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March 28, 2014

Novak Djokovic


NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's such a big event, and from a player's perspective, it's never nice to have a walkover to go on to the finals without a fight.
I mean, he has had an incredible quarterfinals match against Roger, and he told me (indiscernible) pain in the left groin.  I found out right after my warmup, and, you know, that's unfortunate really for the tournament.  Now the only thing I can think about is finals and focus on winning the title.

Q.  You have three days off now before the final.  You had a little warmup.  How will that change your practice this afternoon or tomorrow getting ready for Sunday, the winner of Berdych or Nadal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, depending on who I play, which kind of sparring partner, a left‑hander or the right‑hander, I will see.
Obviously Nadal is playing some great tennis this week.  Tomas, too.  I think Tomas is playing the best tennis of his life, to be honest, since the beginning of the year, believing he can win the big matches more.   Anything can happen.
It will be a good match to watch.  I will enjoy it.  I will watch it and discuss with my team and try to prepare tactically and get some hours tomorrow on the practice court and get ready.

Q.  The good news is it's easy physically not to have to play a match.  The bad news is it throws off your normal rhythm.  People talk about the time when you played Rafa at the French Open, a walkover, more time than necessary.  Talk about the mental challenges.  You have to be ready to play very good tennis from the start with three days off.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Sure.  Well, it's not the first time it happens for me to have the opponent pulling out, and maybe it's the first time I have twice in the same tournament.
But it is the way it is, and you kind of have to deal with that.  And mentally‑‑ you know, I practiced better today.  I got about 30, 40 minutes on the center court.  I got, you know, good rhythm.
I'm trying just to keep up, you know, keep up whatever I have been doing the last 10 days.  I have won Indian Wells, which gave me a lot of confidence, played a lot of matches, put in a lot of hours on the practice court, and hopefully it will pay off.

Q.  Where is your game right now after Australia?  And now this time of year seems to really fit into your game.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yes, it's been a bit slower start than I have had in previous tournaments.  I've won three titles in a row in Australia.  This year I lost quarterfinals.  But look, you know, I lost to a champion.
I knew that both of the matches that I lost in Australia Open and Dubai to Roger were close matches.  I lost in a few points.  I knew my game is there.  I just need to keep on moving, keep on working hard, and mentally believe that I can, you know, come back winning the big events.
It's what happened in Indian Wells.  For many reasons it was a very special tournament for me, because I came back from set down in several matches to win the tournament, and it gave me a lot of wind in the back, a lot of confidence that I carried on in Miami.

Q.  I will ask you more about that.  When is a win not just a victory or a trophy, but the bigger meaning in 2011 when you did the Indian Wells/Miami double, those matches against Rafa seemed to be huge for the year going forward.  What did it mean to come from behind and beat Roger in Palm Springs?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it meant a lot, you know, I just mentioned, for several reasons.  One of them is that I won against Roger who is playing some great tennis this year again.
To come back from a set down and, you know, win 7‑6 in the third, it meant a lot for my confidence.

Q.  (Indiscernible) the result here can potentially change how your year goes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Absolutely.  You know, I knew that.  That's why I was trying hard.  Roger is, if not mentally toughest, then definitely one of the toughest mental opponents that I ever played against.
He's a big‑time player.  He loves playing big stage and has so much success in his career.  So it was a big one for me, and as I said, I carried it to Miami, and hopefully I can get another one on Sunday.

Q.  I want to ask you, there has been a lot of coaching changes.  You brought on Boris Becker who is not here.  He had double hip surgery.  What, have you been practicing with him a little too hard?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (Laughter.)  I wish.  I was talking to him about eventually next time we are going to hit, or actually first time we're gonna hit, because I haven't seen him playing a lot of tennis in the last couple years.  He had obviously both hip surgeries a few days ago.
He told me that for grass courts, he'll be ready, serve and volley.  I look forward to that.

Q.  He wasn't scheduled to have the hip surgery this week.  It was supposed to be later.  But he changed, and you made a late shift.  You got Marian.  When do you expect Becker back in the mix?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I spoke to Boris.  He was supposed to be here.  Boris from this year is a half coach in my team, and Marian is a second coach.
But Marian knows me for so many years, and luckily for me Marian accepted to be here with me in Miami because of the specific situation with Boris.
But, you know, people started talking because I lost in Australia and Dubai both when Boris was present, and theystarted questioning if he's the right person to be next to me.
But I am sure he is.  I'm sure he's the right choice.  I talked with Marian several times about it.  I really am excited to have such a tennis legend in my team, and he can definitely contribute in a positive way to my team.
It's just the beginning of the year.  The success that I had in Indian Wells and now here in Miami is not just Marian's benefit, but it's also, you know, Boris' input that we worked on first couple months.

Q.  How much do you watch, like during these tournaments, where you watch Rafa and you watch Roger and Andy to kind of see what they are doing before you potentially play them?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I follow their matches, and of course it's my job not just to play on the court but also scout, you know, watch all the ups and downs and other advantages and potential flaws of what my potential opponents are.
I have seen a couple matches of Rafa's.  He's hitting the ball really well, feeling confident on this court.  He never won this tournament, so I think that is an extra motivation for him.
But, as I said, Berdych is also playing very good.  He had a lot of firepower last night.  Raonic was relatively close to winning against Rafa.
It's going to be interesting.  For me, on a positive note, I'm going to be very well rested and physically prepared for Sunday.

Q.  The Nishikori injury brings up the fact of how tough it is to play day after day against top guys.  You have been able to stay relatively injury‑free.  (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think several things combined.  (Indiscernible.)  The schedule, I have a great team of experts of people around me that have, you know, the right understanding of, you know, my body or the way I work, the way I recover.
You know, all of these things together, it gives you the, you know, the painless career and trying to avoid as much injury as you can.  Tennis is a very demanding sport.  You have to travel ten out of twelve months and change surfaces on a weekly basis.  It all can affect the body.
Luckily for me I have been having the right schedule and knowing when to push harder when to slow down.  It's giving me a longer career.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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