Novak Djokovic took some time out to speak with The Independent's Paul Newman about regaining the No. 3 ranking, his relationship with co-coach Todd Martin, his focus on fitness and a few other interesting nuggets.
On regaining the third spot in the ATP rankings from Andy Murray:
I was world No 3 for a long time and to get it back feels great, because I think I deserved it, playing well in the last two or three months. I'm aware that another reason why I'm there is that I was able to play two weeks in a row [in Beijing and Shanghai] when Andy wasn't, but that's tennis.On his relationship with former ATP baller Todd Martin:
I'm trying not to pay too much attention to the rankings, because calculations can distract you. I just want to continue playing tournament after tournament and building up a good shape and good form. I'm feeling good right now. Physically I'm feeling very fit and mentally I'm motivated to achieve good results.
I didn't think it was basically my fault [losing the No.3 ranking], so much as Andy Murray's great season. He deserved to get there.
He's a very positive person and that's what I like. Before the US Open we had lots of time on the tennis court. We put a lot of work into it. I'm a temperamental player. I show my emotions, even in practice. When I get frustrated I throw my racket. Then I look at Todd and I'm kind of scared about what his reaction might be, what he's going to say. But he always says: 'The shot you made before the mistake was good. So keep it going.' He always tries to find the positive in everything. I think that's a great thing about him. He's going to bring a lot of freshness to the team.On improving his fitness with Gebhard Phil-Gritsch:
I've been putting a lot of work into the physical stuff. It's hard when you switch fitness coaches. You don't want to make a big change because it might ruin your system, so he adapted to my body and got me into his routine. It's been working well. We've put a lot of work into the legs, into my movement, because this is where I have a good feeling about my game. My advantage is my running ability. I like to be dynamic and show a lot of energy on the court.On the overall improvements in his game:
I think it's great that I've improved my slice a lot. I have more variety in my shots now. I've gained a lot of confidence there. I've always been a good defensive player and a good baseliner. Now I will try to make my life a little bit easier and improve on my volleys and try to give myself confidence and push myself more to get to the net.On his season so far:
Since Cincinnati I've been playing great tennis. Hard courts were always the surface that suited my game most and where I felt most comfortable. It's a good period. It's never too early or too late to find your form. It's a great time to find it now. I think I could have done a better job looking over the season overall. I could have done better in the Grand Slams but, except for a couple of ups and downs, I've had quite a consistent season.After a strong end to 2008 - highlighted by his winning run at the Masters Cup - many believed great things were in store for Nole this year. However, after failing to defend his Oz Open title due to heat-related illness he seemed to struggle with the expectation and his enjoyment of the game suffered. But there have been glimpses lately of the old Nole and his results towards the end of summer and this fall have been encouraging.
Most importantly he seems to be looking to improve even more by solidying a strong team around him and making sure his health and fitness become non-issues during matches.
Let's hope he continues making the right moves, because if he does 2010 could be a stellar year for the Serb.