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July 12, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Wimbledon, London, England

T. BERDYCH/N. Djokovic

7-6, 2-0 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Yesterday you were also getting some work done on your shoulder. How long has it been affecting you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not the shoulder. It's the elbow that already keeps bothering for over a year and a half actually.

It's unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, Grand Slam, this way. I mean, if someone feels bad about it, it's me.

But, you know, I tried. I tried what I could do from yesterday, you know, to get it in the condition where I'm able to play. I was able maybe, you know, for 30 minutes to play with some pain that was bearable, let's call it that way. All the treatments and medicaments [sic] couldn't really help.

The serve and forehand were the shots where I could feel it the most. Just after that there was really no sense.

Q. How tough is it to go into a match knowing you're not fully fit? How much of a difference did not having the day off yesterday affect things?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, those kind of particular circumstances don't really help. But at the end of the day, it's the kind of situation which you have to accept and try to make the most out of it.

As I've said, you know, I spend probably about two hours, two and a half hours today on the table in between the warmup and match, trying to do everything I possibly could to, you know, make me fit.

But it wasn't to be. You know, for an athlete, especially in an individual sport, there is no way out. If you don't feel fit, unfortunately that's it. You know, there is no one to come instead of you.

Q. I remember in Bercy last year you said short fixes are bad fixes about this elbow issue. What is the best solution to fix it for good?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's not a time and place for me to talk about the details. I'm just going to talk with specialists, as I have done in the last year or so, try to figure out what's the best way to treat it and to solve it, to find a long-term solution. Obviously short-term it's probably rest is most appropriate. We will see.

Q. Was there a specific moment that aggravated the injury? What concerns did you have that you might do some lasting damage by continuing to play beyond the pain?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the intensity and the level of pain was not decreasing. It was only increasing as the days went by. Actually, I started feeling it already more or less at the beginning of the tournament.

I kept doing everything with my physiotherapist, and physiotherapist of ATP, what we possibly could to try to recover it and get it into the state where I'm actually able to perform. I was able to perform up to this stage. But as I've said, it was only getting worse.

Unfortunately today was the worst day. Probably the fact that I played yesterday, kind of days adding up, you know, as I've said before, it wasn't helping at all.

In the end of the day, this is something I have to deal with and accept it.

Q. And the risk factor?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I just came off the court. I don't know. I'm not a specialist, not an orthopedic specialist. I'm going to definitely speak with some and understand what needs to be done.

Q. Last night or this morning did you consider not starting?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I haven't consider not starting. I always like to give it a shot, you know, try to step onto the court and hope for the best. That's all I could do. All I had today was hope that everything we've done will allow me to play. And I have, one set.

Q. I think you might be the 10th player to retire early this tournament. Do you think that's coincidence or is there a particular reason why it's happened so much?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't see any reason.

Q. You and Andy both seem to have struggled physically this year. Do you think it has anything to do with your success last year and before then, kind of dominating the tour?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Could be. We both had a very long, very tough year, a lot of matches, a lot of emotions, a lot of things in play. Our bodies have taken a lot physically.

So, I mean, as an athlete, one way or another, at a certain stage of your career, you're going to experience these kind of things. Injuries are part of this sport, unfortunately. Professional tennis is getting very physical in the last couple of years. It's not easy to kind of play on the highest level throughout the entire season, then be able to do that over and over again every season, and then stay healthy.

I mean, obviously we do everything in our power. That's why we have huge amount of people around us in our teams, to make sure that we cover every field or expertise that we possibly can so we can perform as best we can.

At the end of the day, we're all humans. We got to go through these stages.

Q. It seems that you were starting to find your game in the past few weeks. How disappointing is the timing of this?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, for an athlete, any athlete for that matter, is really hard to swallow, when you have to retire, especially when you're playing well. I was playing really well, I thought, probably the best tennis I've played in the last 10 months or so. I played great. I haven't dropped any set in Eastbourne, coming into quarterfinals today. Felt really good on the court.

Yeah, it's just unfortunate. But in life, you know, these particular things happen for a reason. It takes some time and obviously thinking to understand why this happened, and to obviously learn from it.

Q. Of the top four guys, Roger is the only one left standing, and he didn't play a clay court season. Does it make you think, in conjunction with whatever medical advice you get, reassess schedule?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, obviously where things stand at the moment with this injury, I have to obviously see what needs to be done, how much time is going to take. Obviously I haven't felt this much pain ever since I've had this injury. So it's not a good sign.

Obviously schedule will be readjusted. We'll see. I mean, I'm not thinking too much ahead because I'm not able, not able to play. If I'm not able to play, I can't be thinking about any other moment except this one. I'll try to understand everything that goes around and we'll see where I can play next.

Q. How long has it been bothering you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: One year and a half, more or less, on and off.

Q. During that year and a half, did you ever consider taking some time off to try and work on it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was. To be honest, I was. I mean, the specialists that I've talked with, they haven't been really too clear, mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options. Nobody was very clear in what needs to be done.

As long as it kind of comes and goes, it's fine. But obviously, adding up, maybe it worked for seven, eight, ten months, but now the next seven months is not working that great. Obviously it's adding up more and more. The more I play, the worse it gets.

Yeah, I guess the break is something that I will have to consider right now.

Q. Did you have different advice from different specialists on what to do?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Are you one (smiling)?

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