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November 22, 2015
London, England, United Kingdom
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Federer
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You shouldn't have lost to Karlovic, all these finals. We have to talk about something negative. What will happen next year and in two years? Who is going to beat you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess Karlovic is my nemesis. I have a negative score against him. I have to talk about him before Doha next year (smiling).
No, I mean, it's been an incredible season. Other than that tournament, I've played all finals. Obviously sitting here with this trophy alongside me, I couldn't ask for a better finish of the season. The last four years I managed to win the World Tour Finals, where the best players in the world are playing.
For some reason or another, I've been playing some of my best tennis after the US Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.
I owe a big gratitude and big thanks to my team for preparing me, for allowing me to reach my best when it's most needed. Even after the Grand Slam season was done, I was still managing to find that freshness and energy to keep on going and keep playing well.
That's the key more or less. I've been trying to really pay as equal attention to the work and the recovery, as well, mental and physical. It allows me to have the longevity. It allows me to have the matches and the tournaments I've had in the last couple years.
But this season definitely stands out. I can't say I expected it, not at all. But I always gave my best, and I'm always asking from myself the most. I was always hoping that I can play this well throughout the entire season. Managing to reach this kind of season and achievement this year obviously gives me a lot of confidence for anything that is coming in the future.
Q. You have won almost everything this year. What is your biggest challenge for the next season? Roland Garros, I guess?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes, Roland Garros is always one of the biggest challenges I have every year, but it's not the only one. There are the Olympic Games that are happening every four years. Next year is going to be very condensed in terms of scheduling and in terms of the importance of certain events, next to Grand Slams, Olympic Games, this tournament, all the others.
Obviously we have to be honest that there is more importance to Grand Slams and Olympic Games, maybe this event, comparing to some others. But you can't discredit the other events of the ATP. The Masters events, these are big ones. This is where all the best players are participating.
I will try to do as well as I've done in the last couple of years, always peak at the right moments and always try to perform my best at the biggest events.
Now what I'm thinking about is the rest. I need some time to really recharge my batteries and then I'll think about my next season.
Q. Today you played a lot against the backhand of Roger Federer. How and when do you decide to combine your favorite tactics and the strategy of the day?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it depends who am I playing against. Obviously, against Roger it's very specific. You need to adjust to the tactics because of his game. He plays very quickly. He likes things to happen fast. He takes away the time from his opponent. He has so much variety in his game with slice, comes to the net, great serve, forehand, one of the best ever.
Again, he's very complete player. I know that he's always going to push you hard and try to protect the baseline, take away the time from you, which he was doing also today.
I think what I managed to do better than what I've done in the last match we played in the group stage here was the fact that I was more solid from back of the court. I served well when I needed to. I got myself out of trouble. I returned more balls back than I did five days ago. I think that helped me to get into the rally. I always try to make him play one extra shot.
As I said, forehand is maybe his best shot, and backhand is equally as good. Maybe not as good as forehand. Of course, you try to take advantage of certain parts of his game that were not working well today, which was backhand, put some variety and different pace in that angle, not always playing the same, with some spin, slice, flat, fast, slow. Just not give him too much comfort on the court. It worked well.
Q. Clearly you have few weaknesses in your game. Your serve in particular seems to have come on in leaps and bounds this season. How much credit do you give your serve for preserving your physical resources right to the end of the year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I give a lot of credit to my serve. I'm grateful to my serve to work in certain moments when I need it the most, like today. I got myself out of trouble a couple times in the service games, especially in the first set.
When you're playing against the top guys on such an important occasion, big events, you need to serve well, try to get some free points in that part of your game, otherwise you will spend twice as much energy running all over the court, especially when you're playing Roger who puts so much pressure on you all the time.
Over the years that was one of the elements I improved in the most. But I know I still can do better. That keeps me going, obviously.
Q. The first thing you do is go to Facebook and talk to your fans. Do you blog during a tournament? Do you use it as an inspiration?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depends. I try to use it only in positive ways and inspiration, of course. Social media has allowed us as people to get together and communicate better. It made a revolution, honestly, in terms of communication and networking.
Also it allowed us professional athletes to be close and interact with our fans, with people around the world that follow us. It's the first time I actually have done something like that. It was very exciting, it was great. Hopefully I can do more of these kind of hang-outs with my fans.
Q. I'm sure you'll be heading off on vacation. Next week's Davis Cup final, do you think the clay makes it interesting even though Great Britain are the favorites?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Considering the fact that Andy Murray is in the team, everything he has done for Great Britain this season in Davis Cup, it's fair to say that Great Britain is favorite with him in the team.
Of course, now they're going to play away which makes it different in Davis Cup because of the crowd, different atmosphere that you get to feel in Davis Cup. I know how it is. I had that fortune to win the Davis Cup title in 2010 with Serbia at home and played a couple of finals, semifinals.
It's real unique. It's the only official team competition we have in the sport, so it really inspires you to play your best because you're playing for your country, you're playing for your team, you have your teammates behind your bench cheering you on all the time. It truly is a unique kind of atmosphere and I love to be part of it.
I wish both teams all the best. It's going to be interesting to see that final. Again, Belgium is playing at home. David Goffin needs to play on a high level to give Belgium a chance, but Britain is the favorite.
Q. You've played Rafa and Roger this week. You've leveled your head-to-heads with both of them. Are you able to separate the two rivalries? Does one of the them mean more to you? Is one more special?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They're different rivalries. I've answered this question before. It's hard to really compare.
In terms of matches played, maybe the most exciting matches that I've played maybe the Nadal rivalry would be the one I would pick. Again, two different rivalries because two different players.
Those two rivalries made me a better player, the player I am today, no doubt. Made me understand what I need to do both on and off the court to be able to be in this position now.
Q. On the court you talked about your pride in this season. What achievement specifically are you most proud of?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's been a great year with many highlights. If I can, I would pick obviously Grand Slam wins, especially the Wimbledon and US Open. I think this tournament, as well.
Again, I've played maybe the best tennis of the season in China. I played great on clay, as well. Overall it's been as close to perfection as it can get, the season. Just blessed and overwhelmed with the emotion and the thrill to be achieving such a great season. It inspires me even more to keep on going and hopefully playing on this level in the future.
Q. You're such an ambassador to your country. Serbian people adore you. Some think you could be a future prime minister of Serbia.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not president (smiling)?
Q. I'm not suggesting you retire from tennis, but would you consider a political career in the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I had that question before. First of all, I'm obviously very proud to be representing my country. I try my best to represent it in the best possible way through my field of life, through my profession, through sport. It's a very global sport, so you get a lot of attention.
To be representing, of course, myself and my family, but also my country, is really a privilege, especially because Serbia last three or four decades has been through a lot of wars, troubles, bad press, stuff like this. I try to emphasize the good side of what Serbia and our people represent.
I feel their love, I feel their support. I have the responsibility. Obviously I feel that as well everywhere I go.
But do I see myself in politics right now? No, I don't. I feel like I can do for my country much more without getting in politics, through the work that I do, through foundation, many different ways that I can contribute to the positive image of my country.
I do follow politics. Politics is part of everybody's life, of course. I try to not get politically involved because I think sport and politics should be at this level separated a little bit. But in many countries it's all kind of linked to each other and I'm aware of that.
But also I'm obviously somebody that is not competent maybe to talk to politics. But the way I see things right now, the political system in our country right now, as in many countries, doesn't really work. That's one of the reasons I'm not really interested to get in the midst of that.
But who knows what the future brings. I need to be aware that it's not only me making decision, it's my family, it's close people to me. It's still a long way. I still see myself playing tennis hopefully on a high level for many years to come. When the time comes, we'll see.
Q. I don't know if you could have imagined the kind of sustained level of success you've had the last four or five years after 2010. After this season you really started to put yourself in the conversation of the greatest players of all time. What is the sense of urgency you have at this point of trying to catch Rafa and Roger in terms of major titles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously with wins that I had this season and throughout my career, especially in the last five years, I put myself in a very good position, knowing that I made a lot of records and history.
Of course, it does flatter me, inspire me. It makes me very satisfied and happy. That I don't care about it? Of course, I care about it. This is a sport I love truly with all my heart. Because I love the sport, that's why I started playing it. As a kid you dream to be in a position to win Grand Slams, win the season finale and be the best in the world. I managed to achieve that for many times.
Again, I can't predict the future. I don't know what's going to happen in next years to come. But what I can do for myself is continue respecting the kind of training regime and lifestyle that I had and keeping that mindset. Because of that package, I got myself in this position.
I'm convinced with this dedication to the sport, I can achieve more. How much, I don't know. I don't have a sense of urgency. I don't chase anything. I just try to be in the moment and see where it takes me.
Q. You have five titles in the World Tour Finals. You join with Boris Becker. How do you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel motivated to make it six so we can have a different conversation on the team (laughter).
No, I'm glad obviously that also symbolically today on his birthday we managed to win the title together. This was another motivation before the finals, knowing it's a special day for him.
He has put a lot of energy and effort and contribution to this team. He's going through emotions off the court, the same emotions he was going through on the court when he was playing. He understands. He feels me. Same Marian, same all the team.
I know they are exhausted, as well, after this season. But they are definitely also very proud of what we have achieved as a team. I'm sure that Boris wants me to do well, and I want to do well with him more. I know definitely we going to work next year together and hopefully many years after that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports