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Pacific Life Open: Novak Djokovic, March 15, 2008
   

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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN


 

March 15, 2008


 

Novak Djokovic


INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Became a little difficult at the end, but otherwise it was okay for you, was it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's the first match. You always want to pick up the best things in the match, and try to keep the high level of performance. I started well, and I played first set pretty solid. I played as much as I needed to.
But then suddenly in the end of the second set, match point, since that match point, I started making a lot of mistakes. But anyway it was a very ugly match to watch, a lot of unforced errors. The people who don't -- who were not in that kind of situation on the court were not professional tennis players.
They don't know what was going on, because it was so windy that you couldn't get the rhythm, so that probably caused a lot of unforced errors.

Q. What's he got about his game? He's beaten Nadal this year. What makes him dangerous?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He likes to rally. He rhythm and he likes fast balls from the baseline. He's really, really solid on both sides. He has not such a good serve, so he needs to improve on that.
But in total, in general, he's a very, very difficult opponent to play against, especially on the hard courts and indoors. He likes to be low; he likes the speed. So what I was trying to do, I was trying to change the pace a lot, not to give him the same pace, and that's what I did.
So I'm satisfied. It could be better, of course, but we have to look on the brighter side. I won. That's what matters.

Q. I saw your bit on Leno on Thursday night.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: How was I?

Q. It was good. Very entertaining, as usual. Very charismatic. You came on and admitted being nervous, and I was wondering why, considering the big moments performed on the tennis court, you're known for being a good communicator. What made you nervous?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Believe me, it's absolutely different. I was in many shows, and I had tons and tons of interviews in my career, in my life, but this was something else, you know. English is not my first language. I speak it well, but even though I tried -- I try to be funny, casual, smart, simple, everything, you can't -- when you're thinking about a thousand things and you have thousand thoughts, what should you say?
With Jay, everything happens so fast. He asks you questions and you have to answer in small period of time. But it was exciting, anyhow. I think it came out in a good way. But even though I had a lot of important matches on tennis courts in front of 20,000 people, this was something else.

Q. How did that all happen that you got on the Tonight Show?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You think I don't deserve?

Q. No, I was just wondering.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have people working for me. I have agents, and I have a lot of people in my team, so they arranged that. And Jay -- Jay wanted to host me in the show, so, you know, I realized that it's very important for me to go there, and I was really looking forward to it, because I like that kind of shows because it's very, very relaxed, very outgoing, and you talk about some other things, you know.
You don't talk about tennis, tennis all the time. You don't need to repeat the same answers and questions. He improvised, so it was good.

Q. Do you have an equivalent talk show in Serbia? Anything like that on Serbian television?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Like that, no, but I might do it. I just don't have enough time. I just don't have enough time.

Q. You talked after the match about what this tournament kind of means to you and what it meant to your career last year. Can you kind of expand upon that more, just what this place meant to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: After this tournament I got to top 10, you know. So it was the kind of important moment in turning point in my career. I played my first Masters Series finals here, and this is where I think I got that extra thing in my head, which I needed to have. It's confidence, and believe that I can win against the top players and then to be there.
After that, you know, Miami, I won Miami, and more or less uphill since that moment.

Q. Can you talk about that extra thing? Is it more than just confidence? Is it belief?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it's a belief, I think, in the first place, bottom line, is that this is a very mental sport. As I was saying before, everybody's working hard; everybody's physically ready. The tennis has changed since 15 years, but the difference between the top players, champions, and the other ones is mental strength and ability to play good and important moments.

Q. When did you realize you kind of got that extra, you know, thing? When it kind of switched in your head? Was it immediately after this tournament? Did it take a few weeks?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, it doesn't come right away. Everything takes time. So I was never rushing anywhere. Even though I'm only 20 years of age I had a lot of success and great achievements in career, but I tried always to go step by step. As I said, after this tournament I really felt good.

Q. Malisse or Kohlschreiber in the next round. They're pretty explosive shot makers. Do you like playing against that kind of guy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. It's going to be pretty difficult opponent, whoever wins out of those two players, and so I'll try to have a look with my coach actually, and then try to see what I need to -- what I need to play and get a tactic ready.
I haven't played against Malisse or neither Kohlschreiber, so it's going to be a new opponent, new experience, and could be dangerous. But I think both of the players are playing, as you said, the very big shot makers, and I think it fits to my game.

Q. Did you see Kohlschreiber and Roddick? Did you watch that at the Australian Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. I mean, he's a great player and he's very talented and he produces a lot of power and speed. It's strange, because he's not that strong, you know. He's small. But obviously the low balance, you know, helps him.

Q. You mentioned kind of steps in your career. I imagine that a next step would be a No. 1 ranking. Is that something that motivates you, and is that something you think is attainable this year with a good season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, everything is possible, still, even this season, but I don't want to push myself over the limits. I know what I'm capable of, and I think -- I know that I have enough quality to be in that spot. But now, of course, it's a matter of time, sooner or later. And even if I don't make my lifetime goal to be No. 1, you know, still not going to be -- it's not going to be the end of the world.
I'm just trying to be focused on what I do 100 percent, go step by step, and the results will come sooner or later.

Q. You've had tremendous success on hardcourts. When you step on a hardcourt, do you walk in feeling like you may be the best hardcourt player in the game right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes, of course, considering results that I have made on this surface in last year and a half or so, of course, the people give me a role of the favorite in any match I play, and, of course, one of the best players in the world on this surface.
I don't know. I never wanted to put myself in that position, you know. I am the best on the hardcourt and, you know, everybody else, you know, are not that good. I didn't want, because that gets another extra pressure and of course there is a lot of expectations. I'm aware of that.
And obviously this helps me to improve and to get better and get more experience, and then I like the challenge.

Q. How would you qualify your relationship with Roger Federer at this point?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we never had any problems. I mean, we are not, I don't know, friends. We don't have such a great friendship, but, of course, I respect his results and him as a sportist (sic), so all credit to that.

Q. Are you working on any other impersonations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I never work on my impersonations. They just come spontaneous.

Q. So Nadal, you do a lot of great impersonations of Nadal, Andy, Roger, Maria. Which is your favorite one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. I wasn't thinking about it too much, but probably Maria.
 

 

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