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May 28, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  How did you feel out there today?  How do you feel about the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, the conditions were changing from the beginning to the end.  So again, it was another match where I had to stay mentally tough and then try to be consistent and not have, you know, many ups and downs.
I knew he's gonna come out trying to take his chances with the forehand, and he has a big serve.  But, you know, I managed to make him play an extra shot.  I managed to stay solid from the baseline, and I think that forced him to make a lot of unforced errors, which definitely helped me to win in straight sets.

Q.  Seeing favorites of the tournament, men's side and women's side, losing, is it sending an extra warning to the ones who remain in the draws?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, in the Grand Slam we all know that in the opening rounds that the lower‑ranked players have a lot of motivation to play their best and to win against top players on the big stadiums.
I just saw that Serena also lost.  So, I mean, it's definitely a surprise to see the big favorites coming out.
But again, you can never underestimate any opponent in a Grand Slam, because Grand Slams are, you know, the biggest events we have in this sport, and it's where all the players want to perform their best and it's where they get this extra strength and inspiration to play their best.

Q.  Wawrinka when he lost, he said that suddenly it has all become way too much for him, the pressure, expectations, and that we don't realize how hard it is for you, Roger, and Rafa, to do it weeks in, weeks out.  Can you reflect on this a bit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I mean, it's part of the sport.  It's part of what you're doing.
I can say from my side I always have kind of high ambitions for myself in terms of results and in terms of goals.
But with that, there is a lot of responsibility, a lot of hard work, a lot of understanding on and off the court, what you need to do and what you need to become in order to have the chance to be successful.
So I understand what is Wawrinka going through.  2008 when I won my first Grand Slam, I know how that period went after that.  It's the first time that you have to encounter pressure or expectations, you know, of being a favorite on Grand Slams.
I think it's a new experience, and it's something that is going to be with him for the rest of his career, because he's a Grand Slam winner now, so he's going to be favorite in most of the events where he plays.
That's something new.  It's a new dimension, I think, from the mental aspect, but it's part of the sport.

Q.  Speaking of 2008, do you remember the kind of feelings you had after you won your first major?  What did you struggle with the most?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think I can identify myself with Stan.  What he's saying is that from the mental perspective, the expectations and the pressure and suddenly all the attention is directed to you.
Before that, you had really not much pressure or you were just going out there and playing the tennis and swinging through and not really thinking too much about the things off‑court.
And suddenly you have to start thinking about everything else, you know.  I mean, you don't have to, but it's just there.  Media, thanks to you guys, we get to feel that more and more in Grand Slams (smiling).
But as I said, it's all part of the sport, part of what we do.  With, I think, the great success comes great responsibility.  And it's all part of the growing up, part of development.  I guess it's all a big lesson in the end of the day.
But over the years I realized that the pressure is a privilege, because it means that you're doing something that is valuable.  I always dreamed of being at the top of the game and competing for big titles.
And, you know, I'm fortunate in my life to be able to feel the pressure, you know.  It means that I'm up there, I'm competing on a high level.

Q.  I want to ask you about the football World Cup.  Who is your favorite and why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's difficult to pick up.  There are so many great teams.  I'm going to be supporting the ‑‑ unfortunately, Serbia is not there, so I'm going to be supporting the neighboring countries.  Bosnia and Croatia, they are playing.  Few others.
I love football, you know.  I will be watching, of course, as all the other tennis players, I guess.  I can't pick up ‑‑there are so many great teams.  Spain.  Brazil is the host.  Germany is always tough.  It's difficult to say, and I'm not an expert in football, so I better keep it with tennis.

Q.  Since you're an expert in tennis, then, if we asked you to pick the favorite for the women's title now that both the top two seeds are out, who would you pick?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The women's?  Well, I would love Serbian players to win, Ana and Jelena.  But, you know, it's a long ways.  Still only the beginning of the tournament.
The next seeds, Sharapova is probably the favorite to win it because she has won this tournament in the past and played finals.  I think she's in a good form.
Ana has been playing really, really well.
Who knows?  The experience of having in the past the title here can help mentally.  Now that you see that the top two seeds are out, it can mentally give you that push that you need.

Q.  I have a question but it's not really about your game.  I'm writing an article about tennis players in the top, I don't know, 30 that are not living in their own country.  It's generally for training purposes and also people are saying maybe for tax reason.  I was wondering for you when you decided to make that decision, what is the rationale, and what are the advantage of when you took that decision a few years ago?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, Monte‑Carlo is a place where a lot of athletes in general live and a lot of tennis players in last couple of decades.
The first time I arrived to Monte‑Carlo was for qualifications of the tournament when I was 17, and after then I started spending a little bit more time there because my coach lives there, my former coach still lives there, Riccardo Piatti, who is now working with Raonic.  So I worked with him for a year.
I used that as a training base.  At that time I was still living in Serbia.
And then I, you know, I like the place for several reasons.  Most importantly, I have my own place there, and I can dedicate my time and focus myself to the tennis.  I just enjoy it.  At this stage of my life, that's something that is very valuable.

Q.  Playing Marin Cilic next could be the very first test for you in this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I think even today was a test.  I mean, Jeremy has had a couple of good weeks.  But, you know, I managed to play some good tennis and already feeling like I'm improving the game as the tournament progresses.
And of course, I'm going to have to be playing even better against Marin next round.  Since he started working with Ivanisevic he's playing very, very, very good.  He had some injury and he was not playing on the tour for a couple of months and then started working with Goran who worked on his serve, I think.
He's a big guy, and he can play really aggressive.  If he feels the ball well, he can be dangerous.  I don't know on which court I'm going to play, but also depending on the conditions it can affect obviously the match.

Q.  What do you think of the clay here compared to other clay surfaces?  How dirty does it leave your socks and shoes and basically your body?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, luckily where I'm staying there is a washing machine, so I'm washing my socks every day (laughter).  So it doesn't matter really how dirty.
These are the best clay courts in the world, no question about that.  Roland Garros has always had this tradition and history of the best courts and this surface.  And, you know, this year the weather has been so‑and‑so, you know, a lot of rain, and it makes the job very difficult for the people who are working on the courts.
But, you know, regardless of that, I still think that these are the best courts.

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