January 31, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You won the deciding doubles last year with Novak to win, now you're back as a captain. Tell us this experience, how much you look forward to competing again this year.
VIKTOR TROICKI: Well, yeah, it's definitely a big honor being in the team again. But completely different function. I'm now as a captain here. Really honored to be part of this again.
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to this. It's my debut, but also it's tough to -- last year we won it; we're a defending champion. I hope with my experience and with my help we can achieve again the same result this year.
I know there's a lot of tough teams, and it's going to be tough. We have a tough group. But I have a huge trust in my boys, this team. Yeah, I hope we go all the way also this year.
Q. Novak, quick update on the issue you had in Adelaide, looked like blisters. Is that all okay now? You fit and ready to roll?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, everything is fine. Nothing major.
Q. Was it blisters?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, it was a blister, yeah, at that point.
Q. Are you nervous? Are you scared being captain for the first time?
VIKTOR TROICKI: Not scared. Anxious, yeah, excited. Since I became Davis Cup captain, I knew that the first opportunity for me to start as a new captain was here at the ATP Cup, but only if I have qualified for the Australian Open. Once I've qualified, now I'm officially captain.
I'm really, yeah, excited. That's like the main thing. Really looking forward to the matches, you know, being support for the team and being out there for the boys. I know how it was on the courtside.
Q. On that aspect, do you think you'll be more nervous sitting courtside or if you were in a match?
VIKTOR TROICKI: I think it's different, yeah. I guess I'll have to tell you after the match how it went and how I felt.
Still, I mean, with all my experiences throughout the career and everything, I think I can manage that stress and that pressure. I'm not really scared, not at all. With this team, I trust in them and I have a full, huge confidence in them. I really think there won't be any space for being frightened.
Hopefully I'll help them and we can achieve the great result again.
Q. Novak, you have made Rod Laver your second home basically. Does it ever get old coming back to it? Did your blisters travel down to your feet today? Looked like you were changing your shoe at one point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Hmm. It does feel like a home for me in Australia, in Melbourne, particularly in Rod Laver. That is by far my most successful tennis court in my career. Had some profound memories in the last 15 years, and you know, won my first Grand Slam back in 2008. Obviously was very fortunate to win it eight times, the Australian Open.
Just had probably most exciting matches played on this court, and definitely the longest match ever that I played was in the finals, almost six hours with Rafa in 2012. Just too many memories, beautiful memories, to pick one that would stand out.
Each year that I come back to the court, it feels even better. The more you win obviously on the court, the more confident you feel coming back to it.
I was changing shoes today, you know, because of the shoes, because I was testing some things out. It was no issues, blisters on the feet.
Q. Novak, can you talk a little bit about being back and playing in front of fans again. Rafa was saying everyone has done their quarantine, now it's time to turn to tennis. He's very keen for everybody to put on a good show. Are those your sentiments, as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I'm sure that the fans are as excited as players. I mean, was a unique experience I think for every one of us coming to Australia and being 14 days in quarantine. For some easier, for some worse obviously.
In the end of the day, we are all out. Of course, I'm hoping that everyone will be able to be fit and perform the best that they can possibly play on the court.
We are all excited and looking forward to the start of the season. We've trained hard. All of us here on this table, I'm sure most of the other players as well, had good off-season training blocks, and we are ready to kick-start our seasons in the best possible way.
Adelaide was played in front of a packed house, 4,000 people. I had goosebumps coming into the court playing in front of the fans again after 12 months of not experiencing that.
It feels like ages, you know, playing without fans. Hopefully this is all temporary, that we will be able to experience everywhere we go the fact of playing in front of the fans, not just here in Australia.
Obviously this country has done a great job dealing with this virus. I think it's probably the only country maybe having this kind of opportunity to have sports with that many fans on the stands. Not too strict of regulations and restrictions like maybe rest of the Europe or world.
But it is what it is. Every country deals with it in a different way. In Europe, it's going to be I think far more challenging to experience something that we are experiencing here in terms of crowds on the stands. But we might as well enjoy it as much as we can while we're here.
Q. On the Olympics, is it your intention to go to the Olympics? Talking about fans, there's possibly not going to be any there. Any concerns about so many people going to Tokyo, potentially taking the virus there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am personally planning to go for Olympic Games. I'm really hoping that the Olympic Games will happen. That's what the plan and decision is right now, that it's going to go ahead.
It's going to be a lot of people obviously. Far more than a tennis tournament. It's obviously not up to me to talk about organization or what can be done, should be done, what will be done.
I'm hoping that I'll just have the opportunity alongside all these guys here on the table to participate in Olympic Games because that's the oldest and most traditional sports event in the history of sport. It's really the greatest honor, representing your country in Olympic Games.
Always had a blast when I was at the Olympics. I've had that pleasure and honor to be so far playing in three Olympic Games. This would be the fourth. I look forward to it. I think it's going to be great.
Q. Either of you could be playing second singles. What are your thoughts? You and Novak were substituting with one another in Adelaide. Coming into this event, what are your thoughts about potentially playing singles?
FILIP KRAJINOVIC: We're actually very excited to play. I don't know who is going to play, me or Dusan. We still didn't decide yet. Whoever plays, of course we're going to give our best. First match is against Canada, very tough one. Playing against Raonic is always hard.
We did all preparation. We are hoping to play, yeah, for sure.
DUSAN LAJOVIC: Yeah, I agree with what he said.
Especially against the quarantine time and everything we did to come here and play in front of fans, especially after last year's memories, I think for so many months that we didn't have this kind of feelings and emotions on the court, I think it's going to be great event, that we can have this kind of similar memories that we had last year.
We have the tough group, tough matches right from the start. There is no room for any kind of calculations or any kind of mistakes. We got to start strong. Hopefully we can have a good tournament like last year.
I believe that a lot of Serbian fans will come to support us, like it was the situation last year. It's going to be I think a great experience to feel that energy again.
Q. Novak, obviously during all these months, to a significant extent, you've been alone, time really to reflect. What did you miss most about the game? Any lessons that you learnt?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think I missed the most seeing crowd on the stands, what I actually answered in the previous questions. Just at this stage of my career, after playing professional tennis more than 15 years, this is one of the biggest, I guess, driving forces or motivations, inspirations that I have, playing in front of a crowd, feeding off that energy, exchanging that great passion and joy that I have for the sport and the fans have for the sport.
Playing with absolutely no crowds, you know, end of last season, it was not easy. I mean, obviously in Vienna, we had some fans with a limited capacity. It just feels very strange to play with no one on the stands.
Of course, when you draw a line, it's better to have the competition than not to have it at all because it allows a lot of players to play the sport that they love and also, of course, earn the living from it. I'm grateful, as I think most of us that are here in Australia, that we have an opportunity to practice and to play and to compete in the sport that we love. So we are all excited to be here.
That's what I missed the most, to be honest. I think we practiced enough in the gym, back in our bases, coming in here in quarantine as well, which was very challenging I think mentally and physically for a lot of players.
But here we are. We're hoping we can have a really good time on the court.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports