Novak Djokovic Interview
Australian Open - Jan 17
Q. You must be thrilled with that. A very high quality performance.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : Yes, definitely I'm satisfied with the performance today. It's the first competitive match. I had a couple in the Hopman Cup, but this is different. It's a Grand Slam. It's the best of five.
I had around seven, eight days between Hopman Cup and start of Australian Open to get ready. I practiced really hard, worked on a couple of things.
Just happy with the way I played overall. Now I look forward to upcoming challenge.
Q. Did the strength of the performance surprise you tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : I was building up on the confidence that I had in last couple weeks, 2010, played really well, even in London, then Davis Cup finals was just remarkable. Very short off season. But I kind of didn't lose because it was such a short resting period, I didn't lose the feeling of hitting the ball well. As soon as I started playing again tennis, I just feel comfortable on the court.
I continued on. I was surprised with my performances in Hopman Cup, the way I played there. Right here, you know, I took the ball early from the start, wanted to be aggressive, give him no choice to come back to the match.
Q. A lot of the reporting before this has been about the Rafa Slam, Roger Federer. Do you think that's the kind of performance that will remind people there's other contenders who are more than capable?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : I try to think about myself and my matches, the opponents that I have to face, not about the other guys.
Of course, all the credit to Rafa and Roger. They are deservedly the two biggest favorites to win this tournament. They're the two best players of the world.
It's a two week tournament. It's still a long way to go and think about later stages of the tournament. I want to think about one match at a time.
Definitely this performance gives me more confidence and gives me enough reason to think that I can beat anyone.
Q. How much of a springboard was the Davis Cup?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : As I said on the court, maybe it's once chance in a lifetime to win it at home. We were all aware of the importance of that match, importance of having that final at home. The crowd supported us all three days tremendously.
Anytime I have a look at the last couple of points of Viktor's match, the last backhand winner, the celebrations that we had, the shaving heads, all these kind of things, it just brings the smiles and goosebumps. It's probably the best feeling I ever had in my life as a tennis player. It's because you're representing the nation. It has just something special about this competition. 18,000 people were with us, especially that last day. So it was incredible.
Q. Must translate into your own game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : Of course. As I said, it was a big confidence boost for me. You know, any tournament you win, it's a great achievement because the competitiveness these days is incredible comparing to 20 years ago. The tennis has changed. It's physical. You got to work very, very hard in order to be one of the best players in the world.
I have these experiences that I'm trying to use in the big events. I know how it is to play on the big stage. I just keep going towards my goal. I'm motivated. As long as it's like that, I will keep on playing on the high level.
Q. In the next round you're playing a player from Croatia. We don't know which one yet. In the past there have been some clashes between fans here from the two countries. Is that something that worries you? Do you think about it at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC : Well, I just hope that it's not gonna happen. It's a very bad image that they send for their countries, you know. We don't support that at all. We are very good friends actually off the court, all of us Serbian and Croatian players. There's no reason to create any kind of bad feeling about our countries.
We did have problems in the past, but that doesn't concern us. We are athletes. We are friends off the court. You're never going to see a problem between us.
Hopefully nothing will happen.