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July 11, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Wimbledon, London, England

N. DJOKOVIC/K. Nishikori

6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you get a bit angry on court, do you use that in a positive way or do you find it detracts from the momentum of your tennis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it depends. Sometimes it fires you up, so... Sometimes that's what you need to, I guess, be more alert on the court.

Q. How do you think the expression 'flying under the radar' applies to your tournament so far?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I leave that to you guys. I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favorite. I just try to build the momentum. Obviously I've been very pleased with the way I've played so far on the grass court season.

Today I had a tough opponent, a big challenge. I think we were quite even to the middle of the third set, then I managed to step up and play up a gear, really end up this match really well.

Q. Coming in with the seeding that you had, battling back from injury, everything else, what are your thoughts about what you're trying to achieve right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm in semifinals, and that's all I'm focused on right now.

Q. Despite being in the semifinals, do you feel in any way the sort of Wimbledon gods were against you with the scheduling? You've had a couple of altercations now with chair umpires.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would be at home if that's the case. But I'm still here, so... I'm enjoying my Wimbledon journey.

Q. You had a shocking call on Saturday night, a couple decisions this afternoon you didn't agree with. Are you getting a persecution complex here this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We can talk about it all day. It doesn't make any sense right now. I mean, I've been saying before I understand chair umpires sometimes make decisions that we don't agree with, that can be objectively right or wrong. It just depends from which perspective you're looking at it.

Specifically for the situation today, I mean, I just asked the chair umpire, How did I deserve that warning? I just asked him whether he thought honestly that I damaged the court with the racquet that I throw. I mean, anybody who saw the match, I mean, saw that literally I kind of touched the grass. I mean, I don't know how to describe it.

He said that he thinks it damaged the court. Nishikori did the same in the fourth set and he didn't get a warning. I think that's not fair. He claims that he didn't see what Nishikori has done, but apparently he always sees what I do. Something that I don't think is fair.

Q. Comfort and feel are so important for players. You getting on Centre Court, something you haven't been able to do all that much, especially in the time slot today, how important was it for you to get that experience?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, very important. I was glad and grateful I was scheduled today on the Centre Court, playing first match. Obviously that helps knowing what time you get out on the court. I'm going to play semifinals back there again. I've played this year so far only once in first four matches on Centre Court. It does help obviously as you progress in the tournament.

I'm pleased I'll be staying there right now.

Q. You were used to getting to those semifinals of Grand Slams regularly. Is there any special feeling or emotion after that match point? It's been nearly two years.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, obviously it's different coming into semifinals this year, taking in consideration 15 months behind, what everything that has happened, my results that were not up to the standard that I was doing before, that I was expected to play on.

In the same time, I'm trying to use the experience and memories that I had on being in final stages of Grand Slams, just take things very simple, day by day. Obviously at the end of this day, analyze things that I've done right, that maybe need some improvement, focus on the next day's practice session, recovery. Not get ahead of myself too much. Whatever is behind is behind. I've been through that.

Right now I'm just in my thoughts for tomorrow's practice and next opponent.

Q. There was another time violation today. Rafael Nadal said last week that he wasn't in favor of shot clocks. What is your view?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't think they're necessarily bad. I think it's good to have maybe shot clock for the warmup, the walk into the court. I get an idea that it's maybe a little bit too much now with chair umpires always stressing 45 seconds, 38 seconds, 12 seconds. They keep on reminding you, you know, that the time is coming closer. You have to prepare, get ready.

I mean, I understand why. Obviously you don't want players to take too much time when they walk into court and sit down and drink, they just walked in. You want to get on with the warmup. But at the same time there should be always a little bit of, I guess, a tolerance and understanding of the game, of the pace of the match, how it goes.

I don't like the shot clocks between the points. It's something the US Open is going to introduce this year without consulting players. That's really not nice and not fair. But it is what it is. You have to accept it and deal with it.

Q. Having watched you practice at Aorangi, you look relaxed, often having a joke with people on the court. Do you find the setup there helps you to feel a bit more relaxed? It's different from the other slams where fans and the media don't quite have so much access. How does that prepare you for Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Disagree with you. I think you guys have pretty good access in Aorangi, as well. I do try to joke around and take things a bit lighter, so to say, in the days when I don't have a match and when I'm practicing. Obviously there's a lot of stress, a lot of expectations, pressure, a lot of things you have to deal with, a lot of emotions during the Grand Slams.

As you're coming closer to the end of the tournament, the degree of those emotions is just going up. I'm trying to balance things out, have those off-match days a little bit lighter, a little bit more fun, just take my mind a little bit off the preparation thoughts and pressure and what I expect from myself and others expect from me.

Q. You said on Monday that you were hoping you'd be on Centre Court, back on Centre Court. There was a bit of murmuring when Roger wasn't on Centre today. Were you surprised he wasn't and you and Rafa were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was the decision of the tournament. I'm grateful, as I said, that was on the Centre Court. That's all I can say.

Q. Can I take you to the first set. 2-1, 30-15 on the Nishikori serve. What happened next has been described as one of the best points seen at Wimbledon. That forehand that you struck. Tell me about that rally from your perspective. You were sliding around the court. How close do you think your game is to being where it was when you won back-to-back titles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm really embarrassed, but I'm trying to remember that point. Usually I'm pretty good at recalling. I need to watch it.

Q. BBC Sport website and you can watch it on a loop over and over.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Make sure to get that promotion here (smiling).

I remember the one point that he won when he played through the legs -- sorry, under the legs. We had so many long rallies. Honestly, I'm sorry, but I can't remember.

Did I win the point?

Q. You did.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay (smiling).

Q. How close right now do you feel to the Novak Djokovic who won back-to-back titles in terms of where your game is right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I feel if I have to compare the game that I've played, the level of tennis that I've had those years and today, I think it's pretty close. Again, it's kind of hard to copy anything, right? I don't like that. I usually like to recreate something. I know, as everything in life, we are evolving. I'm a different person, different player today.

I like the level of tennis that I'm playing on right now. I really do. I think with the performances I've had, I deserve to be in the semifinals. I don't want to stop here. I hope I can get a chance to fight for a trophy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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