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November 15, 2015

Novak Djokovic

London, England, United Kingdom

N. DJOKOVIC/K. Nishikori

6-1, 6-1

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tomas Berdych said the other day to beat you, you'd have to be not at your best. You'd have to say you were pretty close to your best today, wouldn't you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I think I was at my best. Undoubtedly it's been an incredible performance that I was hoping I can have coming into the match, coming into this tournament where I've had a great record in last couple of years. Reflecting back on those memories of course gives me more confidence, more comfort coming into every single match.

Today I've had for an opponent one of the quickest tennis players, somebody that possesses a lot of talent and loves to play aggressively. But I didn't allow him to dictate the play. I mixed up the pace. I was feeling very comfortable on the court, feeling like I could get most of the balls back.

I served efficiently. I mixed up the second serves as well. Didn't give him really the same look twice. I always tried to change. The tactics worked very well.

Q. I've been told you had some special guests tonight, guys behind the movie about you. Apparently you invited them for the game.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't understand, sorry. Special guests?

Q. I was told you had special guests for the game, the guys behind the movie.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no. I don't know where you got the information, but I haven't had any people who were supposed to do a movie about me, no.

Q. Can you tell us whether you have any idea of how your opponent needs to play against you to beat you? Do you have an idea?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I had, I wouldn't share it with you, that's for sure (smiling).

The only idea that I have is how to execute my own game plan and how to play against the opponent I have on the given day. That's all I can think of.

Of course, you try to prepare yourself in best possible way, predict the possible scenarios, the possible game plans of the opponent. You get ready for that.

But, no, I think there are not many other things to say regarding that.

Q. A non-tennis question. We have a massive humanitarian crisis with the flow of the migrants in Serbia. Your thoughts on how Serbia is handling that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, of course, what's happening in the Middle East has been some terrible circumstances with the war. I think out of 12 million people that live in Syria, I heard I think one-third of the nation has left the country. So many of them have passed through Serbia in order to get to their final destination in one of the western countries of the European Union, mostly Germany, Austria. Serbia is basically on their trajectory.

I could personally also experience, get close to them and see what kind of difficulties they're going through on a daily basis. With UNICEF I've had one of the visits in one of the sites in Belgrade where I think one of the hotels have left a certain space for the families to spend few hours, you know, refresh, eat something, drink. Babies and kids can get to have a play room before they continue their migration.

It was really touching. It was really hard for me to experience that. Honestly, I've had many of the humanitarian or charity activities in my life. I have my own foundation that focuses on education obviously. I've seen a lot because Serbia in the last 20 years has been through a lot of troubles, economic difficulties and war, and so forth. But this was one of the most hurtful emotions and circumstances I could feel, I could be experiencing.

Honestly, playing with a child. 30 seconds later the mother comes, she takes him away from me, she says, We have to go, we have to leave now, we have to walk for I don't know how many miles to get to they don't even know where. I mean, it's terrible, honestly, what's happening.

You have to get to the bottom of that, have to get to the cause. The cause is the war back in their country. You can't blame these people. If they don't have a house, have nothing, where are they going to go? Of course, they have to search for some better place to live.

I think it's an obligation of all the countries to give them this right, from the International Constitution of Human Rights. It's very well written that you're supposed to offer them at least a shelter.

I'm very proud as a Serbian seeing what my people have done for these migrants, people that have suffered so much. They offer them that shelter, home, food and drink. That's the most basic things in life.

From my perspective, I'm only an athlete, obviously I'm following this as a human being, at the end of the day we all have to be humans and feel for one another. We have to put that in front of all the laws and borders and different political stuff.

Q. After 2011 you said many times you never thought you would have a season like that again. Obviously your results this year have been better. Could you reflect on why you think you've been able to surpass that, and also reflect on your 14 finals in a row.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was talking about it before. I have to disappoint you. I don't have one word or secret that describes the success that I had this year or in last couple of years.

Many different factors have happened in order for me to be where I am at this stage. I'm 28 years old. There is a reason why I've managed to reach the peak of my physical, mental abilities at this stage of my life.

I've had that great joy to win a first Grand Slam when I was 21 years old. Ever since then to this point, it's been seven years of a long process of learning, ups and downs, doubts, self-belief, some tough moments where I even considered of not playing tennis back in 2010.

You go through these stages. Everybody does. It's just a normal, natural progress and process of development where I was fortunate to really have some great people who cared about me and who helped me to get to where I am today.

So I think just many different things came together that I managed to have the year I have today. Why I'm able to continue on and kind of maintain this consistency or this success is because I'm trying to not think too much in advance because whatever happened in the past is behind me and whatever is in the future, I don't know what's going to happen. You can't think too much about it.

So I just try to be in the moment and have the very well-balanced private life, and it reflects in the success on the court.

Q. Obviously you have a good record against Kei. The last match you played in Rome, or last year here, you had a closer score. Do you think today you just played better or Kei didn't play as good as previous matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it's a little bit of both. No question that I've played maybe some of the best tennis I played this year. That's how it felt.

On the other hand, Kei, he didn't perform at his best. I think that's mostly the reason because I was playing so well. I wasn't allowing him to perform at the level where he wanted to be.

Q. When you've had the year that you've had, especially the last couple of months, it would be maybe natural for a slight bit of complacency to slip in. How do you guard against that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Several ways. Firstly, I think the schedule that I have is pretty good. I mean, of course, I have that comfort and privilege to choose the tournaments I want to play on because of the many matches won and the great results I made on the tournaments. I don't need to play any other smaller tournaments as a lead-up events to the 1000 events or Grand Slams. That allows me to have proper time of rest and recuperation, get ready for the big one and peak at the right time. I've been following the kind of routine and scheduling for the last five years, and it's been working well.

Of course, we all have bad days, up and down. I didn't have many this year on the tennis court, that's for sure. But, again, it's all the work that I do on and off the court and the preparation process that actually allows me to play the way that I'm playing today.

I accept every single day of my life as a new day, where I have an opportunity to do something good for myself and others in this sport. It motivates me. I have so much motivation and a lot of sources of inspiration to keep working and practicing. I love the sport. I love going on the practice court. It doesn't bother me. It doesn't put weight on my shoulders. Of course, I have days where I don't feel that inspired to hit for two hours, but I look at the big picture.

Q. You just played a Uniqlo derby. You didn't show much compassion for the Japanese opponent. Are you afraid to lose your sponsor? And more seriously, in Singapore, a woman won the Finals after losing two round-robin matches. Do you think that is possible also in this tournament? Do you think tonight Berdych and Federer is sort of a playoff?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To answer your first question, I hope I'm safe for some time. We'll see (smiling).

Second question, it is mathematically possible. In theory it is, to lose two matches in a group stage and still go on to win the tournament. So I'm pretty happy right now that I won one match. Let's see about the next two.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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