World number two Novak Djokovic sat down with the press this afternoon at the Sony Ericsson Open. Djokovic answered questions about soccer, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Andy Roddick. He also commented on his recent entry into the social media outlets of Twitter and Facebook. Here is his complete interview with the media.
Q. You’re awake. You must be really tired with all that’s been going on.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, it’s been exhausting couple of days, you know, from Indian Wells, traveling to Colombia, playing an exhibition match ‑‑ which, by the way, was amazing and great atmosphere and great reception we got there ‑‑ and then came back and we had, of course, the charity event, football match, and then the dinner that was going on. So it was a lot of obligations, but still, it was enjoyable, because it was all for the good cause; we had a lot of fun yesterday.
Q. How are you taking your first loss of the season against the Strikers?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, not great. (Laughter. We scored two goals. I mean, it’s good enough for the first time, you know. We were just discussing right now in the locker room how we need to work on our game. We are planning actually to play couple of more similar charity football games throughout, you know, the next six, seven, eight months. You know, I’m not gonna say still where and when, but we have something in our minds. Hopefully we can make that happen, because most of the players really, we love playing football, and you could see that. You know, you could see that they are enjoying playing that sport and of course being very competitive, even though it was first time that we managed to become a team. But we wanted to win badly. Yeah, but it was fun.
Q. Who’s the best player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ah, the best player? Baghdatis. Second best, Murray. They scored both one goal and they were good.
Q. Do you worry about injuries? I mean, soccer, even if you’re playing a charity event, you could still twist your ankle or something.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, we didn’t think about that too much, to be honest, you know. (Smiling.) It was more of adrenaline rush that we had of just being there. To be honest, in the first place, everybody didn’t expect that event to be that successful. And it was incredible, you know. Big thanks to everybody who came there, and of course media and all the players, the Strikers and everybody. You know, it was a great cause obviously, and obviously and everybody felt the need to show their support. But on the other hand, it was ‑‑ you know, it was sport that we love to play, but we don’t have an opportunity to be able to play an official match with the referees. But it was great. You know, I don’t think they thought about injuries that much, but we had to sign the paper that they are not responsible for our injuries, like in States. It always works like that. (Laughter.)
Q. With everything that’s been going on, have you had a chance to reflect on what has just been an amazing start to the season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Um, the best couple of months of my career, definitely. Um, playing really, really well on the court, feeling emotionally very stable, and I just have more self‑belief that I can play good tennis, you know, and that I can win against any player on the tour. It’s really important, you know. I always had, I think, that quality, but mentally I was having a lot of ups and downs, and I didn’t have enough confidence on the court when I played the big players in the big events. But now it’s different, you know. It took time. It took definitely time for me to come to this point where, you know, where I play, I think, the best tennis of my life. It took a lot of patience, a lot of hard work, but it all comes from that. It all comes from dedication.
Q. How did you address those mental up and downs? Was there one thing that made a difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s very hard to make a difference between a private life and your professional life. There were some things that affected my game, you know, from private life. It was hard, for me, to kind of, you know, show my best on the court. You know, bottom line is this is mental game. Everybody’s physically fit, and, you know, everybody’s working really hard each day. But if you’re not stable emotionally, then you’re not able to perform your best on the court. Now things are coming together, so just happy for that.
Q. Can you tell me about all your experiences in Bogota?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot tell you about all the experience, but I can tell you the experience that we had on the court. (Laughing.) It has been a fantastic trip for us. Even though it was very short, it was maybe one day, but we didn’t have much sleep, that’s for sure. You know, from Indian Wells we had a long travels, and we slept for a couple of hours only that day before the exhibition event. We had a lot of activities. We had a tennis clinic with sponsors, with kids, and we had a lot of media activities, as well. And then, you know, we went back to the stadium where we played the match. It was packed. I think it was 14,000 people. It was, for me, the best atmosphere in the exhibition match that I have experienced ever. I was not aware of the popularity of tennis in Colombia, to be honest. It was amazing. The president of the country came, and we really felt ‑‑ we really felt great.
Q. With all the matches you won now, is there a danger of becoming too confident?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess it’s never enough to have, you know ‑‑ more confidence you have, I guess, there is no limits in confidence, you know. It’s really important to be able to have a feeling that you can win against anybody in the court. I think the bottom line is that it’s all about confidence, and only couple of points basically decide the winner when you are playing against the top players, against Roger, Rafa, you know, Murray, all these guys. It’s very high level of tennis, and, you know, if you’re able to be calm in the certain moments, to be confident, to go for the shots, you know, then you will have a success. I guess in last two, three months, that’s the state of, you know ‑‑ that’s the feeling that I have right now, and it keeps on going well for me. But it’s only a start of the year. I want to move on. I’m using the experience that I had two years ago, three years ago when I won a Grand Slam, when I won Indian Wells, and then I lost here first round. I had a lot of opening‑round losses throughout the year, and I wasn’t managing to be consistent with the success. This time I will do differently.
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