Novak Djokovic Interview
March 15, 2011
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - BNP PARIBAS OPEN
N. DJOKOVIC/E. Gulbis
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a tough match.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Is that a question? (Smiling.)
Q. I'm sure you weren't expecting a scoreline like that. How surprised were you with it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I was. Because to be honest, you always expect a tough one, of course. You try to take serious every opponent you have, even though you are a favorite in the match.
He's unpredictable very much. He has a very strong serve and he has a powerful groundstrokes. But you don't -- if he's not hitting -- if he's not patient and not hitting the right balls like today, he can, you know, he can miss a lot.
That's what happened. I was just trying to keep the ball in the court, not doing too much, you know, just returning a lot and making him play an extra shot and changing the pace.
He was not feeling comfortable, obviously.
Q. When things are going so easily, is it a risk that you lose your focus?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not at all. I mean, I'm very, very focused. Nowadays, I'm feeling great on the court, and I'm motivated to have more success. So I just need to keep up, and that's what I'm trying to do.
Q. Another day I realized that you have a message on your knee which says support for Japan. Could you talk about why you did.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, we came up with this idea. I came with this idea I think two, three days ago in the first match I played.
And, yeah, this is the least I can do. You know, we have some ideas of organizing tennis events or even some other sport events in order to collect the money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
Obviously, you know, the images that we see are devastating and terrible, you know, and just we feel for it. We feel for the people there. Any way we can help and any way we can remind people that they are not alone, we are doing it.
So, you know, it was just a little sign of remembering the people there.
Q. Was there some problem with your left leg? I noticed it, but it was taped again under the knee and on the thigh; is that right?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, just the knee. I'm taped on the knee the last couple, last two months, let's say, from Australia. I don't have any major problems. It's something -- I did have a little, I can say discomfort in my knee in Australia.
You know, since then I'm just putting it for prevention only. Nothing serious.
Q. 16 wins in a row. Could you comment on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot ask for a better start of the year. I mean, I'm just building up on that confidence and continuing to play well, and feeling up from that run that I have from Davis Cup final. I have been playing great tennis, best tennis of my life.
So I'm just trying to play better and better each match, you know, and then maintain, you know, very consistent level of performance. That's all.
Q. Can we say that it starts from the Davis Cup finals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, probably, yeah. I mean, last couple of months of 2010 were quite good. US Open was probably the best tournament of the year for me. And then Davis Cup, that was just great, and then, you know, from then it was uphill.
Q. You know Ana and Jelena very well. They played now 10 times. They've known each other since they were kids. They're heros in the country like you are. When they play, there always seems to be a bit of tension and emotion. Can you talk about the process of just trying to go out there and play tennis when there is a little more on the line than that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's never easy to play I think your countryman or countrygirl. Even though you're denying and you're trying to focus on what you do and you're not thinking about who is across the net, you always have that in your subconscious that, you know, you have somebody that is your friend, somebody is from your national team, and somebody that you know well for many years.
So of course you feel a little bit more tension. In a good or bad way, that's what I don't know. But I know when I play Viktor, you know, of course we are very competitive and professional and our job is to play well and try to win, even though we are -- you know, he's one of my best friends, you know, on the tour and off the tour, as well.
But, you know, when you step on the court it's all business, and that's how you should accept it.
Q. So if you play him, assuming you play him the next day, regardless of who wins, you guys look like -- let's say you play a long and tense match, and then you have to go play doubles together. How does that go?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, maybe, you know, in the same day it's a little bit uncomfortable, and, you know, you kind of -- you know, if he wins he feels bad a little bit talking about that with me, or vice versa.
So, you know, I guess -- but it passes, you know. It's just one day. Then we are still friends, of course. Regardless of what happens on the court it's our job.
But we are especially excited about the doubles. That's what I have to say.
Q. Is that sort of the difference in that you and Viktor are friends? And I'm not saying that Jelena and Ana hate each other, but they're not really friends.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know about that. You have to ask them. I don't know. I'm not getting into their relationship. (Smiling.)
Yeah, I guess, you know, in the men's tennis we are a little bit closer than in women's tennis, yeah.
Q. So are you saying it's a bit different with women?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I am saying that. What do you want me to say more? (Laughter.)
Q. If you play Llodra the next round, can you talk about the challenges his style presents?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he's a player with a lot of variety in the game. He can play serve and volley. He's one of the few players actually that plays serve and volley.
And with the surfaces there are today, it's really difficult for them, you know, to play convincingly well with that style of the game, because the surfaces are quite slow. The ball bounces. And here, you know, it's more suitable to Troicki, I think, than Llodra. We'll see.
Anyway, he has a strong serve and he's always up there. He's one of the best players in the world in doubles, and he's always top 20, top 30 in singles. He's a very difficult player to play against.
Q. I understand your decision not to play Davis Cup, so I am sure you were following it last week, week before last.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
Q. India ties it 1-1, and then they go into the doubles, it's tense. Is there a time you were saying to yourself, Oh, my God, maybe I should have gone over there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I was so nervous. You know, okay, we all expected a win, but I think I was trying to be on the line with the guys and all the time remind them that it's Davis Cup, it's unpredictable, and all these players get very much motivated in this competition to play for their country. Devvarman was in great form and Janko came back very late from the States.
So I was aware of the situation. I knew it wasn't going to be that easy. Maybe the opponent was a little bit underestimated. We could have gone either way. We could have easily lose that doubles and then pressure on Viktor, but luckily for us, we are through.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports