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An Interview With: Novak Djokovic (Round 3)

Friday, September 04, 2015

Q. You made quick work of the day. Nice to expedite things at this stage of the tournament.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, obviously I didn't want to get into a fourth set. Didn't close out the match at 5-4. He played a very good game. Got a little bit tight. Match could have gone either way. Again, I was focused in the right moments. I came up with some big serves, but generally was a really, really tough three sets. Just glad to get through this one.

Q. How happy are you with the way you played today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Satisfied, but you can always do better. We're all perfectionists in a way. We see certain things we could have done better. But, again, a win is a win. I can't underestimate the quality of my opponent today. He is 20, 25 in the world for a reason. He's not afraid to go out on a big stadium and play his best against big players. He won against Federer earlier this year in Australia. He's a good player and it's a good win.

Q. You seemed to struggle a little bit out there in the conditions.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

Q. You were feeling dizzy?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, at the beginning, first set, I was struggling. I managed to break through and felt better after that.

Q. (Question regarding last year's match against Nishikori.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, conditions are not easy, obviously, but it's the same for both of us. You're getting ready for this. Sometimes the nerves play a little bit of a role. You tend to feel not that light on the court occasionally. But as you play along, I mean, I've faced this particular feeling and situation so many times in my life. It occurs. It comes and goes. Just have to kind of stay out there and believe that you can feel better and play better.

Q. Your outfit, you look like a French rugby player. Was it Peugeot or Uniqlo that make you the outfit or what?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was hoping I could make an announcement after the tournament. But the Rugby Federation of France has made a partnership with Uniqlo... No, kidding. (Laughter.) No, it's inspired definitely by colors of United States, US Open, hard courts, little bit of Serbia. Serbian flag is same colors as French flag. A little bit of everything. I think creative designers are doing their job right.

Q. You've been having a lot of fun all tournament; having fun with the impostor in a practice session. Are you consciously trying to stay loose and have fun, or is that just natural for you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Honestly, I've done it all my life, so it's not something that came this week. It's just everybody's different, I guess. When I'm on the court it's all business. I try to be focused and obviously go through emotions and try to get the job done. Once I'm done, I'm done. Tennis is not everything in my life. Obviously I have a lot of different interests. I have family. I try to stay who I am, kind of the personality I had all my life, friends I have. I like it. I like having fun. Why not? We're all young, and it's not an easy life traveling always on the tour. Not much free time. Why not make the best out of it?

Q. You came in here quickly. It's a more holistic life when you're raising a child. Talk about this type of an endeavor, a Grand Slam fortnight, but the balance of being a dad.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's a great balance. I'm experiencing it now since last October. It has brought a lot of joy in my life, of course, as I was mentioning before, but also a lot of positive energy and motivation to my professional life. You know, you always try to set up a new kind of goals, find an inspiration. You're always in a pursuit of finding that something that is going to drive you, that is going to keep you on alert every single day, keep you going for practice sessions, and doing the same things day in and day out. I mean, family, what bigger inspiration can you find more than that? When my boy arrived obviously in this life, on this planet, it was completely a new dimension of experience for me and my wife. I'm still riding on the wave of that experience. It has helped my tennis, definitely. I'm more focused, but I'm balanced. You need that balance. I mean, tennis is a very demanding sport. You need something that is going to keep you intact.

Q. Early in your career people noted you used to bounce the ball many, many times before you served. You don't do that anymore. Was that something you consciously had to work on so you could have a routine but wouldn't be in danger of a delay penalty?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, I got a few warnings, time violations, with ball bouncing. I was aware of the fact that it was annoying also the opponents. I wasn't doing it on purpose obviously. As the situation is more important in a match and you're facing breakpoints, I guess the more bounces I would get. It was a habit that I didn't want to keep, so I had to work on it obviously. Mentally mostly, because in the practice sessions I didn't do that much. It was more on the match. So, yeah, I'm glad I got rid of it. I occasionally bounce the ball a bit more than the average number, but it's still fine.

Q. Your game has changed the sport, pushed things forward. We have a storyline with your friend, Serena, on the other side. Talk about what she's doing, what makes her so special, her goal.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, she's a great champion and somebody that deserves to be in the position that she's in: fighting to make a Grand Slam year, win all four in a season, which a handful of players managed to do that, both women and men. It's quite remarkable really at her age she still keeps on going and is playing the tennis of her life. I think the most inspiring and most incredible fact about that is the fact that she has played so many years on the tour at a top level, and she still, you know, has that drive. She still wakes up in the morning, does her routine, all of that. I'm in that position, obviously, so I understand what it takes, the sacrifice, the amount of devotion. So that's really impressive. I wish her all the best, for sure.

Q. Is consistency one of the things you're most proud of in your own game?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it's one of them. Obviously each season one of the goals is to try to get to No. 1 of the world. To get to No. 1 of the world, you need to be consistent throughout the entire year. Tennis nowadays, men's tennis, is so competitive. With the guys like Murray, Nadal, Federer, they are going to do everything in their power to be consistent and to get the No. 1. That's what motivates me even more. So we push each other.

Q. Tennis has had a history of players who have had OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, do you know what that is?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So I have an illness now. Okay. (Laughter.)

Q. Jimmy Connors he indicated in his book that he couldn't stop bouncing the ball. Fixated on it. In that regard, was it a hard habit to break? Did you ever find yourself having to struggle with becoming a person who got a little bit too addicted to routines?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's in a human's nature generally to stick to some routines and some habits. Everybody has some kind of habits, some that your body automatically does each day subconsciously you're not even aware of it. I think that's one of the things that I was doing. I was aware of the fact that it was too long, but just in those moments, you know, you can't make a change right away. It had to be done over a certain period of time. I was really working on it. I tried, especially in the match situation. The tricky thing was that in the practice situation I wasn't doing it; in matches I was. The only place I could work on it was matches. But then, you know, the match is so important you don't want to lose, right? So you go back to your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is... Yeah, that's why it took a little bit of time. But I think I'm healthy now. (Smiling.)

Q. Two days ago Andreas Seppi told me Fabio Fognini has more chances to beat Nadal than I have to beat Djokovic. Why do you think that is? You beat him 11 times in a row. Roger Federer beat Seppi 1o times in a row.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's hard for me to comment on that, make the comparison between the two matches. Maybe because he has never won against me. But, again, he wasn't playing like he came out with the white flag. It was a close match. One break, two breaks. First, second set, very close. I think it could have easily gone different way. I don't think he was without any chance today.

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