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August 18, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Cincinnati, Ohio


6-4, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You are unique in your ability to step on the gas when you're in trouble probably more than any other player. Also unique, you grew up in an area knowing the tragedies of war. How did that shape you as a fighter?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's interesting parallel that you made there. It has probably something to do with, I guess, the ability to survive on the court, you know, being able to survive those particular circumstances of war that were, you know, tough for me and my family but for everyone who was in our country.

But it was one of these incredibly valuable experiences that have shaped, you know, me into the person that I am, you know, today, I think, especially from the mental strength, never-give-up, fighting-spirit aspect. I think those type of experiences in the past and the journey that I had to go through has definitely helped to, you know, make me more appreciative of things in life, more aware of, you know, where I am and who I am.

But at the same time, the things can change very rapidly, and we have to respect everything we have and be grateful for that. But at the same time it made me hungrier for success. It made me work harder because I, you know, literally had no support, so I had to, you know, create everything from scratch, together with the closest people around me.

Q. We noticed you had some philosophical differences with the music that was playing on the side of the court.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I mean, I thought it was just the wrong moment. They started playing quite loud at the end of the second set. You know, they kept going, and I just asked the supervisor whether they're gonna actually do something about it, because I asked the chair umpire a couple of times, and they didn't seem to quiet down, which they were supposed to. I mean, nothing against them. It was just...

Q. Would it be better if it was Angus Young playing AC/DC Hells Bells or something like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was just the wrong moment, man. It was just too loud (smiling).

Q. I'd like to ask a technical question about your service motion. You have had different service motions during the past.

Q. Partly because of stress, perhaps. It looks now similar to the motion that you have had --

Q. -- at times when you have had great success, but the speed seems a little bit slower, high 110s or so. You're getting a lot of free points with placement, but is it where you expect it to be or is it still a work in progress?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Still a work in progress. There are days where I'm able to serve, you know, consistently well throughout the match. There are days when it goes up and down.

But if I analyze the matches that I had this week so far, I mean, you know, I had lots of ups and downs with serves, second serves. It was, you know, quite slow and double faults in some important moments.

So I am still trying to find the proper rhythm, you know, and surgery was not a while ago. I did not know how impactful that surgery and the whole of the last two years' period of compromising my service motion will actually affect the actual serve. But it did affect, pretty much.

So I had to find ways and alternations to, you know, to the actual motion. I had worked with Agassi and Stepanek at the beginning of the year on that, and then Marian joined the team. Of course we are working on it. I know that the speed-wise is not up there where it was and where it should be, but I'm slowly building it.

You can't have it all right away, but it is the most important shot in the game, without a doubt. So I know I can't serve like Raonic, you know, speed-wise, but I have been always a player that used the accuracy and precision more than speed. But I know that I have couple miles more on my serve, definitely. But I think it's just a matter of the service motion and technique and ball toss and so forth. It's a matter of rhythm.

But I believe that it will come together. Actually in Wimbledon it was really good. The serve was very accurate. It was giving me a lot of free points, you know, because grass is obviously the quickest surface in sports. It's quite different than other surfaces. I'm working on it, and things will come together, I'm sure.

Q. If Roger wins tonight, it's gonna be the same final like in 2015. In both of your lives, a lot has happened since then. What do you think? How will you be different this time, three years later, if it comes to this final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I hope it will not be the same final for me (smiling) but we will, obviously if we got a chance to play, we will play each other after a long time. We haven't played each other for quite some time, which is unusual, because I'm used to playing Roger, over the course of almost 10 years, I have played him so many times. Played him the most after the rivalry with Nadal.

He has influenced greatly -- the rivalry with him and him personally has influenced the evolution of my game. So, I mean, it would be the greatest challenge in Cincinnati, without a doubt, and many tournaments, especially here, because he's been dominating this tournament historically. He won against me several times in finals.

You know, obviously he feels great in these conditions and this surface. But, you know, obviously he has to win his semifinals, and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. You were dominant there at the end of this match today, and we just talked about you kind of flipped that switch. Did you make a conscious decision to go for basically the kill here at the end of that match? Did you sense something there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in a way you feel the sense of urgency, because, you know, there is not much time left. Yesterday 4-3 in the third, today 4-3 in the third I make crucial breaks.

But, I mean, I wasn't, you know, just kind of closing my eyes and going for the shots. I was trying to tactically play smart and strategically play the certain shots that will put me in a better position than my opponent.

You know, when you play guys like Cilic and Raonic, you kind of have to be lucky to anticipate their serve, try to block it, try to put it in play, and again, develop a point in a way which will allow you to win it.

You know, today I made a passing shot down the line, which was, you know, quite awesome, and I was lucky to hit the line. That's what happens. I mean, that one point, one shot, decided a winner of the match today. That's how close it was. It was similar to yesterday's match, so not much has really separated us.

Q. Well played with your comments on court about Goffin. Can you speak a little bit about him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I think he deserves it. Yes, I think Goffin, I think he actually won against Roger the last time they played in London Masters World Tour Finals.

I mean, he's very quick. He's one of the best movers in the game, very quick footwork. You know, beautiful backhand down the line, cross, he can hit it. It's just a great anticipation.

He struggled also a little bit with injuries and consistency, dropped the ranking, but with his game, he deserves to be in the top 10 of the world. This week he's won against some great players, he's showing, in straight sets against De Potro and Anderson yesterday, which is quite impressive. You know, he can definitely surprise Roger. Roger is obviously the favorite, but he has the game to win against him and he has proven that in the past.

I think I have played against Goffin couple years ago here in semifinals. I mean, I have practiced with him a lot. I know his game. He's a good guy. As I said, very quick.

I mean, it's finals for me. Sixth time that I'll try to win the title, and obviously this time, you know, I'm hoping that I can get my hands on the trophy. I will give my best. Obviously history is also on the line, and I'm aware of that and that motivates me even more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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