Sunday, 9 October 2016
Q. I saw you practice last night. You have a little twist with your arms. Do you feel okay with your arms? How about injury?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everything is fine. Glad that I’m back in Shanghai, and I have been practicing the last couple of weeks and, you know, trying to get myself in the right competitive mode which I think is something that I’m going to reach this week, next week.
Q. Can you explain a little bit more about what you say, the priorities in your career, say a little bit more what’s important?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is not much to add. My approach is just different. My priorities are now, especially after the period after Roland Garros where I had a little bit of difficulties to enjoy, really. I had to — maybe I was exhausted mentally and emotionally. You know, I thought that — I didn’t know actually how I’m going to react after winning French Open because it was very emotional. I was obviously very content, but on the other hand I was also very exhausted and I needed some time to recover, to regroup.
The last three months were up and down a little bit with oscillations, but generally I didn’t find that kind of satisfaction on the court, which is the very reason and the source of my motivation to play the tennis.
So if I don’t have that kind of inner joy of playing. I know that every day obviously is different and it’s not easy to always feel at your best and always enjoy 100%, but, you know, in the last period it was just too many of those days where I felt like I’m spending too much energy and effort, mental effort, into my training and matches.
So that’s my priority now to get back into that inner joy and really feeling happy for being on the court and everything else comes second and behind that.
Q. How do you think about another competition between you and Andy and the ranking?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, as I said, I don’t think about that as a priority now. For me, from my perspective, I don’t think about that. I think about something else that is more important.
Q. Is it a way to escape from pressure? Or it’s very strange from you knowing the way you play.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, again, look, I understand that people have different perception of what I say, and of course you can look at it from different angles and perspectives and say, you know, I’m doing that just to release the pressure, I’m doing that because of this and that, but, you know, I’m honest and I say what I feel. And at this moment I sincerely feel that that’s something that I should take care of.
I was saying many times before — it’s not the first time that I say I play tennis because I really enjoy it and because it gives me that happiness on the court, holding the racquet and playing because it’s a game you play. But if I don’t have that feeling and if I put too much, not just myself but people around, you know, and if you put too much stress and expectations and so forth and then you start to lose that balance, and balance is everything in life. So I try to, as I said, you know, find that optimal state of mind and balance which gives me that joy.
How long that’s going to take, I don’t know. I do really feel like I’m already getting better because I changed my mindset. You know, it’s not about really just winning the match and just lifting the trophy, because I have been through those periods and you learn. You know, you evolve. I think I’m a different person than I was maybe three months ago, maybe six months ago. You constantly get to know yourself and what life is giving to you as an opportunity to grow. For me, that’s the priority at this moment.
Q. It was a treat for the fans to see you practicing with Stan out on the courts today. Can you talk about how often you decide to practice with a fellow sort of top player and how, if anything, that’s different when you’re practicing with someone at that level?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There is certainly something different when you’re playing against, practicing with a top player, because the quality of the training is obviously very high. That’s why I like always to train with Stan especially because we — you know, we have a very friendly relationship and we get to train quite often, you know, especially before big tournaments.
You know, I never had a problem to practice with anybody. You know, I know that everybody’s different. You know, sometimes it’s not easy to practice against one of your biggest rivals, because there is always, you know, I guess, the element in that practice which mentally, you know, you don’t want to seem like something is wrong with you. You always want to be at your best.
But on the other hand, from the other perspective, it’s actually good that you are trying extra and putting extra effort, because then, you know, you train better. You put more quality, more intensity in the training. You know, that’s what I got today with Stan and he got with me, as well. So we are getting ready for the competition.
Q. Could you be happy if you keep losing, I guess, quarterfinal or semifinal? Because everything is linked.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, of course. Look, I don’t know what future brings. That’s not in my hands, and I cannot — the only way I can predict the future is to create the future. I try to create a future for myself being in the present moment. I don’t try to think what has happened before or what’s coming later on. I believe that in this very moment this kind of thinking and mindset is the best for me.
When I said I’m not interested only in winning and lifting trophies, that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in that at all. Of course when I get on the court I will do my best to win the match, as there is no change in that. But the shift of, I would say, the priority and the mindset towards tennis, career, towards my life, it’s different. You know, it’s different now.
I also don’t have that much of, I would say, pressure to really achieve something, you know, that I never achieved before, because, you know, I can be very proud and I’m very grateful of the results that I had throughout my career. So, you know, again, this is the phase that I’m in at the moment and we will see what happens tomorrow.
Q. I follow his question. Did it means that you will last training or just losing your diet or just stay in the old style?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I really — can you repeat that? Because I didn’t understand.
Q. You said you lift trophy is not your priority. Does it means that you will losing some things like practice less or just give up your diet now? Just give up the old style?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the diet is not there because of winning tennis matches. The diet is there because I believe in that kind of lifestyle and it’s good for my health and my well-being. So I will not drop the diet because my priority is not to win the tennis matches, No. 1. And No. 2, I will not need to lose anything that I have had before because what have I to lose? I don’t have anything to lose. That’s my mindset. I have only to gain.
From this moment on, I’m equal with everybody even though the rankings show that I’m No. 1. That’s great. I’m happy for that. But as I said, you know, I’m starting with this kind of mindset and belief that this is something that will bring me back that intrinsic feeling of belonging to the court and having that inner joy while playing, and that’s the only thing that changes. So basically my mentality, my mindset changes. Not my, you know, I don’t know how to call it, a lifestyle.