Novak Djokovic Interview - French Open, May 31

Posted on May 31, 2010

Novak Djokovic Interview
French Open
Monday, May 31, 2010

Q. What do you think contributed to your surge after two sets? Why did you seem to struggle in the first two sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm really not a morning person, so it took a lot of time for me to get into the rhythm and warm up basically for the match.
He was very aggressive from the start. He played well. I was lucky to pull out that first set in my favor. Second set, as usual in these tournaments, went the other way for my opponent.
Unfortunately I lost focus. But I overcomed it, you know, again. Third and fourth were really, really good. I was aggressive, I was serving well, and playing from all over the court.
With that kind of game I performed in the third and fourth set, I think I have a good chance against anybody on the court now.

Q. Do you feel that Ginepri in that match was maybe getting tired? Did you have any feeling when you saw his moves?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, he was moving well, I think, all the time. The difference is that I was being in the control of the point in the third and fourth. I was very aggressive. So then, you know, I made him move more and make more unforced errors.

Q. Comparing to your first set, you especially struggled more in the second set. It looked like some Bermuda Triangle there. What happens? A physical thing or...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Why do we have we keep on getting back on negative things, you know? Always struggle, struggle, struggle. I won the match. That's what happened. I think I finished in a good way with a lot of winners and aggression and the game that is recognized when I'm on the court.
It's in my style, and I just need to be aggressive from the start and keep on playing all the way. Of course, I did have some ups and downs, and you could see that in second set. But, you know, you cannot always perform 100% in every single point.
So it happens.

Q. You're playing Jurgen Melzer now. This is his first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam tournament. You played him twice; you beat him twice on different surfaces. What's your prospect on that one?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's been playing great. Definitely a player to look up to. In this tournament he made a surprise win against Ferrer. But, with the way he was playing, he was playing for top 10, definitely.
It's gonna be a tough match for both of us. I wouldn't give myself too much, you know, chances to win, because now it's a second week of the Grand Slam quarterfinals. The matches are getting tougher.
Physically you have to be very fresh and you have to expect the longer rallies. But he's very aggressive, you know. He can play defensive and offensive at the same time. So that's what makes him very dangerous.
I will try to keep up the good rhythm that I had in last two matches, and the better will win, I guess.

Q. I don't wish to be negative after the way you played those last two sets, but you looked at times as if you were really filling your lungs with air and that you were struggling a little bit for breath, particularly early in the match. Was it a problem today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not strange with me. I always have these kind of problems.
Well, you know, after a long point you lose a lot of air, so it was nothing unusual in my side, you know. I was just trying to get as much as energy and air for the next point. I had some long rallies and some intensive points where, you know, I had to give 100% of my abilities on the court, and that's what I did.
Generally looking, my physical feeling is right now it's good, which is a positive fact for upcoming challenges.

Q. Are you willing to play aggressive and offensive all the time? And if you don't, can you win the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, I am aware that I have a good defensive game. I can run a lot on the court, but this is something that I don't want to have in my game, you know, in the future. I want to have more variety, of course.
You cannot always be aggressive. I'm not a typical serve and volley player, so I will have to base my game on the baseline, which is for today's tennis it's usual, because, you know, all the top players are baseline specialists.
But I do have to be aggressive, because that's when I feel confident and that's when I feel comfortable on the court, taking the ball early and using every chance that has been given to me.

Q. You made a very funny video with Viktor Troicki. Can we expect other things this week? Do you know if Rafael Nadal liked it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope he gave a positive comment about it. I heard he stated that he's seen funnier things from my side.
I was sad I didn't do it with him, because then it would be very original. Still, it was a fun I try to enjoy every moment on the court, and of course off the court, as well.
I like to relax when I don't have matches and don't have practices, so I've done it before and I had lots of fun. I was sad that they didn't have it in last two years, the karaoke. But I don't know if you can expect this week now you know, with the upcoming challenges that I have, I will try to keep my focus on the court.

Q. Talking about Rafa, still is one match away, but there's a chance you play him in the semifinals. I wonder what you remember from the semifinals you guys played in 2008 in Hamburg, and if that was the best match you ever played on clay, or at least against him on clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, that was a great match in Hamburg, but I think even better was in Madrid last year where I had three match points. It was obvious after that match we both kind of lost our rhythm on the court physically, emotionally, and mentally, however you want to put it.
We were exhausted and left out of the tank, and we didn't make such a great results after that. But it was a match to remember. Of course, for me, not in the best way, because I think that was the closest that I got to win against Nadal on clay.
But in case I get to play him here in Paris, definitely I will try to play a similar game that I played in Madrid, because, you know, you need to be aggressive against him. I mean, that's the only way you can win.

Q. As you say, our questions sometimes tend to be negative, but don't you think your serve, you have been a little bit negative about your serve towards end of last year and beginning maybe of this year, and you try consciously not to be negative, to be more positive?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, you always try to do that, of course. You always try to get the brighter side, the things that you have done good in the practice, in the match. That's what keeps you going.
That's the right thinking, because if you I mean, I learned a lesson, of course. You know, I'm still only 23. Even though I have played many years on the tour, I have experienced the highs and lows of the career of a professional tennis player.
I'm very emotional, so I get to those stages where I feel bad or I feel good on the court, but with the time I get experience, experience that is gonna show me how to deal with things in the future. And right now I feel that I'm on the right way and the right path. I just need to keep on going.

Q. Would you be so kind to give your word again to Melzer? What makes him so dangerous, especially at this stage of the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, since it's his first quarterfinals of the Grand Slam, definitely he doesn't want to stop there. He has nothing to lose right now. Nobody expects him to do to play finals here. That's why he's very dangerous, because he's gonna go for the shots.
As I said, he's very aggressive, and his probably preferred surfaces are the faster surfaces. But, still, he has proved here that he's one of the best players on the tournament, definitely.
You know, as I said, in those conditions like they were today, I think we both have good chances to win.

Q. I guess you were in pretty bad shape when you pulled out of Belgrade and didn't play Madrid. To think back to that time and now, how surprised are you at the level of tennis you're playing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm not too surprised, because I was I knew that if I took some time off that physically, first of all, and health wise, I would get back and feel good, and then the good game will follow. That's what I was hoping for.
It was not easy, of course, keeping the home tournament, you know, retiring there, and then Madrid where I did well last year.
It was definitely surprising for all the people, but I knew that it's for a better good, it's for something bigger, and that's Roland Garros. This is the tournament of the year on clay courts, and everybody wants to make their best results on this tournament.
So this was my goal. This was my ambition, looking back three weeks ago.

Q. Most all of tennis loves you for your showmanship. Could you take a minute and assess Robby's form on his pushups during the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was funny. You know, I like it. I tend to do some crazy stuff in the match, as well. It's what keeps me a little bit more relaxed. Everybody has a different personality, so I like to have more relaxation throughout the match or throughout the tournament where I can keep my mind off the focus a little bit, you know.
Because you go through very stressed situations where you're constantly under pressure to play well, and you have to think about points. Of course, you always want to keep your concentration on the level where you want to beat your opponent, but what he did today was funny.
I think it was just finding a good way to make the people laugh in that situation when he fell down. He showed that he's very strong.

Q. You mentioned you're not a morning person. Do you know any tennis player who is?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think Nadal. Any time you wake him up, he's gonna play the same.

Q. When you hear a lot of people talking about Federer and Nadal in the final, I don't think you agree with that. I hope so. But how do you feel about that? Is it better for you, less pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's normal to talk about a Federer/Nadal final. I mean, since both of them have been so dominant in last five years, it's nothing unusual, and people expect that. They have played so many Grand Slam finals in the last four, five years.
But I'm in this small group of players behind them that is trying to get that final and force something surprising, you know, something that people don't expect.
I mean, I try not to think about semis or finals. Right now I'm playing really well. I'm taking one match at a time.