THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Clearly you and Roger and Rafa at this point in your careers are really chasing history individually, but in the long run, when you look back on this era of tennis, will you take as much pride in what you guys did as a group collectively, maybe even as what you have done and are doing individually?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s great to be part of this era with Roger and Rafa, without a doubt. It’s definitely one of the greatest eras of tennis. I think every era had something special, rivals and champions that have established themselves as icons of this sport recognized worldwide.
We are fortunate to be part of a sport that is very global, that is very popular around the world. You know, just doing what you love and doing it on such a high level consistently throughout so many years obviously brings you nothing but positive emotions and fulfilment.
At the same time, you know, you always carry a responsibility. And you have mentioned, you know, Roger and Rafa and that they have done it so well throughout so many years. I have also learned next to them, you know, being part of the same journey.
Q. Obviously a tough night for you, but I imagine you go into that match knowing he’s just the type of guy who can on any night take out even the top players.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. Well, night, I’m not so sure, but day, yes. I liked my chances more at night against Kohlschreiber, but it wasn’t to be last night. It was raining.
But completely different conditions today. Ball bounces much higher. Obviously he uses his spin very well. I wasn’t feeling — I wasn’t playing well. One of those days. I congratulate him for, you know, playing tactically really well and getting me out of my comfort zone. He deserved to win.
Q. He doesn’t have really a standout weapon, but he’s just so steady, isn’t he?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, look, he’s been around for so many years, and he doesn’t really get overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on center court or anything like that. He’s proven he can win against top guys. He’s been around so many years, and he’s got an experience of playing on a big stage.
It’s not really a surprise. As you mentioned, when he’s feeling the ball on a given day, he can really win against anybody on any surface for that matter.
Q. I just watched on Court 3, I watched you do something extraordinary. An hour, 90 minutes after that loss, you come out, you play doubles with enthusiasm. So a couple of questions, I guess: How did you process or compartmentalize what happened on Court 1, come out on Court 3? What do you love about doubles? It’s so great that you’re playing. And as a leader, is there a structural way that the ATP could induce more players of your caliber to play doubles more frequently?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, let’s start with your first comment, I would say thank you. At the same time, as a professional, I feel responsible and kind of obliged, regardless of the result in singles if I’m part of the doubles, to play.
And out of respect for my partner, as well, you know, who lost a couple of days ago in singles and he’s still here.
And I love playing doubles. I don’t play often. I play few times a year. So these are the rare occasions where I could potentially do well. I got a Grand Slam champion on my side of the net, someone that has great hands in doubles.
It’s obviously very different from singles. Playing doubles, everything happens really quickly. Not easy mentally to kind of refresh your mindset and concentration and get the right intensity on the court so quickly after disappointing loss in singles.
But, you know, it’s not the first time. I have done it in the past. I’m happy that we managed to pull that one through. We beat very experienced doubles.
It’s been a lot of fun playing doubles with Fognini this week. I thought that the crowd is fantastic. They get into it. Fabio is definitely collecting a lot of fans this week. Deservedly so. He’s very funny. His comments are something special. In Italian, though.
Q. He was speaking in Italian to you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I don’t want to translate. Don’t ask me what he said on court.
And your question about the ATP inducing players, top players to play more doubles, I mean, I think doubles, in general in the last six, seven years, have gotten to a higher level of recognition. I think in the last 10 years we have seen a great improvement and transformation of the doubles on the tour in a positive way. The tournaments are respecting doubles players more and encouraging top singles players to play doubles more. So that’s good. That’s positive. We need doubles, for sure.
It’s kind of hard to induce or force someone who doesn’t want to play doubles to play doubles. You know what I mean? It’s really an individual decision whether you want to be part of it or not.
I personally, when I choose to enter the doubles with someone, I prefer to actually play it all the way to the end. I don’t calculate anything with singles. That’s kind of a mindset. I have always been like that. It’s just out of respect for the game.
Q. I know you have the long view on things in general after all your career, but a loss like tonight, I mean, obviously you’re having a dominant phase here, does it really concern you, a defeat like that, in the big pictures? How do you see it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I don’t enjoy losing, nobody does, but especially in a tournament like this, tournament where I have had plenty of success in the past.
You know, I thought I was, you know, in a good form. I was practicing well. But it just happens, one of those days. You just have to deal with it, move on, turn the next page.
Miami is the next tournament singles-wise for me. I’m going to try to go all the way here in doubles. I’m really excited about that. And get some good practice in.
I’m going to have Marian, my coach, joining us in Miami. Plenty of time until my first singles match there. Things to work on, without a doubt. I’m not at my highest level. I know that. But slowly building, and hopefully I’ll be able to peak in Miami.
Q. Does a result like that sit with you for a while or do you get over it pretty quickly?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I had to get over it in an hour, because I played doubles (smiling). I must admit I was thinking about it. When I hit a good return, I was wondering why this didn’t happen in singles. But it is, I guess, part of the world that we are, the world of tennis. It’s part of our world, and we just have to bounce back very quickly.
And in this case, it’s good for me that I’m participating in doubles here, because I get a chance to rectify the wrongs, if you want, but I don’t think it’s going to sit with me too long. I really — I don’t feel how this can, you know, disturb me on the long run. You know, I know what I’m capable of. I know the quality of my tennis.
It’s just one of those days. You just have to congratulate your opponent and move on.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-13 03:40:00 GMT