PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 19, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What is the level of the confidence at this point of
the tournament comparing at the same time in Australia and
getting close to that? Are you any better than then?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the characteristic of the top
players is to play better and better, match after match. So
I think I'm doing that. And I'm very happy to finish today's
match in straight sets, knowing that Guillermo is a very
tough opponent. He runs lot and he gives a lot of balls
Obviously I needed to be aggressive and just play my game
and just try to, you know, finish the point as soon as
possible but be patient at the same time. I did good, and I
don't know if I can really compare a performance and level
of the game from Australian Open and here in Indian Wells.
But one thing is for sure: I feel physically good and I'm
looking forward to the upcoming matches.
Q. Was it tough to wait for your match to come on?
Because the match before you was three hours. How tough is
it to stay prepared?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was, yes, but this is a part of the
sport. You just have to get used to it. I was trying to
relax and get some energy and some food. Just the usual
routine before the match. Of course, we were warming up on
and off, but, you know, what can you do?
Q. You were very careful to talk about the future, but if
you can just allow yourself a little bit considering the
Australian, it's already better than last season. Do you
feel this is your season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is of course a lot of talks
about that. I'm not trying to pay attention on those talks
too much, because I don't want to have more pressure than I
I know that there is lost of expectations as the third
player of the world. Obviously I have a role of the favorite
in most of the matches I get in, especially on this surface,
which is my favorite and my most preferred.
So I started the year in great shape, and I hope --
hopefully I can continue going on. Of course, I'm getting
closer to the first two spots in the world. But still my
goal is to just be consistent as much as I can, even more
than last year in major events.
Q. Talk about the next round and what you know about your
opponent. I don't know anything about him.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I know a lot about him. We played many
times. Last meeting we had was in Vienna in the finals where
I won in straight sets and I played one of the best tennis
in my career. So I think he's a great player.
You know, he's doing well recently, and he won against some
good players in this tournament. Baghdatis and Hyung-Taik
Lee, of course. He's not going to have anything to lose
We going to play at 2:00. It's going to be very hot. The
heat will be big, but of course it's same condition for both
of the players.
I'll try to get a tactic ready. There is no secrets. We know
each other for a long time, even from the junior circuit.
And just be myself. Just be aggressive, as I always play.
Q. I happen to note you're out there on the lawn having
some fun, kicking what we call a soccer ball here. How would
you describe yourself as a soccer player or football player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We call it football.
Q. Yeah, I know that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, when I was a kid, I always
wanted to play football. But, of course desire for tennis
was stronger. So I started playing tennis. But I even -- I
always watched football games at home.
Wherever I go, I follow football. This is one of my favorite
sports. This is something that I do jury recreationally just
for fun with my team, with my coaches.
I just -- you know, I like it. It's a great atmosphere in
the team. I always had great surroundings. I'm really happy
that I have people in my team that can be really good
friends off the court as well. It's really important for me.
Q. And of the other tennis players, who is the best
football player around?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, it's tough to say. Well, obviously the
Spanish and Argentinians and South Americans. They really
love football, so they have the best skills.
Q. Serbia has also a wonderful basketball and soccer team
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Football.
Q. Yeah, football. Thank you. But what it's very
difficult to buy a tennis racquet now in Belgrade, and that
is thanks to you and, of course, and Jelena, Ana, and Janko.
Can you elaborate a little bit on that? What does that mean
for the country?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it means a lot. First of all, we have
to consider that the tennis tradition is not long and not
big in Serbia. Just recently, all the media attention and I
think people attention is on tennis.
I can say that the tennis is No. 1 sport popularity-wise in
our country. I'm very happy for that, because we been
working hard for that. It's really nice to see a lot of
female and male players from Serbia doing well, the people I
grow up with. We are the nation of the team sports, as you
said. Basketball, volleyball, waterball. These were our
successful sports and still are. But obviously the people
like something new, and now tennis is individual sport and
attracts a lot of especially young kids to play, and it's
just crazy. It's really nice to see that.
But still, we didn't have a tennis center, which is very
much needed for those kids to develop into the professional
Q. Tsonga obviously lost a really close match against
Nadal today. Do you expect him to be playing at a level for
the rest the year where he can challenge the really top
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if he believes, yes. He has all the
elements in the game and the mental ability, and physically
he's one of the strongest players in the tour in today's
It's a matter of belief in himself. If he really does
believe that he can be consistent with the results and that
he deserves to be there in the top, he can be.
I mean, he showed it in many tough matches in Australia, so
there is no reason not to believe that. But again, it's his
first serious professional approach, I can say, to the ATP
Tour and it's not going to be easy for him mentally to stay
Q. Did that self-belief kick in for you here last year,
or was it before that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes. This was one of the turning
points, I can say, yeah.
Q. What do you take from Rafa's performance today coming
back from 5-2?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was an amazingly long match, so --
well, you know, Rafa, he's used to the long matches already.
He's been playing like this for a couple of years. He's
mentally one of the strongest players in the world, and of
So he's the kind of player that never gives up. That's, I
think, what Tsonga learned today. Even though he was serving
for the match and having a lot of opportunities, there is no
giving up for Nadal.
He's going to play every point even if he's losing easy, you
know, in the first set. So it's great to see him fighting
through, so I think he deserves it.
Q. This issue about believing -- a couple years ago it
was just Nadal and Federer. Now you're in that group. There
are really three people they're talking about. The
differences between you Nadal and Federer, on any given day,
is the believing the biggest part of it, who believes the
best that day and doesn't lose their confidence?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Exactly, and the consistency, as well, of
the high level of play and consistency of the good results
on the major events. Probably that's the most important
thing now between us three.
Again, looking at the game in general, we are more or less
very much different from each other. You know, we have
different styles. So it's good to see some variety in the
top of the men's tennis and it's good for the fans to follow
Q. Andy Murray was just in here talking a little bit
about his actual dreams and how that sort of helped him in
his own thinking. Have you had some interesting dreams about
tennis? I know it's an unusual question, but I wanted it ask
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think everybody has dreams about a lot of
things they want to achieve and experience in the life. I
think everybody's dream is to win a Grand Slam. I was always
-- I was dreaming too to be in that position one day and I
achieved it. So I was saying after the Australian Open it's
like a dream come true, so it really is. But, you know,
everybody has a different approach to the tennis. Everybody
has different desires and different wishes to succeed.
Q. I was talking about like dream dreams. Like when you
wake up in the morning and you're winning Roland Garros.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't understand.
Q. Literal dreams when you're sleeping.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. Let's go to next question.
Enough with the dreaming.
Q. I was just looking up on the Internet and your karaoke
at the French Open was very popular. Can you talk about
that? Also, I was talking to Lleyton Hewitt and Svetlana
Kuznetsova, and they made it sound like they were tricked
into it. Can you talk about how that all came about? The "I
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was spontaneous. It was not planned
or something. They just came up to me the day before we were
supposed to do it and said, You want to do it? I said, Okay.
You know, I never seen it. Actually, I seen it the year
before and I liked it. It's something new. It's great.
Well, you have a lot of time obviously during the day in
your daily-basis routine. You have to practice, play match
or whatever. But still, you have a lot of time. This is
something that helps you relax and keep your mind on
something else. It was a little bit of improvisation by me,
taking off the shirt, but obviously I got into it a lot and
-- but it is a nice experience and I will be more than
pleased to do it again.
Q. What will you sing this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know.
Q. Thought about it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm thinking of some songs. I'll keep it as
Q. There's a top 10 list and you were No. 1. Who are the
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course.
Q. Could you have done it without taking off your shirt
and still been No. 1?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I was surprised of being No. 1, because
I thought for sure there was someone better. I was screaming
in the microphone, just taking off the shirt and obviously
some girls voted for me.
Q. Who did you like of the ones that you did see? Which
ones impressed you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I liked Rafa's "La Bamba." Yeah, I haven't
seen all. I like the year before that Hewitt was singing
"Eye of the Tiger" and it was characteristic for him.
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