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October 8, 2013

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I wanted to ask about the world No.1 ranking.  If you look at the next two, three months, you've got a lot of points to defend:  here, London, Australian Open.  Are you concerned that Rafa might be a long way in front come the end of Melbourne, for example?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, the rankings are there for a reason.  I mean, he has been playing some fantastic tennis since his comeback, and he deserves to be No.1.  Results are there for him.  Definitely he's so far the most successful player in this year.
I can affect only what I can affect, and that is to play the best tennis that I possibly can in the moment and to try to take one tournament at a time and continue on doing what I have done in the last week in Beijing.  That's the case.  If I continue performing the way I was in Beijing, I think the results will follow.
So now, yes, I am defending a lot of points.  But then from February, he'll be the one who defends the most points out of everyone.
Rankings come and go.  They change.  It's all part of the sport.  But in order to be in contention for the top place of the world, you need to obviously be very consistent with your results.

Q.  You spoke about finding a loophole in getting some points last week.  What exactly were you talking about?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I haven't mentioned that.  I will remember if I have said that.  I don't have many of those loopholes this year (smiling).

Q.  Since the first day you arrived here, the typhoon hit here.  How do you adapt to the weather here?  How do you adjust yourself?  Do you still practice today here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've practiced already here.  There is not much difference.  Obviously it's the same time zone, same country.  The balls are different, though.  As I can remember from previous years that I played in Shanghai, the center court is faster than the one in Beijing.
So tomorrow will be my first match.  Hopefully I can get at least a half‑an‑hour hit before the match on the center court so I can feel the court itself.  But there is not much time that you can really spend on practice courts because I just came in yesterday basically.

Q.  Now that the slams are over, can you assess your year.  A successful year by most metrics, but how does it compare to what your expectations are?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I always expect for myself a lot, always have the highest possible ambitions.
Generally every year brings something different.  It's not possible to always be at your best, always to win most of the tournaments that you play on.
I am aware of the fact that the 2011 season will be very difficult to repeat.  But still knowing that I have done something like that, knowing that I've lost only few matches in a whole year, gives me a lot of confidence and also belief that I can do it again.
I will focus myself on the Grand Slams because these are the biggest tournaments in sport and this is where you want to perform your best and win trophies.  Of course, you know, the Masters Series, the 1000 events, that's where I also want to do well.
But for me, in the end of the day, regardless of where I play, if it's the first round or a final, I really want to win and perform my best and give maximum of my abilities.
Looking over to the last eight, nine months of the season, it has been a pretty good year, even though I maybe expected from myself better performances, especially at the 1000 events.  In the Grand Slams, I've done pretty well.  I won a trophy, played a semifinal and two finals, so I cannot complain about that.  But the other events, I should have done better.
But it's fine.  I'm at a good place right now.  Something that makes me very happy is that I managed to, you know, kind of regroup and mentally find my concentration and, again, determination after the US Open final loss against Nadal.  Played Davis Cup, then win a trophy in Beijing against Nadal in the final.  This trophy meant a lot to me, this trophy in Beijing, after a few months with no trophies on the tournaments.  So I regrouped.  As I said, I'm at a good place right now.  Hopefully I can continue that way.

Q.  Roger hasn't had a great year so far.  Can you reflect on his situation vis‑à‑vis making the cut for London.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I mean, by his standards, definitely he hasn't been playing very well this year.  I mean, but also he hasn't been playing too many tournaments.  I'm sure that he's going to tell you better what he feels, what are his priorities at this moment.
Obviously he's not able to play a full schedule as he was playing maybe, you know, a few years back.  He has family.  Now he's focusing himself probably only on the biggest events, the Grand Slams and the big Masters Series.
But still he's a top‑eight player in the world.  He's always dangerous.  To play against him on any surface is always very unpredictable really.  If he's on that day, if he feels well, I mean, we all know what he's capable of.

Q.  Before the China Open, you and Li Na had a fight that draws our attention.  Since Li Na, tennis gets more attention in China recently.  But tennis is actually just beginning.  Do you have any suggestions for the further development of the tennis in China?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, Li Na had a lot of success in women's tennis in the last few years, winning a Grand Slam, being a top‑five player consistently.  So she contributed to the great popularity that this sport has now in China, and of course these two big tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai.
As far as I can see, the last few years that I've been coming, every year that I come back to both Beijing and Shanghai, I see more attendance, more people, more improvement in the organization, just generally more attention towards these tournaments and this sport in China.
If we are looking at the traditional sports in this country, it's mostly with racquet, it's badminton, ping‑pong, now tennis.  People like to watch sports with racquets, and that's very positive and encouraging for us tennis players and for everybody who is part of this sport.
For the future of tennis in China, I think this country, population‑wise, the biggest in the world, has so much potential.  Obviously, incredible facilities here in Shanghai, Beijing, all over China.  There is so much to look forward to I'm sure for many young kids.
Again, there has to be a certain system, certain organization of how they will intend of developing those players and those talents, like it is in many other countries.  Only in that way you can develop some kind of a tradition or strong base for tennis in this country.

Q.  Can I ask you for your thoughts on your first round?  How much into the draw are you reading at this point?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm trying to just direct my thoughts on the next opponent, Granollers.  I watched his match against my friend, Serbian tennis player Tipsarevic, yesterday.  Granollers played pretty well.
As I said, the conditions on center court here in Shanghai are quite different from Beijing.  That's why it's going to be very important for me to come to the court very focused from the first point because I need to try to find my rhythm on the court.
Granollers is somebody who changes the pace of the play very much, so he can be very tricky.

Q.  Yesterday Roger Federer teamed with Zhang Ze to play his doubles.  Also Rafael Nadal has trained with Wu Di.  Are you interested in having some training program with Chinese players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I did today.  Whenever I come to China, I try to practice with local players.  I'm sure that most of us top players, players who are participating in this tournament, they try to have some local sparring partners, also to see where the Chinese men's tennis is at this moment.
I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when I played one of the juniors.  There is a quality.  It's just that consistency is very important.  The amount of professionalism and commitment and dedication that they are ready to give, and also the support they get.  Many things combine that actually are kind of a formula for success.  You don't have one secret, you're going to reveal the secret, now you're going to be successful.  It's many, many things together.
This persistency, mental strength, ability to travel all around the world.  China is quite far from Europe, America.  In those two continents you have the most tennis tournaments.  You need to be able to travel, play well on different surfaces.
It's a very requiring and demanding sport.  But if there is a potential, yes, there is.  I see it.  Also you can see in their eyes, especially the young players, they want to succeed.  They love the sport.  They want to learn.  They ask for advices, which is also good.

Q.  Looking at Beijing, your support team was back to the normal guys, the regulars.  Does that mean that Fibak is no longer involved?  Was that a one‑off for the US Open?  What did you get from it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we had a good tournament in US Open with him.  It was kind of a try‑out for us to see how it will go with Fibak.  We are going to make a final decision if he's going to be further in the team or not after China actually.  That's something we going to talk about.
For now the team is back to normal.

Q.  What does he bring to the party?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Kind of a consultant, you know.  He brings over 30 years of experience as a player, as a coach, as a manager, somebody that has been dedicated all his life to this sport.  He has a great observations and analyses.  That's something that is very useful at this stage of my career.

Q.  Rafa said in here this morning that he was giving up on tennis politics.  He was asked about his comments in the past about there being too much hard court tennis.  He said no matter how strongly you feel about things, you can't change things in tennis.  Do you feel there is a problem within the ATP that it is very difficult to make changes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I understand why he feels that way, because I feel too.  It's been over five years that we all have been trying in different ways to affect some things regarding schedule, tournaments, different formats, so forth.
But the system is rooted inside.  It's very difficult to change.  If you don't change the way the system has been supporting the ATP, the governing body of this sport, so I think we have to go back to the basics, right?  We need to go back to the essential problem that actually causes all these different problems that we maybe complain about.
But in the end of the day, we play so much, we have so little time really to get involved.  It takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort to prove something, get all the players together.  It is an individual sport.  There is no team that actually does these things for you.  Everybody has to individually gather the people they work with in order to maybe communicate between each other if you don't have time to meet.
It's very complicated in the end of the day.  But one thing is for sure:  the players and everybody who is around players, coaches, all their teams, are trying to make this sport better, not just for us, but in general.
I think the new leadership of the ATP, unfortunately not with us anymore Brad Drewett, has been much better in terms of finding solutions and finding a mutual understanding with players.  But it's still a long way from what we try to do, what we plan to do.
This sport is so global.  It's the second most played sport in the world after football.  Just think about it.  It's an incredible stat.  There is a huge potential any way that you look, from whatever perspective.  You just need to try to approach it in a right way.
But it's not easy because for many decades it has been led in the way of business that has been more conservative, more rooted.  Now there is not much you can change.
But hopefully in the future, maybe for the future generations, we can do something.  But I understand why Rafa is saying that he has enough of it because at the end of the day you can't do everything alone.  It's much deeper than that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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