Novak Djokovic interview after losing to Benoit Paire in the second round of 2018 Miami Open.
Q. It’s very unusual to see you playing this way. What is going on?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I’m trying, but it’s not working. That’s all. That’s all it is. I mean, obviously I’m not feeling great when I’m playing this way. Of course, I want to be able to play as well as I want to play. Just it’s impossible at the moment. That’s all.
I lost to a better player.
Q. You came onto the court with so much enthusiasm. You’ve enjoyed success at this tournament in the past, six times champion. This is where it all started with you in 2007. I think the turning point came in the seventh game, suddenly the wheels came off a little bit. Talk about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I felt I started the match well, first six games, then I just ran out of gas. He was serving well. I just wasn’t able to break him down. He was just coming up with the good shots at the right time. It happened very fast.
Q. When you say you’re trying but it’s not working, what do you mean? You’re trying a new way to play, another game, something different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m just in general trying everything I can. You know, it is what it is. I’m not at the level that I used to be. I’m aware of that. I just have to obviously believe in myself and hopefully it will come.
Q. When you say you ran out of gas, is it because of the arm and stuff like that, you’re just not able to put in the hours on the court? Not match fit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, that’s probably it. I mean, I guess that’s one of the things. It’s accumulation of different things, obviously.
Yeah, I mean, I wanted to come to Indian Wells and Miami because I wanted to see whether I can play a match. I love playing on the hard court. I wanted to get a couple tournaments before the clay court season starts.
I obviously wasn’t ready for that.
Q. This is the first time you’ve been hit with this kind of injury and situation. Are you finding that you’re patient, you’re handling it, but maybe we might not be? Are you finding it’s really very difficult for you to not be who you feel you are?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I never liked comparisons. I know that you can’t be the person that you were yesterday, and the player. You have to keep on training, evolving, trying to improve your game.
Obviously the circumstances that I was in in the last two years were kind of very challenging. But, you know, I’m not the only one that goes through that. I mean, there are tougher injuries that players go through. I don’t want to sit here and whine about my last couple of years.
The truth is that it wasn’t easy. Obviously I compromised my game and the movement and everything because of the injury. I’m trying to figure things out.
Q. Is this confusing or disorienting to be in this place?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It just is.
Q. When you took the court today, did you think you had a decent chance of winning? Were you worried something like what happened was going to happen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I wouldn’t go out on the court if I don’t believe I can win a tennis match. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t trying. I mean, nobody is kind of forcing me with a whip to go out on the court. I have a freedom to choose whether I want to play or not.
I love this sport. There’s a lot of people that support me, especially here. I thank them for their great support. Unfortunately I’m not at the level they would like to see me at and I would like to see myself at.
But it is what it is. Life goes on.
Q. Do you fully expect to get back to that level? Do you consider this kind of a process of getting there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know what to expect. I’m not expecting anything. Obviously I’m facing myself with various challenges in my game, health. I’m trying to figure things out and see what happens.
Q. Do you feel ready to move straight onto the clay and play Monte-Carlo?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, that was the plan. But let’s see what happens.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports