Wimbledon 2015: Djokovic defends preparation and insists he’s innocent in cheat row

Novak Djokovic insists he wouldn’t have changed anything about the preparation for his title defence at Wimbledon.

The world number one again elected not to play a build-up tournament on grass, despite this year’s additional week between the French Open and the third Slam of the season.

Instead he’s been working with coach Boris Becker, playing some exhibition matches and trying to relax and recharge after an emotional defeat to Stan Wawrinka in the final at Roland Garros.

“Last couple years I haven’t played any lead‑up tournament to Wimbledon and I still managed to play two finals and to win the title last year,” said Djokovic.

“I’m trying to take the best out of these days before the Wimbledon starts, trying to get myself on the court as much as I can.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve practiced and I just want to get myself in a best possible shape. I’m aware of the adjustment that is required movement‑wise, game‑wise, and also mentally for the grass courts, coming from clay courts, playing for three months on the slowest surface where you can slide, where you have a completely different balance, different tactical approach.

“The first five months of the year have been really intense for me. I’ve played a big amount of matches and before Roland Garros, I lost only two and I’m having one of the best season starts in my career.

“After Paris I needed some time to just mentally recover. It was more than physical rest, I needed that emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries and get myself in a proper state of mind so I can start all over again.”

However, Djokovic insists the defeat in Paris has only served to reenergise him – which considering his form this year underlines why the bookmakers have him a firm favourite to claim third title on Centre Court in two weeks.

“I’m experienced and something that tennis has taught me over the years is to move on and to be able to do that very quickly,” he added.

“You have two out of four most important events in the sport just within three weeks’ time. You need to be able to reset very rapidly and get yourself a new motivation and inspire yourself to keep on going. This motivation and faith has to be even stronger than it was three weeks ago.

“Because of the matches like against Stan, I have become stronger and I’ve learned how to grow in the process. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that again.”

Djokovic, who starts his campaign against big-serving German Phillip Kohlschreiber on Monday, also played down a cheating row that looks set to potentially overshadow his early matches at Wimbledon.

Coach Becker revealed he used special signals to communicate with his charge during matches, which would appear to contravene the strict on-court coaching ban.

But Djokovic claims the comments have been misinterpreted.

“I don’t think that we’re cheating,” he added. “I don’t think that’s how you can call it, there are special ways of communication.

“As he mentioned, the way you look at each other, the way you feel your box, and box feels what you’re going through on the court. I think that’s something that just gives you that reassurance, gives you that confidence.

“It’s not that he tells me where to serve or to which side of the opponent’s court I have to play, because that doesn’t happen. But it’s more of an encouragement, more of a support and reassurance thing.”

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