An Interview With.. Novak Djokovic | ATP 500 Fever-Tree Championships (R2)

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Dimitrov

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed to enjoy yourself out there today. How good was it to get a win and go into the quarterfinals after the first time in eight years here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. It was important match for me today for various reasons. Obviously I, you know, didn’t win too many big matches in the last 12 months. You know, I’m still kind of finding my form.

This was a great test playing against one of the top players of the world, a player that I guess prefers this surface the most.

It was just a great challenge that I was looking forward to. I was very focused. I was very determined to play my best, especially after a great performance in the first round and managed to deliver.

You know, I broke, I guess, the resistance in that 10th game of the first set. He made a couple of crucial double faults that obviously allowed me to get ahead, but I thought I was just making him play always in big moments and served well when I needed to. So it was a very good performance, yeah.

Q. You mentioned the serve. Would you say that’s the thing you have improved most this year so far?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, there were matches where, you know, serve just easier advantage and there are matches where it’s not really.

So I don’t have as great of a serve as Nick Kyrgios, for example, these guys, you know, that consistently serve on a very high level and they can hit spots, you know, so easily.

For me it’s a little bit different. I mean, I don’t serve very well every match. But I am intending to do that, you know. And, you know, by training daily and on certain details technically I’m trying to improve it and trying to get it to a desired level, especially on the grass courts where it’s, you know, it’s just necessary to have high percentage, good accuracy.

I don’t have big speed like these guys that I mentioned, but I try to use accurately my serve and back it up with a quality first shot. It’s been always kind of my game.

Q. Does a win like today make you believe you can win Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, let’s not get, you know, too ahead of ourselves too early (smiling). I mean, I had two great matches so far, and I’ll just keep my focus here. I’m definitely not one of the favorites in Wimbledon, so I’ll just try to keep it humble.

Q. Who do you consider the favorites behind Roger?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, Nadal, Nadal and Roger. You know, Andy and myself, you know, if we play well. Obviously we dropped in the rankings, but Andy played really well against Nick here first round. He has home support and, you know, a lot of things can go in a right direction for him as long as he’s healthy. So, I mean, he’s always tough to play against on grass courts, especially in Wimbledon.

Dimitrov, obviously if he plays on a high level, he can really beat anybody this surface. I mean, guys like that, Querrey, Cilic. Of course Cilic, you know.

So it’s quite open. I mean, Roger is a clear favorite, without a doubt. Nadal maybe hasn’t played that well in Wimbledon last couple of years up to his standards, but he’s won it several times, played finals several times. He’s definitely rightly one of the candidates to win the title.

Q. I watched a video of you saying, you know, when you felt at your lowest, obviously French was a bit of a disappointment for you, but, you know, has playing here helped you move on from that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So far, yeah. I mean, look, I have faced this particular situation many times, you know, before where I, you know, I have tough loss, and last couple of matches on the tournament in Paris, and then I have to bounce back and play my best in grass. I have done that, you know, many times. I know, you know, how I have to approach, you know, things mentally mostly, I guess. And of course I’m putting in the hours on the court.

These two matches have been exactly what I needed and what I was looking for, what I was hoping for. But as I said, I don’t want to get too much ahead of myself. I’m enjoying the grass. I’m enjoying this tournament. This was a big win for me today, but I have to keep on going.

Q. Did you find the conditions today different to your first-round match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. I mean, it was a little bit swirly today on the court, slightly more than first round, but I thought the temperature and the conditions were quite suitable, you know, for a nice tennis match, although it was more slippery on the back of the court. I slipped for, you know, four, five times.

But that’s something I guess that you have to, in a way, be prepared for and expect on the grass courts and especially with my kind of movement that is quite aggressive, I would say. I try to move very quickly around the courts, so sometimes you just change directions and you lose your footing.

But, yeah, it is what it is. Thankfully and luckily I didn’t hurt myself. So I’m moving on.

Q. Benneteau or Mannarino next. Normally we kind of look at that match and think that would be kind of straightforward for you, but there have been a few more difficult losses for you this year where we wouldn’t expect it. Do you think those losses that you’ve had in the past few months find you guarding against complacency or having a kind of extra focus against maybe less glamorous names?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, of course. I mean, look, that’s what I’m saying. I haven’t had that consistency in my game and obviously mentally trying to put things together in the last three, four months.

So far, I mean, I’m pleased with the way I have been training here. I have been playing my matches. I’ll treat the next match as I treated the one today and like I’m playing against, you know, a top player of the world.

You know, these guys, Benneteau beat Berdych, you know. Mannarino is a player that loves playing on grass. I have played him a couple of times in a row in Wimbledon, actually, last year and two years ago, and he’s just — you know, he is very awkward player to play against on grass. His ball stays very low. So it’s quite a different, sort to say, approach tactically against him.

It’s just very important for me to keep building on this high level of tennis and confidence.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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