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June 29, 2016

Novak Djokovic

London, England

N. DJOKOVIC/A. Mannarino
6‑4, 6‑3, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was a tricky player to play today. What were your feelings on court against him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a challenge to play Mannarino on grass because he has a very good game for this surface. The shots that he comes up with are very flat, and they bounce very low. He picks up the ball very early. Has a very good variety on his serve, slice that fades away from you.
You know, he's definitely not easy to play against on grass. As I said, it was a very good challenge for me at the right time. I think I came up with the best game when it was most needed in all three sets.

Q. That was your 30th consecutive victory in Grand Slams, which is a record for the Open era. Were you aware that would be a record before the match? Do these sorts of statistics mean much to you these days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have to be very grateful to have the opportunity to make history of the sport. Of course, every single record that I manage to achieve in last couple of years is important and is unique to me.
Every next one that I have a possibility to achieve is motivation more. That's how I look at it.

Q. Do you think you can go on and make this a record that will never be bettered, been in place for almost 50 years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course, it's very flattering to know that. It makes my team and myself very proud of what we managed to accomplish.
The record that I managed to break today, yes, is one of the better ones because obviously as a professional tennis player, you always aim to play your best in Grand Slams. You want to be consistent and win as many matches in these tournaments that matter the most in our sport.
Knowing that I won 30 in a row, it's very pleasing obviously. I want to keep on going. Let's see where it takes me.

Q. The ITF plan in 2018 to organize the final of the Davis Cup on neutral ground, as a player, what do you think of that project?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's the first time I hear that officially.

Q. There will be a vote next year about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there were different talks about the different change of format of Davis Cup. I definitely stand for change of format of Davis Cup. I've been saying that openly in public for many years.
Obviously the Davis Cup format, as it is, doesn't work anymore. There are not many top players that are participating in Davis Cup for many previous years. We have seen a few of us managing to play for our countries. Throughout the whole year, it's a big challenge because of the schedule.
You have four rounds in the best‑case scenario of the World Group. The best match in terms of schedule for top player is the first one. Every match after that you need to play after either a Grand Slam or after a season finale.
We all love representing our country. We all love being part of this competition because it brings out the best in us. It's the only official team competition we have in sports.
We can't always be available, you know, because it's so challenging for our bodies to be able to change from one surface to another in two, three days. Fly from London, for example, here playing on grass and clay courts. Then playing indoor, play hard court in a completely opposite side of the world after several months, you know, of week‑in‑and‑week‑out tennis matches on the highest competitive level.
So having all this in mind, I definitely stand for the change in format. We need that. I think that the best way is to create some kind of structure that is similar to, let's say, European or World Championships in football: create one event in one year or two years that would be held over two weeks' time. Make four groups, winners of all groups go to playoffs. Create really an attractive, not just for us tennis players, but for fans, for media, for everybody, for sponsors.
I think we do need to create a radical change because if we continue having this kind of format, it's not going to be good for players.

Q. Had Rod Laver reached out to you after that French Open win? If so, what did he say to you? If you haven't spoken with him, what does it feel like to share that particular part of history?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven't spoken to Mr. Laver after Paris. But I do see him regularly now, more often because he spends a lot of time now on the big tournaments. It's great to see such a prominent legend of our sport spending more time on the tennis tournaments around.
I've heard that there's a high probability we'll also have the Laver Cup, which is a format similar to Ryder Cup in golf, which is great. We need these kind of changes, innovations, in our sport.
To have Rod Laver present, put his name there, stand behind those kind of events, be present for us to see him all the time on the tour, it's truly amazing. I'm very flattered to be alongside him in the tennis history.

Q. Have you had a chance since leaving the court to see any of Roger and Marcus Willis' match? If so, what are your reactions to the next chapter in this story?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven't, no. I know a little bit about Marcus Willis' story. It's a story of the beginning part of Wimbledon. Obviously him making his first win in Wimbledon, in Grand Slams, after I think wanting to stop to play tennis. Then he was convinced by his family and close ones to continue on. It was a good decision. Next thing you know, he's playing Centre Court against Roger.
I'm sure he's on another planet right now. He's very thrilled and excited to be playing, for sure. I wish him all the best.

Q. What is most meaningful and distinctive about playing in the Olympics, and what does pursuing gold mean to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Olympic Games are the most renowned and most prominent sports event in the history of sport. No question about it. There is no bigger sports event than Olympic Games.
For me, as a professional athlete, it's a huge honor to be part of it. I was fortunate enough to be part of Beijing Olympic Games, London as well. I also had that satisfaction of winning a medal for my country in Beijing, and also the honor of carrying the flag at the opening ceremony in London.
I've experienced the most, I would say, exciting moments of Olympic Games. It's really amazing to be alongside all the best athletes in the world, to dine with them, to watch them perform live. It's quite an experience I really look forward to.
The tennis tournament is going to be played on hard courts. It comes at the right time in my career where I'm feeling I'm at the top of the game right now. Hopefully I'll be able to be healthy and perform as best as I can to fight for gold.

Q. As you've heard the reports of the Zika virus concerns, athletes pulling out, what have been your thoughts about that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I've been getting more and more information about it honestly. Last few days I've been trying to reach out to as many Brazilian friends and acquaintances that I have, get as much information.
When I do get more information about it, I'll be able to make my final decision. But for now, I'm planning to go.

Q. I keep looking to find a weakness in your game, and I can't do it.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Mr. Bollettieri, wow.

Q. I'd like to say this, you're a credit to the game and I like how humble you are about records and giving respect to the sport. I'm honored to know you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you, Nick. I'm honored to have your presence at the press conference. Thank you so much for coming. I'm overwhelmed. Thank you. Wow, this has been a highlight of this conference, for sure. Thank you very much.

Q. You are a football fan. Are you following the European Championships? Do you have a favorite team since Serbia is not competing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Serbia, as you said, is not competing, so I don't have somebody I can cheer for with all my heart. I've been supporting several teams. One of them is Croatia. Unfortunately, they lost.
Some amazing stories from Wales, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland. I think it's great for football that they've changed the rules and allowed more teams to qualify for the Championship, and allow the smaller nations to be able to participate in such a big event.
I'm hoping that Serbia, after a bit of a long wait, you know, can be present in the next World Championship and we can play it. But I'll definitely follow the games that are in our near future.

Q. You might not think of it these days, but when you have tough years, in terms of maximizing your resources, would you look to a psychologist? What do you do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Trying to understand your question. You were referring to a psychologist?

Q. Or try something from other things.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously, as everybody else, I'm always thriving [sic] to improve and get better in every aspect of my being, the player that I am, the person that I am. As everything in life, we're moving forward, we're evolving. I always look for new ways to try to get myself, you know, in a better state of mind and to improve my skills on the court and to strengthen my character features.
Obviously, as everybody else, I do have a private life, a family, all of that, that influences my profession and who I am as a tennis player.
I think the key word is always trying to find the right balance in life, getting the best out of your own potential.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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