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September 21, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer

Chicago, Illinois


6-7, 6-3, 10-6

Team Europe - 3

Team World - 1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Novak, what was going through your head when you bopped your opponent on the back with the ball?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's my partner tonight. Well, I apologized right away, because it didn't look that great. But I guess I got my karma back. Jack just checked me straight to the heart, you know.

No, it was a lot of fun. I want to thank Roger in this way, as well, for playing with me. It was a great experience. I loved it. I was looking forward to it. Obviously I wanted to win as much as Roger did.

But, you know, these guys came up with some big shots when it mattered. It was a lot of fun.

Q. You had some interesting conversations during the singles matches on the bench there. What were you talking about? Was it dinner, strategy, doubles, kids, what?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, a whole bunch of stuff. But I think we all care, we all care to win, you know, and over these three days we talked strategies a lot. We talked how we can eventually, you know, break it down to one simple maybe thing that we can tell a player who is playing, you know, that would be useful for him to win his match.

Obviously you have to see, you have to judge whether you can approach it or not. We are there to support. Obviously there are other subjects we talk about, but mostly it's tennis and just kind of grasping this experience which is unique for all of us.

Q. Roger, obviously the result was different, but how is it similar or different playing with Novak compared to last year with Rafa?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, look, they are very different players. Naturally there is a lot changing. It was not exactly the same opponents, as well, but similar.

Yeah, I mean, look, again, super-tiebreaker, anything can happen in those circumstances. I thought we actually played pretty good today again, like I did also with Rafa last year in terms of excitement. You know, it was similar for me, to be quite honest.

Novak has such an amazing and wonderful career, so to team up with somebody of his caliber is just a treat. Talking strategy, preparing for the match and then in itself, as well, is, I don't know, it's just very different. It's not something we are that used to.

You learn a lot from these kind of matches, and it was a big-time match for us. We wanted to go down as a 1-0 team maybe if we never play again together. So this was disappointing, of course.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We have to play again.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, absolutely.

So from that standpoint, it's all good. But we had a good day as a team, so we are very happy there. Like Novak said, I really also enjoyed myself even though the result wasn't what we hoped for.

Q. You guys are so focused on singles, and sometimes doubles players don't get the kind of result or certainly don't get the kind of respect that singles players do. Can you just comment on that? You've got Jack Sock, the best doubles player in the world at the moment. So, you know, what does it say about doubles to you guys, two of the greatest players in the world?
ROGER FEDERER: What it says about doubles? I mean, we fight a lot for doubles, you know, that it stays around. Recreationally, everybody plays doubles and mixed. Not singles so much, to be quite honest. At the juniors level, sure, singles is more popular, and singles will always be more stronger. But doubles is a beautiful thing, you know. I played a lot of it growing up, as well.

They play differently. Our warmup today was different, you know. It's more it can come down to a shot where you think you're out of the rally but actually you react to it, and sometimes you think it's actually lucky but it's not. They train this stuff over and over again. It's like using a different part of your brain, like speaking a different language. Even though it's very similar, it's just not quite the same.

The hard part nowadays is, especially like in a match today where there is so little rhythm, all of a sudden you go through four, five games where there is just no rhythm. And then you're supposed to serve your spot, you know, or you're supposed to hit forehands close to the line even though you have just hardly hit any shots like that.

It's very tricky and can be very frustrating for the doubles guys. I have a lot of compassion for them throughout their season, you know, when they train super hard and go out and have a one-hour match and get blasted off the court because it happens the guy served an ace when you were hoping he'd serve a double fault and that was the decisive thing. It was a little bit the same tonight.

Q. Novak, I think all tennis fans would like to have been in your shoes today in the sense of chatting with Roger, one of the greatest minds ever in tennis. Just talk about how he just approaches the match, how he breaks it down. And, Roger, similarly, the same question.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as Roger said, we talked strategy, we got together and I think we were all having fun and it's, as I said, really a special experience to be alongside Roger and the other teammates and, you know, share this week with them, get to know them on and off the court, get a lot of laughs and good energy and just support each other.

But at the same time, you know, we want to, you know, we want to bring our A game, we want to perform our best, we want to get ready for the match. I mean, in my eyes, you know, it's no different in terms of strategic talks and kind of, you know, understanding the tactics and what is going to come from the other side of the net.

Obviously, you know, you want to have the best chance to win, but as Roger said, you know, I haven't really talked doubles tactics too much because I personally haven't played doubles too much.

So everything happens so fast. When you have someone serving like Kevin and Jack Sock that is very experienced at the net and just picks up everything around and just reads plays so well, it's completely different approach.

You know, speaking to Roger, you know, today while other guys were playing singles from, you know, from Team Europe, and, you know, before the match and on the court, as well, just making some funny comments that we will just keep it in the locker room, it was great fun. It was really amazing experience. Of course, the result is not what we hoped for, but, you know, I'll carry this forever, you know, definitely in my career.

ROGER FEDERER: For me, he's got a winner mentality. There is no panic. Doesn't matter the score. If you're up and down, and we were up and down today, I see the same Novak. It's like, okay, let's dig ourself out of this hole. Let's go if you are in the lead. There was just no sense of panic.

It's just like, you know, go through point-for-point mentality, and I think that's what champions do very well, and Novak is obviously one of them.

Q. Roger, most of the fans I have talked to hope you keep doing this for years and playing the tour for years more, but when you don't anymore, I have talked to a lot of people about this tournament, and they said we like it so much, anyway, actually, even if he's not playing, if he's just here. I want to know how you think about that and how you can be involved in this maybe when you are not playing professionally anymore.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I see myself going to an event like this and having just a cool three days without working with friends. You know, I see myself -- I know a lot of retired tennis players don't see themselves doing that. They feel, oh, what am I doing? People will only come up and talk to me.

But maybe I would like to watch great tennis with a great team spirit and laugh about what the teams are doing, enjoy great tennis.

Of course I hope I will be involved in some shape or form, but at the same time it's not something I plan for. This is more something for legends and legends down the road that everybody can connect here and have a great time. That was the idea behind it.

I'm sad to hear they don't care if I play or I don't play, you know, because I hope they only want me to play every time forever.

No, all kidding aside, it's great being part of the team, and I'm a bit sad today that -- I wanted to be undefeated forever at the Laver Cup, and today unfortunately that happened. But it's all good. I will try to pick myself up for tomorrow.

It's a great weekend again, and we are having really a great time as a team. And it's so much fun having Novak this time on Team Europe.

Q. A little bit of a follow-up to that. You guys have spent some time together now for a few days. Now you have played doubles together. To both of you, your relationship down the road through tournaments, is it going to strengthen it, change? What's your future together going to be like as the years go by maybe compared to what they were in the past?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, we always have plenty of respect for each other. I think that's the most important thing. Of course, that relationship will be, you know, strengthened.

I think, you know, we got to know each other. We haven't had these kind of opportunities, you know, over the last decade to sit down and talk. We did have, but not this consistently every single day. We spent a whole day in the locker room and chatting about different things in life and just getting to know each other.

So that kind of quality time is something that it can only strengthen the relationship. And respect, you know, was there, is there, and will be there, you know, forever.

ROGER FEDERER: And if I may add, most people worry about the rivalry after this, because they think you're going to go on vacation together. I think the rivalry will remain strong, as well, you know. I want to beat Novak next time I play him and I think vice versa, too. You want to beat the best, and that's why I think we are both still on tour.

I do believe, you know, me helping out his Foundation, maybe down the road there is also more things to do on that front. Just spending time together like this is definitely a good thing for our relationship, no doubt.

Q. Ten years ago I was watching you in Beijing getting gold with Stan Wawrinka. You had so much fun there.

Q. Playing with him and the massage and everything else.
ROGER FEDERER: I was trying to catch fire from Stan. I was not massaging him (smiling).

Q. Did you ever entertain the thought of playing one of the Grand Slams doubles?
ROGER FEDERER: Not anymore. I used to. Yeah. I just -- I just don't think I can. I mean, I could, I guess, but I don't think my team would want that. I don't think my body would want that. And then, you know, if you lose, let's just say, in the quarters of a slam because you played too much doubles, I will still be ripped into pieces, and people will judge me on my singles performance and not that I maybe spent too much time on the doubles court.

Honestly I want to give myself the best opportunity for the singles. I had my fun in the Grand Slam. I had my Grand Slam fun, to be honest, in doubles, and that will be it. Maybe in other tournaments maybe I will play some more doubles in the future. Who knows?

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