Novak Djokovic speaks to the media after his 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory against Ugo Humbert.
Q. A fairly comfortable day for you. How are you feeling out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very good. Had couple of days off. Plenty of time to get ready for today. Hopefully a long and successful week, second week.
I played against a very talented player today who made some big wins this tournament, and definitely has a potential to reach big heights in tennis because he’s got quite all-around game, I think. Seems like a very nice guy also. Dedicated.
Obviously was a big occasion, first time in last 16. I managed to get early breaks in both sets. I think that helped. I think as the match progressed, I played better and better. Very, very pleased with performance.
I think it’s exactly what I was looking for and what I needed.
Q. Of the big three guys today, you actually had the most competitive of the three matches, which was not on the scoreboard. Why do you think it is? It seems to be almost easier than ever for you guys. How does that get explained?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have no explanation for that. I leave it to your creative spirit, I guess, to understand why.
Look, you know, I think we are working as hard as anybody really to be there. I think the experience we have helps confidence, everything that we have achieved in our careers obviously we carry onto the court, then most of the players feel that, feel pressure.
For us it’s another match on the center stage that we’ve experienced so many times. I think that’s one of the reasons why we, I guess, feel comfortable being there and managing to play our best consistently.
Now, after that, it takes hours of training, preparation, recovery. It’s a lifestyle really. Dedication truly pays off. I guess each one of us top three guys is different, but I think we share that in common, that we just love the game and we are very dedicated to it.
We have high aims all the time. I don’t think any one of us plays for fun or to just be part of the tour. We play there to be the best in the world. I think competitiveness between us has escalated over the years, has brought us to that level where we are still competing.
It’s great that I’m one of these three guys and still very successful. We talked about it many times, of course, that you see new faces in sport. Young guys will eventually replace us at the top spots of the world. This is going to happen? When? Hopefully not too soon, but it’s going to happen.
I guess we don’t want that to happen soon, so… Eventually one day, I guess.
Q. Take this a little further. A few years ago you made the wonderful comment in Australia about, The wolves were trying to get to the top of the mountain, they’re the really hungry ones. Are you yourself a little surprised there hasn’t been a major breakthrough? Do you see this dominance of the three of you as just an incredible sports story that’s beginning to transcend the sport itself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I hope so. I mean, it’s for me definitely an honor and pleasure to be part of the same era with these two guys, without a doubt. I’ve said this millions of times before, that I am the player that I am today because of these guys, mostly because of the rivalries I have with two of them.
I think it can only bring positive message and value to our sport, the fact that we’re still playing, the fact we’re still making history of the game. It does transcend, I feel like, and hopefully does.
It’s like Tom Brady, for example, who at his age is still playing on the top level, winning rings and everything. LeBron James, Serena. It’s wonderful to be part of something that transcends the sport itself. That also carries a lot of, I think, responsibility. You try to carry yourself in a right manner.
Q. You play David Goffin in the next round. You have a good record against him. What do you make of your chances in the next round? Are you confident?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We’ve never faced each other on grass. I definitely have to prepare myself for that, do some analysis. I think grass is quite suitable to his style of the game. He’s one of the quickest players on the tour. I think his footwork is probably his biggest asset. He manages to get himself in the right positions, he is balanced on some shots that most of the other guys aren’t really balanced.
Finals of Halle against Roger before Wimbledon, now he’s in quarters, playing really well. Without a doubt, he’s playing at his best again because he struggled with injuries. I can relate to that because I think he was experiencing issues with elbow, which I went through the same. So I understand how that can really mess up with your game.
But he has Thomas Johansson, who is a Grand Slam champion, as his coach. David is someone that knows how to play on a big stage. He doesn’t get overwhelmed with the experience.
It’s quarterfinals. The matches, the opponents, are top-quality players. Matches only get tougher from here.
Q. David has to be one of the players you’ve been practicing with the most in recent years. Does it help in any way when you’re going to face him again for the quarters?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We practice a lot, that’s true. We practiced a lot. We have a very good relationship. We respect each other. He definitely has a very clean game, technically very correct, so to say. He’s someone that I think everyone respects and likes. He’s a really nice guy.
I think the fact that we practice so much, we’ve played also quite a few matches against each other on different surfaces, helps to prepare, of course. I know him well. It’s not the first time I’m going to face him. It’s the first time I’m going to face him on grass.
There’s definitely going to be some tweaks in the preparation for that match, certain things I’ll try to do a bit differently to get him out of the comfort zone. I’m sure he’s going to try to do the same.