An Interview With.. Novak Djokovic | 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters (Final)

N. DJOKOVIC/B. Coric

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. You never lost a match in Beijing. Now you win more championships in Shanghai than any other players. You always talk about the positive energy you get from China. Could you talk more about where did you get that energy exactly?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. Maybe from the past life. Maybe I was Chinese in the past life (smiling). I wouldn’t be surprised, to be honest, with the way I feel here and the way I communicate and have relationship with the people.

It’s all very, very positive, for more than ten years that I have been coming to China. There is something special about this place that makes me feel like at home.

Q. Congratulations. 47 service games played; 47 service games won. Can you talk about your serve this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure whether it has happened ever, you know, that I go through a tournament without dropping one service game. I’m sure that it hasn’t happened too many times if it did. So this was definitely one of the best service weeks that I had in my career.

I think I faced only two break points today and against Kevin in quarters, and that’s all. I mean, serve was never my No. 1 weapon in the game, so to say, you know. It was never as big as, you know, Zverev’s or Anderson or Isner or Karlovic, these guys that, especially Isner and Karlovic, that they depend a lot on the service.

But for me serve was always, so to say, a hidden weapon, the shot in the game that is obviously very important, “the” most important. But I always try to use it with an accuracy and efficiency rather than speed and power.

I was saying before that I have never played on faster courts here in Shanghai, so this year more than ever I needed a lot of success with the first serves in, and I have had plenty of success with first serves and high percent of first serves in every match. So obviously that, you know, brings me a lot of joy.

Q. At the beginning of the week you said that this court was like the fastest you have ever played?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

Q. How much surprise you are about your performance this week, as you talk about the serve? Also your game in…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Fastest in Shanghai. Not overall, yeah. I mean, I have won this tournament many times before and played here many, many years. It’s not only my opinion. I talked with Borna, as well, and other players, and they said that it was not only my subjective feeling, but overall feeling is that the courts are quicker.

But I arrived earlier. I think that was the key, you know, to get four days, three, four days of practice before I start the tournament. That’s what I had. I prepared myself in the best possible way. It was a strategic team decision to skip Beijing because I just wasn’t ready, I think, to compete, you know, couple weeks in a row in a high level.

I spent a lot of time going to Laver Cup and playing US Open and obviously all the matches in the last three months. So I’m really happy that we made that call, because it was the right one.

Q. Many congratulations. You’re getting very close now to Rafa, No. 1. I wonder if you have a little message for him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I will leave that up to your creative spirit of journalism (smiling).

Q. Do you think you’ll play a 500 tournament in Vienna or Basel, because just 215 points behind? So the door is open for you there.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, we are very close. I think it’s around 50 points’ difference. So obviously I don’t feel as much, I would say, pressure to play before Paris as much as I would if the situation was different points-wise, but I still will consider playing the week before Paris, and I’ll decide with the team probably in couple days.

Q. Congratulations, Novak. Will you throw a party for Stefan on his birthday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, we are throwing a party for Stefan’s fourth birthday, and I’m going to be there next weekend. I’m looking forward to that. With dinosaurs, of course (smiling).

Q. Marian said he’s amazed with what you have been doing the past few months. You found a way to build a new Novak, to invent yourself. How would you describe the new Novak of now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, I think you’re seeing the new Novak. I don’t need to describe him. That’s all I can say.

I don’t think it’s maybe the place and time to really go deep into details, because we have talked about it already many times in the last, you know, six months of my whole journey, psychologically mostly what I was going through and how I had to reinvent myself and find, you know, proper formula for success.

I found it and, you know, I’m just trying to hold on to it as long as I can.

Q. If you could make a wish, how would be the rest of the season for you? And of course I also want to know what did you talk yesterday with Pique? So both questions, please.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You really wish that you were there for that meeting, eh? Yeah, he’s a good-looking guy, of course. And he’s a nice guy, as well (smiling). But he’s married. You know that, right?

The meeting with Gerard went really well. Again, we are very honest to each other. Ever since the beginning of the whole process, he was quite honest and shared his opinion transparently with me, never was hiding anything, and same from my side.

I’m not going to go into details, because I cannot. These are confidential information. But it’s nice that at least, you know, we’re talking and there is a dialogue also between ATP and ITF officials, which is important. Me, as president of player council, I feel responsibility, as well, to represent what’s best for the ATP players but also for the sport.

So, you know, Davis Cup is historical, a traditional team competition with historical importance. Of course all of us, we want to try to work this out in the best possible way so we don’t need to change the course of the history.

And your second question? First one was about the wish? Well, you know what’s my wish tennis-wise. I have said it before.

Q. Congratulations. I really want to know what’s your thoughts during the third match points, I guess, the smash.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah.

Q. And the last one when Borna challenge and it’s out? Can you share your thoughts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, he played just very well on the match points on 5-3, Love-40 down. You know, I was in the rally all three, and I had 30-40 the smash, but it was not an easy one.

Just had a little bit of issue to see the ball because of the lights and everything. But I’m really happy with the way I held my nerves in the next game and didn’t lose a point to close out the match. So that’s important, especially, you know, if you have these kind of situations which can happen that, you know, you don’t use, capitalize on match points, and the next game is important one mentally, you know. So I managed to, you know, to hang in there.

Q. Congrats, Novak. Fans love to see your kids, Stefan and Tara. Will you bring them to Shanghai or Beijing in the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just actually met some of the fans, and they asked me the same question. I’m not sure whether that’s going to happen or not, because it’s a long trip. You know, they travel with me to Grand Slams and some other tournaments. You know, Stefan is going to kindergarten right now, so they have their, you know, their life, as well.

But I heard that there is a Disneyland here in Shanghai (smiling). We’ll see. Maybe.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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