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January 17, 2022

Laslo Djere

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Take us through your match today.

LASLO DJERE: I started very well, made a break in the first game, and I kept that advantage until 5-4. Had two set points, I think. Yeah, there were a few key moments in this match. That's the first one, I think, 5-4. I'm serving for the set, first set, and fourth set, also, coming back from a break down, match point down on my serve, and having the chance to serve out the set and go to the decider.

But generally I felt good out there. I enjoyed it. I played good tennis, I think. One of my better matches in the last couple of months, I would say, especially on hard court where I improved a lot the last one year.

Yeah, unfortunately Denis is a tough opponent for the first round, and yeah, maybe I could be a little bit luckier on the court, but yeah, I gave everything I had. But I'm also disappointed.

Q. Has it been difficult to concentrate on the tournament with everything that's been going on?

LASLO DJERE: I mean, I don't know. It wasn't difficult. It was just -- I mean, there was so much noise about Novak and everything, what's going on or what was going on, and the focus was on that a lot, I think, not just amongst the Serbian players but the whole tour. The whole world was following it.

But yeah, I feel that I could focus on my game, as well, so it didn't distract me.

Q. How do you feel about what's happened to Novak, and has it changed your attitude to Australia, and do you think it will change the attitude to a lot of Serbians to Australia?

LASLO DJERE: Yeah, but to tell you the truth, I think not just Serbians, I think the whole world saw it and they probably will have a new or different opinion about Australia. I mean, the guy had the exemption, and they still deported him.

I don't know the details, so I also don't want to be too harsh, but what everyone could read, yeah, he's not vaccinated, but we were told that we can enter the country with an exemption, which he had, and yet he's not here with us. Something went horribly wrong.

Yeah, it was a true catastrophic situation. I don't know what else to say.

Q. Both the Serbian president and prime minister have described this as "scandalous." As you said, he came here on an exemption. Is it quite painful for you to see a nine-time Australian Open champion humiliated like that on a global stage?

LASLO DJERE: Yeah, of course. I mean, even if he wasn't a nine-time champion or the person who he is, but especially that he's a great guy and always tries to help others, and yeah, won the tournament nine times, of course. Yet like most of the Australian people wanted that he leaves.

Nick Kyrgios also mentioned two years ago when there were the bush fires, he donated I think a good amount of money and everything, and now here in Australia everyone just turned his back on him.

Q. Would you think twice about coming back to Australia?

LASLO DJERE: I mean, no. I guess no. Here is the first Grand Slam, and we start every year here. I didn't have any issues. But yeah, probably it will be a little bit different feeling coming back here.

Q. You know Novak really well; how do you think he'll respond to this? We've seen him kind of inspired maybe by adversity before, but do you think this will be different?

LASLO DJERE: Yes, that's what he does. That's also in our Serbian mentality. When we get beat down or we are treated a bad way or how we maybe don't deserve, we just try to -- especially him, tries to be inspired by that and gain strength from that.

I'm sure that he will come back stronger than ever.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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