Novak Djokovic Interview - French Open, May 24

Posted on May 24, 2010

Novak Djokovic Interview
French Open
Monday, May 24, 2010

Q. You didn't play in Madrid last week or the other week. How did you feel on court today? It was quite a while you hadn't played a match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I haven't played a real match since Rome this year, I think. I knew it's gonna be a little bit different feeling stepping on the court and playing a match than practicing in last two weeks. I felt the ball really well in the practice. Right now I feel physically fit and ready to go the distance.
I had ups and downs. I didn't play a good second set, but, you know, I overcome it. I overcome it, I think. From the start of the third set I started playing better, started serving better. It's important, you know. It's going slowly, but I have to be positive about it.

Q. What are your expectations in this tournament? Do you feel you can win?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I wouldn't think about winning a title. It's very far away for now, because it's just the start of the tournament. You know, Federer and Nadal will be obviously the two best players in the world and two biggest favorites to win the title.
But if I'm able to play my best and if I'm able to maintain that good level of the performance, I think I have a good chance to go far in the second week.

Q. How about next match? Could be Nishikori from Japan or a Columbian, Giraldo. What are your expectations for next match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, in the opening rounds, in the opening rounds, usually play against the players who are not seeded. You know, all of them are dangerous, because they're motivated to play well on the Grand Slams.
So, whoever I play, I will not underestimate the opponent and I just I will try to play well and get the control of the match whoever I play against. I know that I have enough quality to beat anybody.

Q. Is your problem of allergic completely resolved now, or you're afraid that it could come back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, the thing is that this year has been a struggle for me because it was the first time that I had such a strong reaction, so the season or the Spring already started, and you couldn't do too much with it, so it's still a little bit active, but it's much less than it was in last two months.
So I'm happy that the tough period is behind me, and now I can focus on the court on what I do and try to do it best. For next year I will prepare myself better health wise.

Q. You're not No. 2 anymore. Is that something that matters to you, or are you disappointed?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, actually what it matters to me is to get the right rhythm back and right shape on the court. Everything else will come sooner or later.

Q. Talking about motivation, we as journalists or crowd take for granted that every sportsman has to be motivated every day, every minute. How difficult is it really to keep the motivation all year long, all day, all matches, all practice session? What helps you to get motivated?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's a good question. I think what makes the difference between the guys like Federer, Nadal, whoever is on the top, myself and, you know, maybe the guys that are not able to get there, is that mental difference, I guess, you know, to be able to be strong all the time and focused and understanding what you do in your life and getting it solved in the best possible way and giving the maximum in every moment of your life.
Sometimes you don't play your best, and you have to find a way to win on the court or, for example, if you practice and you don't feel like practicing, there are many days when you stand up and you just don't feel like getting on the court.
But, you know, this is your life. You have to accept it. This is the path you have chosen, and the big desire to be on the, you know, to be on the top. I guess that's what drives me, gets me motivated and gets me excited every time I step on the court, you know, because I have a big desire to win a Grand Slam and to achieve many more things to come.
You know, I'm only 23, so as long as I have this mentality, I will play professional tennis.

Q. Have you ever had problem with your motivation at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everybody has good and bad days, as I said. You cannot always be 100% positive about everything, you know. There are days when nothing goes right for you, but the important thing is to rise up and find yourself again the next day.