Re: Novak News & Interviews Vol.2
[Toronto] August 7, 2012: Pre-Tournament
Q. Can you tell us how you're feeling physically and mentally after arriving from London? How difficult do you anticipate the transition from an emotional event like the Olympics back to regular ATP play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, it's great to be back in Canada for Rogers Cup. I had lots of success in Canada in previous years, and I love coming back here and playing here. Lots of support, lots of people from ex‑Yugoslavian region that live here and come and support. People in Canada love tennis and appreciate the tennis players. For us it's great to be a part of such a great event.
You know, obviously at the start of the season we knew that the transition from grass court to hard court is going to be very difficult because we have very little time, only few days. But we were aware of that fact, as I said.
Now we will try to do it in the most efficient, best possible way. How it's going to go, I'm not sure. I cannot predict anything else in my opening match. But it will obviously take a little bit of time to do that.
You know, we played Olympic Games in last two weeks, and it was a great honor and privilege to be representing my country in the most recognized and the biggest sport event ever in the history.
So I had an unforgettable experience in the opening ceremony being selected as flag bearer for my country. So a lot of things that really make the professional athlete very proud happened in the Olympic Games.
Even though I missed the chance to win a medal, I still enjoyed the whole experience.
Q. Was there kind of any thought of taking the week off after the Olympics?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was planning to play Rogers Cup from the start, so I didn't give any thought of actually skipping this week even though I've played a lot of matches in London. I've talked with my team, and we all agreed that it is possible for me and it is good for me to play this week.
Q. Can you talk a bit about the Olympic experience? Obviously as flag bearer you were very involved with your country. Obviously didn't exactly end on a great note for you, but can you talk about just what you did off the court in London?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I had an opportunity to visit Olympic Village couple times before the tournament started for the opening ceremony, flag ceremony. It was a fantastic feeling to be alongside best athletes in the world and just to be dining with them, exchanging words and experiences, making pictures.
It's something that you really don't feel too often as tennis player. Most of the tournaments you play, you play for yourself. You travel around the world and play individual events.
But Olympic Games are one of those very rare sport events where you get to represent your country in the first place. We, all men's tennis players, we all stayed at the same house, so we supported each other, we motivated each other, and it was in a way a Davis Cup experience as well.
But the fact that we played at Wimbledon courts was not that convenient for us in a way, because we wanted to see other sports but we didn't have this opportunity because it was one hour and a half by car away and we could not afford to go and spend a whole day watching other sports because we wanted to have the best possible performance on the tennis courts.
Q. When you were serving, just watching on TV you could see your shirt go up and you had the kinesio tape on the lower back. Is that something serious or is that always there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I didn't have it there. I just had it now during the Olympics because I had a slight problem with the back. Nothing major.
Q. Given your standards, I assume you're not very satisfied with the last couple of tournaments and your form. What are you looking to improve now as you get hard courts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, I had great matches in Wimbledon and Olympic Games as well. Maybe I would wish to go at least step further on those events, but you can't always have it all, you know. There is so many great tennis players around, and I had opponents that played better than me, especially in the Olympic Games. Andy Murray deserved to win the gold.
It's not the first time or the last time you lose. You have to try to be stronger and learn from those experiences. So hard court being probably my most successful and preferred surface gives me confidence that I can start off well here. Obviously that's something that I'm looking for.
Hopefully I can carry it on for next events, and most important one in US Open.
Q. I think you're almost the same age as Andy and he's a good friend of yours. How good did you feel for him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I felt glad, obviously. For me it was disappointing to lose in semifinals and obviously for bronze medal match, but I was glad to see him winning it because he really deserves it after all he has been through.
You know, he's a great quality player, and he's proven that over the years. He wasn't managing to make the final step on Grand Slams, and now it all perfectly fitted for him being a home favorite. It was really nice to see that.
Q. We know that on Wimbledon you have your poodle; did you take also for Olympic Games with you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't understand the question.
Q. Your dog.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It comes in a package with my girlfriend, so I can't really take it. Whenever she goes, he goes. They cannot separate.
Q. What do you know about Tomic?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I've practiced with him many, many times, and we played twice. I think one time on grass courts in Wimbledon last year and one time this year in Rome on clay. So I think it's going to be our first encounter on hard court. Obviously with his style of the game he prefers a bit faster surfaces and plays a lot of flat shots. He has a lot of variety, a lot of talent in his game. He comes up with some shots that are really unexpected, so he can be very dangerous.
Q. For your particular game, what's the hardest part of transitioning from grass to hard court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's the same as for everybody else. Just that movement and the timing of the ball, because it bounces much higher than on the grass. So really trying to work on that.
I practiced twice today and I'm going to have a night match tomorrow, so I'm going to try to practice again before that.
You know, I'm not expecting myself to be already 100% on the first match, but I will try my best.
Q. You had such a great year last year. Obviously pressure to repeat that had to be on top of you. Do you think there was a lack of urgency somewhat this year and that's maybe why you haven't repeated what you did last year? What can you pinpoint as to maybe why you've had a little drop off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, it's hard to expect that you can always win every single match that you play in six months. You know, that's really hard to repeat that. (Smiling.)
But just knowing that I can play that well and win that many tournaments on different surfaces gives me a lot of confidence. I got into this season really successful winning Australian Open and Miami, and played three, four finals on clay courts as well and played finals in French Open. I played great match against Rafa.
So, you know, for me I had a great season even this year. It's been only what, six, seven months? So there is many more tournaments to come and it's played on my favorite surface, so I will try to use that in my favor and perform my best.
Q. There is a video going around online of Maria Sharapova catching you with a serve in a sensitive area. What was the story there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You will see in the new Head commercial. That's all I can say.