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January 8, 2020

Novak Djokovic

Nenad Zimonjic

Dusan Lajovic

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

THE MODERATOR: All right. First question.

Q. After three matches at this new event, how are you feeling about your play? And also just about this event in general which people are still trying to understand what it is. Anyone who want to take that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I honestly, I'm enjoying it. I enjoy the fact that we will actually go to a different city together, travel today, practice there tomorrow, play in a different environment. Sydney's got a big Serbian community, hopefully the support can be as good as it was here, even better. It's a team competition, it's how I personally treat it, and that's how it feels for all of us. So having that journey through various places in Australia together feels like a World Cup to us a little bit, which I've never felt. The only time when we were playing together as a team was Davis Cup or playing at home or away. So this is like changing location, it's quite exciting, to be honest. And now we are a family. We have been together now almost 10 days, and keep on going, so hopefully the success will follow as well.

Q. Will you do the same thing you did here in terms of renting a house, staying together?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, we're going to stay in a hotel unless you have some suggestions.

Q. I don't have a house in Sydney.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, all right. No worries. I thought you were offering.

Q. You spoke earlier in the week about air quality and things like that, obviously, some issues around that. It seems like there's, a little bit has happened between now and then. Craig Tiley spoke about things. Do you contend that they're taking it seriously and everything is going to be safe for the players, I guess, in Sydney and Melbourne?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I saw the statement from Tennis Australia and Craig Tiley. I think it was the right move. Obviously there's been a lot of talk about that and there's been an effect, I think, on the humidity as well. I mean, what I was hearing from other players and playing in different locations around Australia and it's been particularly humid here in Brisbane. Maybe it does have a some kind of effect from the bushfires, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. I mean, I've played out here in Brisbane only once, 10 years ago. But I'm really glad that Tennis Australia is taking all the necessary measures to make sure everything is safe. They have three covered, three big courts in Melbourne Park, plus the eight additional indoor courts, which is going to be enough for, I think the Australian Open, if it comes to some extreme conditions, which we all hope it will not come down to.

Q. Can you talk about how this is as a lead up to the Australian Open, this tournament, with incredibly hard matches from the very beginning rather than easing your way along, perhaps?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I think it's -- I've never minded, to be honest, to kind of face tough adversity from the blocks and have high intensity matches from day one of the season. I had Kevin Anderson that was playing some extraordinary tennis. I thought it was the toughest match I've played here in Brisbane. And again against Monfils. Even though it was a straight set, it was still a lot of rallies and it was quite long and exhausting. I liked it, I mean, I really am really happy with the challenges that I've had in the last six, seven days here, and hopefully that can allow me to build my form for Sydney and Melbourne later.

Q. A question on strategy for this tournament, because I think, per the rules, you're supposed to keep your No. 1 at No. 1 and No. 2 at No. 2 through the whole competition. Australia has mixed up their lineup every time so far here and it seems to be getting better matchups with who they're sitting and who they're playing and could do that again. If they play Spain in the semi-finals they might have Kyrgios go No. 1 against Nadal or something like that. I'm curious how much you think that should allowed as part of the competition or more should be done to prevent teams from making strategic lineup changes which were not in the original rules of this particular event.
NENAD ZIMONJIC: I mean, that's something that you always have to look at once they make the rules. This is the first tournament that they are organizing this way, the ATP Cup, so also for the players it was a little bit unknown how it's going to work. If you're No. 3 or No. 4 player, will you ever get a chance to play or not because the first two players, they have the right to play if they want to play, if they're ready to play, so nobody can take that right away from them. Everybody's looking for the matches before Australian Open or maybe there's only Adelaide or Auckland after that. So it is team competition, maybe they have to look into the rules for the next year to maybe try to balance it out that maybe more players can come. In our case we have another three players, great players, Filip Krajinovic and Kecmanovic playing in Doha. With them we would definitely have also much more options, like you said. But it doesn't guarantee them to have enough matches. So in this case I'm happy how the level, both from Dusan and Novak went. Like I said beginning of the year, first matches, the pressure playing for the team or for your country, it's completely different, so that adds a lot to this competition and that's why I think that after ATP Cup all of them they will play on much higher level in upcoming tournaments. So hopefully they bring the best form as the matches are going through. We don't know the opponents yet, but one thing is for sure they will be ready.

Q. Have you been pleased with the team's level so far? What are your just thoughts overall on how everyone's played so far?
NENAD ZIMONJIC: I was surprised in a positive way with everything. First, with the support that we had here, the passion from the fans, especially the Serbian fans, how many of them came.

Second of all, we finished pretty late the season. Players didn't have much time to rest and then to prepare. But the level that they brought here from the first match was really high. I thought both from Dusan and from Novak, where I was surprised the most was the level of the doubles that Novak played. For me that was the best match I've seen him play in doubles against a really good team. And Viktor also played well in the doubles, even though he had a tough end of the last season.

So really looking forward to Sydney. We're very positive that the atmosphere in the team was great and everybody enjoyed it. And it was a nice feeling for us to celebrate Christmas here on the court with the fans and together even though we were not with our families, but it felt like we were at home.

Q. For both players, so because of this ATP Cup and also the Davis Cup which took place the end of the last year, did you change the routine for this season, or does it affect any preparation for the new season?
DUSAN LAJOVIC: Well, yeah, I think that all the players who were in Madrid and played Davis Cup and are here in the ATP Cup had a shorter period for preparation, and also holidays. I myself had only seven days off holidays and then I started the pre-season. I had three weeks of pre-season, so not a lot of time, and you had to adjust some things, and we'll see how will that affect on the long-term in the 2020 season. And hopefully in the future the solution will be better between these two competitions and we'll have a little bit different schedule at the end and beginning of the year.

Q. Novak, the doubles were spoken about before. Were you disappointed with Kyrgios the other night when he was cheering against you and doing the heart stuff and all that and making it into a show of the whole thing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't see him on the stands. And then I saw the videos after that. No, to be honest, not really. I know he's a good buddy with Monfils and with the French team, so, you know, it's fine. I think it's entertaining to have him or to have any other player coming out, well-known player coming out to see other teams and other matches. I think it attracts a lot of attention and I think brings excitement to the people in the stands, but also the viewers. And Kyrgios knows how to have fun and how to attract attention, that's for sure.

Q. Novak, Tennis Australia said they're already talking to the WTA about a women's version of this sort of teams event. Could you foresee a lead out to the Australian Open where those are the two main events or would you lake the chance to I guess sort of support your female players as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Why not? I mean, I think this kind of format is something that would, I think, bring benefits as well and kind of positive outcomes for the WTA tour, so that's my opinion, maybe just speaking about my opinion, expressing my opinion. Of course, I don't know what are the numbers and how is that going to affect their schedule. But it would make sense, considering the fact that we have ATP Cup also played in Australia, they're playing the WTA tour here in Brisbane as well, in Auckland, so most of the top players from female side are in Australia already, so I think it would make sense.

But at the same time there's been a lot of talks between Davis Cup and ATP Cup merging maybe in the future. So as Dusan was mentioning, maybe finding a better solution to have one super cup, World Cup competition for us on the men's side. I don't know, I mean, we are going to have some discussions in the council about it, I guess, and see what is the feedback from players from the first ATP Cup year. Davis Cup has generated some good things, but also some negative comments. And one thing that stands out about Davis Cup and about discontent from the players' side is the fact that you cannot play at home anymore. You don't have any home ties unless you are a hosting nation of the whole Davis Cup competition. So I think that there's been a lot -- I actually chatted with Kosmos organization, their team, and the ITF during Madrid, and in my opinion there should be some group stages like ATP Cup has in several different locations, and then merging into final eight, you know, similar to what we have. But I would, honestly, prefer seeing one competition rather than having Davis Cup, ATP Cup. I think it, especially six weeks apart, I think it's really exhausting for players. Going back to your question, I think it was yours or your question about the length of the off-season, which was as short as ever, it doesn't -- I saw Nadal actually speaking about it the other day, and he says that he doesn't actually feel like the last season has ended because he just started right away. So, yeah, I mean, we don't want to, you know, seem like we are complaining about things constantly, but -- because we are blessed to play the sport and this sport generates a lot of also prize money, a lot of attention. It's great, it's played around the world. We have an 11-month season, it's fantastic, lots of opportunities, but at the same time I think it can be balanced, should be balanced a little bit better, maybe Slams not being so close or so far from each other. But it takes a lot of effort because there is a lot of different sides vested in tennis. It's not like we in ATP can decide everything. It's I ITF, ATP, Grand Slams are independent entities, all these different things, you have to sit at the table and try to work things out, which isn't the easiest thing.

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