N. DJOKOVIC/J. Benneteau
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How important was it to win that match in two sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was a big struggle. It was obvious that on the court I wasn't feeling the best, but I overcomed it. It was nothing unusual, just little heat issues that I have, but, you know, the life goes on. I won another match, and usually when you win the tough first round like this, second round, actually, my first match in this tournament, now I get more confidence and hopefully I can be ready for the next challenge.
Q. You dropped serve four times in the match. Are you going to attribute that to the heat? Is that the main factor? Is there anything else affecting your game right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I felt really well, even with the serve, which was a little shaky in the start of the match. As you said, I lost four breaks of serve, which is not great at this level.
So I was kind of lucky to come back to the match. He was playing well, you know. He's a tough guy. He attacks a lot, and he defends really well, especially from the backhand side. But when I needed to, I was hitting some winners and really going for the shots.
That's a positive thing about today's match, that I didn't step back and kind of waited for him to make a mistake on the important moments. I did what I needed to do. I stepped in, and I think I deserve the victory.
Q. You mentioned the heat issues. Could you explain what feelings you go through when it starts to get to you? What actually happens?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's really hard to explain. Anybody who didn't play a professional level will not understand quite what's going on, but it's definitely not easy on the days where you have over 30 Celsius and court adds up another 10 degrees, or 15, and it gets really hot and it absorbs the heat, the hardcourts.
So I'm not finding definitely no excuses, but everybody is different. I might react on the heat differently than somebody else, so you cannot compare myself to another player. You know, I might be faster than somebody for some reason. It's just genetics and nature, I guess.
Q. Is this the same problem you were having in the spring or is this something else?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Um, no, it's not anything in specific that is different from what I have experienced in last couple of years in some of the matches that I struggled with. In Australia it was terrible as well against Roddick when I retired the match.
So, yeah, it did happen a couple of times already, but I said it back then and I'll say it again, you know: I will never ever risk my health to, you know, just to win.
Today I was really on the edge, so health is the most important thing for me, and then tennis and success and whatever comes with it.
Q. What are the dangers now? Like what's the worst-case scenario for you if you push yourself too far in a really hot situation?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, at a certain moment, you know, you might collapse or whatever. But after half an hour, hour, with the proper recovery, you will get back to the normal feeling and normal, you know, state of body.
So it's just -- it's just, I guess, that in the long term it can hurt you, and it happens to me quite often. And, I don't know, it's just something that you cannot fight against. Nobody can turn off the sun and just do me a favor, even though I would like it. (Laughter.)
Q. Is it almost like a game out there? You know, conserving your energy and putting it all out during the point, figuring out when to push, you know, when to pull back? Explain a little bit about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's a big mental struggle, as well, besides physical. You know, you know what they say. Fight all the way through, and if you overcome it, you are a champion. Partly is right, but the other hand, you know, if your body gives you alarm, gives you signs of something bad is going on, I mean, if you're pushing more and more, it's going to hurt you in the long term.
I don't know. I'm really trying to balance all things my life, and fitness-wise and everything, I've been doing a great job, preparing for these tournaments for last couple of weeks, so there is no issue in that, no issue in me not spending enough hours in the sun. It's just, I guess, a little nervousness during the match, and it all combines with the heat and stress and I guess results that.
Q. Another heat question, but is it different in various cities? Like this is a very humid city, for example. Do you really feel the humidity as well as the heat in a place like this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You cannot avoid it, to be honest. There are so many hardcourt events, important hardcourt events played during the summer. Cincinnati is very hard. Washington and Indian Wells, all these tournaments are very important for us, and we have to play there. We just have to adjust to the conditions. I guess you have to accept it the way it is.
Q. You smashed up your racquet pretty good in the second set.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thanks, man. (Laughter.)
Q. Right after that, you seemed to like find the next gear and be great after that. Was that just your way of blowing off steam, letting out some frustration, getting it out of your system?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's never been a problem for me to smash a racquet. (Laughter.)
But I kind of tend to have this positive reactions after that. My head kind of cools off after I break the racquet, even though it probably looks ugly to the fans, or interesting. You ask them.
But definitely I get a little more, I don't know, relief after I do that. But, you know, it's relative, really. Depends from the situation.
Q. How many racquets did you break this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, I think most of the racquets I broke was in doubles matches. Actually in Queens I broke -- even though I won the tournament I broke every single match one.
Q. Good-luck charm?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, lucky charm. My sponsor will not send me anymore. He's gonna charge me for racquets. (Smiling.)
Q. I was speaking with a lot of fans after especially the doubles match, and they love your tennis. There was another reason fans also told me they were looking forward to watching your impressions of Maria Sharapova and other players. Any chance you may be able to do it sometime this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I got asked that question, requested for a couple of imitations. I don't know. To be honest, it really comes spontaneous, and if the moment is right, I'll do it. I will not force something, but as I said, you know, if the fans really want and if the moment is good, you know, if I don't make somebody feel bad, why not? I'm sure Sharapova will forgive me.
Q. Back to the heat, are you working with your team on nutrition or types of fluids to drink or things to eat in between changeovers like that? Are you doing anything differently there to stave off...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we're just waiting DHL to give us a canister of oxygen that I will put next to me on the changeovers so I'll breathe in. No. (Laughter.)
But we do -- we do have lots of things that we take care, all these nutrition and things that matter a lot and have an influence to the final feeling that is on the court. And definitely everything is important what you eat before, what you do, what you drink during the match, before the match, after the match. There is too many details that are a little bit private, so I cannot share with you, but definitely as much of liquids on these days to drink is more needed to keep your body in normal state.
Q. You broke through at this tournament in Montreal in 2007 when you beat Roddick and then Rafa and then Roger, which nobody had done I think since Boris Becker several years ago. You had so much fun at the time. It was I think a little bit new to you, and everything was kind of open to you. It's been now three years. You've developed the kind of the heat issue that has hindered you a little bit. You have been playing in an era where Roger and Rafa win most of the Slams. That's a bad timing thing. Is it still as fun for you, the tour, everything about it, the grind, just the whole lifestyle that comes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm a person who plays with a lot of emotions and just brought up that way in the country where, you know, we are very temperament and emotional, so if I don't have emotions for this sport, I wouldn't play it.
So I still enjoy what I do. I love the sport. I love competing at this level, and I had lots of success which I think is a result of hard work that I had put in in the last couple of years.
So definitely, as long as it's like that, I will keep on playing.
End of FastScripts