Novak Djokovic met the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells yesterday. A year later, Djokovic reflected on his incredible first-half 2011 run that took him to 41-0. Of course the streak was snapped by a semifinal loss to Roger Federer at the French Open, a defeat, Djokovic says, was his most disappointing of the year.
“Even though it was first loss of the year, I think it was a tough one,” Djokovic said after his doubles loss Friday. “He was a better player that day, so I wasn’t disappointed with my game because I think I played well. I think I went for all my shots. I mean, I wasn’t being too defensive there. But still, you know, it was a disappointing loss because I was hoping that I can play the first final in Roland Garros.
“I still think that it was a pretty special one because we went the distance. We went up to what, 9:00, 9:15 in the evening with no lights and with a full stadium. So it has a special feel about it. Roland Garros is my favorite Grand Slam. I love playing there. So hopefully this year I can make at least a step further.”
Now No. 1, Djokovic is aware on his new demands as the king of tennis.
“There is a certain difference, definitely, in the attention that I’m getting obviously with successful year that I had in 2011,” Djokovic said. “But it’s flattering, you know. I try to appreciate that in every possible way. I respect everybody’s opinion, but I still have the same approach.
“My job is to play tennis, you know, to win matches and try to win as many titles as possible,” he said. “And then every award that I receive is definitely very flattering and very appreciative from my side.”
Djokovic is the 2011 Indian Wells defending champion. The Serb who struggled to defend titles in the past already won a second straight Australian Open and he says he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m not really trying to position myself as a defending champion, because then defending, you know, is not really something that I want to have. So I always try to get that aggressive approach.”
In a rematch of their 2011 second round match, Djokovic begins his title defense this afternoon against Kazakh qualifier Andrey Golubev.
“The conditions here are suitable to my style of the game,” Djokovic said. “I think the courts are a little bit slower, which I like and prefer better.
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