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November 16, 2018

Novak Djokovic

London, England, United Kingdom


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At the start of the match, there were a few catcalls from the boxes, people in the crowd, during the tiebreak. Were you aware of that? Did that put you off during the first set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I heard they were engaged, so to say, in the match. I didn't hear exactly what they were saying. I was not that focused on it.

Yeah, you could hear them. I guess they were having fun.

Q. Didn't put you off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, not really.

Q. You're 13-0 against top-10 players since Wimbledon. You have gone on this ridiculous streak you're on right now. Can you put into words where you were Indian Wells, Miami to where you are now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's fantastic year. I don't like to compare, so I can't tell percentage-wise where I was at Indian Wells, Miami to now. Definitely there's a significant improvement in the game, in the overall feel, the way I go about my game, the way I feel on the court in terms of confidence and comfort level.

Obviously I knew, even when I was far from my best, and that was around Indian Wells, Miami time, beginning of clay, that it will take time. I really trusted the process, even though it was frustrating at times.

But in the end, the self-belief prevailed, and of course the support of the team that created this long-term plan, strategy with me. We had objectives and goals. As I was mentioning before, US Open was a target where I would hopefully peak and play my best. But it came during grass court season, so it came before.

It was obviously more than welcome, you know, in our overall plan. So yeah, I mean, the run is phenomenal. I mean, I'm very grateful that I managed to turn things around that drastically in a way because I was 22 in the world, and I wasn't playing even close to my best.

To know that I ended the year at No. 1, of course, unfortunately due also to Nadal's injury, but the way I played in the last five, six months, just makes me very proud.

Q. You spoke earlier on this week of the next generations of players coming through. As the competition is changing, has that made you refocus, kept you on your toes, because it's a different sort of player you're playing against now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, the new generation of tennis players, they bring a lot of power in their game, especially with the serve. I think Zverev, you know, Coric, Khachanov, big, big servers. Physically they're also very strong. Seems like they physically mature a lot, maybe quicker than maybe my generation did.

But I guess it takes them maybe mentally more time to put things together and emotionally than our generation. But at the same time, you know, Nadal, Federer and I, Andy, I mean, Stan, this kind of generation has dominated the sport for the last 10 years in terms of Grand Slams, and del Potro, of course.

It's definitely not easy for the Next Gen to break through there. But eventually it's going to happen. One of them will win a slam.

But I think overall it's good for our sport to see new faces, like Tsitsipas and the players I mentioned already, that he won now the Next Gen final in Milan, that is completely different competition, where lots of experimental new changes were tested that possibly can be on our tour, as well.

I think we are headed in the right direction because we need to somehow attract the younger generation to our sport. We definitely need some changes.

Q. There's been quite a compelling debate going on between Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev this week about the length of the tour. I don't know how much of that you've been following. You'll have your own thoughts on it. Zverev said he'd spoken to you privately and said you've been thinking for 10 years that you thought the tour needed to be shortened because of the desire for a longer off-season for a chance to recover properly. Federer also made quite a compelling point, and some doubles players have said these extra events, the length of the season, gives tennis more opportunity to have more jobs, lower-ranked players a chance to thrive, that this is a top-10 problem. As a guy on the players council, do you have a solution to both issues? There could be more events at the start of the season for the lower-ranked players, almost qualifying period, or whether you have any suitable idea that can tackle both issues?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you for your question. I mean, it is certainly a valid question, especially at this time, in this era of the tennis where I feel like lots of the top players, but also council members in the last couple years, are very proactive and very involved in this kind of particular matters, especially with scheduling, all the calendar possible changes, adjustments, introductions of the new events, and maybe alternation of the other events.

It's not that simple. As you know, our structure is 50% of players tournaments so everything has to be voted on the board. For certain things you need a super majority of the votes. Some things president decides. Most of the times players and tournaments don't really agree on things. So it's kind of conflict of interest. But it is what it is.

Specifically about the calendar, it's true. I do think it should be shorter with more quality and focus on some big events, maybe not that spread out. At the same time I understand the point of creating more job opportunities, and I don't say that we should take away tournaments.

Maybe we can switch it around. We have different options. Maybe at the end of the year we can end up last couple weeks with a South American swing, or 250s, some 500s, end up, so to say, the big tournament season a bit earlier.

Everything is on the table. But, as I said, it's not that easy because you need to first of all discuss it, vote it in the council. Obviously then it has to go through the tournaments, through the board.

The complexity of our sport is the fact that we have so many different ownerships of tournaments. We have private owners, we have agencies, we have ATP, ITF, Grand Slams, federations.

Just to be able to really say, Okay, let's have a blank paper and move things around, congest this, spread it out, whatever, make the ideal calendar, it's not that simple because it has to go through different filters.

But tennis is the longest season of all sports. It starts January 1st, ends November 20th, full on, more or less every week you have tournaments. Of course, we don't play every week, but if you're competing for No. 1 of the world, a lot is at stake, so you always have to kind of -- when the season is on, you're always there mentally and preparing, looking for the best ways to perform your best, to win tournaments, to win points, and end up as No. 1. This is the ultimate challenge of our sport.

I think good thing is we are discussing this. Obviously whether or not something will change, we can't predict that, but we're working on it.

Q. I remember being in Belgrade in 2010 when you won the Davis Cup, bedlam, having your head shaved on the court at the end of the tie. Do you think it's sad they're going to lose that home-and-away football-crowd-type atmosphere in Davis Cup, especially in the semis and the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, there's been a lot of discussion about it. I do agree with your point, and many players point out that, you know, they feel sad because that home-and-away was probably the very thing that attracted all the players and fans to this competition.

At the same time in order to change something, you also need to sacrifice something. I guess for this kind of a format change, you had to take away something, and that was it. But at least they kept this qualification week, so to say, playoff week in February, where you can at least have once a year Davis Cup tie at home.

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