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August 13, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Cincinnati, Ohio

N. DJOKOVIC/S. Johnson

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess it took a while to close it out, but in the end, how do you feel about how you played?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thought I had patches of the match where I played pretty good. Overall, you know, I thought that I should have closed it earlier, but credit to him for fighting, fighting back, playing some good points when he needed to, big serves.

Just overall I'm glad that I managed to close it out in straight sets, because it was becoming quite a battle, two hours, two sets.

But it was always going to be a tough one. Playing Stevie in front of the American crowd, obviously, on center court, he had not much to lose. So he came out playing well.

I think I can do better, definitely, in terms of level of tennis, and hopefully I can improve for the next match.

Q. In a series for a Grand Slam, they try to have similar conditions everywhere. How good does it work? How different is it from Toronto to come here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In terms of which kind of conditions?

Q. Like playing conditions, speed, balls.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in terms of balls, it's not the same as US Open, and it's something that is not that great, obviously. On the clay we also have this kind of situation, you know, where Roland Garros is played with one kind of balls and the other tournaments as a leadup to Roland Garros they play with the other balls, and same here.

So that's something that obviously is different, and you have to kind of deal with it, accept it. The ball is bouncing quite high in Toronto and here, as well. I think when it's very hot and humid, you know, the ball flies through the air quite a lot, so it's not easy to control the ball.

But at night the conditions are quite different from the day, and the ball is a bit slower. So the bounce of the ball, as well, is a bit lower which is nicer for play, so to say. But in these kind of conditions, you obviously need to rely a lot on your serve and trying to hold your serve comfortably and hopefully get lucky on the return.

Q. It's quite a long time ago since the big 5 played all together in one tournament. Do you think is it just bad luck with injuries, or is it more planning, the players plan a little bit more clever to not use too much energy? What do you think why that is?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess it's just age, in a way, as well (smiling). And though I think age is just a number, but still, most of us, you know, players that were winning most of the big tournaments in the last decade, I mean, we have also kind of, I don't know want to say an expired date with our body, but just times when you need to slow things down a little bit and be, I guess, wiser in terms of approach the scheduling when you want to play your best.

It's normal to expect that you have new faces on the tour, Zverev, who is now established top 3, 4, 5 player in the world for quite a long time. You know, Tsitsipas, Coric, Shapovalov, you have a lot of those NextGen players that are making their mark in the tennis, and this is the new generation this is coming in. I don't think that's something weird, you know, or unexpected. It's just, it had to happen.

But still I think the top guys are hanging in there, and it's a good mix now that we have -- I feel like it's good times for men's tennis.

Q. You mentioned you probably should have closed this out earlier, but what were you happy about tonight with your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just, I mean, after not capitalizing on that many match points, just staying composed and all the way through to the last shot. So I think that's something that I take as a positive out of it, and obviously serving well in the important moments.

Q. The Davis Cup vote happens in three days. How much have you been following the leadup to it, the debates, and what result are you hoping for?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, I have been in touch with people that are there. Yeah, obviously everybody is excited in a way to see what happens, you know, whether the format will be changed.

I'm just in favor of the change of format, nothing else, nobody else. I have been saying that 10 years ago. There is nothing different. It's just that 10 years ago ITF didn't want to hear anything about it, and all of a sudden in the last year that has changed.

So as a player, I'm glad that they are considering to change the format that obviously has not been that great for the competition and for the players in the last decade or so.

Q. Who have you been talking to there? You said you have been talking to people there. Who have you been talking to?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I will keep it to myself (smiling).

Q. Roger was talking today about your win in Wimbledon. He was saying that the way things happen is all of a sudden, when you go after a two-year period and win, all of a sudden everyone thinks you're going to win the US Open. For you, how are you handling, just mentally and emotionally and everything, how are you handling the post-Wimbledon high, and how are you tempering your expectations?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm obviously enjoying it. Winning Wimbledon is probably the pinnacle of our sport, and I have been fortunate to win it now four times and have experienced some really wonderful things with my wife, my son being there. It was very emotional after everything I have been through the last two years.

So obviously I'm very pleased with how I have, you know, went through that journey of post-injury and operation and recovery and then slowly kind of raising the level of tennis and getting to Wimbledon and then playing my best there.

Obviously it takes a little bit of time now to get used to the hard courts and get to that top level of performance. I don't think I'm there yet, but hopefully I can get as many matches this week as possible. This has been the tournament that I have never won out of all the Masters events, and I have been trying (smiling). I have another shot. We'll see.

But, you know, US Open definitely around the corner is the one that, you know, you're thinking about where you want to play your best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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