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Cincinnati Masters: Novak Djokovic Pre-Tournament Press Conference
August 17, 2010
Q. Congratulations on your success with Davis Cup. It’s quite remarkable. You’re really the only top player that is playing Davis Cup, and I think that’s very cool for Serbia.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you.
Q. But the decision to play doubles with Rafa, as that really to help with you respect to Davis Cup going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in the first place, I wasn’t thinking about actually the Davis Cup when I talked with Rafa of eventually pairing up for Toronto doubles tournament.
But in some way helps as well, helps me get more practice for doubles because, you know, you never know. You might play doubles match as well in Davis Cup, which is very important. I haven’t played doubles in Davis Cup for really two, two and a half years.
The good thing about our team is that we have good group of players that are able to play with each other. We have Zimonjic who is No. 1 of the world obviously, and he can play with any of us.
So I was focusing on singles, and we’re a good team. I’m very happy that we have lots of success in this year’s Davis Cup. We are trying to go at least step further. We will see what’s gonna happen. We have big support of the country.
You know, we don’t get to play for team that often. It’s individual sport, so it’s something different. It’s very special. You feel the team spirit. You have somebody sitting on your bench when you’re on the changeover giving you advices, and then you have your colleagues from the team supporting you side court.
So it’s much different than the other events. Makes it good.
Q. Last year after the finals appearance here when you lost to Federer, you mentioned you were kind of born in the wrong generation because he had been so dominant. This year Federer is not as dominant. Do you detect any differences in Roger’s game that makes him a little bit more vulnerable this year than years past?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just I believe that other layers just start to play much better against him. I guess he’s still playing really well, hitting the ball really well. He didn’t make bad results. I mean, he’s always quarterfinals or more. Just we had a great match last week in Toronto, and he still proved that he’s one of the best players in the world and he plays that way.
But the other players now believe that they can win against him or Nadal or any other top players, so it makes the sport more interesting.
Q. How do the conditions from Toronto to here play into your game? Do you like the faster conditions?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was a little bit surprised when I come here how different it is from Canada to here. Canada it’s slower and you get to control the ball a little bit more, although maybe it bounces slightly more than it does here in these courts. But these courts are faster.
Yeah, playing finals two years in a row is definitely great success for me. And it’s, well, probably suitable to my game. I cannot complain, you know. I just hope that I can continue on the good run I had here the last couple years.
Q. One of the other competitions where you’ve represented Serbia is Hopman Cup where you played with Jelena Jankovic a couple years ago, and you’re set to play with Ana Ivanovic next year. Have you thought at all about which one of them you would like to play with at the 2012 Olympics?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (Smiling.) Still seems very far away for me to think about that. I still don’t know if I’m gonna be playing at all mixed doubles. Because, you know, it’s gonna be very difficult to play singles, and then eventually, even if I play doubles and mix doubles, three different things to play in one tournament would be probably too much.
But Hopman Cup is one of the tournaments I really like because you don’t get any points for that. It’s about a prestige. You get awarded, of course, in the end, if you’re in the final. You get trophies and everything.
But it’s more about fun and good practice prior to Australian Open hardcourts. It’s a lot fun because there is one player from WTA and one from ATP. I think tennis should have more of these competitions. It’s a lot fun for us, and I’m sure I am speaking in the name of the girls as well.
So I look forward to it. I played with Ana actually first time; it was 2006 or 7 that we played, and now we are again. So I was actually waiting for her. It was her that was supposed to accept. I was ready any year. (Laughing.)
Q. When you say you would like to see it more, Cincinnati is gonna be a combined tournament next year with the WTA. Would you like to see them add mixed doubles here? Would you play that if it was available?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Who knows. Maybe I would consider that.
Q. What changes do you think you need to make to your game, if any, to win another slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m there, you know. I have played a lot of semifinals and quarterfinals basically in all Grand Slams since 2008. I just kind of always trip when I need to make that final step and get to the last match and eventually win a trophy.
But I understand as well that the game is changing. We have more players that are able to win major events. You see Berdych and Soderling in the finals of Grand Slams this year, which is surprising in a way because Nadal and Federer were the ones who have been always in the finals of any Grand Slams in last five, six years.
So it’s good for the sport. As I said, it attracts more attention, more media; it’s a bigger challenge for all of us. But with the hard work, I know I will be able to put myself in a position to have a chance to win another trophy in Grand Slams. I know because I’m playing well. I feel well. I’m still young, so I have time.
Q. I saw you play Wawrinka last year at Indian Wells. It started later in the day and it was very hot there. You were struggling a little bit, and then the sun went down and you were a completely different player. Your game improved tremendously once the sun went down. Is there anything you might be able to do differently with respect to your training regime, regimen to be that same player in the daytime in the heat compared to the evening?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m working on it. I don’t think it’s a training regime, because I been working very hard since I took my racquet for the first time in my life. I’m a hard worker, and most the success I had is because of the work. So I don’t think it’s a matter of spending hours on the court. It’s just something in genetics, in my nature, that I react maybe more sensitive than the other players on the heat.
Everybody has something special about them. But I’m working on some things that will improve my game and my feeling on the strong heat.
Q. Do you have like a respiratory condition still?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Believe me, I have so many things during the heat. I have heat attack, everything. You don’t want to know the feeling that I have.
Q. But do you have a respiratory condition?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I’m fine. It’s just the heat kind of affects me a little bit here and there. But everything else in general is great. I feel physically fit and mentally motivated to have success.
Q. This tournament has made a lot of changes facility-wise. What do you like or dislike about the changes to the event?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I liked what I saw this year, the innovations to the players’ lounge and restaurant. It’s great. I mean, we been asking for that for a couple years back, and it’s good to see this the tournament cares about the players as well.
You know, you always can improve. Of course, any tournament can improve.
Q. You come from a tennis playing family. Both your younger brothers play tennis. What do you think they’ll be able to accomplish in their careers compared to yours? Do you think that Djokovic can become a big tennis dynasty for the next 10, 20 years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Let’s hope so. I am trying to help them as much as I can, as much as time I have. It’s not easy. We don’t get to see each other that often. They have their own coaches now and their own careers, and they’re fighting their way through.
They have to work hard and earn every single thing in the tennis world. They know that; they’re aware of that. They’ve both been watching my win at the Australian Open, and they have been many times on a lot of major events together with the whole family supporting me. They been picturing what’s going on in the tennis world and what it takes to be a professional.
So hopefully they can use that in their careers. Marko is now 19 years old, and he just won his first 20 points. Now he’s around 700 in the world, and he’s starting to play better. He was struggling a little bit with injuries.
And the youngest one is at Bollettieri’s IMG Tennis Academy in Florida. He’s happy and he’s improving. He’s got a lot of talent and he’s in good hands. Let’s see what’s gonna happen.
Q. Your career-high ranking is No. 2. Is there anything you can think of to move yourself up to the top spot?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Considering the rankings, it’s probably the consistency of the results that matters the most, especially on the major events. You always want to set up your form for Grand Slams and 1000 events and play the best there and earn most points there, because the biggest points are on those tournaments.
The one who is most consistent on those tournaments will be the best. That’s been the case for many years already. I been playing a lot of matches in 2009, around 100, and that means that I been quite successful. This year, less, but still had not the best six months of year, but it’s getting better. Since Wimbledon I’m doing much better.
I just need to be patient and wait for my opportunity to get myself in a position to reach the lifetime goal to be No. 1.
Q. Last year at this time you brought Todd Martin onto your team. I was wondering what your thought process was, and maybe what you thought he would bring to your game, et cetera, and what he brought to your game and if you’re still using anything along the lines of what Todd brought.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he was refreshment to our team, and of course I respected the work with him. He did improve my game in some ways. We worked on the serve and some things. I did struggle at that time. It was a bit tricky because my shoulder was very tired after long season, so we could not really work 100% on that element in the game.
We had some ups and downs here and there, but it was definitely a new experience that we both had. But it didn’t work out in the end. We went different ways.
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