Novak Djokovic Interview - Rome, May 7

Posted on May 7, 2008

Novak Dokovic after his win versus Belgian Steve Darcis in post match press conference.

May 7, 2008
Rome Tennis Masters

Q. How are you feeling out there? You looked pretty good.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was a good match for me on the start of the tournament. It's always good to have a straight set win in your first match. Usually the first matches in any tournament are the most trickiest ones, because you know you play a player who has already one match before you. Again, you were the favorite in this match and a lot of expectations, and I still didn't have any official matches from Monte Carlo when I retired. I was a bit skeptical in the start if I'm going to be physically in the first place ready for this match, but obviously in the second set and in the first set I felt good. You know, I had a little struggle in the first set, but anyhow, in general I'm satisfied.

Q. The court seems to be a little slippery. Is that the feeling you have?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. I had a couple times a chat with the chair umpire about the condition of the court. He said there is not much he can do in that moment. I just said in the courtesy of players and for their own good, I think it's important to pay attention on the courts in between matches, even though there is no time. The most important people here in this tournament are the players, so you don't want to see them falling down on the court or playing bad. The fans come to see good tennis, and good tennis comes with a good court. The condition of the court is not good enough. Hopefully it can get better.

Q. Are you still on any medication at all, or are you 100% back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I finish with my medications yesterday, so hopefully I can get better in the future.

Q. Some were saying you were not trying to change too much of your game from hard courts. You're hitting a good tempo and a lot of down the line. How are you using your tactics on clay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not true that I'm not changing it at all. I am getting used to this surface and adapting to, you know, its system of the game.
I'm trying to play more patient because I'm aware of the fact that I'm going to get a lot more balls back on clay than I do on hard court. Obviously, hard court is my most preferred surface, but I think I have good game good enough to challenge the best players in the world on this surface.

Q. A lot of hard court players have had success here and say that the court plays faster than other clay courts on the European circuit. From having your match today and last year, do you feel like the court plays faster here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I would agree with that comment. The ball bounces a lot higher than on the other surfaces and the courts are really fast. The fact that they are slippery makes them even more faster. It's suitable in some way to my game.

Q. You were not slipping so much the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, of course, you know after a while you get used to a lot of things. As a professional tennis player I have to adapt myself on the conditions and just take them as they are. That's what I did.

Q. Where did you learn your Italian? Watching Italian TV?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I'm always. No, I was practicing with Italian Coach Riccardo Piati and with Ljubicic as well. They help me in some way. I was trying to communicate with them throughout our incorporation in all Italian more than English. I like languages a lot, especially Italian. I'm still far away from perfect, but, you know, it takes time.

Q. How many languages are you able to speak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, four languages I can speak pretty much okay. You know, to understand, I speak German. I spoke German really well not really well, but pretty well when I was living and practicing there, but I didn't speak it for four or five years. I already forgot a lot of things, but I'm trying to get better, you know. Because I think more languages, you know, more is your worth and more people respect you. I really like languages.

Q. (Translated from Italian.) Will this put you to the test? What would be your advice to a 12 , 13 year old wanting to become a tennis champion.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He has to just believe in himself and dedicate to the sport, because tennis requires a lot of time on the tour traveling and on the court. Tennis is, in fact, the longest season in sports, that's why he needs to really take it seriously and enjoy, of course, with a smile.