Friday, 14 October 2016
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Zverev 3-6, 7-6, 6-3
Q. It was a really tough one today. You found a way to escape. How did you manage to get the win at the end?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was the most entertaining match for me of the tournament, definitely. Had to dig out, dig myself out of the hole.
He was the better player for most of the first part of the match. He was up a set and a break, a game away from winning. And he tactically played well. He slowed down the pace. You know, I knew his game, but I haven’t played him for many, many years. We are generation, actually, growing up together playing junior tournaments, so I haven’t seen him in a while.
Yeah, a bit uncharacteristic game for tennis that we get to see today from baseline. But credit to him, definitely, for playing well. He was fighting, he was focused. He gave his best, and he was few points from winning. It was a very close one.
Q. So you think that it was his style that maybe sent your rhythm off a little bit? Because it was the last game of the first set and then the first of the second, you were already looking completely out of it. Was it his game that provoked it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, a little bit of both, I guess. I wasn’t striking the ball very well from the beginning of the match, to be honest. You know, I was quite flat with my feet, so, you know, he got me where he wanted to get me and to stand still at the baseline.
After that I started coming to the net more, you know, just being more constructive with the point. Just mixing up the pace and, you know, I played well. I played solid end of the second and the third set, as well.
Q. You didn’t look incredibly tense out there even in the first set. You even were smiling after some mistakes. Were you feeling relaxed? Was that kind of a mindset thing where you were trying to be more relaxed in that moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. I mean, it is obviously you’re trying to reach that balance, I guess, between being concentrated but yet at the same time being kind of calm and relaxed and enjoying the moment. It was somewhere in between. You know, I was always trying to keep that optimal state of mind.
Q. You are playing Roberto next. You played two tough matches in the French Open last year and the US Open. Which is your thoughts on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, he also plays very consistent with the slower pace from the baseline. He’s also somebody that has a tremendous anticipation on the court. I think he reads the game very well. He’s a smart player.
You know, he’s been playing very well throughout the week. I saw a little bit of his match against Jo today. He’s feeling great. My opinion, he’s been trying to step it up a little bit and be aggressive. He’s been serving well.
So, I mean, he’s very solid. He’s not going to give you the win. So I need to obviously earn it.
Q. How is your elbow doing? Is it still affecting your performance in Shanghai this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. No, it’s doing well. Thank you.
Q. You mentioned that you haven’t seen Mischa in a while but he’s your age group. Injuries and then this fight for him, this is his first time really coming back up. Does that kind of make you think, wow, I have been kind of lucky here? Besides for talent and whatever, you never know what’s going to happen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. I’m very lucky. I know that there is only few players from the generation that really succeed to get to the top. I’m just very grateful that I’m one of them.
Q. When you say you found that balance in the tough moments, that means when it’s boiling inside you change what you’re saying to yourself, telling yourself at those moments?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, seems like when you’re boiling water and preparing, trying to prepare pasta and then when it’s boiling water, you just switch it down, you know, turn down the heat a little bit (smiling). That’s what you’re trying to do but still keep the heat there, keep that focus, keep that momentum and trying to be in the zone and have that right intensity but just the right amount, you know.
I mean, I can only speak on my behalf, you know. For each player it’s different. I think when you are at the court and you’re playing official match, you obviously need a little bit of that positive intensity but not too much, I guess.
Just in my case, you know, I can carry it to a place where you don’t want to be when you get frustrated and just, you know, not enjoying the actual game.
Q. This is a bit of a silly one, but I have been watching you for a long time now. I never heard you humming a little tune on court before where you were today on the baseline. Was there any particular tune or was it just dumdy-dumdy-dum?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, you are right, actually. It was towards the end of the match. Instead of the occasional tantrum that I used to have, I hope it’s behind me, so I would switch that vibration and transform it in a tune.
I’m trying to remember, which one was it? It wasn’t any mantra. It was a famous song, actually. I was using it to just forget about my mistake, previous mistake. And it worked, I hope (smiling).