Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 22, 2016

Novak Djokovic – Press Conference

2016 Men's Singles First Round: N. DJOKOVIC/T. Robredo 6-1, 6-2
stadium from stands

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. He can be a tricky opponent, can’t he? But not so much tonight.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, he can. I mean, he’s a very experienced player. He’s been around. He won against top players many times in different surfaces, different occasions. He’s a great fighter.

I knew he’s not going to get overwhelmed by occasion and playing on a big stadium. He’s been in this situation before.

But as you said, he can be very tricky if you give him time, but I tried to take away that time from him.

Obviously playing first match in three weeks, different conditions, I didn’t know how, you know, I’m going to start, whether or not I’m going to execute the game plan as I prepared myself, you know, to. But everything went well. You know, very few things went wrong.

I was putting constant pressure on his serve. I returned very, very well. Served solid and was aggressive from back of the court. I cannot be happier with this performance.


Q. Talk about pressure. 2015 you have come a really long way. People are talking that you are the guy to beat. Talk about pressure. How are you handling pressure? How much pressure is there at this point?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it’s just a question of, you know, what you set your mind to. I don’t set my mind to pressure.

You know, I don’t think about it. It’s part of what I do, surely, but it’s not my thought process. And it’s not my priority when I go out on the court to think whether or not I’ll win or lose or what will happen and so forth.

I don’t go through those kind of questions and thoughts. I try to just prepare myself the best as I can, and everything else is not in my hands.

I can’t predict what the score is going to be, but if I manage to play the way I know how to play, I know I can beat anybody.

So that allows me to also feel more relaxed on the court and more focused and not get distracted by pressure or anything else.


Q. You’re one match away from winning your 700th match. What do those statistics mean to you? That’s a lot of matches.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, every milestone is very special, of course. I wish that I make the 700th win in this tournament, obviously.

But it’s not going to affect too much my preparation for the next match. It’s not going to change too much the way I approach the next match or this tournament.

So of course I’ll be very pleased if it happens here. If not, maybe next one.


Q. You know your next opponent quite a bit. What can you tell us about your relationship with Jaziri and how you look at that match.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, we have very good relationship. I think we got to know each other better and we got closer as friends in the IPTL. We played for the same team a year ago. He’s very laid back, very nice guy.

Obviously he wants to do well here. You know, he’s not from Emirates, but, you know, he feels like, you know, that he comes from this part of the world. He enjoys the support.

I have seen a little of his match today. He played well. He improved a lot. I always thought he’s very talented, but working was not on his priority list every day (smiling).

You know, he just enjoys life a lot. It’s great. But I think he realized that he can be better. He can play better if he worked a little bit harder, which he’s doing now last couple of months.

He told me he had a great offseason and it pays off. He won a couple of matches in Australia and here. Let’s see what happens. He plays quite different from Robredo. He’s standing closer to the line, he has flat shots and better serve. Got to be ready for it.


Q. Your partner for the upcoming Olympics, what are your thoughts behind that? And any thoughts for mixed doubles, as well?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No mixed doubles. I don’t plan to play mixed doubles. I think it would be too much. Playing singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in seven, eight days would be just too much. So I’m focusing on singles and doubles.

We were supposed to play actually in Doha and he got injured and changed plans. Hopefully we can play some Davis Cup match now upcoming weekend, and, you know, feel each other on the court. It’s important, of course.

Olympic Games are, whether you’re playing singles or doubles or mixed, it’s an opportunity to win a medal for your country. That’s why I’m approaching this doubles competition in Rio as seriously as singles. I hope we can both be healthy and play well.


Q. There is obviously no Roger Federer here this year. You and him have shared this tournament for the best part of a decade. What are your thoughts for him not being here? It’s one of the finals you lost actually last year. Are you pleased he’s not here this year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not pleased to hear what happened to him.


Q. Of course.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope he recovers fast, because we are not used to seeing him injured. He’s very fit, and he plays very well throughout the entire year.

He’s very important for our sport. He’s most successful player of this tournament. So for sure the tournament will miss him.

Again, that doesn’t change much in the way I approach this tournament. I will try to go as far as I can, you know, even with him not playing here.

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