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January 10, 2020

Nenad Zimonjic

Novak Djokovic

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

N. DJOKOVIC/D. Shapovalov

4-6, 6-1, 7-6

Team Serbia - 2

Team Canada - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Novak, that was quite a roller coaster out there. Can you just comment on the match itself and how much of a part the crowd actually played in getting you over the line?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The crowd definitely played a big role today. They were supporting all Serbian players today on the court.

We were hoping that we're going to have a big support, but this has definitely exceeded our hopes and expectations, and we are super grateful to have this many Serbian people show up.

We knew that Serbian community is big in Sydney, but we didn't know that this many people would come. So loud. And they were engaged sometimes a little bit too much, and Denis was rightfully annoyed at times, you know, with the sounds. But it was a Davis Cup-like atmosphere, really. I mean, ATP Cup brings it, brings this kind of opportunity for players to experience something they don't experience 90% of the tournaments.

You know, you're kind of playing for yourself. It's individual sport. But ATP Cup is really about team and is about these kind of matches and these kind of emotions that you get to experience.

I'm so happy and so glad that I was able to experience something like this today.

Q. You played Denis a few times now. What was it about his game that was a little trickier? And what do you make of his gradual progression?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I thought he played on a very high level. At times, you know, in the match when, you know, we played quite even, I was just trying to hold on and fight my way to have a better position in the rally, but he was just very aggressive. He served extremely well, all corners, very hard to read his serve. I thought he played the best match against me in all our matchups so far.

As I said, you know, the match could have really gone either way. Very few points separated us, and the result is showing that.

So it was a great battle, and it does serve me very well to have this kind of match prior to tomorrow and Australian Open, you know, I think for my confidence, for kind of a competitive match play. This is exactly what you want to have against one of the best players in the world.

Q. You said the humidity in Brisbane the other day was brutal. It was different today. It was more stifling in there, probably hotter and hazy. How did you feel about the conditions?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I didn't feel that it was as humid as Brisbane, but it was very hot. I don't know. At least that's what I feel like.

It's slightly easier to deal with these kind of conditions than the ones in Brisbane. Brisbane was just, because of the high humidity, was just very hard to breathe. Here, it's slightly, let's say, better.

Q. Did you feel any effects of the smokiness or anything like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When we landed two days ago, the air was really -- you could feel it. You know, you could feel -- the air quality was really, really bad.

But yesterday and today it's fine. I mean, I think most of the players feel the same, that it's playable conditions, so to say.

Q. Novak, just back to the crowd, you have certainly played big matches against big opponents, like Wimbledon last year, and there's respect for you but love for the other guy. Is it different for you when you've got absolute love coming your way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course it's different.

Q. How is it different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's obvious. I mean, when you have most of the stadium backing you up after every point, of course it makes a significant difference in terms of how you feel on the court.

Of course you're focusing on your game and what needs to be done tactically, but at the same time, you know, you're playing on a stadium. So of course if the majority of the stadium is backing you up, it's easier. You find that strength. You find that motivation.

When you're down, they lift you up. You feel more alert, more responsible because so many people are backing you up and supporting you that you have to deliver your best game.

Of course in this kind of energy, you know, you want to play in this kind of atmosphere all the time. But, you know, it's not always possible. That's why I try to cherish these kind of moments and take them with me anywhere I go.

Q. Nenad, how pleased are you with the team's efforts so far? What are your thoughts with Russia next?
NENAD ZIMONJIC: I thought that the level was pretty high. Dusan played probably his best match so far without any ups and downs really. It was a high quality match from him.

Novak's match was really tough test for him. From the beginning I wouldn't say that he was on his best, and Denis played really, really well, served well.

The most important thing is that he found a way to bounce back, to get his level up, and to again test, serving for the match, then not finishing the match there. And then still coming back and winning. It could have been even more comfortable in the tiebreaker, which I think is a huge confidence boost for the upcoming matches.

When Novak was under pressure today, I thought he played really, really well, which is important. We couldn't be more happy to go through 2-Love, because tomorrow, as you said, we play Russia, who had the day off today.

Like this, both Dusan and Novak can have a longer rest, and Viktor and Nikola did play the really good doubles match, which is also good for their confidence if it comes to the deciding match against Russia.

Russian team is extremely tough team. I would say that they have two really strong players, but also having Novak on the team and then Dusan in the high form, I think everything is possible there.

The easier part will be that we're playing at 11:00 tomorrow, so it's going to give us a little bit longer time to rest, and then we'll see how it goes after singles. But I think in both matches, we can win both of those.

Q. Novak, week in and week out when you're on the tour, you prepare with your team for each match, whatever you're studying. Because you're on a team with a captain and other teammates, do you prepare maybe as a group? Do you use something like the strategy room to get to know your opponents? How is that different at this event?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we do get together and speak in the hotel before our matches every day, and each one of us shares his thoughts on maybe the opponent that he's going to have or for the other guys' match or doubles or whatever it is.

It's quite, I think, open in terms of everyone really having an opportunity to share what they feel like, maybe some advices or things that they have noticed, their observations. That's the positive thing about this competition is that you have, you know, most of your team members actually sitting on the bench with you.

They are literally behind you, so you get to interact and talk and ask them about, you know, things that they see that you can't really see what you're doing right or wrong or what the opponent and the other player on the court is doing.

I have not used the strategy room here, but I do have my own video analysis stats that I have been personally using for my career for many years now. So I've still kept on using that and preparing myself for my matches.

But again, everyone is slightly different, so you don't want to interfere with someone's routine. Someone likes to talk more, someone likes to talk less, someone doesn't like to talk at all.

So we all respect each other's trajectories in a way in preparation, and so far it's been working well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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