An Interview With.. Novak Djokovic (2018 Madrid Open, R2)

K. EDMUND/N. Djokovic

6-3, 2-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. I know you just stepped off the court, but if you could tell us, perhaps, what made difference for you after that in the third set and what positives, perhaps, you can take from this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, two tough matches, and Kyle was just better in the decisive moments, and I was a bit unlucky. 4-3, couple bad bounces, the lines that he hit, and the game is gone. Next game is new balls, and he is hitting all four first serves in. The match is gone, you know. And I was pretty close but, yeah, that’s tennis.

Q. Different British No. 1 for you to play. You’ve played him before. Can you explain to us how you’ve seen him sort of change.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He has improved, obviously, his backhand. His forehand is obviously his weapon and he has been using it very well, backing up the serve with that forehand. Backhand, he has improved his backhand, down the line. Couple important points he won with that shot today.

Obviously new coach and someone I’ve known for many years. He worked with Ancic. He is a very good coach, you know. Definitely Kyle is playing the best tennis of his life.

Q. Of course, that one game in the third set, how did you feel the first set went for you because it felt like you struggled to find your footing a bit or struggled for rhythm?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he started off well. Second set and most of the third set I thought I played well and was high-quality tennis.

But, you know, that’s one or two points decide really these kind of matches. As I said, you know, luck was on his side a little bit. But, also, he was courageous enough to attack the balls when it mattered, and he deserved to win.

Q. You seemed to have momentum. In the third set you had him at love-40. Looked like you were ready to take the break and then move on to take the set and the match. What happened after that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: After that? During that love-40 game, I mean, he came up with two big serves, and at 30-40 was the only real chance in the entire game. Anything else was he played well. So, as I said, it looks from outside, you know, thinking it’s love-40, you know…

In this altitude and someone serves as well as he did and backs up with forehands, you know, you’ve got to use every possible chance. So it wasn’t to be today.

Q. You’ve lost a few final set matches this year to the likes of Klizan, Thiem and now today. Is that a thing that is concerning you most at the minute: the biggest moments in the deciding sets you are unable to come through?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, look, there are obvious things that are not working well for me. But I have to keep working on them and pray that — and hope that my game will get stronger, get better as definitely as the matches, you know, go the distance.

Especially, you know, such big tournaments against quality players, you’ve got to, you know, step in. I tried but obviously, yeah, wasn’t to be today. Hopefully, next one.

Q. From outside it seems the past few weeks you’ve moved a step forward. Does it also feel like that for you, that on the long road you have, you are still moving forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it does feel like that. Obviously I’m disappointed from losing this match, but I can be happy with the progress of the level of tennis.

Q. A similar question. I guess it’s hard now, but if you zoom out a little bit this week, how do assess your form? And do you feel you are kind of getting closer to your best?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s two matches. I haven’t played a whole bunch, a lot of matches. But still two tough opponents, tough matches.

As I said, you know, there are positives to take out from this. But obviously disappointing to go out early in the tournament.

Q. I guess with the way things are going at the moment, and you know that it’s a process, how do you maintain positivity? What are the keys to you for doing that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s not the end of the world, you know. Obviously, I’ve played this sport so many years and had a bunch of success. I try to always remind myself and be grateful for that.

At the same time, you know, nobody is forcing me to play this sport. I do it because I like it. I want to do it. And that’s something also that makes me fortunate, you know, to play the sport.

So, you know, that’s where I draw my strength. And, you know, as long as I keep going, as long as I love the sport, I’ll keep going. And that’s all it is.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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