Trying to back up an incredible season last year, Novak Djokovic is already brimming with confidence in 2012. Djokovic ripped through Santiago Giraldo in straight sets today to advance to the Australian Open third round with the loss of just eight games.
Djokovic has twice won the Australian Open so it’s no surprise the Serb calls Rod Laver Area one his most successful courts.
The World No. 1 has won nine straight matches in Melbourne losing only one set along the way. Next for Novak is Nicolas Mahut who beat Djokovic at a Challenger many years ago.
If he wins Djokovic could collide with Milos Raonic in the fourth round Monday and down the road a semifinal showdown with Andy Murray.
Responding to Marcos Baghdatis’s racquet smashing exhibition, Djokovic said he thought Goran Ivanisevic and Marat Safin were the best racquet smashers he’s seen, but he would be quick to check youtube for the Baghdatis video.
He added that his upcoming cameo in the Expendables 2 might involve a fight scene.
Here’s Djokovic’s presser:
Q. What did you get from such an easy win?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A win (laughter). A win is a win, you know, however it comes to you. You know, I try obviously to not underestimate any opponents in early rounds. This is a Grand Slam, the most prestigious one of the four most prestigious tournaments in our sport, and everybody has a lot of motivation to perform their best, especially on the center court, on the big stage.
Santiago came out early hitting the ball quite flat. But I knew that, you know, sooner or later he’s going to drop the rhythm and I just have to hang in there. I’ve done a good job.
Q. In that fifth game when you got broken, I think you made four unforced errors. Do you still get a bit nervous even after what you’ve done the last year or so?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. To be honest, you know, I’ve had lots of situations where I was break down, you know, in my career. So I guess that doesn’t affect me, especially early in the first set. I knew that, you know, I will start hitting the ball better.
Q. You came back to win love the next game.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. From one side there is a lot of wind. Actually, even if you don’t have a feeling watching it from the outside, it’s windy, but it is quite windy. It’s consistent wind that blows from one side and at your back. When you’re playing against the wind, it’s really difficult to make shots happen.
But, you know, as I said, I maybe started a little too defensive because he was hitting the ball very strong. But then after, it was the other way around.
Q. You say you don’t get really nervous anymore. You’ve had so much success on that court particularly. Are there times when you kind of feel a little bit invincible out there on Rod Laver Arena?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, I don’t think anybody is invincible. It’s a matter of the confidence that you have, selfbelief on the court, qualities as a player, being out there physically, mentally fit, being able to perform your best on a daytoday basis.
You know, it’s true, probably this court is one of the most successful courts in my career. I’ve had two titles here, 2008 and last year. Coming back to that court is always bringing me nicest memories. I like the conditions, the speed of the court, the balls, everything.
It is true from one side that when I step in there I feel that I belong there, that I know what to do, that I feel more confident maybe than the other courts around the world.
Q. Next is Mahut. Do you remember the first time you played him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Maybe at a challenger in Besançon.
Q. Cherbourg. And he won.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I remember. It’s been a long time ago. I think we had just maybe one or two matches we played against each other.
Look, you know, he’s a very talented player. Has a nice onehanded backhand. He’s somebody that prefers, I think, faster courts and surfaces. Plays very nice on grass and had that epic match with Isner.
He uses his serve really well, I think, has really nice precision. Is one of the rare serveandvolley players nowadays.
Yeah, I guess if we get to play on the center court or any of the bigger courts, I will try to use my, let’s say, experience playing on those courts. I think surface here is a bit slower and bounce is a little bit higher, so maybe it’s more suitable to my style of the game.
Look, now it’s the third round already. The opponents are definitely getting tougher.
Q. You know Bernard Tomic quite well. Have you been watching him this Australian Open?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes. I’ve seen his match last night. It was an impressive performance again. For somebody his age hanging in there mentally, knowing what to do, looking really comfortably on the court.
Q. Do you have an impersonation of Bernard yet?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that technique is going to be really hard to impersonate, let me tell you that.
Q. When are we going to see some more impersonations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I really don’t plan anything, to be honest. So if it comes, it comes very spontaneous, I guess.
Q. You’re on Twitter a lot. Who do you like to follow on Twitter?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I follow mostly the tennis players, I guess. I don’t spend that much time. I try always to update my fans on what I do, some pictures, crazy videos. Other than that, you know, I keep the phone away from me.
Q. Did you see Marcos Baghdatis smashing his racquets last night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven’t seen that. I heard about it. I haven’t seen that. I’m going to go to YouTube now, check that out.
Q. You’ve smashed one or two racquets in your time. Is it useful to you? Does it help getting emotion out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. I mean, look, you know, individually it depends from a player, from a person, you know, who has more temperament, let’s say, how you handle yourself, how do you react after, you know, smashing the racquet.
In my case, I’ve stopped doing it. I’m not doing it as often, which is good for my coach, good news. But when I have a smash of the racquet, smack of the racquet, I usually feel relieved afterwards. I feel that the pressure is out. But a bit embarrassed, as well. So I try to hold my composure.
Q. Who is the best racquet smasher you’ve seen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think Ivanisevic and Safin are right up there. Loved watching them.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about the movie you’re in? What is your role?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s Expendables 2.
Q. Do you have a line in there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sorry, I can’t say anything about the role. They’ve forbid me. But it’s a very interesting one.
Q. I heard you say you’re in a fight.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. It’s all about fighting, that movie.
Q. You communicate a lot with social media. Is it a way to show another face of yourself, or is it a way to change the media world, if I can say?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you guys know better than me. But I think media world has changed quite a bit with social networks and Internet and everything that is going viral nowadays. That’s the first thing that people see. Everybody’s communicating nowadays even for work through Facebook and Twitter, things like that.
I think the positive of social network is that, you know, you can interact with your fans and with the people that are following you. And it’s interesting. For me it’s interesting. I find it funny, you know, to publish some funny pictures and things that I notice, that I see, that are unusual.
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