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June 24, 2018

Novak Djokovic

London, England

M. CILIC/N. Djokovic

5-7, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously the match didn't go your way today, but can you sort of elaborate on the positives you'll take from this week and to Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I was one point away two times today to win the match, so obviously disappointed not to be able to win it, because this was, you know, big occasion for me playing finals against Cilic, who is obviously one of the best players in the world.

I thought I have built up the momentum quite well throughout the week. Played great. It wasn't to be, unfortunately. 4-1 up in the tiebreak, second, double fault 4-3 up. Yeah, I got a little bit tight there. Obviously he used it. He served well when he needed to.

Congratulations to him, but I can definitely take a lot of positives out of this week.

Q. That tiebreak, is it the case of you haven't won for a year so the title being just a few points away...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Perhaps, perhaps. Perhaps not. I mean, I wasn't really thinking about the occasion or the title or whatever when I was match points up. I was just thinking how I can return his serve and how I can get into play and position myself well only in the next point.

But, yeah, as I said, just wasn't to be today.

Q. When you went out at the French Open a couple weeks ago, you said you weren't even sure you were going to play Wimbledon. Considering that, you have come a long way since then, would you say now you're a real contender for Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I wouldn't say I'm a contender, you know, for a trophy or anything like that. I have to keep my expectations, you know, very low, considering my results, you know, in the last 12 months.

But I'm really happy that I'm able to play this way coming up to Wimbledon. I mean, this is as big of a tournament as it gets prior to Wimbledon, and I played finals and almost won it. It's a great result.

Q. You seem to be going in the right direction there. How close do you think you are to being back?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm there. You know, I feel like beating Dimitrov, one of the top players, in straight sets, all straight sets till today, and as I said, you know, I had couple match points to end it up in straight sets today, as well, against Cilic, but just the match turned around. He had a great comeback. Third set, again, it was very close.

But all in all, I think that the level of my tennis has been as good as it has been the last 12 months.

Q. Earlier in the week when you spoke about Andy, you were talking about the mental challenge he was going to face. Do you feel for you that final step of winning a title, that's a mental thing, because physically you are...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, life throws challenges at you when you least expect it. But, you know, that's our task as people to evolve and especially as athletes at this level, trying to understand, you know, what it takes to make that final step.

Obviously I don't think I made too many things wrong, even in these big moments, except that double fault on 4-3 in the tiebreak. Other than that, I was in it, and credit to him for just going for it and playing well.

Yeah, the mental aspect is always the one that decides everything in life.

Q. Would getting back to a point where you win a Grand Slam again, where would that stand along all your achievements after all you have been through the last couple of years?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's what I'm playing for (smiling).

Q. Overall, what's your experience been like returning to Queen's, the atmosphere, place, the people?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's wonderful. Really, I meant what I said on the court. I'm really going to try to come back next year and the year after that, hopefully.

People love this tournament, and many top players keep coming back traditionally to this tournament. It's the biggest, next to Halle, biggest event that you have, and the field is always stronger here than Halle.

It's a great event. I mean, literally, the field is like a 1000 event, and it's as good of a preparation for and leadup for Wimbledon as you can get.

It was wonderful for me to be able to experience this once again and get to the finals, and hopefully I can have a great Wimbledon tournament.

Q. After this loss, what's your process now? What do you need to work on personally, do you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just keep it going. You know, the process is there. We know, you know, things that are working well, the reason why certain things are working well. Maybe some other things, you know, details and segments in the game need some work on.

But there is nothing in particular that stands out as a negative that I would be very concerned about.

Q. Looking seven days ahead, are you going to take any days off or are you back on the court tomorrow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I will be taking some days off and then I'll start training.

Q. Earlier this week you said Roger was the clear favorite for Wimbledon. He's struggled a bit in Halle this week. After playing Marin today, has that opinion shifted at all? Do you think it's closer than what a lot of people are saying between those two guys?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's always very close. I mean, Roger, I think everyone will agree that Roger is the No. 1 favorite. But Cilic is right up there, you know, next to him. Cilic, Nadal, these guys.

Yeah, we'll see. I mean, obviously a Grand Slam takes the best out of players, you know. Really motivates you to get to another level, and everybody aims to play their best at this tournament.

Q. Will you go home for a few days or are you going to stay in London?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, I'll go home for a couple days, pick my family up and come back.

Q. Obviously this is a big improvement on what we saw in, say, Miami, where you looked pretty listless and lacking motivation. Is it easier for you to understand now why you went through that, now that you are somewhere closer to where you want to be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. I mean, obviously I am right after coming from the court, speaking to you guys, and I'm not going to be ecstatic about losing a finals, you know. I'm not feeling that great at the moment.

But when I sleep over, tomorrow things will obviously have a different perspective for me, and all in all, as I said, you know, it's been a process in which I had to trust and had to have patience for.

And you mentioned Miami. Yeah, that was probably one of the lowest points I have had in terms of, you know, state of mind, where I was at that point. Also my game. So it's quite a significant difference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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