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November 14, 2014

Novak Djokovic


N. DJOKOVIC/T. Berdych
6‑2, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You obviously looked pretty relieved and pretty happy at the end to get that year‑end No.1 ranking.  What did it actually feel like on the court when that final point was played?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you described it.  It's a great deal of happiness knowing that what I've been through the entire season in order to get to where I am and finish the year as No.1.  As I said on the court, I owe gratitude to my team, to all the people who were next to me.
It's one of the ultimate challenges in this sport.  So I'm very glad to be crowned as No.1 of the end of the season.

Q.  How important is it to you to finish the year as No.1 compared to a Grand Slam win?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, being No.1 of the world is the pinnacle of the sport.  Winning Grand Slams also, you know, is something that allows you to write the history of this sport.
It's difficult to say what is more important.  But both these goals are always my goals in the beginning of the season.  So I'm glad I managed to achieve both.  To win a Grand Slam in one season and be No.1.

Q.  Do you still remember your origins as a player?  We always talk about the big tournaments.  But when you started to play...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Sorry, I didn't understand.

Q.  The first tournament you played, who helped you at the beginning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with the people who knew tennis and who had knowledge and passion about this sport in our country.  There were not many of them because tennis was not a national sport.
The lady that passed away that was a big influence in my life, Jelena Gencic was one of those people, Niki Pilic.  The biggest support I had was my family.  They've been with me from the day one.  They believed that I can do it.  So they contributed to the success, definitely.

Q.  Could you talk about your next matchup against Kei.  You beat him easily two weeks ago.  Do you think this time it's going to be a little bit different match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it's obvious that he's experiencing the best season of his life.  He's top 5 of the world.  He's playing some great tennis.  He's one of the quickest players around.  Deservedly he's in semifinals only on his debut.
I expect a tougher match than it was in Paris, that's for sure.  But, again, the conditions indoor and outdoor, where I lost to him in US Open, are quite different.  I'm feeling pretty confident playing now, as well as he.  So it's going to be a good, high‑class tennis.

Q.  You're No.1 in the world at the end of the season.  You were No.1 in 2011, in '12, and now this year, which makes three out of four years.  How do you react to this achievement, which is more impressive than being No.1 just one year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  As I said, one of the highest and most difficult challenges is to be No.1 nowadays, especially because the tennis has become very competitive in the last five, ten years, very physical.  To have a shot at No.1 of the world, you need to be consistently healthy and successful throughout the year.
Because Nadal and Federer are so good for so many years, they always make you win at least one or two Grand Slams if you eventually want to be No.1, and of course with consistency, because they've been so consistent with their results.
I know how difficult it is.  It's why I'm proud of this achievement.

Q.  I was one of the skeptics that thought that the association with Boris Becker wouldn't work based on his commentary, for instance.  But I remember when you won Estoril, you were eager to get a more experienced player on your coaching team.  Talked about maybe John McEnroe.  Can you tell us how this year went with Boris Becker by your side.  Were there any stressful moments?  What can you say?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  There were moments up and down, I think as in every relationship between a coach and player.  You can't have it all perfect from the beginning till the end.  Especially at the start of the season, it took us three, four months to really understand each other, how we work, how we approach tennis, how we approach life.
It was important to have this chemistry in the relationship privately in order to have the beneficial success on the court, in the practice sessions and in the matches, as well.
It started working from Rome.  I felt like that's where we really clicked.  Marian, Boris and I sat down and analyzed what we need to do in order to get this relationship between the three of us the most successful as possible.  We decided both were going to be present in Rome and Roland Garros.  That helped obviously my relationship with Boris.

Q.  I wanted to know, was tennis your first love?  Was there ever another sport where you thought you would be good?  There are rumors on the alpine ski World Cup that coming from a place of skiing, sometimes we have this correlation with Kostelic?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I didn't understand the reference with Kostelic.  I understand the skiing part and tennis.
Well, first of all, I have lots of respect for Kostelic family, for both brother and sister, for what they have achieved.
I follow skiing very much because it's the top two sports in my life are tennis and skiing.  I love skiing.  I grew up on the mountain.  I used to compete when I was younger, nine, ten years old, a few times.  I decided to go for tennis.  I don't think was a bad decision.  But still I do have a big passion for skiing.
My father was a pro.  I come from a family of skiers.  That's why I love it.  I love it very much.

Q.  You talked a moment ago about being No.1 three years in a difficult era with Nadal and Federer.  Talk about margins in this season.  You had a great season.  But really if you had lost one set in the Wimbledon final, maybe we wouldn't be having this conversation.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  If I would win one or two sets in Roland Garros, maybe we would have this conversation again (smiling).
We can always observe it from different angles.  But I think I had a great season and great year overall for my private life and professional, as well.  Considering all the things that have happened and circumstances, I thought I have done very well.
Few matches here and there I wish I could have played better.  Maybe Roland Garros final or US Open semis.  Again, I don't want to go back and regret something that has already happened.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  So I'm here for a reason and I managed to finish the year as No.1 for a reason.
I just keep on looking forward.  This can only make me stronger, all these experiences that I had.  I thought the three matches that I played here, also the five in Paris, I felt like I elevated the level of my game even more.  That's something that encourages me for the next season obviously to do well.

Q.  One more question about your relationship to Boris Becker.  Can you be a little more specific in what way Boris can help you, what he's good at.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I was saying before that the biggest influence that Boris can have on my game, on me in general, is the mental part.  Obviously the ability, his ability to cope with pressure, understand the challenges, overcome those challenges in the tough matches, in the big tournaments, is something that he has developed over the years with his experience being No.1 of the world, multiple Grand Slam winner.
He understands exactly what I go through mentally in the match, my preparations for the match, just my approach to the big tournaments.  That's where I feel the biggest part of his contribution came from.

Q.  Following up your 'everything happens for a reason'.  How do you explain Murray losing 6‑Love, 6‑1 as they were 11‑11 in their head‑to‑head?  Did you ever go through any crisis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That's a lot of questions in one question.
Well, I have to disappoint you.  I don't know how to answer on the question of how I would react if I was Murray because I'm not in his shoes and I don't know how he feels, what he went through.
I know one thing is for sure, that it's very difficult to kind of keep playing on the highest possible level because of all the expectations and pressures and so forth.  For him playing here obviously at home, with the crowd support, it's an additional pressure.
Roger, on the other hand, is playing some of his best tennis I think since I know him and since I watch him.  He changed the racquet last year I think midway through the season.
Okay, few things didn't go the way they did maybe eight or nine years before that.  When you see Roger, you expect him to be top two of the world and win Grand Slams.  That didn't happen last year.  He didn't have such a great year.  But this season he's come back again.
We played amazing finals of Wimbledon.  We fight all the way through basically the last few days of the season for No.1.  That proves how good he played over the course of 12 months.  He won five, six, seven titles.
I didn't never count him out.  Even last year, people started talking, because they always talk, It's over, he's too old, stuff like this.  He's still playing great and he's proving that, proving everybody wrong.

Q.  And your crisis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don't know what you're talking about.  I have no crisis (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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