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March 16, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
3‑6, 6‑3, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Was it a slight sense of relief at the end, a number of different points, and Roger had beaten you the last time, and you weren't able to serve it out and then results in your first title of the year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That was definitely a relief in the end of the match.  The last point when he hit the backhand in the net, I just focused on each point individually.  Didn't really try to think about what happened or what's going to happen, if it happens.
I just tried to be in the present moment and that helped, especially in the tiebreak of the last set.  It was a very even match.  One break was enough for him to win the first.  It was exactly the same for me in the second.
As I said before the match today, very few points will decide a winner, and that's what happened.  Roger is playing in a very high level.  He has more depth on his shots especially from the backhand side.  He's opening with his backhand shot down the line.
He gives himself an opportunity to finish with the forehand.  He serves well.  He just played better than he did in the last 13, 14 months.  You know, I needed to really be in the top of my game and very concentrated the last moment in order to win.
That's what I've done.  Very proud of my achievements during this tournament.  I have played three, four matches in three sets.  Couple of matches had to come from a set down, and mentally this definitely helps for my confidence.

Q.  Obviously he played such a good first set.  You had to dig deep.  Is there satisfaction winning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You always have to dig deep against Roger.  You know that he's going to play on a very high level and the latter stages of the tournament, especially in the finals.
I know that he's not going to give me anything, you know.  As the match progressed, I felt like he started to make a little bit more unforced errors, and it allowed me to step into the court.
Of course when I served for the match, he played a fantastic game.  I couldn't do much about it.  I managed to regroup and get into the tiebreak.  That was absolutely great for me, I mean, from the first to the last point.
I'm just very happy and thrilled to be able to win the first title in this season.  It was the first final that I played this year.  It was necessary for my confidence, and hopefully I can carry that into Miami and the rest of the season.

Q.  Just like in the semifinal, you had a chance to serve out the match.  Didn't get it done.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Deja vu (smiling).

Q.  Yeah.  Just like the semifinal, you recovered, though, this time a little bit shorter time.  How do you pick yourself up from that low so quickly, especially in a third‑set tiebreak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as I said, I'm very proud specifically to win this tournament and all I have achieved.  The way I won this title is something that makes me very happy and gives me mentally a lot of satisfaction, you know, because I have had specifically these three matches against Cilic and yesterday's semifinal and today's final, situations where I played three sets where it was very tense, very emotional.  A few points really here and there could go either way, and then it went my way.
As I said, I stayed mentally tough, and that, for me, is something that gives me a lot of encouragement and hopefully a confidence boost for the rest of the season.

Q.  I'm sure that winning any Masters Series title and your first title here is exciting in and of itself, but how satisfying is this win, given what happened in Dubai, the loss?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Considering the fact that I came into the American hard court season without a trophy, first time in many years, it was a different feel.  I know I play well on the court, but not winning a title and coming here, there were certain doubts.
You know, I had ups and downs in my concentration in opening rounds, but I managed to stay, as I said before, mentally strong and have that self‑belief.  I carried that all the way through to the title.
That's something that definitely makes this title very special to me, and it's going to mean a lot for what's coming up.

Q.  But the win over Roger, in particular.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In particular?  Well, winning against Roger is always a great win anywhere in any tournament, any part of the world.  He's a great champion.  He has achieved so much in his career.
As I said before, he always performs at a very high level in finals.  I have played him so many times on different occasions and different, important matches, semifinals and finals.  I know he always comes out confident, aggressive.  He doesn't give you the victory; you have to earn it.
That's why it was a very tough match for me to play today, but I managed to do very well.

Q.  When he broke, when you were serving for that match, Roger said he was trying to put pressure and he wanted to show you that he was still there, and then he said he was going to take it.  How did it feel when you were on the court, and how did you play it out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He always has presence on the court, of course.  He has so many titles and such a successful career.  He knows how to turn a match around.
He showed that in 5‑4 down, and when I served for the match, I made I think all my first serves in and he returned well, he was aggressive, he made a couple of winners.  There was not much I could do.  I was under pressure.
I was 6‑5 down.  I still kind of regrouped.  I made my presence after that (smiling).
You know, I stepped closer to the line, and, you know, made him play an extra shot always and changing the pace of the ball.  You know, it paid off.

Q.  Correct me if I'm wrong, you still do own a tournament in Belgrade?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, not anymore.

Q.  Well, let's switch to this.  Considering so many players from Serbia right now are still in the game, how do you see the future of the Serbian tennis?  Is there any name we don't know about that you see and that you know about?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, there are talented players who have potential to be very good, both men's and women's.  I think we have a little bit more success in the junior circuit in the women's tennis, girls' tennis, than boys.
But we do have Krajinovic, who a few years ago was the youngest player in top 200.  Now he struggled a little bit last few years, but I think he still has talent and has potential to go far.
We have Lajovic and younger guys like Djere or Milojevic who are best in the world and they are in juniors.
But that transition from junior tennis to, you know, professional is not easy.  Many players haven't succeeded.  Only few did.
It's a transition.  It's a switch that, you know, requires a lot of dedication, a lot of professionalism, a lot of mental strength and going on and playing futures and so forth.
Generally the future of Serbian tennis depends on several things, but I think the main one is if we are going to have a certain system that, you know, is going to support young kids in their development, if we don't have a National Tennis Center, then I think it's highly unlikely that we are going to have a continued success in this sport.
Fortunately, we do have to rely on the individual cases, because when you have a National Tennis Center, you have a base where kids, talented kids all around the whole country can come and actually show their talent.
Like this, they have to be individually finding support from the family or certain persons.

Q.  How about your brothers?  Do they still have ambitions, your two brothers?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I mean, they are both playing.  They have huge mental pressure and expectations because they are my brothers, and everybody looks at them differently and expects from them a lot wherever they go, so it's tough to handle that.
But I still, you know, hope that they can make a breakthrough.  They are both playing.  I'm always there for them.

Q.  Everyone in tennis, or a lot of people in tennis, part of the fun is looking at trends.  When Stan won in Melbourne, people said, That's interesting, a new guy winning the slam.  And here, Murray lost, Nadal lost.  People are talking about, Hey, there is talk in the locker room, maybe a new day is coming.  But in the end, it was two of the great masters up there fighting each other.  Could you just talk about the trends in tennis?  Are the changes coming but it hasn't happened yet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think it's obvious that it's happening more than it was the case in last maybe six, seven, eight years.  Nadal and Federer are still the two most successful active players on the tour, and they have been so dominant before.
Andy Murray and myself, we arrived on the tour, we kind of challenged them, and we managed to grab a few Grand Slam titles out of those two guys.
And then, you know, us four, we kind of, next to Del Potro and a couple of, you know, other good players like Berdych or Tsonga who are always up there, and a great challenge to the top four for any title, now you have younger players and you have Wawrinka of course who worked so hard all these years, and he deserved that title in Australia.  He played the tournament of his life.
As I said before, I really think it's good for the sport to have a new player winning a Grand Slam trophy, you know, after many years.  It's going to make our sport a little bit more interesting.  It's going to give more belief to the other lower‑ranked players that they can challenge the top guys and be contenders to win the majors.
It's going to come sooner or later.  I don't know.  I can't predict what's going to happen in the future, but the new generation of tennis players is coming.  You have the names like Raonic, Dimitrov, Gulbis, you know, these kind of guys who are definitely showing some great skills and they are improving as players.

Q.  For the match at the start, your first service game, you know, he broke you and it seemed to us, to me at least, a little shaky.  Can you talk about what goes through your mind with that kind of start, what you kind of did to get back on track?  Seemed like you were playing better as the match went on.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it wasn't a great start for me.  First service game that I had I made a few double faults and unforced errors and allowed him a break.  That was enough for the first set.
Roger is probably best in the world when he's up, you know.  When he's a break up, he wins his service games so comfortably and so fast that sometimes it's very difficult to keep up.  But I managed to, as I said, you know, stay composed and stay confident.
Start of the second set is like a start of a new match for me, like what happened with Cilic.  Opponent plays a great set.  All I can do is say, Well done, and keep on going.
I have had this particular situation so many times in my life, and I know that I have done several times a great comeback and fighted my way through, and this has happened again today.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about shaking off those starts?  You say Cilic, you lost the first set, and that was...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's all mental in the end of the day.  Again, you know, we know that Roger is going to stay close to the line and be very aggressive from the start.
Sometimes you manage to play well.  Sometimes he puts pressure on you and it takes its toll.  But the match is best of three, so that's what matters the most for me.

Q.  You have had Marian here in your corner here this week.  Have you had much contact with Boris?

Q.  What do you discuss?  Is it the mental aspects?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, every second day we were on the phone, and he was on the phone with Marian, following every match, and of course we talk about everything.  I'm looking forward to see him now in Miami, and hopefully we can have another good week.

Q.  You gave him a couple of hugs in the end.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I hope, in Miami, I hope I'm going to give that hug to Boris, as well.

Q.  Is it just a few little things he says that just bring back elements of your game that perhaps have drifted away, or...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, look, you know, Marian is definitely somebody that knows me so well, and I won my first and now today's title, every title in my life with him, professionally.
We have been working together for eight years, and he's been more than just a coach to me.  Great support, mentor, older brother and father, whatever you want to call it.
We had the great relationship.  He knows me very well.  And Boris is new to our team, so it's still a process of getting to know each other, and, you know, people of course always question if Boris should be there or not be there, you know, now that Marian, first tournament he won the title with me, and Boris didn't do that in Australia and Dubai.
But, look, it's the start of the season.  We are all working together as a team.  It doesn't make any difference now.  Boris is the head coach and Marian respects that, I respect that, and we hope for success.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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