He's one of the best competitors that I know.  Big fighter on the court.
He left a great legacy in the sport, in Chilean sport.  Especially I think people respect him very much there.  I wish him best in his now life after his career.

Q.  November, playing him in exhibition match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm not sure who I'm playing against.  If it's Massu, it's a good occasion to see him and play him.
But I'm coming to Chile, yes, in November.  Santiago, it's the first time I'll be there, so I'm looking forward to that very much.

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