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June 1, 2014
N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga
6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑1
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions in English, please.
Q.Â Actually, I have a question that I'm sorry to intervene at this moment.Â It doesn't have to do with the match, but you wrote your great book, which was very moving about the war situation.Â I just wanted to ask you a question about something you wrote in there where you said describing the bombing during the war.Â You said:Â "Once you realize that you're truly powerless, a certain sense of freedom takes over to truly accept your own powerlessness is incredibly liberating."Â I find that pretty powerful.Â Could you talk about that experience, please.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Well, to put it in simple words, it's truly incredible and something I don't wish for any human being to experience, the power of war and the power of being just helpless out there.
There is nothing that you can do, basically, if you have an air strike like we had for two‑and‑a‑half months.Â So we were just praying for that to be finished and for this agony to go away as quickly as possible, because many civilians were killed, many people lost their homes, lost, you know, many things that still even today they couldn't recover.
But from my personal experience, as much as it was devastating, it was also very helpful in terms of my mental strength.Â It shaped up my personality incredibly in such way that I didn't have much fears after that, you know, after being afraid for your own life and with your close ones.Â There is not many things that you can fear after that.
Q.Â So do you think resilience is one of your stronger qualities now, now that you're in mid career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Yeah, resilience, persistence, just faith in general, just belief that there is better tomorrow.
And of course, in the end of the day, appreciation for everything that you have in life.Â Because I know how it is for, you know, having nothing in the life, really starting from scratch.Â And then, you know, being able to play the sport that I love and having an opportunity to be two years in a row the best in this sport and winning Grand Slams, it's a blessing.
So I try not to take that for granted.
Q.Â I guess you're pretty happy with the performance today.Â It was clean and smooth.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â The performance was great from the start till the end.Â I came with the exact level of intensity that I was looking for before the start of the match.
Two years ago was kind of a similar situation where I started very well, won the set 6‑1 and I was 4‑2 up two years ago and then he managed to come back, and then we had the tough match and that ended up in five sets.
I didn't want the similar scenario.Â Obviously I wanted to win that second set, because I knew that Jo is a kind of a player that feeds off the energy of the crowd, and he loves playing in Roland Garros.Â He started very slow.Â He made a lot of unforced errors.Â I was very solid from back of the court, and then I knew what I needed to do.
Then, you know, being 5‑2 up and then losing the serve 5‑4, that was a very important game that I played very well to finish the second set 6‑4.Â It was a mental relief in the end.Â The match went great in every single way for me.
Q.Â Looking ahead to your next match, what are your thoughts on that?Â You had a tough one with him in Rome recently.Â How are you approaching it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Milos is playing the tennis of his life.Â He's top 10 now, established top‑10 player.Â He has one of the best serves in the world.Â Very powerful, very precise.
When he serves that well, there is not much you can do, really.Â He puts a lot of pressure on his opponent, and he has ‑‑I think he improved a lot from the baseline now.Â With his backhand he's hitting down the line, he's very aggressive, which he should be, of course, for somebody of his height and his build.Â You know, he's powerful and he uses that serve.Â Forehand is also very good from back of the court.
So there is an evident improvement in his game and he feels more confident on the court.Â You can feel that.Â The recent match we had in Rome, as you mentioned, was very close.
I don't expect anything different now.Â You know, I know that I'm going to have to face somebody that is going to serve over 200 kilometers per hour in average throughout the whole match.
But I'm ready for that.Â I have played great today, and I know what's expecting me next one.
Q.Â I know you used to know Ernests Gulbis quite well since you were kids.Â I was wondering if you watched the match he played against Federer.Â If you did, do you think he's on his way to become the top 5 player that everybody expected him to years ago?Â I wanted to hear your thoughts on that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Yeah, I think he played the French Open quarterfinals in 2008 already.Â He's very talented player with a lot of power.Â His attitude on the court shows that he's confident.
You know, I know him since long time.Â When I was 14, 15 is when he showed up in anything Niki Pilic tennis academy.Â So we know each other really, really well.Â I congratulated him on his win today, because I thought he played courageous and aggressive when he needed to, and he deserved to win.
I saw quite a bit of the match, because I was playing after them.Â He played really well.
Obviously more matches you win, the more you build confidence, the better your ranking will be.
But again, he's aware, I'm sure, that, you know, not only one win can get you to where you want to be, and he wants to be at the top of the game, so he needs to be consistent with the results.Â But this surely can serve him as a great confidence booster.
Q.Â I know you know Maria Sharapova pretty well from doing the Head commercials and before that, also.Â What do you like most about her on court and off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â What makes her different on and off the court?
Q.Â No, what makes her so good on the court and you having watched her and knowing her off court as well,Â I guess.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â First of all, she's a great champion.Â She's somebody who is hard worker, committed to the game, and has been around for many years.
I even practiced with her a couple of times, so I know how committed she is to practice hard and she practices hard as she plays in official match.
You can see her concentration.Â That's why she's at the top of the women's game for so long.Â She has a mindset of a champion.
The other hand, off court she's a different person than on court.Â You know, I think people get maybe a wrong idea, because they see her so serious and so focused, you know, doesn't have much of ups and downs in concentration during the match.Â She doesn't show her personality as much on the official matches.
Off court she's very intelligent.Â She's a very nice girl.Â Yeah, I know her also for quite many years.
Q.Â Still a question about your two coaches.Â I'm curious the exact way in which both of them work together.Â Do both of them talk to you after your matches or just one of them?Â Who's taking charge during your training session?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Well, I cannot tell you exact way we work together, because I don't want you to discover everything, obviously.Â But we do have certain agreements and routines, daily routines, that we started respecting now that we are working as a team.
Everybody's contributing in their own way to my performances and to my success.Â So I'm really glad that it's all fitting together, because it took a little bit of time for all of us to understand in which way is the most efficient.
Q.Â Both of them talk to you after matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Yes, of course, of course.Â Both of them, they have permission to talk to me after the matches, yes (laughter).
Q.Â I wanted to follow up on Maria.Â You had yet another really fun Head commercial.Â I think you were out in the wild west in my country, and then you come across one of our corrupt billionaires, supposed to play an exhibition and you barely escape.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â You saw that?Â With Andy?
Q.Â I'm sorry.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Was it with Andy?Â The last one?Â Because the little girl wanted to see Maria Sharapova.Â That's why you mixed it up.Â But we showed up, and she was disappointed.Â We played for three hours.Â Then we ran away, because we figured out it's very strange family (laughter).
Q.Â That had to be a lot of fun.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â It's a cool story.
Q.Â Do you have one takeaway sound bite or story on making that video?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â You know, it was as funny as the video looks in the post‑production.Â Just having a lot of fun.Â Obviously I know Andy for many years.Â We are same generation.Â There's only week difference in our age.Â We grew up together playing junior events.Â So we get along quite well on and off the court.Â It was quite fun doing that.
That was different because it included a little bit of acting, as well.Â You know, we couldn't just hit the tennis ball as we usually do.Â There is part of the video we are on the court, but there is part where we have to listen and act and make kind of strange faces, you know, being scared, being excited or running away and things like that.
So it was a lot of fun.Â It was like being on a movie set.
Q.Â Ever meet any spoiled kids like were in that video?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Not like that, to be honest (smiling).
Q.Â Coming back to Jo.Â You had a pretty close head to head at the start of both your careers, and then you took over.Â Can you pick some reasons why you have figured it out so well now.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Well, I think after playing so many times and different occasions and surfaces, you start figuring out the game of your opponent.Â The amount of matches that I have played against him, he's one of my biggest rivals, that's for sure.
I played the first Grand Slam final against him.Â We do have something special about our rivalry, about our matches.
I just feel as I won so many matches, consecutive matches against him, different surfaces, more confident coming into the matches and knowing what I need to do, I have a clear game plan in my head.
Q.Â I'd like to ask you if you have talked to Dusan Lajovic very much who will face Nadal next round.Â I know he's young, he talked to you and all you guys to get advice.Â Do you have any advice for him for this match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Yeah, of course, we talk.Â He is generation of my younger brother.Â So I know he's very talented and he's showing his full potential right now.
I'm really glad that Serbia has a new up‑and‑coming tennis star that obviously is performing now at his best on the Grand Slam, which is great to see.
He has made a record of his career now in Grand Slams reaching the fourth round playing against Nadal.Â As he said, it's going to be a dream come true for him playing on the center court.
Q.Â How should he prepare the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Well, I talked with him.Â That's all I'm going to say (smiling).
In the end of the day, you know, one thing is to talk and the other is to do on the court.Â We all know how Rafa is dominant on these courts and on this surface.Â It's going to be a new experience for him.Â I wish him all the best.Â I wish for him to enjoy first, to really go out and enjoy the moment and try to do his best.
Of course, he's going to try to win.Â If he's able to do that or not, you never know.Â Of course, he's not the favorite in the match.Â But again, for him, it's already a big success to get this far.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports