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January 26, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

N. DJOKOVIC/K. Nishikori

6-3, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can we say that it was a match Uniqlo?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Uniqlo won tonight. That's for sure.

Q. Were you confident all the time? Only nine mistakes for each set, 63 less than the other night.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, that was the goal, to decrease the unforced errors ratio. I've done that. I knew that I'm going to play against an opponent that plays very fast, faster than Simon. That makes also more unforced errors.

I tried to weather the storm, hang in there. He came up and played first couple games very fast, very quick. Took the ball early, being very aggressive from both corners. I expected that.

I was solid. I was determined, focused. In important points and moments I managed to stay composed and make him play an extra shot. Overall it was a very solid performance.

Q. Is your game exactly where you want it to be or are you still searching for some adjustments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, at this level you're always asking a lot from yourself. I have to be satisfied. I reached semifinals. I won against a top-10 player in straight sets. Comparing to the fourth round match, this was much better. That makes me confident and encourages me for the next one.

Q. You said on court you didn't practice yesterday. What went into that decision? Do you remember a time where at a Grand Slam you skipped a day of practice?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I've had previously these situations before. As I said on the court, less is more sometimes. You need to recognize the moment. I've played a lot of tennis - maybe even too much. There was no concern for me that I would not feel the ball today. It was about getting recovery - physically, mentally - just being able to step out on the court today feeling fresh and having that intensity.

I think it was the right decision.

Q. Mentally is it any different facing Roger in a semifinal of a slam compared to a final of a slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Might be. But, you know, very little difference. I don't think there is too much difference playing Roger in a Grand Slam. Any round feels like finals because of the fact that we are, you know, big rivals, we played so many times against each other. There's a lot of tension. There's a lot at stake. I'm expecting a great fight in two days.

Q. How do you find Australia Day?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thanked all the people for coming to tennis on Australia Day. I've seen a lot of people today walking in the park, being outdoors with their families. I thought that's very nice. That's what the Australians do mostly on this holiday.

It's in summertime. It's a beautiful time to come out and watch some good tennis. Hopefully we performed well for them.

Q. 45 matches, a lot of matches against one person. How well do you remember some of the old ones? Did you really think it would get to be this much? You have it against Rafa, too.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Honestly, I played so many times against both of these guys. At one stage I lost count of how many times I played. I played Roger and was surprised in London that I got to play both of them. I saw more or less there is only a match difference. It is maybe one match more against Rafa than against Roger. That's quite incredible. I've played these guys so many different occasions. I've battled them for biggest title in sport.

These two guys made me the player also I am today. I think these rivalries have allowed me to grow and to evolve and to get strong and tough and understand what it takes to be on the level that they are on.

I mean, they've been dominating the tennis before Murray and myself came along for many years. It took a while to get in the mix. Took a lot of matches to actually level the score head-to-head against both guys.

It keeps going. You know, Roger is playing really terrific tennis in last two years. We played two Grand Slam finals last year. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event.

He always makes you play your best. My best is what is going to be necessary to win against him. Hopefully I'll be able to deliver.

Q. What have you noticed about how his game has changed or evolved over that period besides the surprise attack by Roger?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's obvious that he's a very complete player. He's trying lately to come to the net more, kind of shorten up the rallies. I mean, he definitely has the game for that. He's got a great variation from the backhand side with the slice, short slice. He's got great defense, amazing offense. He's very complete. He puts constant pressure on the opponent. You have to be aware at all times. You got to be tough. You got to be concentrated.

As I said, you have to be on the top of your game because he hasn't really dropped the level at all I think in the last seven, eight years that I've been playing against him on the top level. He's been playing always consistently well.

I think his backhand is better than it was maybe five, six years ago. So, you know, he's playing some terrific tennis, as I said, on the hard court. This is going to be a big challenge for both of us.

Q. A question regarding off-court stuff. When you're going around town and seeing billboards with you for Citizen, ANZ, does that feel strange? And because of all the endorsements, do you feel as if yourself is regarded as a brand?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I do definitely try to create such image to people that it's a strong brand behind the tennis player that I am. Of course, we've been trying to manage, not just myself, but entire team around me, to manage that brand, get that quality that people would observe from a positive side.

But now, I mean, it does feel a bit strange to see the face on the TV and the billboards. But, you know, I'm not the only player that has that kind of marketing, I would say, from their sponsors.

Q. If five years ago when you were much behind in the head-to-head with Federer and with Nadal, do you think there was one of the two who was less difficult to reach? Were you thinking that you had more chances to level the head-to-head with Nadal or with Federer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was behind most of the head-to-heads against most players throughout my career. It does feel good, I must say, to level the head-to-head.

I did go through my moments, periods of my career, where I was doubting myself, not knowing really if I can manage to get to No. 1 and achieve the childhood dream, break the dominance of these two guys. Of course, I've been through those moments.

But those moments made me tougher. You know, under those circumstances and challenges when I was down, I had an opportunity to grow and to get better. That's what I used. I haven't done it myself only. I've done it with a great support and energy and love from the close ones, family and team members.

I'm the kind of guy that likes to keep more or less the same kind of people around for long time. I've been with Marian Vijda now for more than eight years, my physiotherapist seven years, my fitness coach as well. I haven't made too many changes. I did maybe earlier in my professional career. But once I found that team, I always believed in the team.

I always believed that sooner or later with a great dedication to this sport and great passion that we all share that we're going to have a success and it's going to pay off, which it did eventually. Certain things had to come together, not only on a professional but a private level. I think over the time I matured.

Q. Do you think playing best-of-five gives you an edge against Roger, being younger?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think there's too big of a difference physically. He's been not spending too much time on the court. He's been winning quite comfortably this tournament. He's pretty fit. He moves very well.

Yeah, maybe. The longer the match goes, maybe I have slightly bigger chance. I don't still think it's something I can heavily rely on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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