Roland Garros

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Paris, France

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference


6-3, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you're having the start of the tournament you were hoping for? How did you feel out on the court today? Am I right thinking you're exactly where you want to be?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I'm playing well, feeling great. I'm ready to go deep in this tournament. Hopefully that's gonna be the case, but I'll take it match by match, and so far the two matches that I have played have been played on a high quality.

So I'm pleased with the performance today, particularly against I think a very good player, specialist on clay, someone I have never faced before, has got a lot of spin.

Just a very difficult ball to handle in these kind of conditions when it's a bit warmer and the balls that are different in the last couple years than they have, the balls that we use previously in Roland Garros. These balls are during the day bouncing really high.

If you have a good serve it helps. So I think I found the right serve at the right time to get me out of the trouble in the third set when he was looking to come back from a break down.

The third set was quite even. Particularly, you know, I think at the beginning and mid part of the third set he had his chances, breakpoints. I think he started playing much better, making less unforced errors, so he made me run and he made me work more. But, you know, I felt comfortable running, playing, all-around game was great. So I'm very, very satisfied with the performance.

Q. How much of a role would you say your emotional state is playing? And I ask that because you have spoken briefly about the experience you had in Belgrade. I mean, how good was that for you to go home on home soil with people you love to win a title? I know it's a very different approach to Roland Garros that you have ever had before, but how much is that helping you, do you think?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, especially in these kind of circumstances in the world that we're living in today with, you know, bubble and restrictions and inability to really be free. I knew months ago that there is gonna be another kind of bubble here in Paris with that hour of exercise a day that you get to go out. But other than that, it's courts, hotel room.

So when I found out that in Belgrade we are going to have the crowd most likely, it was an easy decision for me because I wanted to spend more time with my family, my kids, my wife, my parents, brothers, and just feed off that great energy and support that I had in the last couple of matches, particularly in the finals. It was just an amazing atmosphere, and I don't get too many chances to play at home.

So, you know, I wanted to use it and really get myself pumped for Roland Garros. So far it's been working well. Seems like a good decision.

Q. We all know how much you love tennis and absolutely every aspect of the game. But why do you enjoy smelling new balls so much? And during a match, when it's time for new balls, what are you thinking? Does it play to your strength when you get the chance to play with new balls?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I prefer serving with new balls rather than returning. But these Wilson balls that we are using this year and last year are really different than the former balls that we used in Roland Garros. As I said, they are really bouncy balls, and especially if you play in hotter conditions during the day bounce is really high. So you have to adjust to that and try to hold your service games comfortably, because that's going to put a lot of pressure on your opponent.

My serve has been working pretty well in the first two matches, so hopefully it can keep going.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108274-1-1063 2021-06-03 17:00:00 GMT

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