Novak Djokovic 4R interview

Interviews

Q. How are you? Because you fell over in the third set. You were wincing and stretching about. Do you think you'll be ready for the rest of the tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, thanks for staying in late, or early, for this press conference. I had to do postmatch, all of the part of my recovery program, because I didn't feel so great, you know, in the last 20 minutes of the match or so.

So we'll see tomorrow how the body reacts, but I'm confident I can recover and I can be ready for next one.

Q. What was the injury?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it was not the fall. It was not particularly the fall. It was just, you know, a little bit of fatigue, a little bit of back. Nothing major. But there are a couple of things that have surfaced, so to say, you know, after a match like this.

But as I said, you know, I'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Q. Do you think cheering of spectators encouraged you to show the best possible performance until the end of this match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the support of the crowd was great for both me and him. I want to thank the crowd for staying in very late. You know, we played until almost 1:00 in the morning. I do have a lot of support, a lot of people from Serbian community to come out to back me up.

It's really nice to see, actually, that people stay, and there was quite a lot of people still till the end of the match even though it was that late. People love tennis, and of course we try to perform our best in front of them, for them, and for ourselves, as well.

Q. You and Medvedev seemed to share quite a long joke at the net at the end, and he was whispering in your ear. Was that something suitable you are allowed to share in here? And Roger last night went out to Stefanos. Wondering if you watched that match and how you feel about one of your great rivals going out. Does that make you happy you don't have to face him, or are you kind of sad he's not going deep because you love those matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we have lots of respect for each other, with Medvedev. We have practiced a lot of times together in the past several years, because he also resides in Monaco, and I get to see him a lot.

He asked me whether he made me sweat at all, you know, tonight (smiling). I just laugh, because, you know, I think the answer is obvious.

I mean, Roger and Stefanos played a great match. I watched some part of it, and the quality of tennis was fantastic, I thought. It was a really great match to see and for them obviously to play, as well. Stefanos showed great maturity and ability to cope with pressure, you know, in those moments when obviously it's Roger and crowd and support and everything that is happening.

Considering everything that he was going against, Tsitsipas did phenomenally well. You know, for someone that is 20 years old, it's definitely very impressive. You know, I wish him all the best the rest of the tournament.

Roger also played well, but it was very -- it was very close match. One or two points have decided.

Q. Next opponent is Kei Nishikori. You have good record against Kei. Is this advantage for you? What do you think about the next match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Kei won another marathon match. Congratulations to him for fighting back from two sets to love down and break down. He's a fighter. He's a very talented player. One of the quickest players on the tour. You know, hard worker.

I have lots of respect for him. We did play here several times. We actually played in quarterfinals I think one year. You know, every year is different, so, you know, every match that you play against each other is different, so I expect him obviously to come out, to try something new.

You know, I have beaten him many times that we played against each other in last couple of years and that we played on different surfaces. It was a couple of very close matches. Yeah, I expect a tough one.

Q. It was a very demanding match from the first point today. You seemed to be having trouble to kind of find openings. What was your mindset? How did you find a way to breakthrough?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was, as you said, you know, hard to go through him. It was kind of a cat-and-a-mouse game for most of the match. That's why it was so lengthy. We had rallies of 40, 45 exchanges.

That's why I think it was physically exhausting because of the fact that we didn't really allow each other to think that we can make, you know, a lot of unforced errors and give away points. His backhand is very, very solid. He didn't give me much from that side, but, you know, you can't always play on the forehand. You have to open up the court and try to be patient and construct the point.

You know, sometimes it's easier said than done. Just depends on how you feel. Sometimes, you know, you're a bit more hesitant because you're tighter.

But, you know, I thought I played a good match. I was a set and a break up, something similar like against to Shapovalov. Unfortunately I, again, lost my serve and got him back to the match. Tiebreak was not that great for me.

After that, first four games of the third set were crucial, and that's where I felt like he dropped physically a bit, and that's when I went on top of him, you know, to win the third set.

In the fourth he started playing well again. Even though it was three sets to one, it seems like a five-set match, really. It was draining physically a lot, because, you know, you just could not rely on one-two punch tactics, you know, in today's match so often.

Q. On the broadcasts and on social media coverage of this tournament, there is a lot of use of many cameras they have in tunnels around Rod Laver Arena and around the tournament. Curious how conscious you are of those cameras when you are doing your daily stuff and if you're comfortable with them or you forget they are there, how they affect you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It depends. Well, I'm aware that when you get on-site that, you know, you have cameras all over the corridor and, you know, that connects the transport area with locker rooms and gym. That's where we commune the most.

Yeah, I mean, look, the only thing I don't like is there is no connection between the ice baths, recovery center and the locker rooms. So, you know, I have seen a lot of players, including Fabio Fognini who is our favorite male model in his bath robe, you know, going back and forth.

Also, I mean, for us, I guess for womans, it's even worse because they have to go out and they are in a towel because they just went out from the bath and they didn't carry their bag to change their clothes so they have to go back, and there is camera and corridors and people. That's the only thing I mind a little bit, you know.

But other than that, you know, we live in Big Brother society. I guess you just have to accept it.

Q. Can I ask you about the super-tiebreaks in use? First to ten points. Do you think it's a problem at all that the four Grand Slams have all got different ways of ending final sets? And which of those four systems do you like best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I actually thought it was a good change, a good innovation to say you play super-tiebreak. I don't mind it personally. I'm more in favor of closing out the match in a tiebreak or super-tiebreak rather than going for 11 hours like Isner and Mahut.

Those type of matches are part of the history and I understand that, and I understand that, you know, those are the matches that you remember.

But I think statistically percentage-wise if you see, I mean, there is just a lot of matches that people don't recall, you know, that go the distance. And then actually the players who are part of those matches get hurt for the next round, like Isner did actually against Mahut in Wimbledon. He retired his next match or he couldn't move.

So that's the only part, you know. I think the super-tiebreak is fine. In regards to all the four slams having different, four different rules, you know, it's not something we used to see because they are very united in every, so to say, innovation or change, but I don't see it in any negative context, you know, towards their unit or players. You know, it's actually interesting that for them to have a different rule.