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May 26, 2014

Novak Djokovic


6‑1, 6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  On a day like this, how do you approach all of the rain delays and everything?  You play cards with boys?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Actually, I didn't have that much time to spare in the locker room.  So I spend time resting and just try and saving the energy, I guess, for what was coming up.

Q.  Can I ask what you and the ball boy were talking about?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  We had a nice chat.  He's a tennis player, so I asked him how long he's playing, and, you know, how he's enjoying his time as a ball kid.
It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams.  But we waited for around 10 minutes in the pouring rain on the court, so I felt there's something I should do and make a new friend (smiling).  He accepted the offer to sit down, which I didn't think he would do, but he did.  So he's very spontaneous little boy, and I hope I see him my next match.

Q.  What are your thoughts on your performance today?  What do you think about Chardy next round?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, today I played for most of the match quite solid.  End of the match was not so nice from my side.  Dropped the serve twice.
But, you know, very heavy conditions.  The court is not that great, in a great condition at this moment.  But of course, considering the amount of the rain that we had in last four or five days, it is not easy for people to maintain the court in the right state.  They are doing their best.
In my opinion there are a few times today they maybe should have covered the court earlier.  So I think the chair umpire should have made a decision earlier to take us off the court and cover the court.  I'm talking for the court's sake, you know, for a good condition, because it was a lot of rain.
I know that on clay, of course, we can play with certain, I guess, level of rain, but still it's not that great for the court's condition.
Considering my next opponent, playing French tennis player in France, we all know how challenging that is.  He had a big win against Federer in Rome, so I'm sure he's very motivated to play his best.
But I was looking forward to this tournament for a long time.  I'm in a good form, and hopefully I can use that against Chardy.

Q.  I just bought your book, "Serve to Win," and I'm reading it ‑‑
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In English or Italian?

Q.  In Italian.  But we cannot speak Italian.  I listen to you.  You were good, brilliant.  Anyhow, let's go with my poor English.  Pigeon English, as they say.  I read that you became the best of yourself, what you are now when you stop with the gluten.  So I see something that I didn't know, and I wanted to ask, for instance, even for me, if I stop with the gluten, I become a better writer?  (Laughter.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Oh, God.  Thank you for your question.  I'm sorry.  (Laughter.)
Q.Go ahead.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What was the question again?  If you don't eat gluten, would you be a better writer?

Q.  I hope.  It's my last chance.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I hope for you.
I think you're a good writer.  You have a great history in your career.

Q.  For a Nobel Prize...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  For a Nobel Prize?  That's your goal?  I will support ‑‑I will vote for you.  I'm sure that gluten is a great obstacle for your writing.  You should change your diet, definitely.  Pizza with no gluten, it's good, also.

Q.  I know.  I heard about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  But in the south of Italy to have pizza without gluten is not so recommended.

Q.  I have to fire my cook at home, unfortunately, with your suggestion.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I can assume who your cook at home is.  But you don't want to say that.
Greetings to your wife.

Q.  Well, that's a tough act to follow.  It's going to be a very mundane question, in comparison.  But you talked about the rain, maybe the courts should have been covered to protect it from the rain.  And you didn't think the court was in the greatest condition.  I'm wondering if you could describe in a little bit more detail how it is that having the rain in the clay affects the clay and changes the way, it changes the way the game is played.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it does change quite a bit, because the balls get big, get heavier as the conditions on the court ‑‑clay is a specific surface.  So, I mean, the more water you have, the more it's raining, the heavier it is.  And the more difficult it is for you to move, to penetrate the shots, to go through the court with your shots, everything becomes slower.
So it is more effort on your body, in general.

Q.  Is Rafa Nadal a favorite to win the French Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes (laughter).  Yes.  After eight times that he has won here, I think he deserves that role.

Q.  We all know the rain is kind of a disturbing thing for tennis player.  There is going to be a roof in 2018, but during that period, I'm kind of curious, how do you deal with such thing?  You just try to stay focused and not thinking about raining, sort of stop and begin again?  Or you just stay here to wait for the rain to stop?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I pray for the rain to stop.
First of all, I hope I will be playing in 2018 when there is roof here in Roland Garros.  But up to then I guess we have to deal with the weather as it is.  It's the same for me and my opponent.  You know, I can't be the one finding excuse, it's raining, it's condition such‑and‑such.  It's the same for me and the guy that I'm playing against.
So you have to try to, in the end of the day, be the mentally tougher and more composed player on the court, because in these conditions, that can decide a match.

Q.  When the floods hit your homeland, you were active in trying to bring awareness.  Now that it's been just a little while, could you reflect on a few things?  Do you think the flood could bring the different peoples of the Balkans together?  Is there a particular story or two you could share with us?  And also, did that have any effect on the markings for the minefields in that part of the world?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's devastating times for three countries that have been suffering these terrible floods.  It's a natural disaster, and there is not much you can do except pray that it can be over quickly.
Considering your question about people of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and actually the Slavic countries coming together, I think they already did.  They showed the solidarity and support to each other like it hasn't been for 20 years, you know, since the last conflict and the war that we had that didn't bring any good to any of the people.
Maybe Yugoslavia cannot be the same or cannot be as an official country again like it was three decades ago, but at least we can use the situation and show the support in the future and respect to each other.  Because, you know, we are a country ‑‑we all in the region, we are one country 30 years ago and we all worked together, and at least we can try to help each other and become, you know, prosperous countries and become a better people.
Because in this unwinning and undesirable circumstances for all of the countries, this is something that is very positive that we take out from this catastrophe, and that is people being together.

Q.  So when a catastrophe hits, people look at the basics and go beyond?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, sure.  I haven't seen any kind of ‑‑and I have been following constantly the last ten days the news media and so forth, and everything that has been going on, because physically I'm not there, so I try to be present, you know, in some way and contribute as much as I can and support this flood relief.
I haven't seen any negative connotations, any negative stories about what was going on in terms of people's relationship between the countries, because we all know that only 20, 25 years ago there was a huge war that the wounds of these wars are still fresh for the peoples of these countries.
But for 10 days, everything was forgotten, and it still was very calm, very positive.  And actually, people are reacting in a very nice way towards each other and helping each other.
One of the first countries that helped us, you know, in these terrible times when Serbia got hit by floods was Croatia, and their volunteers that came and people in the special circumstances they helped others, and they saved kids, you know.  I have seen one news that one kid was very close to die and, you know, was very close to be drowned, and one Croatian volunteer that came and helped and saved her.
These are the kind of stories that we need to listen, need to be out there more often, because the end of the day we are probably going to be still same independent countries as we were two weeks ago, but I think there is going to be a significant change in terms of relationship between the countries, and this is very positive thing.

Q.  You have of course already been a Grand Slam defending champion.  Were you surprised to see that Nadal was put on Lenglen today for his first match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  In Suzanne Lenglen scheduled?

Q.  Yeah.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, no.  I mean, this is a part of the Roland Garros and all the Grand Slams scheduled, they always have to try to have the top players play at least once or twice on Court 1 or actually Suzanne Lenglen, so it was fine.

Q.  You brought Boris in largely to help you with mental things, I think, in these types of pressure matches because he's been in these types of experiences before.  But like you, at least for now, he never won this tournament.  So what kind of advice is he giving you for the French Open and clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He doesn't tell me serve and volley, that's for sure, on the clay (laughter).  Well, we joked about it a little bit.
But, you know, on a serious note, he is still one of the most successful players to play the game, you know, even though he hasn't won Roland Garros.  But, you know, he has this necessary experience and he recognizes these situations and challenges that are presented and that we have to face in the big tournaments, and I think that's what matters the most from the mental side and perspective he can help me the most.  It started to work more and more, and I feel that we understand each other much better already since Rome.

Q.  And the joke?  What's the joke?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Just said the joke.

Q.  Between you...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  He doesn't tell me to serve and volley on clay.

Q.  Special request in French, if possible.  (Speaking in French.)  What about the ball boy?  Could you tell us the same story in French?  Because it was amazing for the crowd and for you, as well.  You were like surprised that he came to you and asked you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In French.)  I was surprised, but that was pleasant.  He was a ball kid.  I don't know the expression in French.  Oh, too complicated to say for me.
But yes, yes, it was very beautiful situation for me, for him, a nice tennis conversation, of course.

Q.  (In French.)  Does he play tennis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In French.)  Yes, he does play tennis, but, you know, I didn't receive any tips from him for this match.  I don't know why.  Maybe next time, next match, I can speak with him again.

Q.  (In French.)  Another question in French.  Your opponent is Jeremy Chardy, as you said in English.  You have some fears, fears, if I can use the expression, given what he's already done before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  (In French.)  What's the word ‑‑that is fear?  No, I have no fears, at all.  No, I have no fears.  This is what I'm saying.  Yeah, I know the word.  You want me to say again?  I will repeat.  I have no fears.
I'm excited to play against a French player here at Roland Garros.  It's always a challenge.  It's going to be a challenge for both players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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