Monday, 23 June 2008
Novak Djokovic def. Michael Berrer 7‑5, 2‑6, 6‑3, 6‑0
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Novak.
Q. Pleased with that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I'm pleased. I'm pleased to get through. Always
the first matches obviously are tricky ones. I had ups and downs
throughout the match, but I managed to get in the control of the match
towards the end. You know, especially in the fourth set, I was happy
with my performance. It's not easy. You know, playing on the Centre
Court, almost full stadium, a lot of expectations. Most of the first
matches are, you know, the trickiest ones. But happy to get through.
Q. He rolled off five games at the end of the second set. Was that
a case of perhaps you had lost concentration?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I did. I did. You know, I was trying to get used to
the conditions. It's quite different if you are one of the first players
to get on the Centre Court and feel the grass. It feels really great.
I'm really privileged to just be a part of this tournament, which is
really nice. The third match today.
The grass is pretty slow. I was trying to get used to the returns. I was
trying to be aggressive at the same time. But he was serving pretty good
in the first two sets, which was unabling (sic) me to step it up. Maybe
I lost the focus towards the end of the second set, but I managed to
Q. It's probably the most famous tennis court in the world. Is it
a special place for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is. I mean, all this history and tradition which we
have in Wimbledon, it's enough to just have a look. History of this
tournament, it's for me most privileged sorry, most prestigious and the
highest possible tournament that is in sports. Just playing here and
feeling this atmosphere, a lot of fans of course have a big knowledge
about tennis. They respect players. They appreciate what you are doing.
It just feels good to be there.
Q. Can you remember your first matches, who they involved, when
you used to watch from home?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: At the times, probably Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, these
guys. I still have a picture in my head of Pete Sampras holding this
Wimbledon trophy. So this is one of the pictures in my head which stayed
all the way throughout my career and which motivated me actually to
become a professional tennis player.
Q. After such a great year that you've had, are having, have you
noticed any more pressure on you now? When you're going around
Wimbledon, are you being stopped and recognized more than perhaps
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's all part of the sport, and I accept it in that way.
It feels nice when the people come up to you and greet you in a positive
way. Of course, not everybody likes you, but most of the people that
come up to me just congratulate me or just showing me the appreciation
for what I have done in the past two years.
And it feels great, you know, when you get recognized in the streets or
in the tennis site. But sometimes, you know, you just have to avoid that
as much as you can so you can keep the quietness and just have some
private time off and save the energy.
Q. You said some people might not like you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. Not everybody in the world can like you.
Q. But you're a popular player, aren't you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This is not on me to judge, I would say.
Q. When you come to a tournament like Wimbledon, how many people
do you travel with?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, a lot of people. I try to reduce it now. I'm
giving a lot of hard time to organizers probably because of the badges
and accreditations I'm asking for and requesting for.
I mean, everybody wants to come and see. I have a big family, of course.
I have two younger brothers. They're also tennis players and want to
come. I usually bring my parents and brothers as a priority people. And
then, of course, some friends or relatives which all want to be a part
of such a great event.
Q. How do you think about getting to the final four, the semis? Do
you think you have a good chance to get there? You've beaten Lleyton
Hewitt here before. Do you think he's still got the ability to think
that he can get to the final four, perhaps the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, certainly I feel optimistic wherever I go. I have
all the reasons to feel that way. I mean, I've been performing great
tennis in last year or so, especially this year, winning a Grand Slam, a
couple of major titles under my belt.
I have a lot of confidence. And heading to Wimbledon, you know, I gained
much more confidence and I'm, of course, motivated to do even better
than I did last year. Unfortunately I finished that way.
But I've played finals of Queen's, which give me a little bit boost up
and more believe in myself. Of course, the first round, okay, I haven't
played on the top level. But these are you know, the first couple of
rounds you just need to get used to the conditions and go step by step.
So, yes, I feel like I can go a long way. But, still, I need to take it
Lleyton is still a great player, very tough player to play against on
grass. Even though he's maybe not on his top of the level.
Q. Not as good as he used to be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Exactly. He was No. 1. He won a Wimbledon. He played a
couple of finals and semifinals of the Grand Slams. You have to respect
that, obviously. He's mentally one of the toughest players on tour.
Q. We saw Niki Pilic around today. Can you talk about your
relationship with him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. I mean, we have a great relation since I was
12 years old. He helped me a lot with his advices. He dedicated a lot of
his time to my career. I will never forget that. He has a very special
place in my life. He's being involved recently with Serbian Tennis
Federation. That's his purpose of this trip to Wimbledon, just to see
how the Serbian players do, and talk to us, of course, about the
upcoming Davis Cup.
He's still involved not just in my career, but my brothers' careers, as
well. They have a base in his academy.
Q. Was it good sort of preparation for later in the tournament
today, have a big left handed player smashing a few balls back at you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure, sure. As I said, he's a big server. Obviously, he
was going for the shots. He had nothing to lose. I was the favorite in
this match. He felt his opportunity playing on the Centre Court, so you
could see that in the first two sets. It was dangerous, you know. It
could go either way if I wasn't mentally strong enough. But luckily for
me, I have this experience that in certain moments I know how to play,
what shots to play, and it feels good just to get through.
Q. What about more particularly the ball coming from the left
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, sure. I mean, I'm not thinking for finals or
semifinals. But it's certainly good to win against the lefty, because
always the left handed players are different. They use this slice serve
more. They have this, okay, little advantage I can say. There's not many
Q. Did you learn anything about yourself today, the adversity in
the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, every match you play I think you learn something
new. Obviously you just want to make the things as perfect as possible.
I'm a perfectionist, so I want everything to be a hundred percent. Of
course, that's not possible. Sometimes I just lose my focus and I get
frustrated. Obviously, that second set was not a good picture of my
game. But, again, I have to look on the brighter side. I got through.
Q. Do you think the prospect of facing Rafa on clay or Roger on
grass, which is the harder or the biggest challenge for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven't played Roger on grass, so I can't really say.
But it would be, of course, certainly a big challenge for me. It's still
a long way. I mean, they've been very dominant in the last four or five
years. Got to give all credit to them.
Mentally two of the strongest players in the world. Two best players in
the world. I'm one of the players behind which is trying to keep up with
them and get a place higher.
Q. You talked about adapting to the conditions on Centre Court.
How different does the grass play here compared to Queen's?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It is quite different. Of course, for the people who
never played professional tennis, obviously they don't understand the
difference, even on the same surface, different conditions in different
tournaments. The grass in Queen's was quicker and the ball was bouncing
higher, which was more suitable to my game. Even though, I feel good
here. Usually on the start of the event, you know, there is so many
matches in the men's and women's tennis, singles and doubles, that the
grass is not grass any more in the second week. It's almost like, you
know, a sand.
Q. There have been quite a few fashion statements today. Roger
Federer's cardigan, Serena Williams' raincoat. Have you thought of
something, or is it an adidas policy to keep it a low profile?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't understand. About what?
Q. About the fashion statements.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we'll work on that. This is of course not only my
job, this is the job of adidas obviously. But if they want to be
creative, I'll accept it.
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