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October 30, 2016

Novak Djokovic

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. You always said that the team was important part of your game. Here we don't see Marian or Boris either. Can you just explain why there is nobody with you here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the team is very large. The people that you see are also part of the team, so they came with me to this tournament because that was part of the agreement of the whole team, including Marian and Boris.

Q. When was the last time you didn't have either Boris or Marian with you in a tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Miami this year. Yeah. It was recent.

Q. More generally, how do you feel now some weeks after Shanghai when you lost in the semifinal?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel great. I feel, you know, rejuvenated. I feel obviously very happy to be back in the city where I had the wonderful memories from this year, especially.

It gives me a lot of great emotions and I guess butterflies in the stomach when I think of the last time I was in Paris and what has happened. You know, I'm hoping that I can finish the season as well as I was doing that in the last couple of years. I had great records in the indoor season and always enjoyed playing in Paris and London.

So we are coming to the finish line, and as I said, I really do feel comfortable playing in the indoor events and in this surface. So I'm going to take the best out of myself.

Q. Many years you are coming to France to play in Roland Garros and BNP Paribas. Which one you prefer to play in?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Don't put me on the spot here (smiling).

Both of the tournaments are under the same roof, under French Federation, so I guess they won't mind if I say Roland Garros. Of course as a Grand Slam obviously it has its own special story, but I always enjoyed playing in Bercy as well.

And I think in the last couple of years, seeing what the city has done for this arena and how they renovated it and the improved facilities for the tournament, with the gym, with the additional practice courts, you know, it's a good sign, you know, to always see that the tournament is trying to improve their facilities and make sure that the players are pleased with the conditions and that they are able to perform their best.

Q. You have beaten Murray comprehensively in last year's final. Are you at all surprised how well he's playing now? And are you worried about him taking your No. 1 ranking?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you've got to give him huge credit for what he has done in the last three, four months. Second part of the year, it's quite incredible for him.

I mean, he won many matches. He won couple of tournaments now in a row. I mean, he's playing maybe the best tennis that he has ever played. You know, very consistent, very strong.

He definitely deserves to be in the position to finish up the year as No. 1. You know, whether or not that's going to happen, it doesn't depend only on him. Depends on me, as well.

Let's see. You know, it's definitely not in our hands or we can't predict the future or what these three weeks are going to be like, but I'm sure that I can speak in his behalf as well that we are both taking one day at a time and we are both trying to get as far as we can only in this present tournament.

Q. Since US Open, you were talking about finding the pleasure on court again. Were you surprised it went away like this? How do you feel now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel good right now, because, I mean, the last couple of months were not easy, of course, with an injury in Rio and, you know, the US Open final was great. I mean, that tournament that I managed to play in to get to the finals, unfortunately ended up in finals.

But, again, it was positive, but in the other hand, mentally I just had to, you know, redefine my goals and things that are happening on and off the court and just make sure that I'm at a good place and I can perform as well as I guess expecting from myself.

So right now everything is, you know, is clearer and I guess is going in the right direction. I'm just focused right now in Paris.

Q. Is it exciting for you that you have to battle to keep your No. 1 world ranking?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's exciting to get on the court and battle for every point, because there is always something on the line.

Right now it's the ranking, but, you know, ranking is always there. The trophy is always, I guess, up for grabs for me and for all the other players that are participating in the tournament.

But, you know, I guess I have been in these particular situations before in terms of ranking, so I know what to do, and I just keep things very simple.

Q. The first opponent, I think it's Almagro or Muller. Playing indoor playing Muller or Almagro, it's not really a gift?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You can't really ask for an easy draw, because it's one of the biggest tournaments in sports. Of course two different players, but, you know, again, I just try to work on my game, you know, these days and I know that if I'm on the level that I desire to be that I can really challenge anybody and I can beat anybody.

So I just try to take that focus and attention to what I need to do. Of course, Almagro and Muller are quality players. Muller just almost beat Nishikori yesterday in Basel and he's a serve-and-volley player, big serve, and takes away the time. Definitely not easy, you know. Almagro has a big forehand.

There is no easy player. But the end of the day, it's the quality that I put on the court that counts for me, at least. So I know I have won against those players in the past and I know what to do, and I just try to be on the level that I want to be on.

Q. You said you had to redefine your goals mentally because of things happening on and off of the court. Buildup of frustration? Anything in particular that was getting to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, it's not the moment now to go back and talk about the things that I have been through, because everybody goes through those things on a daily basis whether you're an athlete or not. It's important to just take time and, you know, define yourself and really understand what the next step is going to be professionally, privately. And then, you know, as a father, the things change. It's not about yourself anymore. You know, you have a family, you have different things.

And then, of course, winning French Open this year, you know, has brought a lot of joy to me but in the other hand has taken away a lot from me, as well. I felt a little bit exhausted, I must say, and maybe less motivated.

So I had to, you know, kind of rediscover that feeling of being on the court and, you know, keep pushing myself. I guess it took a little bit of time, more time, and I'm just -- I'm at the better state of mind at the moment than I was some months ago. That's all. That's all.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. How are you feeling in your mind? Do you feel better? Do you enjoy your tennis? The motivation is there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. When I'm here, when I get to Paris, I always feel very motivated, very inspired. I want to play well.

Last time I was in Paris, I won the French Open and I felt very special emotions with my family, all the team. I was really waiting for that moment, for that success. I had been waiting for years.

As I just said in English, I needed time to think over things. I need to find new ambitions, new motivations. This is the perfect city for that. I feel good here. I'm happy to be back in Paris, and I hope I'll have a good week.

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