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January 17, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/D. Istomin
6‑3, 6‑3, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Do you feel like everything is sort of coming together in your game the way you want it to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, sure.  I feel better on the court as the tournament is progressing.  Of course, I played in different conditions three matches.  The roof was closed tonight and temperature dropped for at least 10 degrees, and you could feel that.  It affected the play.  It was much slower.  Of course, you know, I needed to have a very, I would say, fast footwork and precise first service, as high of a percentage as possible, using every opportunity to take control over the rally.
I've done really well.  Denis is a very tough opponent.  He's a great quality player.  He has tested a lot of top players on different surfaces because he's very talented and he can hit the ball really well.

Q.  At the end of the game when you served for the match the first time, dropped your serve, you broke right back, was that good for you to be tested at the end?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, on 4‑2, he asked for the crowd support, he got it.  They lifted him a little bit.  He started hitting the ball really well.  Things got tense towards the end of the match.  I made some double‑faults.  This is what happens.  I mean, I could have easily got into a tiebreak and then it's very even, very unpredictable who is going to win the third.
I didn't want to drop the third set, obviously, so I was very focused to get the job done in straight sets.

Q.  It was cool.  But would you rather the roof be open for your matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  I practiced with open roof and think it's always nice to have some fresh air.
But it's understandable.  Before the match, the people from the organization approached me and showed me the forecast and said it was going to rain on and off, it was unpredictable, they couldn't risk, they should close the roof.  It was fine.

Q.  You have great fans here in Australia.  I wonder if it frustrates you sometimes that that's not the case everywhere despite the effort you put into engaging your fans?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, I try to focus on my own fans.  There's plenty of them.  I feed on their energy and their support.
Of course, I mean, I cannot be angry on the people who are supporting my opponent.  It's all sport.  It's normal you have your preferred players, you have your favorites.  You have to deal with it.

Q.  Many young Australian players coming from Serbian communities, you are a huge role model for them.  Is there a message, advice you can give them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, first of all, Australia has a great system for sport in general.  The facilities, not just for tennis, but all the other sports, are fantastic.  The athletes have greatest conditions to really develop themself from the early stages of their lives, their careers.  That's a very positive thing for somebody who is thinking about eventually playing professional tennis, for example, and having these facilities in Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Victoria State, the country investing so much in this sport.  Of course having a Grand Slam helps a lot from an economical point of view.
Young players have to, first of all, like what they do.  I think that's a key to doing any kind of sport, any kind of activity.  You have to enjoy it.  If you don't enjoy it, it's not worth doing it.  Of course, having proper conditions, having a right desire, willpower, that of course gets you very far away.

Q.  Your next opponent, you mentioned you've been friends for a long time.  Does that change anything about the way you go into the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no.  I'm going to try to win against him regardless if he's friend or not.  Of course, I respect him.  I have a great relationship with him, real friend relationship for more than 10 years.
Once we get on the court, of course we're both professionals, we want to win.  He's 15 in the world.  He's been playing some really good tennis.
He's a clay court specialist, so that's where he made his best results.  But lately he's been performing really well on hard court.  Today he beat Sam Querrey, who is a hard court specialist, big serve, in form, and Fabio won.
I don't take anything easy.  I try to do as best as possible.

Q.  How focused have you been this week on trying to get through your matches quickly and conserve energy for the second week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That's obviously one of the goals.  It's important not to underestimate any opponent.  Having the right approach to the court, having the right intensity, starting from the first point to try to show to your opponent that you're there to win, that you want to be the one taking control of the rallies, that's my goal.  That's my goal coming into every match regardless of who is across the net.

Q.  We used to say that Wimbledon was Roger's living room.  Is that the same for you here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, if I can compare myself to Roger's success in Wimbledon, that's definitely a compliment.  There's still a lot more years to come from me, a lot more to prove.  This is definitely one of my most favorite tournaments in the world, the best Grand Slam by far.  I love playing on Rod Laver Arena.  Results are showing that.

Q.  Were you surprised by del Potro's elimination yesterday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, yes.  Most, if not all, are surprised with a second round for del Potro.  Again, this is tennis.  Everybody's playing.  Everybody's fighting.  When you're playing a top player, you have nothing to lose.
Bautista Agut definitely went to the court with nothing to lose and trying to play his best, and took him to five sets.  It was a huge win for him.  It was very tough conditions yesterday, so maybe that affected DelPo a little bit.  But it definitely is a surprise.

Q.  Do you think the mental aspect of the game these days is more difficult than the physical to get over?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  I mean, physically at the end of the day with the proper facilities, proper conditions, proper I would say program and right people, you can get yourself in a great shape.  But there are many, many players who are fit and strong, they can endure a lot on the court.
But that mental edge, that's something that you can't get it in the gym.  You have to be able to play and understand who you are, get really deep into your character.  Of course, you need to use the necessary experience on the court.  Fail, fail, fail, but keep on coming back stronger.  Eventually, that's what's going to help you succeed.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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