home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 27, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


7-5, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just wanted to ask you, given the crowded tennis schedule this summer, did you ever give any thought to skipping this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I did consider it, I think, as most of the other top players. But under the circumstances that I was in in last month or so and early exit in Wimbledon, obviously, you know, allowed me to have more time.

I actually think that Toronto is a great way for me to, you know, prepare for Olympic Games and what's coming up after that. But also, you know, to enjoy my time in this tournament that I always love playing.

You know, I enjoy Canada, both cities, Toronto and Montreal, and the past results in history shows that I have a good time on Canadian soil, so I try to get the best out of it.

Q. Did you or your team investigate that Zika question that seems to be troubling a lot of athletes? What were the conclusions that you came to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I did get more information on it. My decision is to go to Olympic Games, because from the informations and facts that I got, it's not as it's presented, it's not as dangerous. Of course there is always a possibility that you can get that virus, but I think, you know, maybe the fuss and the buzz about that virus has been created with some kind of other intent. But I'm not going to get into that. But, you know, for me it's safe enough and I'm going to go.

Q. Obviously with Roger out for the rest of the year, Rafa still is apparently struggling with his wrist, you guys, the four of you, have dominated at the top of the sport for so long now. Given time, injury, whatever, a couple young players coming up, Milos breaking through to get to a final at Wimbledon, do you see perhaps the mix about to change over the next, let's say the next year or so?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you had couple of times where Stan Wawrinka, Nishikori would come in or some other player that would -- I think even Milos sometime was top four. But, you know, still the four of us guys that have been, you know, very fortunate to dominate a sport in last ten years have been staying consistently there in those spots.

We are all aware it's not going to stay forever, you know. Obviously we have a new generation coming up that is already established in top 10 of the world, like Nishikori and Raonic and now Dominic Thiem.

It's a natural cycle of life and sport. New faces are coming up and challenging the best players in the world. They did win against all of us in some big occasions here and there, and they showed that they have enough quality to, you know, be serious contenders for the top spots and for major titles.

So eventually that's going to happen. Somebody's going to come in the mix. Whether that's going to happen later this year, next year, or in few years, that's something that we don't know, but that is coming. And, you know, I obviously can speak only on my own behalf and I'm going to try to, you know, stay there and motivated as much as I can.

You know, I know as time goes on and passes by, I will have, you know, more players challenging me and trying to take away that top spot. That is the ultimate goal, I think, in sport.

But, you know, that's something that keeps me going, I guess, each day, knowing that there is so many of the other guys that are putting in the hours on the court, so I need to work even harder in order to stay there.

Q. Pretty much your whole career it's been Roger and Rafa in front of you, with you. Now a few times this season they haven't been around. You have sort of been "the" guy. Do you feel more prominent? Do you sense a difference?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, you know, I'm enjoying this sport very much, and I sense that I have changed as a person and as a player in last couple of years and have experienced my own personal evolution as everybody does in their own way.

Whether or not I'm dominant or the people see me in this way or other way, it's all the subject of speculations that I leave to other people. I don't think it's, first of all, nice for myself to speak about myself and my own achievements. I think, you know, I leave to the others to really talk about that and judge.

But, you know, me, it's really to just keep going and keep finding new ways to inspire myself to play this sport each day. It's not, you know, only the official matches you see on the television. It's all this 80, 90% of the days where you practice, where you have to, you know, keep motivating yourself, keep, you know, finding new ways to find that strength and the drive and, you know, keep repeating the same routine over and over again, but also finding new ways to improve and evolve.

And I guess if you reach that optimal balance, for everybody it's obviously different, one of the formulas for success, I guess.

Q. A quick assessment from you of your performance today and also look ahead to tomorrow against Radek?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Gilles Muller, very difficult player to play against in quick conditions. Takes away the time of the opponent. He serves and volleys second serve a lot, as well, which he's one of the rare guys that does that.

He likes to play quick, and I think the warm day like today played a lot in his favor. I managed start of the match well and get set and a break up, and then I dropped my serve twice in the second set. Those are the only, let's say, downsides to the match today.

Other than that I'm quite pleased with the way I held my nerves and was focused and just overall performance was very pleasing considering it was the first hard court match for a long time.

Q. I think you recently joined the Players Council. It's a busy time in your life and career. What's prompted that? Are there particular areas that you want to focus on changing or improving on the tour?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it's two reasons. First, because I have been elected by my fellow colleague tennis players, and some of them have named me as potential member of the Players Council.

And the second reason is because since I have had opportunity as somebody that is on top of the game and has obviously at this moment certain influence, I can try to use that influence and contribute in a good way to the sport. Roger has done that for a long time, and Rafa was also in the council for a long time. I think it's good that best players in the world are getting involved, as well, not much in politics as in really making a difference, positive difference in the sport, you know, for the future generations, as well, not just for us. We are talking about the seasons to come, you know, '18, '19, '20.

Who knows if, you know, some of us will still play at that time, but we can, you know, do something that is going to leave a mark of our legacy, as well, on the sport. Not just as tennis players, but, you know, as people who try to live a better sport for future generations.

Q. You mentioned before prominence and acknowledgement of the great run you have had. I wanted to ask you about support. You have also, during this run, you have had to play Roger in the finals at Wimbledon where he was obviously the sentimental favorite because of his standing and his age. You have had to play Murray at Wimbledon, you know, during that whole thing. I was wondering if, at the French -- you know, it seemed like the crowd really supported you and acknowledged that, how badly you wanted that. I was wondering if that really added, after the matches you have had to play against other sentimental favorites, if that made the French even more special for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It did. It was a divine sensation to experience, honestly. (Laughter.)

I think it started the years before, especially the year before when I lost to Wawrinka and the closing ceremony. I had that very respectful ovation, you know, and that was very emotional. It touched me very deeply, and I knew that there is that special bond and connection between the crowd and French Open and me.

It was really strengthened and established in 2015. And then 2016, you know, it was flowing from day one, you know, that I arrived there and I saw how much love and energy I was getting from people and how much they wanted me to do well.

So I think all of that combined resulted with a magnificent experience in the end and the first triumph in Paris.

Yeah, very, very special moment. Unforgettable moment. Remarkable. You know, I'm trying to find more words to describe it. It's one of those feelings that stick with you forever, and I -- you know, I really appreciate the support and love I got from the crowd.

In the big matches like that, you need it. I mean, it's crucial at times. You know, it's a necessity, you know, to have that kind of wind in the back, that kind of support that, you know, gives you wings in the right moments, because very few points can really decide a winner in the big matches.

Q. (Question about becoming elder statesman.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Talking about future, if we can expect... Well, I sincerely hope so. Well, I'm not sure, obviously, but, you know, I'm obviously doing everything in my own power and my own field of influence to be a positive example on and off the court, and I'm very obviously connected emotionally to this sport.

I feel that bond, and I try to be honest and transfer that passion on the court and off it, as well. I have tons of respect for it. So I hope people can, you know, relate to that and recognize that and let -- you know, obviously playing against Roger, as you mentioned, Grand Slam finals, and Rafa, you know, those guys have been on the tour more than me. Those guys are some of the biggest players ever to play the game.

So it's hard to expect that a majority would be on their side in those circumstances, but you're working, you're trying to be who you are and eventually hope that that majority comes to your side.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297