An interview with... Novak Djokovic
Q. After the first two sets, it became a bit more complicated, the conditions and March rain playing very good. How did you feel out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I felt great. First two sets and beginning of the third I had some chances to break him and kind of get the job done in straight sets, but he started playing a little bit better.
I didn't use this opportunity that were presented, and, you know, gave him a chance to come back to the match. He played great, the end of the third, especially in the tiebreak.
In the fourth, you know, 3 Love, Love 40, 4 1, Love 40, didn't use that. And again, I complicated my own life there in the fourth. But generally it was a difficult match from different aspects.
Physically I had to work very hard, because he was very aggressive, and I could expect that. I came into the match knowing that he's gonna take his chances.
You know, some shots, I mean, he was hitting really well. Second serve he was attacking and, you know, returning deep in the court and kind of pulling me back from the baseline, and then, you know, trying to dominate the rallies.
So it wasn't easy, because, you know, once you start being passive, you know, you lose kind of the confidence to step in. That's that's what happened maybe in the end of the third and, you know, a little bit of the fourth.
In important moments I held my nerves and, you know, I'm very happy that I went through.
Q. Being on Lenglen maybe did it have any influence, the court, not being used to it or sliding a bit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's different from the center court. Two things: First, it's quicker, so it's suitable more for servers like Marin and the players who play very aggressively; and it was kind of slippery a little bit.
But the quality of the court just looking at this year is a little bit better from the center.
You know, I expected that I'm going to play on Suzanne Lenglen, you know, there is nothing there is no excuses. It was a great match to be part of, and I enjoyed it and hope the crowd did, too.
Q. Dominic Thiem said you are the only player who can play fit in the court against Rafael Nadal. Do you think it's true? Do you have any thoughts about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm flattered to hear that. Obviously it's nice to hear that. But I don't think I'm the only one.
There are players who are definitely able to compete with Rafa on this surface, especially this year. He has lost to Almagro, to Ferrer, two big tournaments.
Definitely this is the tournament that he likes the most. I'm talking about Rafa. He lost once in his life on this tournament, on this court.
So for sure, he's the most dominant player around in Roland Garros in history.
We all know that, and we all know how good he is. But in the end of the day, you don't go out with a white flag on the court. You know, you try to win whoever is across the net.
Q. Can you say some words about your work with Boris Becker here in Roland Garros. How is he helping you? What are you guys working on and what does his presence mean for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, his presence means a lot for me and, of course, for the sport in general for such a legend and the player that has made a mark in the tennis history to be part of the sport again officially as a coach is really I think it brings a lot of positives to tennis.
I started feeling the benefits of our relationship and cooperation. And the start of the year it was obviously it took a little bit of time for us to get to know each other, and now I'm glad that it's all working well.
In Rome he was there, together with Marjan Vajda, he is here in Paris. So both of them they have their own contribution, their impact on my game. I'm not going to discover exactly what, but generally it's working, and I'm glad that it all goes in the right direction.