February 10, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
N. DJOKOVIC/F. Tiafoe
6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Tough one today. Were you impressed by the way Frances competed out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was impressed with the way he was competing. He served very well. He fought hard. I thought we both played on a pretty high level. I mean, he pushed me to the very limit I think.
Second and the third set were really super close. I was fortunate to get the two-sets-to-one lead. Obviously in the fourth I had more chances and kind of capitalized on them midway through the fourth set.
But just overall challenging conditions. I think it was very hot. We had long exchanges. Was difficult for me to kind of break his backhand. I was trying to work around his backhand and kind of penetrate through the court there, open him up, but he wasn't giving me anything. His backhand was very solid, very consistent, not too many errors.
He's a very quick player. It's unpredictable what comes next. Yeah, it was a tough match, and I'm really glad to overcome such a battle.
Q. There were moments where you looked uncomfortable. Anything with you not being comfortable today or was that him making you uncomfortable?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, it was a very close match. Of course, I was at times not feeling my timing as well as I normally am. Credit to him. I think he has managed to come out with a great performance and quality of tennis. He put me in a difficult spot.
I had my chances early in the second set. If I broke him there, maybe the course of the match would be different. But again, he was holding his serve very well. I was not really using my breakpoint chances very well. At times I was too passive. Just wasn't feeling the ball today as well as I normally do.
Again, credit to him for forcing me to feel uncomfortable.
Q. He seemed to have a few issues with some of the line calls. How do you feel about the automatic system? What did you make of that today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I said that in the last press conference. I think it's good to have the automatic line call system. I understand that we have a certain tradition in the history of the sport, having line judges. As I said in the previous conference, I'm all for a unique experience for every single person who is on the court and in the organization. We have a lot of volunteers around the world. I understand that it's taking away in a way the experience and the jobs for many line umpires.
On the other hand, I think that's something that is inevitable for the future of tennis. I'm in favor of that particular thing. Of course, I would keep the ballkids there. Line calls, I would support the technology.
Q. You talked about the state of the court on Rod Laver Arena. Can you expand on that. Does it help your game or suit you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: If I serve well, it does help me. It is definitely more suitable to big servers. I'm not sure what is the reason why it keeps on getting faster and faster in terms of the speed of the court each year.
I mean, this is the fastest it has ever been. I mean, it's not only my opinion. I've been talking to a lot of players. I mean, you just have to serve well. You can win a lot of free points there.
At the same time, if you face a big server, it's huge pressure. If he goes comfortably through his games... I'm going to play Opelka or Fritz next round, big server, potentially Raonic in fourth, you need a lot of accuracy on your serves but at the same time try to pick a side in those very rare moments in the set where you can break those guys.
Q. I asked this question of Serena this afternoon. You've met a lot of people, high-profile people. Who have you not met that you'd like to meet and why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Michael Jordan. I didn't meet Michael. Obviously I'm not the only one. He's one of my childhood heroes, people I was looking up to, probably as most of this world. Yeah, that would be really nice.
We have a lot of common friends. I hear he loves golf. Maybe I can catch him on some of the golf courses in the future.
Who else? Jim Carrey I would love to meet. He's very interesting, very interesting guy. His views of the world are very intriguing to me. I would love to have a chat with him about that.
Q. You mentioned Opelka and Fritz. Obviously we don't yet know which one you'll play. If you could take them individually, describe each of those two guys for a preview.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I've never faced Reilly Opelka. Obviously the tallest tennis player currently playing next to John Isner and Karlovic. I hear he is probably half a centimeter taller than the other guys.
Obviously big serve, quick surface. I got to be ready for tiebreaks. I got to be ready for some missiles coming from his end of the court. I've never faced him before so I'm going to try to do my homework as best as I can to prepare for that match.
Taylor Fritz, I played him couple times, but on clay. Obviously he's a better player than hard court. He grew up in States playing on hard courts. That's what he loves. Also a big server. Also a bit flashy, unpredictable. Big forehands and backhands, flat.
I need to stay solid and focused and obviously wait for my chances.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports