home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 23, 2014

Novak Djokovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Coming off the Rome title, obviously having a week now to sort of process that, how good are you feeling about Paris at this moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, the tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me.  For my confidence level it's definitely a booster and positive thing, and hopefully I can carry that confidence coming into Roland Garros.
It's obviously different than Rome tournament.  It's a Grand Slam.  It's two‑weeks long event, best of five, and there is a feeling that most ‑‑almost all of the players who are participating in the event have an extra motivation to perform well in this tournament comparing to the other events.

Q.  In regards to the tragedy in Serbia, how are you going about getting the information out?  What have you been doing just to kind of keep the world abreast of the situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's devastating times.  The floods are epic proportions.  They have forced many people to flee homes.  Many people lost everything that they have, that they possessed, and even the loss of the close ones.
So it is one of the biggest tragedies that the countries of Serbia and Bosnia and Croatia had in their history, so the positive thing is that these nations who had conflicts very recently, 20 years ago, have at least for certain time now forgot about that and they show their solidarity and support to each other.
There is this unity that defines these nations at this moment, which definitely helps all three countries to recover as fast and most efficient as they can.  Obviously floods, as they are backing up now, the process of recovery is just starting.  It's going to go for a long time.  We are talking about many years depending on the help that we get from abroad.
That was, in a way, my mission and mission of the people who have certain status and certain opportunity internationally to spread the awareness.  Wasn't easy because I was playing a tournament in Rome, so part of me was focused on the tournament.  Part of me was with my thoughts and with my people back home.
You know, first thing I did is obviously try to raise the awareness internationally as much as I can within the media, get the attention going to what's going on.  Hopefully it worked, because I see that there is, you know, many media now that are interested in what's going on down there.
If it's because of me or somebody else, it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that people are starting to talk about it.  We need help, of course, all three countries.  We need help, and we need as much as we can get.
You know, in these difficult times, there is no really priority except trying to do your best to save the people and the nation, because natural force and natural disaster is something that is just a higher force.
It's something you can't fight.  You have to just pray and hope that it can go fast.

Q.  You have been knocking on the door of this major for a few years now.  How does it feel different this time coming to Paris to try and win the Open maybe compared to 2011 which, you came in undefeated or last few years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Last few years have been quite successful for me in Roland Garros, especially the last two where I played finals and semifinals and lost in both of the matches against Nadal, who has the best record on clay and best record here in Roland Garros, and obviously still No. 1 favorite to win the tournament this year.
But, you know, I have played some epic matches against him, especially the one last year in the semifinals.  We went the distance.  I think it was 10‑8 in the fifth.  So even though it was a tough loss on me and, you know, I was putting a lot of emotional effort into winning this event last year, I still take the positives from that tournament.  Knowing that I have gotten closer and closer each year to the title gives me enough reason to be confident for the start of this year.
As I said, the Rome title and the Rome win in the finals against Nadal is something that, you know, winning against Nadal on clay is something that doesn't happen every day.
So it definitely helps my confidence, my self‑belief.  And I'm healthy and obviously very motivated and inspired to play my best tennis here.

Q.  Any thoughts on playing Soasa the first round?  And how maybe more nerves for favorites in tournaments when it's about starting.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Sorry, the second part?

Q.  Makes you maybe more nervous when you have to play the first round of a Grand Slam like this because of the expectations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's not the first time that I have to face the kind of pressure or expectation of being a favorite and going far in the tournament.
Soasa is a specialist for this tournament.  I have played him I think last year in US Open on hard court, but obviously, as I said, he loves playing on clay.  That's his most preferred surface.
Especially in the early rounds it's important not to underestimate any opponent and not take anything easy, and, you know, with not maximum of dedication.
Because going back to the story from before, all of the 128 players are extra motivated to perform the best they can on the Grand Slams, because all the sport's attention is directed to this tournament.
So this is where they want to shine.  That's where‑‑ for us top players, it's always tricky to face the opponents who have nothing to lose in the opening rounds.
So I will try from the beginning of the tournament in that first round to, you know, play my best game regardless of who I play against.  I will not try to save the energy for later, because it's‑‑ anyway, there is always a day between the matches.
I know what to do.  I have played many Grand Slams in my life, and I look forward to it.

Q.  In the Rome final you had two points to 3‑Love in the third set and then you had 3‑1 and Rafa came back to 3‑All.  I was just watching the television.  Seemed like at 3‑All you went, Forget about the past.  Do you remember that moment?  You could have got discouraged at that time.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, I remember very well.  He played great two games from 1‑3 down to come to 3‑All.  Started getting more depth on his shots and started hitting his forehand.  He played a great game and he broke me back and 3‑All was on even ground.
From that moment on it was anybody's game.  But mentally in these matches, whoever gets the momentum going, whoever gets the mental edge, he gets the pole position for winning the match.
I didn't get discouraged by that.  I didn't get frustrated.  I just, you know, told myself, Be in the present moment and let's start over.  I played the best three games of the match when it mattered the most.

Q.  Can you just confirm that this week you'll have Marjan and Boris together as your coaching staff.

Q.  Can you elaborate a little bit as to how they work together, why you prefer for them both to be here for the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Again, I think I answered this question a lot.
Okay.  As I was saying before, I'm really glad to have Boris, a legend of the sport and a champion and somebody that knows exactly what kind of pressures and mental challenges I encounter on the court, especially in big tournaments like this.
That's one of the biggest reasons he's part of the team.
The transition from Marjan to Boris will, in my opinion‑‑ and their opinion, as well‑‑ that's why they are here together.  It will be more efficient and smoother and better if they are both present in the tournament.  Because Marjan is not just a coach to me, he's a friend.  He's somebody that knows me very well.
We traveled and worked with each other for over eight years.  I won my first and then now the last title with him in my box, so there is this special connection that we have.
That's why he can help not just myself but also Boris to understand how we work.  I was very glad to win the title with both of them in Rome.  Definitely helps before coming into Roland Garros, that is one of the priorities of the season.

Q.  It used to be always about the Big 4 before the Grand Slam.  After what happened at the Australian Open and also in Monaco, do we have to consider Wawrinka one of the favorites?  Maybe you played him a lot.  You can talk a little bit what made him so much stronger in the last, say, one year or ten months.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Absolutely.  I think we should ‑‑and he deserves to be considered as one of the favorites to win the title because of the fact that he had one of the best results of all the players this year.
He won first Grand Slam; he won the Monte‑Carlo tournament in great fashion winning against some top players.
He proved to everybody that he is one of the contenders for Grand Slam titles.  He already won one Grand Slam, so now from the mental perspective he's going to be, let's say, more familiar or easier for him to approach Grand Slams because he knows how, what it takes to win it.
I think his game was always very powerful.  He always had a game that he could hurt any player on any surface, but it was just a matter of his self‑belief.
I think now mentally he's gotten stronger and more experienced in the big matches.  You can see the reflection of that and the results that he has.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297