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Tuesday, 4 July 2017
17:56 PM BST

Novak Djokovic: First round

Novak Djokovic talks to the media after the 6-3, 2-0 (ret) win against Martin Klizan

Q. Being a former No. 1, what would you say is the most enjoyable, playing tennis, trying to become No. 1 in the world, or playing tennis defending a No. 1 position?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Defending the No. 1 position?

Q. Yes. And why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just think that the word 'defending' already is kind of linked and connected to the emotions that are not the right ones. I don't relate to that word, 'defending' something.

I feel like, you know, even do you come as a formerly called the defending champion to certain tournament, you still are starting from scratch, and from the same starting line as all the other players.

I always try to have that mindset that I am fighting for the trophy as everyone else. And tennis is a sport that allows you to have this opportunity over and over again literally every other week. Even if you lose, you can still bounce back and, you know, make a good results in few weeks' time.

And in regards to your first question, I think it just really is very individual how player perceives life on the tennis tour, just in general terms his goals, his ambitions. You know, everybody has a different approach, I guess. I have to only speak in my own name.

To me, was always about enjoying what I do. It was mentioned many times before that the source of my motivation to play the sport is love and passion for this sport. As long as that's there, then everything else seems easier and more natural. Just kind of blends in.

I never try to play it for any different reasons, materialistic reasons. Of course, as everyone else, I had my lifetime goals. One of them was, of course, to try to become No. 1 of the world. When I reached that, it was of course very fulfilling. But it's not essential. It's not the most important thing that keeps me going every single day.

Q. My question is about the rigors of the tour for the top players, over the years how they can add up. Have you watched what Roger has done, taking four months off last season, coming back very refreshed? Has it, to you, perhaps looked attractive as something down the road you might want to try? If it was something you wanted to try, would you be comfortable trying it with your sponsorships and all those obligations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's a fair question. Of course, I thought about various things, scenarios, what I might try. But it really just depends on many circumstances, I guess. It starts with how you feel really. That's the most important thing.

Sponsorships, of course, bring responsibility. I try to always be very professional, you know, committed to the sport and to sponsors and whatever follows that. But I never made decisions based on that.

If I don't feel like playing for some reason or another, I will not do it. Everything else will be arranged in one way or another. It has to follow that inner feeling of really wanting to play or not.

That's not just a simple decision to make in an instant moment, if you know what I mean. It takes some process of thinking. You got to put a thought into it, understand over the course of time, everybody has a different time it takes for them to evaluate how they feel, and of course having a big picture in mind. At the same time, involving yourself and engaging yourself in short-term in a way of giving your full self every single day. If you are already on the court, you try to do it in a proper way.

That's the kind of mindset I always had.

Q. (Question regarding players retiring in matches back to back and prize money.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it's a fair point. Maybe it should be addressed. I think the new rule that the ATP has reinforced allows players who deserve already, who have made it to the Grand Slam main draw, to get what they deserve, but at the other hand allow someone else to play if they can. I support that kind of rule.

Yeah, it's really odd that Roger's result and my result more or less was the same. We had a little joke about it in the locker room, saying we should maybe play a practice set on the Centre Court, have the crowd stay. But they had another match.

It doesn't happen often really. I'm sure the players that retired, as well, it's not like -- this tournament has a special place in players' careers. In this sport, there's so much weight behind it and significance about it. The aura of Wimbledon has probably always been the strongest of any other tournament.

I'm sure that most of the players on the tour, if not all, feel that. Especially if you walk out on the Centre Court, there is a responsibility. I'm sure they tried their best, but it is what it is.

Q. You've been a member of the players council for a year or so. What has the job been like? What kind of input do you feel you've had?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, fortunately it's not a regular office type of job (smiling). It carries a certain responsibility, but at the same time it is a privilege to be in a position where you're part of the council, you're representing a lot of players around the world and their interests. You have an ability to really positively impact the evolution or the change of the sport.

I'm glad that I'm kind of, again, in the council ever since the last US Open. I was some years ago three years in the council, then I wasn't for couple years, then I'm back again.

Obviously there are subjects of discussion that have been there for many years that haven't been really resolved to the extent where the players would like to see. At the same time there are many good things that have been done.

I've been on the tour for 10, 11 years, so I can't really speak about the time before that. Probably in the last five years, the players have been more united than I have ever experienced on the tour. So that's a positive thing.

In the end of the day, that's what you want as a player. Tennis doesn't have a simple structure. ATP is an association of players and tournaments. In many, many different areas there's a lot of conflict of interest. It's not that simple. In order to make certain kind of changes, it takes a lot of time and a lot of approvals and discussions.

But, again, in the end of the day, if you see it from a general perspective, it's really for me, at least personally, an honor to be part of that, to be able to contribute to the change if I can.

Q. You, Federer, Nadal and Murray are the only players to have won here in the last 15 years. Why do you think this is the one slam where other players have been unable to break through recently?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Roger has won the majority of those titles, so... Have to kind of give him the most credit for that.

I'm not sure. Honestly, I haven't really thought about that. It's just that the four of us have been really aiming always to really peak in the biggest tournaments. For some reason, we've been very successful in the last 10 or plus years. Grand Slams, Roger had I think record-breaking semifinals in a row. The Grand Slams, I had also many in a row. Murray, Nadal of course very consistent.

It's a great era of men's tennis, no doubt. The four of us have produced a lot of great matches and rivalries. I think from one way it's good for the sport. In the other hand, you can't expect it's going to last for a long time. Eventually there will be a different winner.