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August 15, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Cincinnati, Ohio

N. DJOKOVIC/A. Mannarino

4-6, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Recurring subplot here in Cincinnati is that you're a five-time finalist seeking your first title here. When you come here, does that add pressure to you? How important is it to you to get the last piece of your Masters 1000 puzzle?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it adds more to the motivation rather than pressure. I really want to win this tournament, and I have been trying. I'm still in the tournament this year, and hopefully I can get a shot at the title.

But, you know, I need to definitely play better than I have in the first couple matches. But, you know, I have been training a lot and trying to find the game and the level of tennis that I want to be on. I am motivated to get far in this tournament, without a doubt.

Q. Great to see smiles again. We all ride that roller coaster of life.

Q. Down and back on the upswing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Like Kings Island.

Q. Sometimes that low period, you end up grateful for that phase because it brings you somewhere else. Not speaking about specifics, but can you relate to that right now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. I try -- not "I try." I start every morning with expressing gratitude for everything that I am, that happens to me, that I have, and, you know, I try to always reflect on things. I think it's important, especially in those moments when maybe you're not feeling your best in your professional life or private life.

At the end of the day, it's all a journey. So that's how I see it. And of course winning Wimbledon, for me this year, considering what I have been through the last couple of years was truly a magical moment and very fulfilling. I was very grateful for everything that I had to go through to get to that point.

Obviously it's easier said than done. When you're in the midst of it, you feel maybe frustrated at times and you have doubts about your game, yourself, things like that. But we are all human. We all go through these kind of experiences.

Important thing is to try to learn from it, try to take what is important out of it, and what, you know, you can use for your own growth.

Q. A couple of days before your first match in Toronto, you got the chance to roast Daniel Nestor at his retirement ceremony before his Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame induction. Now that he's actually played pretty much his last ATP match -- he can still play the US Open, but this is his last ATP doubles match -- can you give me some of your thoughts on his career and maybe thoughts on his legacy not only on tennis in Canada but also tennis as a whole?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think his legacy would be greater if he played once with me, but he hasn't (smiling).

Joking aside, he has been one of the most successful doubles players in the history of the game, so he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame of Canada and also worldwide.

He was born in Belgrade, actually, Serbia. Moved with his family when he was four to Canada, so there is that kind of connection that I had and all the players from our region with him. He was always very quiet until he gets engaged, and then he starts screaming in the locker room. He's one of the loudest guys when he decides to (smiling).

But always very funny, you know, very respectful towards everybody. And, you know, seeing him play at age 45 is quite an achievement, whether it's singles or doubles, regardless. I think it's just worth crediting him and congratulating him on his amazing career.

Q. Obviously you're still in the tournament, but you say there are areas that you still want to improve. How much of that is the inevitable kind of dip that you get after winning a slam, changing a surface, and how much of that is still you finding your way again and making adjustments post-injury?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It might be the case, a little bit of both, I'd say. But I have been in these particular situations before. I was winning Wimbledon in the past and then winning Canada a few weeks after that. So it's not something that has been bothering me in the past, so to say, has not been repeating.

But I'm still trying to find, you know, the proper, I guess, level of tennis on the hard court that I, you know, that I wish to be on. And obviously US Open is the biggest tournament this part of the season and the last Grand Slam of the year, so that's where you want to play your best. But I wish that the best game also comes here. I'm working on it, so let's see.

Q. Can you talk about today's match in particular, how you think you played and if you're feeling okay? I think I saw you take some pills.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I wasn't feeling well. Didn't have a great night and wasn't feeling that well for the first set and a half.

Q. Stomach?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah. I kind of made it through, and with the help of the doctor and God (smiling) I'm just, you know, happy that I managed to overcome the challenge.

Credit to him playing well the first set, but I wasn't myself. On the court I had difficulty moving around and just hitting the ball, making a lot of unforced errors.

The second part of the second set and third set it was already much better. I will try to take that into next match.

Q. You mentioned still needing to work on some things hardcourt-wise. What are you very happy with right now that's working in your game with the last couple of tournaments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, just trying to stay committed, trying to stay focused, and taking day by day, trying to raise the level a little bit each day.

You know, Canada was okay. You know, I haven't played really well there. Here, as well. Patches of the match today I played well, but certain patches also not really well. I'm still looking for that consistency.

I think it's quite important as the matches get tougher now and the opponents are higher-ranked, I mean, I am going to need that consistency and need to be solid and kind of hit with confidence.

So I'm looking for that. I know that, you know, from the experience it might come very quickly all of a sudden, so I'm hoping for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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