Monday June 20 , 2011
Novak Djokovic's interview before the start of Wimbledon 2011
LONDON.--(LadyDragon.com)20/06/11--Q. How would you describe the strengths of the top four seeds? Compare it to the top four at any tournament you've played.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I guess it's the same, you know, because the top four seeds are the top four players in the world, so there is not much difference in that setting.
But the importance of this tournament I think can measure with any other. For me, this is the most important tournament in the world. I look forward of playing in it.
Q. Given the skills and confidence of those four on grass, how would you describe that strength?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That's a different question (smiling).
It is a specific surface that we don't really get to play on that much throughout the year. It's only I guess couple of weeks of the year that we get to play on the surface that this sport began, so it is a bit exciting for all of us to perform on grass courts.
But, you know, I guess you can always put Federer and Nadal in front of everybody else to win Wimbledon because they have been so successful on the grass courts in past couple of years and they've been winning the Wimbledons, the last five, six Wimbledons.
It is the fastest surface that we have in the sport, but it is definitely slower than it used to be and the ball bounces higher, which I think is more suitable to my style of the game, to the baseliners, and it's why we see more rallies more often on the grass courts nowadays.
Q. You had to pull out of Queen's and you played one match at Stoke Park the other day. Are you happy with the preparation, or would you have liked to play more competitive tennis on grass?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm happy. I feel good physically and mentally. I feel I have the strongest approach to Wimbledon that I ever had because of the confidence that I have and because the last six months of the year it has been the best six months of my career.
I didn't play in Queen's because I had to take some time and rest. Even though from the competitive side maybe an extra match would mean a bit more. But I think it's enough, because I have played a lot of match practices with different players in the last couple of days, and then one exhibition in Stoke Park.
So I think it will be enough, and I want to think it will be enough, because I don't want to regret something that's behind me now.
Q. You haven't always been so happy on the grass. A few years ago you brought Mark Woodforde in to teach you more about playing on grass. After last year you say you're more confident. Just be specific about how happy you are on the grass now.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Uhm, well, it's really hard to get from the slowest to the fastest surface in just couple of days' time and to really get used to it. It's very low bounce, but it's a higher bounce than it used to be.
Yeah, I did have some changes in my team. I did bring Mark Woodforde in in order to get more to the volley, get more to the net, have some variety in my net. It didn't work out.
But I still think that I have to, you know, use my chances and use the groundstrokes that I have and finish off the point on the net. It is the perfect surface for it.
Q. Novak, I'm sorry if you've been asked this question before since I'm a little bit late.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Where are you from?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I am from the Monaco newspaper on Avenue Princess Grace.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, okay. I'll be glad to answer.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: You know, you had this losing streak of one, so what are you going to do to change that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know what? I will try to look up to some women players who have been so consistent with their wins, for example like Caroline Wozniacki. I don't know if you've heard about her. She's been winning so much. She's become a role model for all of us ATP players. So I'm going to try to look some of her matches and try to break this losing streak of one, you know, try to get on the right path (laughter).
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: So who is your favorite women's tennis player? Is that her, as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we'll have to keep that a secret.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, c'mon.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I already discovered one of my favorite women's players. I just said her name. She's actually my neighbor, as well.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Really?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She actually lives in the street where you come from.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, really?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. From time to time we have coffee there on the beach and just relax and have lunch, have a jog.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm sure she must be a really, really nice girl.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She is a really, really nice girl. She's a great entertainer; No. 1. You never heard about her?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: The No. 1 actually drinks coffee on the beach with someone who actually almost never lose a match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. That's a winning -- excuse me...
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I cannot even talk anymore. They're pulling me.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I know. Monaco press is very popular nowadays. (Laughter.)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Monaco press is unbelievable.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You see. This is what I'm talking about.
Q. You said it's been the best six months of your career with that lovely run; one blemish. If you got to the end of the year with only one Grand Slam title, would it be a disappointment to you, having played so well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Uhm, well, it's hard to make any assumptions what's going to happen. I don't want to turn back on what happened already. I really want to be at the present time and really do my best to prepare for every tournament that I play on.
Obviously, Grand Slams are the most important events in our sport, are the most important to me as well, and I want to set my shape and my form, you know, as high as possible to perform my best tennis on Grand Slams.
But, you know, again, it's a two-week long event; it's best-of-five. I think every player in the world has motivation more to play better and to perform better on the Grand Slams because the whole world is watching.
Q. The fact is that Federer and Nadal have won this for six, seven years. Andy Murray carries the whole expectations of this island. Is it easier for you here to be, if you like, almost the fourth partner in the expected shake-up?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't know. It's on you really to form the groups of three or four players, three players. I really try not to put too much attention on that because I know that, you know, being where I am at the moment, being one of the top players, I know the expectations will always be there. There will always be some pressure.
Obviously for Murray more than me here in UK because he's coming from this country and it's definitely not easy for him with you guys.
But, look, you know, over the years playing on the top level, you learn how to handle it, how to have the right mental approach, to try to avoid thinking about things that are going on outside of the tennis court through the tournament and just try to do your job, you know.
That's why Grand Slams take more than any other tournament, because there is one day between of each match, there is press, there is all these kind of things. It's just the whole buzz about Grand Slam is just different than any other.
Q. Any thoughts about Isner and Mahut being rematched?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, everybody has been talking about that rematch. It's really hard to believe, you know, that it can happen another time that they go that far.
But who knows. You know, it's really incredible that they are drawn to play first round again. It's just remarkable. I will definitely, if I have a chance, watch that match.
Q. What do you remember most from last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think everybody remembers something because it was going on for three days, so everybody remembers at least a small part of that match (laughter).
Yeah, I remember watching with everybody in the locker room. We were just admiring both players for what they do, admiring the consistency on their service games, especially as many aces, just the focus and determination. Unbelievable. I mean, I think it's never going to happen again.
Q. We're having some glorious English weather. We're forecasted to get a bit more of it. You played that last match under the roof last year. It does appear for the first couple days we might have a lot of play under the roof. How do you think that's going to affect the court, the way it plays? Did you find a difference in the way the court played last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I found it different. I think when the roof closes it's a bit slower and a bit more slippery, and obviously because of the humidity, you know, inside of the stadium.
So the conditions will be a bit different. But, as you said, I played there last year; I won couple sets. So, you know, approximately I know what it feels like to be under the roof.
Q. Novak, when you look at your year, the first six months, how big a factor in it has been being more careful with your schedule? You didn't play Monte-Carlo; you haven't played Queen's; you played Hopman Cup before Australia. Has that been important, being selective where you play?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. You know, at that time I was planning to play Queen's and planning to play Monte-Carlo, but obviously with the tight schedule that I had and with the number of matches that I played, I have decided to skip those tournaments.
It came out as a good decision, you know, because especially with Monte-Carlo, coming off of Miami, a really exhausting States season on hard courts, and then I had a fantastic clay court season.
So hopefully skipping Queen's can be a good decision as well.
Q. Because you hadn't lost for so long, how long did it take you to get over the defeat in Paris? One night's sleep or didn't bother you at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, well, it was obviously a big match, a lot to play for. I had across the net just a player who played better that day.
Because of that, it didn't take me much time to recover from the loss because, you know, I know that I've played well. I didn't play on the level that I could, but I played well. He just played better.
So it was great to be part of a fantastic match. You know, it was unfortunate that the loss had to come at that time, you know, but, look, you know, that's sport. I have been losing before. I know how it feels like. Just continue on.
Q. How do you think Nadal's success against Federer in their head-to-heads should be judged in that whole debate over whether Federer is the greatest player ever?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's really a long subject I think that requires a lot of discussions, you know, who's better. I mean, obviously results-wise it's Federer; he has won the most Grand Slams. He's still up there.
But Nadal has been incredible the last couple of years. I mean, he has won Olympics, he has won Davis Cup, he has won everything that a tennis player can imagine to win.
So, you know, from that side, you know, I think Nadal has maybe more years to play on the top of the men's tennis. But you never know what's going to happen.
I guess every time you expect the match between Federer and Nadal, it's always the biggest match that exists in tennis. I think they have a biggest rivalry from active players. Maybe the biggest rivalry ever. So it's just great to be part of the era with those two guys.