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October 9, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/M. Kukushkin
6‑4, 4‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I was checking Hawk‑Eye graph, and it seems that your shots were not landing as deep as usual.  What do you think of your performance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, it was because he put a lot of pressure.  I think I didn't have the depth of the ball at the start of the match and probably start of the second, as well.  There was some long rallies, some long exchanges.  He came up with some fantastic shots from both forehand and backhand.  First opportunities he had mid‑court, backhand along the line.  Forehand anywhere really he was playing with accuracy, with speed, with power.  He deserves a lot of credit for playing this way.
I tried to kind of prepare myself as best as I can for this match.  Considering the fact I haven't played against him ever affected a little bit the start of the match especially.
But managed to get the first set going.  The second set started, I played a sluggish serve game, missed a lot of first serves.  He used that and he got confident.
He disguised his first serve very well.  He disguised his forehands very well.  Definitely was the toughest match I played so far in China.
I congratulate him for fighting.  But I'm really glad to come out as winner and stay mentally strong.  That's why I won.  I won because I fighted my way through.  I maybe didn't play as well as I played some other matches so far in this tournament and Beijing, but again, this happens.  When you play somebody who has nothing to lose, it's important that I got the W.

Q.  When you got the break back in the second set, you celebrated, you were pumped up.  Was there a little bit of relief at that point because of the frustration of how you had been playing up till that point in the second set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't think I played too bad, to be honest.  Maybe I didn't take some of the chances to be more aggressive.  But, again, credit to him for playing as well as he did really.  He didn't give me a lot of opportunities in the second set.
When I came back to 5‑4, I thought 30‑15 the next game I can equalize, I can get to 5‑All, then get myself in the position that I can win the match.  But he played, again, some great shots, forehand winners.  There was not much I could do.

Q.  Next is David Ferrer.  Can you talk about that match, what you expect him to bring.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I've seen a little bit of his match against Murray, little bit of the first, little bit of the second.  He played well.  He played solid.  He played his game.
We all know how competitive David is.  To win against Murray is a big win for him.  So I'm sure that he's confident.
It's always tough.  You have to earn for your points.  He runs.  He's one of the toughest competitors around for so many years.  I have obviously a lot of respect for him, for what he brings to the game.
I expect another exhausting match.

Q.  A few days ago in Beijing you said you had one of your best match performances, beating Tomas Berdych.  What prevents you from doing the same thing here in this match?  Is that because of the opponent?  Is that because of yourself, tiredness?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, if I play like that every match, then that would be a spectacular career.  But it's not possible always to play at that level, even though I wish I can.  It's normal to expect that there are days when you're not striking the ball as well as you wish you would.  There are also days when your opponents are playing as well as Kukushkin did today.
But it's important to win in the end.  It's important to understand that there are days like this which goes up and down, that you get the best out of your possibilities and abilities that day.

Q.  Your winning streak here in China is amazing.  Is there something that motivates you when you're in trouble, the winning streak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's definitely one of the things that inspires me to keep on playing the best tennis that I can here in China, see how far I can go with the winning streak, of course.
The support that I get, the conditions are pretty suitable to my style of game, so I do enjoy my matches here and I try to keep winning as much as I can.

Q.  What was today's Chinese character?  Is it hard to remember these strokes after a long match like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No.  Actually I've been practicing quite hard to remember (smiling).
This character is a new character that I learned today actually.  I did the same character on the camera yesterday, as well.  It symbolizes good luck and happiness.  So only good characters.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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