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January 4, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Doha, Qatar

N. DJOKOVIC/H. Zeballos

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. Has a player you've just beaten ever asked you for a selfie before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. First time.

Q. What was the explanation or your reaction?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think you saw it. It was quite nice. I mean, nice surprise. I never experienced that in let's say official tournament.

Quite a creative idea.

Q. Could we say it was more easier for you today? How did you feel on court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a different match, a different opponent. Lefty today. Never played Horacio and I never played Struff, so it's never easy to start against the opponents that you never played before.

Obviously you're trying to start with the right intensity, and the start of the match today was definitely better than the first round. Although I was quite pleasantly surprised with his aggressive play, especially his first shot from the back of the court after his serve. He was backing up with some aggressive shots, coming to the net, not being afraid to take his chances.

So it was a good quality match. I thought I played well on my service games. Didn't face the break point, so that's a positive.

Again, better performance from my side than the first match. Hopefully I can old this incline in the form.

Q. You know your next opponent very well. What are your thoughts on Radek Stepanek still making quarterfinals at this level at his age?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: And semifinals of doubles. Can't forget about that, because he's one of the not many players on tour that keeps playing singles and doubles, and especially at his age, which is an incredible effort.

I know Radek very well. He's one of the best friends on the tour that I have. We know each other well. We practice many times. Great guy. Very interesting guy. He keeps on surprising everybody with his level of consistency in his game.

I think more than anything is his dedication to the sport and willingness really to kind of discover new ways to get his body in the perfect shape. I think he's very smart when it comes down to that. He knows exactly what his body needs from every point of view.

You know, he works as hard as any other guy out there, but he does spend a lot of time recovering as well. It's important, and you can see that. You can see why he's out there still competing on a high level. He's been taking care of himself.

As a result of that, obviously he gets a long career.

Q. You made mention of a selfie, is it a little odd to have an opponent and a colleague also be kind of a fan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, again, I don't know what the motivation was. I don't know if he was a fan or not, but it was just a funny idea and thought to do that. I thought it was just very original, creative, and in a very friendly manner.

I think in the end of the day, two tennis players on the court try to outplay each other and win in the game of tennis. Once that's finished, once you shake hands, you're people. You're people when you're competing. You're a person, a human being. Of course you want to win. But once it's done, it's done. The past is behind you.

I think today's selfie is a nice example about how one person and a player can leave whatever behind is behind. It was just minute or two after we shook hands. He was already over his lost match and he moved into doing something different.

I applaud him for that. I think it was a really nice gesture.

Q. There has been a fair bit of talk about Nick Kyrgios potentially working with Radek. How do you think that would pan out if it were to work out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Who? I didn't understand that.

Q. Nick Kyrgios and Radek.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Working together?

Q. Yes, down the track, player/coach.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay. I don't know. It's the first time I hear that. I don't know how that's going to play out during Radek's active career.

Q. Beyond his career, when he finishes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, let's see if it happens. I don't know. I mean, Radek definitely can share a lot of his wisdom and knowledge about tennis. We just talked about his approach to tennis career and life, which is very I think professional.

So I think for sure he can contribute to Nick's game.

Q. Novak, obviously during the off-season you and Boris had a mutual split. Just wanted to know from your side, why did the partnership come to an end?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Simple: our paths went different ways and that's it. We ended a cooperation that was very successful. We set up goals few years ago when we sat down, and we accomplished those goals, and even more. That's all.

We just went different ways.

Q. About the selfie moment, do you wish in that moment that you would have done that with maybe some other players when you were coming up, maybe one the top players? Did you feel that in that moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no. I mean, that's not the right emotion to have in that moment. I just embraced the gesture. That's all.

Q. We've been told yesterday that you didn't want to have cameras during your practice session with David Goffin. Is that something you need at the moment or something to focus more on your work?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That's not true.

Q. It's just a question actually.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm telling you it's not true. If it was true I would answer the question, but I never asked for anything like that.

Q. You've known Ana Ivanovic for a long time and your ages are not so far apart. What was your reaction when she put up that video about her retirement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She was very emotional. I was very emotional when I watched it simply because I've known Ana since we were five years old. We go back a long time. We're friends, colleagues. You know, we've shared many moments together on the tour in the junior circuit in Serbia, internationally. We've grown up together and our families have known each other.

It was a really touching moment to see that happen, and I can imagine how hard it was for her to make that step and decision and just decide to stop playing tennis.

You know, I'm sure that she has done it with the right frame of mind and the right emotion. At least she seems like that.

Q. About the game with Radek tomorrow, Radek got his very own style that we don't see very often on the court. Will you adapt your own game to his or will you play your own tennis or whatever was in front of you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if you adapt your game to Radek's game it's not good, definitely. So I'll try to avoid that.

You're right, he has a very unique style. He is very, very talented. Great anticipation on the, court and he knows how to take away the time from the opponent.

He's overall player. He can play well from the back of the court, but he uses every short ball to come in. I'm sure we'll see him a lot on the net tomorrow.

I'm going to try to, you know, just hold my ground and protect the baseline and see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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