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Novak Djokovic first round

Monday 23 June 2014

Novak Djokovic's press conference after his 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 victory against Andrey Golubev.

Q.  You couldn't have started off any quicker than you did.  That was dream tennis for the first two sets.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, especially first two sets.  Was a great start.  Obviously first official match on a grass court season this year.  Coming into Wimbledon with no official matches, it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can. So that's what I did.  Very, very pleased with my performance overall today. You know, in the third, credit to him coming back, playing some good points.  But generally it was the match that I had control over, and just happy with the performance.

Q.  Because of the history, a lot has been written about Andy's 2013 final, not so much about yours.  You arguably didn't play your best tennis.  Did you want to remind Centre Court what you can do today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, last year's final was a historical final obviously for Andy and Great Britain.  He deserved to win because in the important moments he was the better player. Yes, I haven't played the way I wanted to play or maybe the way I played throughout the tournament.  But, you know, he rise up to the occasion.  For him it was second or third Wimbledon final, so many expectations, of course pressure to be the first British man to win a Wimbledon title after many years. I've had couple of opportunities in the second and the third set, but generally, you know, he was the more stable player and he deserved to win the title.

Q.  But the way you played today suggested...

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Obviously, going back to the Centre Court of Wimbledon, which is probably most special center court in the world, is always a privilege, is always a pleasure. As I said, because of the fact that I haven't had any official grass court match this year, and also because it's the Centre Court of Wimbledon, of course you want to perform well, you know, and win your matches comfortably.

Q.  How difficult was it for you, knowing that you didn't have any competitive games on grass before the tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's not the first time I have this particular approach to the grass court season, because the last three years was more or less the same where I went far in Roland Garros, had a long clay court season which honestly takes a lot out of you emotionally, physically.  So you need a little bit of time to recover. So for me and my team it's more important to take some time off, a few days, and skip the lead-up tournament to Wimbledon and just recharge the batteries and come here earlier, practice, get on the court. From one perspective, it can be, you know, dangerous in a way because, I mean, you can play of course some big server in the beginning of the tournament and you can go out early. But it's not the first time, as I said.  So the schedule is such that it doesn't allow the players that go that far in clay court Grand Slam in Roland Garros to have few days at least off and then practice and then have a tournament. But from next year I'm looking forward to have that extra week between Roland Garros and Wimbledon.  It's going to give more time to whoever does well in Paris to prepare for Wimbledon and, of course, have another official tournament before that.

Q.  When you come to Wimbledon, is it more a matter of this is the world's biggest tournament, I have to focus on my matches, or is there a sense that this is the place I dreamed of when I was a kid?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It's a combination of feelings that go through my mind.  Obviously playing so many years on a high level, coming back to this court, to this tournament, you know, you have the expectations.  You're always kind of one of the favorites to go far in the event.  You build up on those expectations.  So sometimes you think about just winning the match, being comfortable on the court, just not spending too much time. Then again, as I mentioned before, Centre Court in Wimbledon is the most special center court we have in sport.  You cannot not notice and just feel the present moment and the experience of being out there.  You can feel the history and you can feel the tradition. That's something that is always present and obviously a feeling for a player.

Q.  Do you feel mentally you're over that final in Roland Garros?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, last year I think semifinal I had against Rafa and lost I think 9-7 in the fifth set took maybe even more emotionally out of me.  This year, again, it was a disappointing loss.  Got a bit closer. But tennis is such sport that it requires from a player to just recover and come back to the court very quickly in a matter of a week or two, so you don't have much time to think about what's happened. You try to learn the lesson.  You try to take that as a necessary experience and a lesson in life and move on. You know, it's not the first time I had this situation.  That obvious experience, necessary experience, helps.  I think maybe it's even better not to have too much time without an official match so for this thought of losing that final can stay longer. I think actually by winning this match today, by being on the Grand Slam, another big event, it helps me get over it quicker.

Q.  Your opponent today lost his last 10 grass court matches in a row.  Your next opponent is very aggressive on grass.  He's made it hard for a lot of top players this season.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, he has won against Andy in Queen's just a few weeks ago.  You know, Radek is an experienced player.  He's somebody that I know very well off the court, as well.  We are good friends.  We practice with each other a lot.  We just actually practiced on Thursday before the event started. This win against Andy in Queen's must have given him a lot of confidence coming into Wimbledon.  I always thought that his game is very good for this surface because he has a touch, he anticipates well, he comes to the net.  He's one of the very few serve-and-volley players nowadays, has this flat forehand.  Very good game for this surface. We played here against each other I think two years ago.  It was a four-set match. We'll see.  I mean, it's not going to be easy definitely.  But if I play the way I did today, I think I have a good chance.

Q.  Andy obviously did something pretty bold in the hiring of his new coach.  Your first coach was Jelena.  She was also kind of a life coach, introduced you to classical music, so forth.  Do you think that she was a woman who in any way helped you start in your path?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  She played an incredibly important role in my development as a tennis player and my career in general.  She rooted all the basic things of tennis, on the court, off the court, my behavior, my shots, my general approach to this sport. Because of her I just have this particular professionalism and dedication to the sport.  She was an incredible woman.  She was never married, so she put all her passion and love in life to tennis.  Few weeks before she died, she was on the tennis court. So, yeah, I mean, I know how much she meant to me.  You know, always keep her in my mind.

Q.  Of all the people and the coaches that have touched your career, who has given you the most important piece of advice as a tennis player and what was it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  All the coaches that I had?  

Q.  People in your life, coaches in your life.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I can't pick one, to be honest.  I'm very grateful to have many knowledgeable and passionate people about tennis and about life in general around me throughout my career.  Those times when Serbia was going through war and economical crisis and so forth, embargo, it was very difficult time for a tennis player to develop, to grow up in such an environment. I was fortunate, very fortunate, in those times to be surrounded with people like Jelena Gencic, who was breathing this sport in a way.  She wanted to convey every possible advice and message to me that she had in her life from coaching Monica Seles, traveling with Ivanisevic.  She was also in handball, so forth. People who really cared about the sport were around me.  Of course, from my parents I learned some big life, I would say, steps, advices that helped me to grow into a strong character.  All the experiences that I had in that way also shaped up everything around me in this stage.

Q.  You've had a lot of success in UAE.  How much are you looking forward to representing the new league?  Now would you consider having your off-season in Dubai?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've been having my off-seasons in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the last five, six years.  I love spending time in that part of the world.  Winning Dubai and Abu Dhabi also tournament many times in my career. It says enough about how I feel in general spending time there.  I just feel like home really.  People are very kind. I look forward going there and being part of a new concept, a new league that can change tennis in a way really.  Now I know that Nadal and Murray are also a part of that.  Hopefully it can have the success that was planned and was intended from the organizers. I think it's a great idea.  A combination of world class tennis with entertainment, men's singles, women's singles, legends, mixed doubles, you have it all. You can only serve to promote as well the sport in this part of the world, which is a fast-growing market.  It has a lot of potential for tennis.  This can definitely help.

 


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