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January 7, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Doha, Qatar


6-3, 7-5

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations for your first semifinal here in Doha. What was the turning point of the game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he started better in both sets and I managed to come back. I think I played better first and second set, but credit to him for being solid and, you know, going for his shots. He has a very good service. All in all, a complete player.

You know, he's got a very good and very efficient one-handed backhand. Second set was very close. It could have gone his way. He was serving for it, but I just stayed tough, stayed out there and fought my way through.

So I think it was a good test. It was good to have a match like this, definitely, to see where I am and I'm just glad to go through this one in straight sets.

Q. Your Arabic accent was very impressive. I know you speak a lot of languages. Is Arabic next on your list?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, why not? (Smiling.) I have been coming to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for many years and now here in Doha, as well, so I have more than enough reason to upgrade my knowledge of Arab language. It's a beginning. You know, now I know a couple of phrases, couple of words. It's not easy.

I think writing will not happen yet any time soon (smiling) but at least am learning certain phrases.

Q. Tomas or Kyle tomorrow. A little bit on both.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Kyle is very talented player, very good forehand. Actually, I haven't really watched him play too much. I have just seen first set of their match. You know, he's strong physically, and I think it's great for British sport and tennis to have somebody next to Andy who is able to compete on the highest level.

He played in qualifications. Now reaching quarterfinals definitely is a great result for him.

On the other hand you have Tomas that, you know, I have played so many times against, and, you know, we know each other's game very well. We practiced few times actually here before the tournament.

He's always very solid. You know, he's going to come out firing from all corners, especially forehand and serve. His big weapon, if he serves, if he puts high percentage of first serves in, he can beat anybody, honestly.

It's a bit quicker here, which he likes. He likes the lower bounce and can flatten the ball out.

Let's see. I'm going to have to up my game. I know that. Hopefully I'll be able to do so.

Q. You were close in 2015. Do you think you can achieve the Grand Slam in one year? Is it achievable?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think anything is achievable. If you believe in it, if you, you know, dedicate yourself to it, why not, you know? Why not visualize that and hope for that to happen?

But, you know, one thing is actually to want that and the other is to accomplish. You know, it's still very early for me to talk about the Grand Slam in a year. You know, that would be something very extraordinary, but it is possible.

You know, I definitely have that kind of mindset. I was one match away last year. 2011 I won three out of four Grand Slams, as well. I'm not the only one that has done that. Of course Roger and Rafa were in similar situations.

So let's see. It's still very early. Hopefully I will be able to build my game as I go along, and the Australian Open is crucial for all of us, you know, to start a season in the best way. Of course I'm going to try to repeat the success that I have had there in many years, many previous years in Melbourne.

Q. There was an interview that was published today with the new ITF president, and he was suggesting a final four format for the Davis Cup, meaning there would be home and away ties for the early rounds but then semifinals and finals would be in one week together in a neutral place. What do you think of that idea?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was talking about that format for years. I think the format has to change, there is no doubt. It had to change already many years ago, but for several reasons it didn't. I'm glad that they are at least considering, talking about it.

The problem in tennis is that you have several governing bodies. You have, well, players belong to ATP, Federations belong to ITF, Grand Slams are independent. So it's a bit complicated, you know, to make any kind of changes in any format system.

But I am hoping for the format to change, because obviously if you look at, especially in the last five, ten years, you don't have many top players playing Davis Cup throughout the entire year because it's just a terrible schedule. I mean, you can't expect, you know, top players to participate in every Davis Cup match when it comes after every Grand Slam.

You have the whole season and you play for a month and a half, and then you have to play in completely different conditions, and Davis Cup is very unique competition where you represent your country so it's very tiring. It's very pleasing, of course. It's satisfying kind of sensation, you know, to be out there and play with your teammates. It's an honor. But in the other hand, you know, you only have two legs and two arms, you know, and you can't reach everything.

So I'm hoping for the sake of the competition itself and all the players that they will change the format because they need to do something.

I obviously think that the format of the World Tennis Championship is attracting me more. I think there should be group stages, four teams of four played, and then you play final four in a neutral place.

Of course it has to be analyzed and there has been a lot of talks about it, but some changes need to occur.

Q. You don't think that the lack of a home final would hurt the competition, the fact that you are playing a final but it's not at home?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, of course the downside is that the Federations will complain saying, well, many Federations get their main income from the Davis Cups, Davis Cup ties played at home. But you can create such financial structure where you say, okay, you know, if you create a different format that would attract more attention, that would generate more revenue, then you can share that revenue of course distributed equally to the Federations so everybody is satisfied.

Because these kind of formats, honestly, it's not at all reaching its potential. You know, potential is huge because tennis is a global sport and it's played and followed around the world. So why not follow some other sports' examples and make it big? You know, this is the only official team competition that we have in sport, so why not create something that will be, you know, better for everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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