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January 13, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6‑3, 7‑6, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Did it feel very different having Boris in the box with you tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we had a couple of matches in Abu Dhabi with him sitting in the box.  But it was the first official match, so yes, it felt different, but in a positive way.

Q.  You speak some German.  I take it you speak English with him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We speak half English, half German.  When we need to speak about serious, serious stuff, we turn to English.  My knowledge of the German language needs to be updated for the serious stuff.
But he has accepted my kind request to speak to me in German as much as he can because I would like to refresh my knowledge.  I used to speak it.

Q.  You had it before you went to Pilic's academy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I had it in the school, and I spoke German a lot when I spent time there between 12 and 16, and then after that I haven't spoken much.  I can speak for you now, but you wouldn't understand (laughter).

Q.  I know it's early days with Boris, but do you expect to get enough benefits in this tournament or are you thinking it will come later on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We both hope to get the right benefits and the right results right away here in Australia.  We worked very hard during the last four weeks.  We believe that hard work will pay off, as it was the case in the past.
He definitely has great observations on my game, on tennis in general.  We do speak a lot about different things.  We try to get to know each other as much as we can.
And the understanding is great in the beginning.  I did not expect ourselves to understand each other so well right away in the second or third week that we working are with each other.
So it all goes in the right direction.  Hopefully we can go far in this tournament.  But it's a long year, obviously.  Yes, this tournament right now is our priority and our focus, you know, to do well here.  Then we hope to maintain that consistency with a success and good cooperation throughout the whole year.

Q.  How important is it to be focused in the tiebreaker, not let him in?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Being focused is one of the most important things on the court for any professional athlete really.  I was happy with my concentration.  I thought I was prepared well.  Physically I feel great.  I'm very motivated obviously to play my best.
I know that I haven't played my best, especially in the second set.  But, look, also credit to my opponent that was playing really nice tennis from baseline.  On the other hand I was a little bit too passive in some stages of the match and was trying to find the proper, I would say, setting and proper balance and footing in the court.
It came at the right time, in the tiebreak in the second, and the whole third set was great.  My service games, most of the games were won comfortably.  I won many easy points with the first serves and had a high percentage of the first serves in.  That's something that makes me obviously very encouraged for this tournament and for every next match.

Q.  Are you playing with the same racquet that you played with last year?

Q.  After the second set you changed the T‑shirt.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It was quite warm, so I had to, yes.

Q.  Serbian Orthodox New Year today.  Are you going to celebrate tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, 10:00.  Yeah, I guess I'll be awake for 12:00 and I'll call my family and friends.  That's going to be my celebration now.  There's no really time now for celebrations nowadays.

Q.  What's been the one most important thing that Boris has said to you that has struck you in your time together with him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there are more than few things that we talk about.  But I prefer not to say publicly yet.  We are still in the process of, as I said, getting to know each other, getting to find a way to work properly and to work efficiently.
Let's see how that is going to go, and then we'll see what the effect and result will be from his advices, yeah.

Q.  At this point can you say whether it's more about strokes or...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I said it before, that of course there are parts of my game where he definitely can help me out, I can improve.  I still see the room for improvement with my serve, with the return, with net play and so forth.  But also from the mental point of view.
Boris has won so many Grand Slam tournaments, was No.1 of the world.  He knows exactly the way I feel, what I need to face, what sort of challenges I need to overcome during the tough moments, the tough matches.  That's also where he can give the right and positive input.
We'll see.  It's just the beginning.

Q.  Is he different as a person or a character than you expected?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Obviously, I didn't know him.  I didn't have any prejudging.  I wanted to get to know him and see what his character is.  We've spoken in the past.  When we see each other, I knew him but very briefly.  We met couple of times before the start of this season, and I'm pleasantly surprised with his character, actually.
He has, of course, the German discipline and determination to do everything in the right way.  Of course, he's balancing that with ‑‑ he's a storyteller, he's a fun guy, so we get along really well.

Q.  What do you think about your next rival?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Leonardo Mayer?  Well, I haven't watched him play today.  I watched him in the past.  I think we never played against each other.  I know he has a good serve.  He comes to the net.  He has a one‑handed backhand.  He won his match easy today.
For me it's just really important to focus on my game, you know, and try to do the things that I need to do on the court properly.  If I do so, I have always good chance to win.

Q.  When athletes get to a certain level, sometimes they don't like to change things much.  Are you someone who fears no change more than change?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I'm not thinking about fears at all, to be honest.  I'm trying to always look on the brighter side.
The reason why Boris is in our team is not totally my decision.  As I said few days ago, it's also Marian's initiative that we need to find somebody that has been in similar situations as I am right now.  So we thought of Boris, and here he is.
On a positive note, I'm sure that he can bring a lot to not just myself but to the team in general from different perspectives.
Obviously you can always look on the negative side, right?  Life is changing.  Life is evolving.  I believe that I made a right decision.  That's what matters to me.

Q.  I don't mean just Boris.  Change of racquet...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I understand what you mean.  I understand what you mean.  But I choose a different path from fear and from concern.  Those are negative emotions that I don't need to waste my time thinking about them.

Q.  Will you be speaking to Marian during the fortnight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  I mean, we are in touch, of course.  Obviously he's following the tournament and my matches.  I haven't spoken to him now after the match, but I will do tomorrow.
Of course, he's also in touch with Boris.  We are all trying to communicate as much as we can because we're aware that this is one of the keys to success of my career, is the communication between the team members.  Everybody is in touch with everybody.  Everybody knows what's going on.  That's very important.
I'm very honest and open with them.  I can talk about my personal life.  Those are the people that are more than just the team to me.  They're friends and people that I can rely on.  I'm very fortunate to have these kind of people around me, yes.

Q.  You probably have more women fans around the world.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I have more women's fans?  Is that what you said?  Well, it makes me happy, if you say so.  No offense to men, but I like women more.
Yes, I mean, it's another step in our relationship, getting engaged.  I'm very happy.  I love.  I'm loved.  That's the nicest thing you can experience as a human in my eyes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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