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


November 17, 2016

Novak Djokovic

London, England, United Kingdom


6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you think about the biggest surprise of this year you could imagine, if you can choose between del Potro winning the Davis Cup or you coming back to No. 1 in the world just one week after Murray, which one would be the biggest?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have not the same, I guess, perception of 'surprise' as you do. To me, that wouldn't be a surprise.

Q. When did you learn that Gael wouldn't play today? Was it overall a weird kind of game to approach? How did you deal with this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I still had enough time to prepare for this match, playing against David, because I found out yesterday night, early evening actually. Yeah, obviously could have happened also today before the match. That would be a bit different.

But nevertheless, I worked on my game. Regardless of who is across the net, I knew what I had to do, in which way I can raise the level of performance, which I did today. I'm very glad that my game is going in the right direction. Today I felt the most comfortable, definitely, so far in the tournament.

I'm looking forward, definitely, to the semifinals on Saturday.

Q. How is it that these last few years you've played so well at this event, at a time of year where you've had a long season, played a lot of matches? And if you could reflect on the possibility of challenging Andy for the No. 1 ranking later in the weekend.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I understand that, of course, the season is very long. Myself included, all the players, are not as fresh as in the beginning of the season. That's a fact.

I can't speak in the name of the other players, obviously. But I can say from my perspective that I always try to really take the last drop of energy, whatever is left in my body, to perform as well as I can and finish off the season in the best possible way.

In the last four years, I've been very fortunate to really play some great tennis in the fall, especially indoors, Paris and London, back-to-back, playing really good.

I like playing in the O2 arena. I like the surface conditions. I guess the fact that every match is against a top-eight player in the world, there is no, I guess, easy matches. You got to approach every match as if it's, I guess, the later stages of a Grand Slam. That's how it feels.

It's best-of-three. It's more intense. You have to be really on top of your game. I guess that's something that extracts that type of motivation and inspiration for you to perform well.

I'm just focused on my semifinals. Let's see what happens tomorrow. I'm going to obviously have my team watch the matches and see who I play against and then prepare.

Q. You mentioned on court how difficult it is to prepare when you don't know who you're playing next. Next time it could be three different players. Is it a harder format to prepare for than the straightforward knock-out tournaments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think this format is exciting. I mean, look, it's the only tournament in the year that we have this kind of format. I like playing in the round-robin system.

To be honest, I think certainly events, maybe like Olympic Games, should have this format. I guess you play more matches. The people like to see the top players being at least for a couple matches, two, three matches, in the tournament. It gives more value to the event.

Of course, it makes you feel also more, I guess, at ease because you know you're going to play at least three. Even if you lose a match, you can have a chance to qualify for the knock-out stage.

Yeah, I enjoy it.

Q. I thought you played very well and very positively today. I thought your level of intensity raised a little bit after the altercation with Fergus over the time violation. What was the basis of your argument? Were you buying into the John McEnroe theory of 'get angry and play better'?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not specifically. To be honest, I mean, I was glad to get that break at 2-1. Obviously that very long point ended up with an amazing lob that David played.

I just had a conversation with Tom Barnes, the supervisor. I just wanted to get his view on this. First of all, I accept and I know that I'm one of the players that takes the most time. There is no doubt. I'm not running away from that.

Every time that I'm late, if I get a so-called soft warning or pre-warning, I'll accept it and I won't say a word. But I think it's fair, correct and respectful towards the player and to the game if you go over the first time, let's say, over the limit, that you at least get a heads up. That's all I'm asking for, to be honest. I'm not the only one who has that kind of, I guess, mindset and perspective and opinion about this.

I know that the rules are strict, you have to follow. But there should be a kind of a feel, a sense for the game. It was the fourth game of the match, after a long point, the first time I went over, a few seconds, he gives me a warning. I didn't think that was supported by, I guess, the right facts. That's why I wanted to have a conversation and understand why. I guess it was as it was.

Q. You said on court there's no stress. Has there been stress over the past few months? If so, when did you manage to get rid of that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, you know, we all humans. Every single day we face some certain kind of challenges, mental challenges, on everyday basis, private, professional life, emotions, thoughts. It's normal, especially if you compete on the highest level in professional sport, that you have maybe more of, I guess, that hype and emotions and adrenaline going through your body. It's very important always to kind of know how to filter all of that, how to channel it in a positive direction.

I mean, certainly there are stages of the year or of the day, moments when you feel worse, and you feel better. The important thing is to be conscious of it and just deal with it in a best possible way that works for you. That's all I can say.

I mean, I have been in this particular situation so many times in my career. I think that experience also helps, you know, the training of the mind, being in this situation to, I guess, deal with it in a proper way.

Q. You have a special way of celebrating your victories with the crowd. Is this a spontaneous thing? What does the expression mean?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there's few additions I think this tournament. Generally it's just sharing the passion and the love for the sport with the crowd. That's all.

The gesture, basically I'm giving my heart to the crowd. That's all.

Q. I wanted to get your take a little bit off topic on Davis Cup coming up. It's the end of the year. Players are tired. A lot of players are injured. Is there any ideal scenario for you for Davis Cup and how they can create a better format or better dates? The first round next year is after the Australian Open. A lot of travel. Any suggestions on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thank you for your question. I've answered this question few times before in my life, in my career. I'm going to say the same thing as I said maybe eight years ago.

This format is not working for the top players, especially for the top players, because it's just completely at the wrong time in the schedule. If you go back five years, let's say five, six years, you see the amount of the top players that played at the later stages of the Davis Cup, you see that it lost value.

Of course, they have to change. They need to have the format, in my opinion, the only way to work, is once a year, one or two weeks, two weeks, have a round-robin format, four, five, six groups, have teams play in different locations, then come together in one location and play a knock-out stage, quarterfinals, semifinals, final four, whatever.

It's a no-brainer. I'm not the only one to have this kind of opinion about it. Many of the players have been talking about this format and the schedule, top players especially, because it just comes right after Grand Slams, right after World Tour Finals.

Playing over three days, best-of-five... I think they should cut it down to two days, best-of-three. Have two singles and one doubles, those kind of things.

In tennis, it's a bit confusing with the ITF, ATP, Grand Slams. Everybody is a separate entity. You have to consider different sides and negotiate.

ITF owns Davis Cup. ITF hasn't been really very helpful with the players' demands. The only thing that they wanted to change is the neutral final, I think for next year or the year after that, which talking to all the players on the council, most of the players also around the tour, nobody agrees with that. Again, you're taking away from the players the one thing that players love about Davis Cup, which is the home tie, the home crowd.

Yeah, I don't know how the future of Davis Cup will look like. I mean, I respect that competition. It has a long history. I love playing for my country. This is the only official team competition we have in our sport.

But there is definitely something radically that has to change. I don't know if they realize, but they're losing a lot of value in terms of commercial perspective, marketing perspective, whatever.

People don't know the format of the competition, the system, how it works, who plays who, until it gets to the finals. Even the finals is not as attractive in some countries anymore.

Yeah, that's my position.

Q. Before the tournament you shared with us the uniqueness of the Olympics. What went through your mind when you cried after losing the first round, your emotions?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, wasn't an easy day for me obviously. Look, you know, this is sport, and those were the circumstances. I had to deal with it. I had to accept it. I lost to a better player that later went to win a silver medal.

It was a great match to be part of. Unfortunately my stay was very short in Rio. Again, lesson learned. Hopefully I'll be able to have another chance to play Olympic Games.

Q. You said it's not in your eyes a surprise if you do finish the year at No. 1. You've come through the group stages with maximum points. How much of a motivation is it, how big does it feel to you that everything is now in your hands if you win the last two matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that's obviously something that you wish for, I mean, as a player, to have, I guess, everything in your hands, not to depend on other players. In this particular case, I'm glad that it's like that.

Everything has been going, as I said, in a positive direction. I've been playing better and better as I proceed in the tournament. I have now a day of rest. I'm looking forward really. It's the last couple matches of the year hopefully. One thing is for sure: I'm going to give it all on the court and see what happens.

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