An Interview With.. Novak Djokovic | Laver Cup 2018 (Day 2) | Watch & Read

K. ANDERSON/N. Djokovic

7-6, 5-7, 10-6

Team Europe – 7

Team World – 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty entertaining match. Maybe not from your perspective but everybody who got to watch it. Just talk about the energy in the building and the match itself.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I also thought it was very entertaining and I enjoyed it. The atmosphere was electric. I got to experience the Laver Cup at its best, I think, in my singles today, really. Also doubles yesterday. I had two unfortunately lost matches, but I, you know, I played over two hours both matches, both doubles last night with Roger and today singles.

You know, I tried. I gave it my best, but Kevin was playing fantastic. I mean, he was playing amazing, serving amazing, just brilliant match, brilliant performance, and he deserved to win.

For me, I was really enjoying it. I thought it was, you know, great fun and crowd getting into it. Just, you know, seeing my teammates supporting me and Björn Borg sitting on the bench and John McEnroe on the other, how much better can get than that?

That’s what this event allows you to kind of experience. It’s why it’s quite special.

Q. You have quite a busy season this year. Could you just comment on how much it is affecting you this year to participate in Laver Cup, if at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. Well, I committed to Laver Cup six months ago, I think, when I was still trying to build my confidence. And then I started to obviously play well. Last three months have been terrific in terms of results, and I played a lot of matches.

But I’m not complaining, obviously. I had a couple of Grand Slam wins and Cincinnati and really a great run. You know, I’m feeling good on the court. I’m enjoying to play at this level. I mean, this has been one of the highest-level tennis matches tonight against Kevin that I have played actually this year. It was a lot of fun.

Q. I’d like to go off-topic a little bit. There was a lot of controversy at the US Open about officiating both with the men as well as with the women. Do you think the officiating needs to be reviewed and talked about as to whether it can be improved or not, or are you satisfied with the situation as it is?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, you know, I can speak on behalf of the men’s tennis that that’s something that I know because I’m part of the political structure, so to say. I’m part of the council with the ATP. I know that there is a supervisor for, you know, officials and there is a department of our structure that is, you know, authority that supervises and judges the officials and how have they done, and so I don’t know, to be honest, how it works in correlation with Grand Slams. I think Grand Slams have the upper hand there in terms of authority.

But look, you know, yes, there was — you were probably referring to Serena’s match and what was happening there.

Q. And Mohamed, too.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah, Mohamed. I remember.

Look, they are all human beings, as well. We have to understand that they can’t always be at their best, although I have to, you know, kind of stay on the players’ side and I fully agree with players when they say that, you know, if we make some mistake, so to say, whether we, you know, violate certain rules verbally or in any way break a racquet or whatever that is, we get warning. We get fined by the event a significant sum of money.

So that’s what players, in general and that I have been noticing, have been saying, you know, that the officials should also be responsible for their action and they should also get fined, you know, if they make a big mistake that changes the course of the match. That, I agree with, although I have to also try to be empathetic and understand them, that they always are in the position where two players are kind of coming at them.

I have been part of that heated exchanges couple of times, you know, with the chair umpires, and it’s in the midst of kind of a fight on the court and a battle. Sometimes you just feel that a call is not what it’s supposed to be, I mean, at least in your opinion, and then you get into an argument.

I don’t deny that I was wrong, you know, in those arguments before. Some of them I was right. But in general I think that we should all be responsible for our actions, yeah.

Q. You were just saying about the way this match went this evening and that you were having a good time with it. Is that some of the best tennis that Kevin has played against you, or would that Wimbledon match from a couple of years ago top this one? Where would you rank tonight’s performance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Right up there, I think. You mentioned Wimbledon some years ago. I think that one, from point of view of his performance, was amazing, but I think tonight was just phenomenal from his side. At least that’s how I felt.

Q. I’d like to ask you a basic question. You have done spiritual studies and just meditated quite a bit where breath, the awareness of breath is so central, such a simple thing but so central. Could you talk about that? Does that translate to our sport? Can you apply that on center court during a final? Just talk about that.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you can apply that in any moment in your life (smiling), and you need to, because in the end of the day, that’s something that you can always influence, you know, your breath and your awareness and your presence, I guess. It all comes down to that: you being centered, you being in the right balance, right state of mind.

As a professional athlete, you know, especially in tennis, as a professional tennis player, you need to be present at all times, because, you know, once your attention shifts to the future or past, you are not able to be at your best in this moment, which is the only thing that you can influence.

But it’s normal that we — you know, every match we kind of shift, and we maybe regret the times for not capitalizing on some opportunities. We, you know, kind of are experiencing the moments of doubt and anticipating what’s gonna happen next.

So that’s normal. I mean, everybody goes through those emotions. But the important thing is to have the good base, which is being optimistic, you know, fighting, believing in yourself, in your own abilities, and the breath is probably the most simple thing that you can do, the most powerful thing that you can do for yourself in order to reach that kind of state of mind.

Q. You just mentioned the word “belief,” and you have also, I have read, talked about the difference between hope and belief and belief really being more significant. Can you talk about that a bit?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just feel like we are all trying to get the most out of ourselves in this life. You know, especially as an athlete, you know, you’re trying to explore your potential and maximize your potential, understand what, you know, you can do to be at your best at all times.

Belief is something that always brings that good energy, the positivity, the confidence, that when you need it the most, you have to rely on yourself. You know, whether you’re part of a team sport, individual sport, it’s the same. You know, what makes you different from others is the self-belief, the amount of self-belief, the level of self-belief that, you know, you first of all have in yourself, feel in yourself, but also others, that others can feel around you. Because that’s something that gets you to the desired, so to say, heights that you put yourself, put it as your goal in life, whatever that is.

Of course that doesn’t put hope in any negative context. You know, hope is something that we all have and we all should have and nurture, but I think if you have both, then it’s great.

Q. Just getting back to something that Peter was asking you about with the officiating, does it surprise you that Mohamed has been suspended without pay from two events, the next two tournaments on the tour, when what happened with Nick was at the US Open and not an ATP event?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I haven’t heard that. So that’s official?

Q. Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Okay. Well, that’s what we’re talking about. Obviously whether I think it’s too harsh, I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe two events without pay is maybe a bit too much.

But at the same time, there should be, you know, kind of action upon the responsibilities and deeds from, in this particular case, Mohamed or officials.

So the authorities there are there to, you know, supervise, judge, and evaluate and make decisions. I think that the players will be happy not because they will be happy that Mohamed was, you know, fined and sanctioned in that way, but just be happy that in general there is some kind of a form of a fine that is implemented in this particular case, because then, you know, it makes them believe that it’s both ways, you know, that it’s not only for players but also for officials.

I like Mohamed a lot. I think he’s a nice guy and he brings a lot of good energy there. You know, he makes his job entertaining, which is not easy at times, I mean, for them. Sorry that he had to go through that, but the same time, I’m sure that the players would welcome this, knowing that, you know, somebody is getting fined for their, so to say, mistakes and actions.

Q. What I was meaning is the fact that it’s a major compared to the regular tour and one doesn’t have jurisdiction over the other.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s part of the complex puzzle that we are in (smiling) in the tennis world. We have the ITF, ATP, the Grand Slams. They are all independent entities.

I’m sure that, as I said, it might be my fault that I didn’t hear about this and learn about this earlier. I will definitely look into it more, now that you tell me. But I’m sure that Grand Slams have been talking with the ATP and finding the best possible solution for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

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