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September 20, 2018
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have heard from Team World, and it's time now to hear from the defending champions here for the Laver Cup in Chicago. It's my pleasure to welcome onto the stage Team Europe.
I will get the first question underway and I will go to Novak. Novak, welcome. Last year you were sitting back watching the Laver Cup and it's great to have you involved. What's it like to be a part of Team Europe?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you. It was very exciting to watch it last year. It looked like an amazing event. You know, I obviously talked with all the players that were part of it, and they said only positive things. They had great impressions. I can't wait for it to start.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I will open it to the floor with roving microphones.
Q. I think tomorrow night, a big spectacle, Novak and Roger playing together. This is going to be the first time you guys are playing together like this. What are your expectations? I think it's going to be very exciting for the fans to see this match.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: For us, too.
ROGER FEDERER: What are my expectations?
Yeah, I'm thrilled, excited, I have never played with Novak. We have had so many great battles in all the singles courts, and to finally team up together I think is going to be very special for both of us.
I think we still have to talk over it a little bit exactly maybe either who's going to take the lead or, you know, how do we play exactly.
But we know it's going to be a tough one. Indoor doubles is always very hard to take charge and dominate, to be quite honest. I think it's all about intensity for us. We have a great support team here. We are hoping for a really great opening day. It will be very exciting to kick things off in the doubles together. It's very cool.
Q. And Novak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Obviously, as Roger said, very, very excited to have the unique experience. We never played doubles together. This is what this competition is all about, you know, bringing us all together.
We are going to have Anderson and Sock, who is one of the best doubles players in the world, across the net. We are going to have a great challenge and hopefully great support from team members and we can have fun.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: You can count on us.
Q. This is to anyone on Team Europe. You have tremendous intensity and heat on court, obviously, but without Rafa this year, off court you need someone to step in and fill those big shoes for sideline intensity.
SASCHA ZVEREV: We have Jeremy for that. (Laughter.)
GRIGOR DIMITROV: He's our team leader.
Q. This might be a follow-up to that. I asked the same questions to the other team. Nick Kyrgios kind of took a dig at you guys by saying you guys were boring last year, the guys who were there. I think he's expecting you to maybe bring up some game off court, maybe some moves or cheers or something like that? Who would be responsible for that? Have you got anything planned? Do you want to come back at that comment from Nick? Of course he's stirring the pot, as he does.
ROGER FEDERER: They were a much younger team last year, let's be honest, also, for a second. We Cilic and Berdych, not they're old, and Rafa and me. We were happy to sit and fist-pump when required. (Laughter.)
We knew where the finish line was. This was a marathon, the weekend, not a sprint. They took it as a sprint. They were all out, and it was a lot of fun to watch. I was smiling sometimes, but then it got a little bit much at the end, but it got really intense because of it, I think.
I'm actually excited to see what they're going to do. We have new team members. It's just Sascha and myself, from last year, so we know how to handle their antics, you know. But honestly, it was great camaraderie, after all. We'll see what we do or not. But I think we are here to win, really, to be honest.
Q. This is a question on the doubles. Can you maybe presume that, Roger, you will be playing the forehand, and Novak, you're going to be playing the backhand? Or is that still up in the air?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hand it to Roger. He decides.
ROGER FEDERER: I think I will take the deuce side. If Novak is okay with that, I will be happy to play on the deuce side.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I'm okay on the backhand (laughter).
Q. Secondly, just for anyone, in this competition, the stakes go higher as you go each day, one point, two points, three points. How does that play on your mentality as you prepare for a match that, as the days go on, you know it's worth more and more?
SASCHA ZVEREV: I mean, last year I think we didn't know how it works. It was kind of the first time I think for all of us. We actually chose to choose who we want to play on the second day, which was maybe, you know, a little bit different, and we only got two points for each match, and then that's why it got so tight on day three, where maybe if we would have chosen it the other day it would have been different.
It's a competition that gets very exciting with the score counting and how it actually goes. You know, you really have to focus for every match until the end. You know, that's why, I think, this exhibition -- not exhibition, this whole tournament is so exciting for all of us, and, you know, happy to be part of it.
Q. I have one question for Roger and then a question for everyone. My first question is how is this tournament more fun than other tournaments? And the question for everybody is what is your spirit animal?
ROGER FEDERER: Yours is a unicorn or something, I don't know. Jeremy?
So I think it's just so different. I don't know how to explain. Every routine is different. My coaches are not here this week. It's just a totally different feel. I'm in touch with Thomas about my practice sessions. I speak to Bj√∂rn about maybe what I could try and not try in practice. So it's different there. We talk about, you know, who should play Friday, Saturday, Sunday, who is willing to play a lot, who is maybe, you know, carrying an injury. So maybe normally we don't talk together as players, I don't know, how is your knee, how is your shoulder, how is your ankle.
SASCHA ZVEREV: By the way, we're all healthy. (Laughter.)
ROGER FEDERER: But all these things are just very different. And then of course the court schedule is not one where you say, I want to hit at 3:00, because that's when I want to hit and there are 15, 20 courts. This is different. We have two courts and there is two teams. We have to figure it out.
So I think from that standpoint, it's just a totally different mindset. I think the fun aspect is there. It's busy. You know, of course there is a lot of promotion to be done. There is a lot of practice we want to get in to get the feel for the court quickly, because I think, as we mentioned before with the situation of how the points get played out, you know, we want to start strong. We don't want to fall behind. That's why I really hope the guys can start very strong tomorrow before our doubles so we don't fall behind.
We are all having a really good time. I'm having a good time. Four of us six all live in Monaco together, so they know each other super well, which I think also helps the situation.
I think David should say something. David?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I'll back you up. Go ahead. You start.
DAVID GOFFIN: Okay, yeah. First of all, I'm super excited to be part of the team, yeah. It's something special for me. The first time we have Sascha and Roger, they have the experience of last year, so maybe we can share some moments for the tactics or everything. This year, it will be another close match against Team World.
Until the end, it's really special with the three points on Sunday. We have to be really focused from the first match until the end. We will do everything to play our best tennis. We will see at the end.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I don't think it's fair that Kyle gets away with nothing. Big run for you in Australia. You have been around Andy Murray and team competitions a lot. What's it like mixing with the Continent, if you like?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it's very similar to what Roger says. You see the guys at the tournaments. You say hello, but connect with them off the court.
It's different. You end up talking about different subjects. Yesterday was our first sort of team dinner together. It was really good to, you know, get to know each other.
So, yeah, it's a very unique experience for me. Lots of promotion, but I think this type of event is, to play at the United Center where there are so many great sports matches have been played, it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be here, really.
Q. Kyle, thoughts on playing Jack Sock first day. And second part, what's it like having the likes of Thomas and Bj√∂rn on your side of the court and working with them?
KYLE EDMUND: Well, playing Jack, obviously, I think -- well, first of all, he's got a big game. I have played him twice in Atlanta last year and Paris, so we have one each. Of course he has a very dangerous game with his forehand, likes to use it, has a big serve to back it up. Also playing in America, as well. He will have the support behind him.
These are all things that help, but you've just got to go on court and really do your best at the end of the day. If you play good tennis, you know, that will come out at the end.
You know, regarding Thomas and Bj√∂rn, myself growing up, I remember when I was a little kid, I used to have to travel about an hour with my coach to go and play on some clay courts, and we used to put on matches in the car with him and John. I think it was the '80 and '81 finals, and watching those classic matches. For him to be my captain is something very cool.
And Thomas, I think he has won 19 titles on tour. So his experience is very good, and it's been great to get to know them this week.
Q. Bj√∂rn, this is for you. It's great to see you. Could you just say what it is that you love the most about this great sport of tennis you have been involved with your whole life? And secondly, if you could change one thing in your career, what would that have been?
CAPTAIN BJORN BORG: If I could change? I don't think I would change, actually, anything. I had a great career. It was a lot of fun. I did what I wanted to do to play tennis, to travel around the world. Tennis gave me a lot. I was very happy.
I mean, I retired when I was young, but I was happy doing that, too. That was not a major problem for me.
But to be around these guys, to be part of Laver Cup, it's a great thing for me. To spend a week with these great players, they are very professional. It's a lot of fun for me. I mean, you learn a lot. I mean, it's a different generation, different times.
But this year, you know, the most important week is this week. Of course I have a lot of fun. You know, to compete these three days, I believe it's going to be a great match. Team World has a good team, too. So it's going to be a close match and very exciting tennis.
Like I said before, we are here to try to defend our cup. It's going to be difficult, but I think we have a good chance.
Q. Roger, can you talk a little bit about the limited edition, the red-colored racquet you're playing with at this year's Laver Cup?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's just a color just for the Laver Cup, because it is a special competition for me. Like Bj√∂rn said, it's a week I really also look forward to a lot. As it is also Wilson headquarters here in Chicago, we want to do something special.
I'm playing with this color red now here in Chicago, and then I will switch back again after the Laver Cup.
Q. Two questions. Any one of you guys can answer. There has been a lot of talk about on-court coaching in the aftermath of the US Open. Would you like to see changes made to that rule? How much does it go on on tour? And any of you guys Michael Jordan fans? Does it mean anything to you to play in this building? Do you get anything out of that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I wouldn't do any changes. I'm just happy the way things are.
Obviously we are playing in this great arena. Obviously that's an honor.
Yeah, regarding all the other changes, I think it all has to come from us, but nobody has raised anything for now. I think we are all comfortable the way things are. It's entirely up to us if something needs to move in a certain direction.
ROGER FEDERER: Jordan, absolutely, he was my hero growing up. To play in the building in Chicago where he's won so much, when I was practicing I looked up and saw his success and his jersey and all that. It's cool, very cool.
It was also a great honor to meet Scottie Pippen earlier in the year with Nick together when we came here to promote. It's very cool to be in the city of Michael Jordan.
Q. Do you guys see a Williams Cup? Do you think there will be a women's version of this in the future? Serena Williams, one of the greatest player. Might there be a Williams version of this ever?
KYLE EDMUND: Maybe, but I think that's probably for them to obviously organize it. But there is no reason why there couldn't be, for sure.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to wrap it up. Put your hands together for Team Europe, our defending champions. We'll get a team photo.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports