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January 11, 2020

Marat Safin

Daniil Medvedev

Karen Khachanov

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

N. DJOKOVIC/D. Medvedev

6-1, 5-7, 6-4

Team Serbia - 2

Team Russia - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Daniil, that was a bit of a heartbreaker. Can you just talk through that match with Novak?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, was a really tough one. At the beginning I didn't feel so good. Was feeling slow, tired.

Then managed to get my way to the match. I should say happy about my performance. Of course not happy about the loss, and also for the team, because that was our last chance to stay in the tie.

If not, tough match physically like always with Novak. I think we were both close to winning it. If he won, means he was better today.

Q. Karen, did you feel that this was more of an opportunity for you against Dusan Lajovic, considering the last two occasions have been on clay? You're on hard court. What made the difference today?
KAREN KHACHANOV: I mean, there is always opportunity I think to win. Honestly I think it was also a good match. When you come out from the court with the feelings that you were playing well, but you are not happy with the result. Like Daniil said, you're not happy that you lost, and you have this angerness inside.

It's tough to say. I think in important moments, just didn't go my way, like in terms of -- I could turn it around, I think. That's what Marat was saying to me during the whole match, that I still have chances every game to try to break him, but it didn't come. So that's kind of thoughts I have.

Q. Marat, your thoughts on today, how it's gone?
MARAT SAFIN: On both, all together, separately?

Q. All together.
MARAT SAFIN: All together. Well, it was a tough day at the office. Didn't go our way, actually. He had opportunities, was close. If he would break at some point of the match, he would break Lajovic, it would go match completely different way. I'm sure about it, because Dusan was on the edge at some points. I could feel it.

But I think at the end that Karen didn't believe completely himself that he can have his opportunity, and that's why he didn't. But still, they were fighting.

And Daniil, also. Like he said, a little bit slow start but then he turn around and then he started to believe himself, he started to play well. Very positive, very good fighter.

Now I can say that both of them have fight, which is important on court, to fight, not to give up. At any moment not give any free points to two other guys and see what happens. You have a bad day at the office, well, it's okay, you don't need to be frustrated about this. You'll have other matches.

So also you build up the confidence with these kind of matches, showing to other guys you're going to hang on until the last point, until last second, until it's over.

So I think the guys are ready to bring match confidence into the Australian Open, and they're going to do well. I believe in them. I'm glad to be a part, to be in the same team as them, and I'm really happy the way they performed, the way they behaved, true gentlemen, true fighters, which is big heart for them.

Q. Daniil, after matches like this, what do you think the gap is between yourself, Novak, Rafa, and others after performances like this?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Depends, because as I say, if you look at the first set, you can say they got me so big, but then I managed to fight. I think I was really close to win. At the same time I didn't win, so it's tough to talk about this.

I think I'm not that far, but to stay not that far and maybe get even closer, I have to continue to work hard. I have to continue to be consistent, to have this level of play that I had in the last two sets over the months, maybe years. If not, that's the strength of these guys that they are always there, always in the semifinals, finals of slams, and that's the most important.

You know that if you're not gonna have a good day, you're gonna lose easy out there. Most important is consistency, and that's what I need to find.

Q. Marat, how have you liked coaching and being a captain? Is this something you look forward to do again?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, it's a new experience for me, that's for sure. But also was easier -- well, at the beginning you have to know the guys, because I knew Karen a little bit more and I didn't know Daniil that close. So it took me some time to adjust and to understand the way he thinks.

And we had a lot of talk with the coaches who I want to help, and I don't want to confront anybody, for them, both of them to feel comfortable with me and also I want to support them in the right way.

I think the way we are going, we are getting better and better and better. Now I'm feeling closer to Daniil. Now it's easier. So good vibe between all of them. Plus they are friends. They know each other from they were babies.

So I'm very happy that we did well. Next year we're gonna kick some ass for sure, and I want to wish these two guys good luck in Australia. And be as humble as you can. In the future, it will help your career. They have whole future in front of them, whole career in front of them, so just go for it.

Q. Daniil, to you, I mean, after the incredible run in the second half of last year, in essence, you could say that was really your breakthrough. I know you have been around for a couple of years, but what's it going to be like this year to maintain that? I think Marat was even saying the other day that the second year is always pretty tough, because you've got to back it all up and players get to know you a bit better, as well. What's in your mind, your strategy to keep that level?
MARAT SAFIN: Serve and volley (smiling).

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, you know, it's kind of tough to talk about this, because first you need to leave it and then you can say something about it. I think maybe second year is the toughest, but I don't think if you manage to get the second year, let's say, in top 10 that then you're going to be like, Okay, I'm here for long time.

You know in this sport you have tournaments every week. Every new year you kind of start from zero so you need to get points every week you play. Otherwise you drop in the rankings, like we can see, for example, I would say Kevin Anderson, such a great player, got a little bit injured last year. Now he's 140 but he's still playing like top 10.

Our sport is really tough. Me, I just need to focus on myself, to try to work hard, work hard with my team, with my coach. Just try to win as many matches as I can.

So here, for this in ATP Cup, I think with Karen we did great. We won four ties straight in singles, and today we're not far. It's a good start of the year. If we continue like this, we're going to be high up the rankings.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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