Rolex Shanghai Masters
Sunday, 14 October 2018
N. DJOKOVIC/B. Coric 6-3, 6-4
Q. You really played great tennis in Shanghai this week. Last year you were defeated in the first round of qualifying matches, but now this year, you reached final. What do you think really changed you in the past few years? Do you think your rock-bottom time really shaped you into a brand-new player?
BORNA CORIC: I’m okay that way. Yeah, no, I mean, yeah, last year in this time obviously I was really struggling. I was not playing well. I didn’t have maybe the right team and, you know, I didn’t know what to do. My head was not there, you know, as we say in the tennis life.
Then in the offseason I decided to change my whole team. I decided to change my approach, as well. I was training for six weeks. I had a really good offseason and the longest offseason so far.
I think I started gaining some benefit from that at the beginning of the year. Obviously then I started playing just better and better and that gave me some confidence for later on.
So I’m not sure, I mean, what exactly changed. I think many things changed. I changed as a person. I changed as a tennis player, as well.
You know, there is a couple of things, not only just one thing I can say, okay, that’s it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like facing him today, and in particular his serve? He’s held serve 47 of 47 service games this week, and you had one break point, but he seemed to be really tough in that.
BORNA CORIC: I mean, look, it was really tough. I mean, I didn’t know what to do exactly. You know, I thought I was playing actually really well, which is in that moment it’s not good, because, okay, if I play bad, okay, I know I need to start playing better. I need to change something. I know I need to do something different.
But I’m playing, okay, maybe not like yesterday, but I’m playing also really good tennis. I’m feeling good on the court. I was not serving particularly well, but that’s also because I think he’s returning extremely well, so I was going for a little bit more. I was just getting that a little bit of the extra space.
So, you know, it was really tough, I need to say. I just didn’t know what to do exactly. He was much better player on the court today. There is no doubt about that.
But, no, I’m just happy with the whole week. I think it was a really good week for me, from basically, you know, me thinking on Monday morning I’m going to fly out on Monday evening after my first match to playing finals, first in 1000 events. It’s awesome. I need to look from the positive sides, and I need to take only positives from this week.
Q. Commiserations today, but well played during the week. You mentioned before you had a problem with your neck and obviously your thigh was a problem. How much of a problem were those to you today?
BORNA CORIC: Not today. It was not a problem. Like I said, he was the much better player on the court. I was playing good, really. I was really happy how I played. I need to be honest. There is nothing which — I couldn’t play much better today, to be honest. I could serve maybe a little bit better, but still, I felt even if I was serving little bit better, he’d still return my serves. So there is nothing I can do.
And my neck, I have, you know, sometimes problems with my neck. But it was sore only for two days. It was sore on Sunday and Monday, and then Tuesday morning pretty much it was gone. Tuesday I still felt a little bit, but then it was gone.
But then in my quarterfinals match I felt my quadriceps. I pulled my muscle a little bit. But nothing major. Actually, yesterday it was a little bit more painful than today. Today was not even — it was not painful at all pretty much.
I just had that, how do you call that, strap on. So it makes my muscle, you know, just a little bit more compact so I don’t pull it more. But it didn’t bother me at all. I was just a little bit bothered because it was going off because I was sweating a lot, so it was coming down but it was not painful.
Q. Congrats. You learned a few Chinese sentences from Novak at the ceremony. I’m not sure you learn more about tennis from him this week. Can you just talk a little bit about that?
BORNA CORIC: Yeah, it was very good lesson, you know, today (smiling). I didn’t enjoy it as much, to be honest. But now when I look back on it, it’s a very good lesson.
You know, like I said, I think I can learn a lot from this match. I’m going to look at it when I have some time off. For sure I think he played really, really unbelievable tennis. So, you know, I’m going to try to learn something. And it’s like I said; I’m going to just take positives from this week.
Q. As you said, there is nothing worse than being ordinary. Just wondering if you have a criteria in your mind that you can call yourself inordinary or extraordinary like top 10 or Grand Slam final or like Masters final here?
BORNA CORIC: I didn’t really understand the question. Sorry. Can you repeat? If I can call myself extraordinary because of this?
Q. Do you have like criteria? Is that the word? That you can…
THE MODERATOR: An example of achievements that would make you…
BORNA CORIC: I did this tattoo when I was really young, so you shouldn’t look at it. (Laughter.) That’s my answer.
Q. You seem to have surprised yourself this week about the level of play you could bring. Does it change the mindset at all for the end of season but also next season, that you proved to yourself you could beat these guys?
BORNA CORIC: Yes, absolutely I did prove to myself that I can beat the best players again and that I can play good tennis.
It helped me a lot for the next two tournaments and then also for Davis Cup, which you’re not happy about, obviously. I’m joking (smiling).
But, no, it does help me, for sure, a lot, because like I said, I was really starting, last two weeks after my Davis Cup tie, I didn’t feel particularly well. When I came in China, I’m always struggling here in China, to be honest, with the weather a little bit, maybe it’s the time zone, I’m not sure, but something is bothering me here.
So now also that I played this tournament okay and also next year, just coming here, I’m going to be more relaxed probably.
For sure, I’m going to play better, because for the last couple of years I never played good in China. I think I won only one match. So it’s going to give me some confidence for that, but it’s also hugely important for the last two tournaments and also for Davis Cup, because, I mean, okay, obviously if I lost now three first rounds in a row, it would be quite tough, you know, to make some good result in Paris. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to do it, but it gives me more chance, I think, of doing something better.
Q. A question about the city. You have been here twice before. Do you have any different feelings this year? And what’s your impression of Shanghai?
BORNA CORIC: Yeah. I didn’t go to city, to be honest. You know, it’s very far from here to the hotel, so I would go basically in the morning here and I’ll come back very late in the night.
So it was — yeah, it was a little bit boring, you know, every day the same. But it’s okay. It’s the tennis life. I’m used to it. Like I said, I really didn’t — I went to the players’ party. It was really, really nice. I was really enjoying that.
But then after that — no, actually, I went one day in the CHARbar (phonetic), I think it’s called, the restaurant, really nice, unbelievable view. It was on the opposite side of this building which is the third-tallest building in the world, right? Something like that anyway.
So that was cool, yeah. But other than that, I didn’t go anywhere. I cannot say a lot about that. But the tournament is unbelievable nice. I have everywhere here.