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INTERVIEWS

March 16, 2007


N. DJOKOVIC/D. Ferrer

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Novak.

Q. Today and throughout the tournament you made a statement here that you're certainly willing to win this tournament and as well to be counted very seriously in this season. Is that a fair statement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think I have shown with results this year, and especially on this tournament, that it's a pretty clear statement, and I think I believe in it. I believe that I can -- I can reach my goal for this year and still reach the top 10, you know. Really, the other way, I'm not in the hurry anywhere to get some records, results, or, you know, to get sooner to top 10.
I think everything will come, you know, with time and with experience. I just need to stay focused on my tennis and on my practice and try to improve on some things which I still have to improve on and results will come.

Q. What was the heat like out there for you today and how did it affect the flight of the ball?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was really -- it was really hot, a hot day today. But didn't really affect me so much as it did two days ago when I played against Benneteau, because I think you feel much more the heat when you are on the outside courts. On the center court, it's much better.

Q. Is there pressure on a day like today to try and win quickly or do you feel like you can stay out there for three long sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I felt -- I felt really good, physically very good. And I think throughout all the tournament, I'm playing really some good tennis. And on the start of the tournament in the first -- in second round against Ginepri I didn't play so well. I think I won this match because I was fighting, and I was, well, physically, more ready than he is, you know, more fit.
So I think that's one of the positive things and it's very important to be physically ready when you're playing on these kind of days.

Q. Marian Vajda, your coach, and correct me if I'm wrong, he spent some time around here. How does it help you to be around him and what did he bring to your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He -- we started working almost a year ago, okay, nine months ago. And we improved a lot. And I think Marian was a good player, a very solid player himself, as well. He was about 30 in the world, and so he has this experience on the court. He can give me some right advices in the right time.
When you're on this level, when you are in the top 20 in the world, you don't need something special to work on, you know, just more mental support and some small things which you cannot notice by yourself. That's why the coach is important, and it's very important to have somebody next to you.
And I think Marian and I are getting along very good together. And we've shown that with the results in the last nine months, ten months, you know. And I have to say, as well, that Mark Woodforde is helping me on this tournament, as well. He's kind of in our team here for Indian Wells, and he's gonna try to come to Miami and appear on our practices and my matches and really give some support and help.

Q. What effect has he on it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What?

Q. What effect has he had?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Mark? As we all know, he's been, you know, No. 1 player of the world in doubles and served really well and always play fantastic in Woodbridge. I think he's a great guy. He's a tournament director where I won the tournament this year, so we spoke together this year, you know, me, Marian, and him.
It's not that I'm gonna work with him, like he's gonna be my coach. It's just that he's really trying to help, you know, and I think it's a really nice thing from him. And like I said, we're getting along and I think he can help me with these elements in the game which I said just before. So serve and volley, because I still need to improve on a lot of things. I know I'm winning now, and I'm 19 years old, and still 13 in the world, but there's many things to improve on. And as long as it's like that, I'm really happy.

Q. Does he think you should come to the net more?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, and I think, as well. I think I should use the opportunities, because I have pretty powerful strokes from the baseline, and I opened the court pretty well with the serve. And I just make my chance, make my open shot, you know. And I just need to get to the net and finish it off, you know. I'm really trying my best to do it, really working on it on practices and trying to get on the matches.
But it's not easy, of course, from the start to change right away, but I hope with the time will come.

Q. With the association he's got, did it happen at the end of Adelaide or during the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, he saw me there playing, and we just got in the contact over my manager, and he was -- he's living half time here in Palm Springs and half time in Adelaide so he's now here with his family and he was more than happy to come and appear.

Q. Andy is playing Tommy tonight, you know. It's no guarantee that he'll get through, but you and Andy are two guys that people keep talking about as the young guys. Do you look forward to maybe playing him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I do. Why not? I mean, it's really not a matter for me and doesn't make too much pressure, you know. Because, you know, I eventually playing with Andy, if I play tomorrow. I'm gonna play against him as, you know, against all the players, and really try to be focused and try to stay with my game, you know, stay with it. And I really don't care too much is across the net, really. So I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Do you feel that you are part of the new generation of young players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Do I feel myself, yeah. I mean, you know, me, myself, Andy Murray, Giles Monfils, Richard Gasquet, these are the players who are -- which improved a lot in past year and a half, two years. And I think it's good for tennis that the players like us are coming through, and something new is happening. And I think they're pretty much -- myself, I'm pretty much emotional on the court. So it attracts the people, you know. It's more interesting.

Q. There's a little bit of a feeling among some of us that you and Andy are putting a little distance between yourselves and the rest of the pack. Is that accurate or do you feel that, as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Between us and?

Q. And the other young guys who actually are pretty promising.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Like I said, this is individual sport and everybody looks his own way in his own career. So while I'm not thinking, like I said, too much about, you know, I getting in front of me, behind me, and things like that, and about with another juniors. I'm just saying that in general, it's good for tennis, for sport, that young players are coming. In another way, I'm trying to think only about me.

Q. Do you get along pretty well with Andy off the court? Do you practice together a lot?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, we practice. I know him since I was 12 years old, so basically I know his game pretty much, pretty well. And we've played in juniors couple of times, but we played in professional tour one time, in Madrid, last year. Just a couple months ago, I won. It was difficult match, very strange match.
But I know his game. I'm familiar with his game, with Tommy's game. So it's, you know, really for me doesn't matter who is gonna come. Of course, I'm gonna sit down and think about the tactic for -- it's different for both of the players.

Q. You're just 19 years and ten months. Coincidentally the same age as Andy Murray, but I'm sure, the kids in Serbia look up to you even though they're still young. What's the state of tennis in Serbia today? It's obviously coming up. Tipsarevic said hard courts are missing. What do you think about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the same thing as Tipsarevic, and I'm going to confer another time and say, unfortunately, we don't still have too good conditions in our country to practice and the situation is getting much better. While the politicians and all the people are getting more interested in tennis, much more kids are playing, starting to play tennis. So the sport got pretty popular.
But, you know, for us, it would be best if we stay and practice in our country. But like I said, we still don't have this national tennis center which is really necessary for us, and there's been some talks that they're gonna make a national tennis center at the end of this year. I just hope the best.

Q. A lot of people use that sort of swinging volley to get to the net. Talk about getting into the net more. Is that a shot you like to use as a transition to the net or that's just an offensive shot to close out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, like I said I'm really trying my best, working on it to get to the net, you know, as much as I can. So the swinging volley is, like I said, a shot before coming to the net.
So I'm really -- I will be more than happy to use it if I have opportunity like this. But you don't get so much opportunity. Still the players are pretty fast and the game has changed a lot since 15 years ago. The guys are returning much better. The serves are stronger. And you don't have too much time to think what you're gonna do, so...

Q. You got a little taste of the reporting side?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Excuse me?

Q. You got a little taste of the reporting side this week when you were reporting Anna's match. How did you --
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay. Yes. It's interesting thing, I think. For me, it's a pleasure to do something like that. And we -- we have time on the tournaments, you know, like when you are somewhere on the tournament and you don't play, you have day off. You practice and then you don't too much things to do. So the things like this, activities off the court, are always nice for me.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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