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October 30, 2012

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  So Novak, how does it feel to know you're going to end the season as No. 1?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It feels very satisfying, and of course I'm very happy to be able to finish the season as No. 1.  Obviously that serves as indication of how good the season was for me.
It was very difficult to follow up after 2011 and to expect, well, from myself to repeat what I've done in that season.  But, you know, winning one Grand Slam this year and, you know, five titles so far and being very consistent with my results helped me to be in this position right now.
Yes, I'm very proud of the achievements.  It was a very good year for me, but it's not over.  There are two more very important tournaments to come:  indoors here in Paris Bercy, obviously, and then London next week.
I just want to try to focus on those tournaments in the end of the year in the best possible way.

Q.  Can you tell us when you came to Paris last year and London, you seemed like you were in quite a bit of pain with your back and shoulder.  How much different is it now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it is different, and that's something that was in the back of my mind before I started this year.  Obviously not to force myself and not to get myself in a situation to get hurt and to eventually, you know, skip the important events like I have done in the end of 2011.
That was unfortunate because I played the Davis Cup right after US Open in a very long season.  This year the scheduling has been terrific for me.  I mean, aside from Olympic Games, that was tricky for all the tennis players because it was middle of summer season for us.
But I haven't played that many tournaments.  I have tried to focus, to always perform my best on the major events.  As I said, I was very consistent in those tournaments, you know, playing at least semifinals in all the events, which was very important, you know, for me and something that I was aiming for.
Physically I feel good now.  Of course I'm not the freshest guy on the tour because I have had a long year.  But as I said, I want to try to hold on these two weeks and perform my best, and then go to holidays.

Q.  You say that you have been careful with your schedule this year, but you have still played 81 matches I think it is this year.  Yet you seem very fresh at this stage of the year.  I remember in Shanghai at the end of the final, Andy Murray looked completely shattered, but you looked like you could have gone on for another two, three hours.  How have you done that particularly this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as I said, you know, scheduling was of course the priority this year.  Yes, I have played over 80 matches, which is a good indication, because then it means that I have played in a very high level and winning a lot of matches.
But, you know, it's difficult to organize the schedule, you know.  It's never easy, because I have a home tournament in Belgrade in the middle of the season when you want to try to physically set up your shape and form for big events.
You have a couple of the other 250 and 500 events in a difficult period.  This year I haven't played Basel.  I think it was the right decision for me physically because I wanted to focus on the last two tournaments of the year.
So I have a great team of people around me, and it's not an individual effort.  It's definitely a team effort.  Without them, these successes and achievements wouldn't be possible.
So I'm trying to pay as much as attention to the work as I do to recovery programs, and we're being very professional and very self‑aware.
It's a result of that.

Q.  But have you changed anything this year in terms of preparation, recovery, your diet, for example?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, not much, no.  I mean, I have continued on doing what I'm doing and respecting the same routines on a daily basis and same way of preparations.
I have just, as I said, paid a little bit more attention to the schedule and not to make, you know, any mistakes which can cost me two months with no tournaments like it was the case in 2011.

Q.  You arrived here a week ago.  You said you wanted to focus on this tournament.

Q.  Does Paris have a special meaning for you among the other tournaments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I love Paris.  I think it's one of the most spectacular cities in the world next to my home city.
I love spending time here.  It has so much to offer and so much history and there is a lot of things to see.  I have been trying to use my time with no official matches to go around Paris.
I have seen a lot so far, and right now it's time for business.

Q.  With your schedule being so important to you, how will that affect your tournament in Belgrade in future years?  Will you be able to play and have as much involvement as you have in the past?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We're thinking in that direction.  Obviously the advantage and disadvantage is that my family owns that tournament.  So we have the rights and the freedom to decide what we want to do; but in the other hand, it's also a commitment in a way.
But it's also a pleasure for me to perform in front of the home crowd, because I don't have this many opportunities to play in Serbia outside of Davis Cup.
So this tournament has been one of my dearest tournaments that I have throughout the year, but it's in a really difficult period for me.
So we'll see what's gonna happen for the years to come.  We still don't know.

Q.  Have you been practicing the between‑your‑legs shot even more since Shanghai?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I have tried on the practice just for curiosity six, seven times and I missed all seven.  It came in the right moment and it worked when it needed to.  (Laughter.)
I haven't been practicing aside that at all.

Q.  So it's the same story of you trying to find inspiration when things are in the tightest corner?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, I mean, it's one of those shots that you remember all your life, you know, under the circumstances being set, 5‑4, and 30‑Love down and opponent serve and then coming up with that shot and incredible dropshot after that, the momentum changed.
Yeah, you know, it's difficult to describe.  It's not something that you really work on but just comes out when you really need to have it.

Q.  Can you talk maybe about the challenge that is playing back to back this tournament and then the Masters, the mindset you need and the focus?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is a big challenge.  Obviously I'm sure that all the participants in the World Tour Finals in London will agree that this is definitely, you know, not something that goes in the favor of us preparing for the most important event in the end of the year.
But it is the schedule; it is the way it is; we have to adjust; we have to accept.  Unfortunately there is no other options at this moment.  But we will discuss this matter, you know, after we finish this season.  Maybe we can try to find some other way.
But as you know, this season is shorter for two weeks.  Now we have a two weeks longer off season, and that was maybe the sacrifice we had to make.  There were several options.  There are still some options on the table about this week and, and maybe we can move it around so we can make it more adjustable for the top players.

Q.  I know things change so quickly over the year and over the years as they go by, but it feels a little bit like you and Andy are starting to pull away from the rest.  Does it feel that way to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Not yet, to be honest, because, you know, even though we had epic matches this year and all, especially the ones in NewYork and now in China, but it was only couple of months, you know, last couple of months.
Well, it's normal to expect that the people start to speculate about our rivalry as the biggest rivalry in our sport at this moment, which is definitely nice to hear.  But we cannot forget Roger and Rafa who are still the most successful active players on the tour.
Rafa had misfortune of being injured last five, six months, and, you know, he's always a contender to win any tournament that he plays on; Roger is still playing on very high level.
I guess us four, you know, we are still the group of players that I guess are the highest and the biggest favorites to win the Grand Slams.  It's nice that Andy stepped into that group by winning US Open title and he deserves it absolutely, so good times for men's tennis.

Q.  I know you have always said that you always want to give 100% every tournament you play.  Do you think with the schedule as it is with this week and with World Tour Finals next week there will be a temptation for some players to maybe save themselves a little for next week because there are more points, more prize money on offer next week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it's very individual, so I can't really generalize and talk in the names of all players.  It's very sensitive, obviously.  I don't know how every player thinks and behaves on the court and prioritizes tournaments and matches.
But as you said, I mean, I always try to win every match that I play on.  First of all, it's not fair to myself and not fair to this tournament to, you know, get some tactics on how maybe I should be well‑prepared for the upcoming week and not playing 100% in this week.
I guess that's the way my mindset will stay.

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