An Interview With… Novak Djokovic (2017 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, R2)

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Simon

6-3, 3-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Have we seen a good Djokovic, in your opinion? Close to the best? Far from the best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thought I played a solid tennis for first set and a half. I was 6-3, 2-1 up, playing just enough, you know, to keep going. I felt like I had the control of the match.

Then the match turned around. I started making some unforced errors. He made less unforced errors. Usually he doesn’t do too many. But he just found a way to take away angles from me. I couldn’t maybe play as I have for the first 45 minutes of the match.

I started to take more risk because of his game. I made more errors, unfortunately. We got ourselves in a third set.

After that, obviously it was a very close battle that could have ended differently, and would be, of course, deserved if he would win the match. He was two, three points away from winning it.

I got myself out of that tricky situation. That’s probably the most positive thing I take from today.

Q. You said you were hoping for this tournament to be like a new start, a new season. How important in that process is this victory today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s great to overcome the big challenge as it was presented to me today with this kind of win, even though I haven’t played the way I wanted, at the level that I can play.

Again, taking consideration the opponent, who is very difficult to play against. He’s always making you play extra ball. And taking consideration the last match I played on the clay court was almost a year ago.

So all in all, it is a win that I’ll take as, you know, a great confidence boost. I’m sure that mentally it’s going to help me. I know I’m still rusty on the court, not playing consistently well, at the level that I know that I can play, that I wish to play on.

But, you know, you got to stay positive and keep trusting that the things will come together eventually.

Talking about the new beginning, the new start, today was definitely some kind of a beginning, some kind of a start (smiling). Playing over two and a half hours in the first match after a little bit of a break from the tour, skipping Miami and playing on clay court first match, such a physically demanding match, I think is definitely helpful for me from different perspective.

I’m confident that with dedication and commitment, you know, good positive mindset, I can get on that level where I want to be.

Q. A question regarding Roland Garros. Is there a match that you see maybe on TV or in the stadium that you keep in mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I loved watching Guga Kuerten playing at Roland Garros, drawing heart couple times after he won the title, some big matches. He was such a charismatic player, great person, someone that everybody liked. He won three times, I think, Roland Garros. I remember his matches very well.

There were some incredible matches in the past in Roland Garros because we didn’t have, up to this year, I don’t know if they changed the rule of the tiebreak in the fifth set. There was no tiebreak, so you had some unbelievable marathon matches.

I can’t pick one at the moment, but it’s always very exciting because it’s a Grand Slam.

Q. Which is the player that you fear here in Monte-Carlo?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Which is the player that I?

Q. Fear.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t fear anyone.

Q. What do you see in the next round? Do you know who you are to play? Again, you are always step by step, but this tournament is a tournament you won twice. You may be more ambitious.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m always I don’t know if you want to call it ‘ambitious’. I like to call it optimistic about myself and my chances in every tournament. I think I’ve earned the right to be optimistic everywhere I play, everywhere I go, because of the career and results that I’ve had.

This doesn’t change. I think it will never change. I will always want to win in every match that I play on, every tournament that I play on.

I think with that kind of mindset, I was able to get to the level where I am. Of course, playing in Monte-Carlo has a special meaning to me because I live here and I train in this club all year round. I have many friends and family that come and support me.

It feels very special. That’s why I always try to give extra effort to really, you know, make a good result in this tournament.

I’m glad that I’ll have one day with no singles tomorrow. I’ll play doubles, which is good. I’m going to have some match play. But I’m happy to have a day with no singles so I can recover and work on some things in doubles, in practice, then move on.

I’ll just take one match at a time. Khachanov or Carreno Busta are my next opponents. Both of them play very well on clay. That’s it.

I try to focus on my own game, evolution of my game, especially knowing that I made that transition, as most of the players, from hard court to clay court in just one week. It takes a bit of time to really find your rhythm on the court, find your comfort zone, I would say, in the game itself.

Q. You’re playing doubles for match play, or it’s a long-term plan for Davis Cup?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Both, both. You know, I love playing with Viktor. This is the first clay court tournament of the season. There are not many tournaments where I play doubles. I don’t play doubles too much.

But definitely in the back of our mind is the Davis Cup semifinals against France. So I’m trying to play doubles, kind of show my captain that I’m ready for three days.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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