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Interesting read (if true)
Google translate from German
At the beginning of February, Novak Djokovic underwent elbow surgery in the Muttenzer Racetrack clinic. The next day the superstar trained again in the tennis center on the Birs in Aesch BL.

After his early break at the Australian Open, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic had surgery in the Racetrack clinic on the elbow in early February.

On Instagram, the 12-time Grand Slam winner spoke of a "short, operative" intervention. Nevertheless, the racetrack clinic did not want to leave anything to chance.

The day after the surgery Djokovic trained in the Aescher Center tennis on the Birs under observation not only of his coaching staff, but also the Racetrack manager.

It was not a random choice. The board of the Racetrack clinic is the former FCB player Benjamin Huggel. Huggel now works as Head of Administration of the Tennis Center in Aesch and provided Djokovic with the space for free.

Whether name Huggel the football-infatuated Serbs had been previously known, to the FCB legend wanted to say nothing.

Djokovic's new fans
Djokovic did not travel to Birs for free practice. The medical team at the Racetrack clinic wanted to know exactly whether the surgery had produced the desired success. Overall, they aimed eight infrared cameras at the Serbs.

Fifty markers were placed on his half-naked body so that markups and basal strokes could be analyzed three-dimensionally. The analyzes provided information about the condition of the elbow.
Normally, motion analysis would be performed in the clinic, says Xaver Kälin, Head of Functional Diagnostics, Therapy & Prevention at the Racetrack clinic. For a man of this format and "because of the high demands on a realistic test arrangement" but had spared no effort.

For three hours Djokovic trained in this futuristic setting. Then the result: all right with the elbow.

A few new admirers in Roger Federer's homelands were also certain to the Serbs.

"He's a great guy," says Kälin. "Very pleasant and approachable." A regular guest of the tennis center was in any case not bad.

"When I announced Djokovic's training session, he just laughed," says Huggel. He only believed it when Djokovic actually turned up.

18,862 Posts
Novak's interview after winning his 4th Wimbledon and 13th Grand Slam title :bowdown:

Novak Djokovic speaks to the media after his 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) final defeat of Kevin Anderson

Q. Last year you left Wimbledon with the elbow injury. You're back again as champion. Tell us about the long journey.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a long journey, especially considering that elbow injury that took me out from the tour for six months. When I started training again, came back on the tour, played Australia, but I played with the pain.

It was inevitable for me to go on a table and have a surgery, even though I was trying everything to avoid it, to be honest. It was the first, and I hope only, surgery I had. It was supposed to happen.

After that I had a really good recovery, I thought. Maybe too fast. I got back to the court too fast. I wasn't ready to compete. Indian Wells, Miami were not great. It took me several months really to regain the confidence, go back to basics, start to hit as many balls on the practice court as possible so I can feel comfortable, you know, playing on the high level.

It took me many tournaments. I couldn't pick the better place, to be honest, in the tennis world to peak and to make a comeback. Wimbledon has been always a very special tournament to me, and to many players obviously. I dreamed of winning it when I was a seven-year-old boy. I made a lot of improvised Wimbledon trophies from different materials. I really always dreamed of winning Wimbledon.

When that happened back in 2011, when I became No. 1 of the world, in just a couple days all my dreams came true. It's really hard to compare this year's victory and trophy with any of the other three because they're all special. But if I can pick one, that would be probably the first one and this year's winning because my son was at the trophy ceremony, which made it extra special.

Q. You're back in the top 10. Did you ever imagine at the start of the year that you'd be back at this point by this time this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I learned how to be patient in this process. Going back to February when I had the surgery of the elbow, I really was impatient. I wanted to come back and compete as quick as possible. I wanted to get out on the court.

I was still feeling a little bit of discomfort and pain playing Indian Wells, Miami. I just kept going even though everyone was against me competing at that stage. I took the responsibilities. I could not imagine myself being away from the tour another few months after being away from the tour six months in the last season. So I had to learn the lessons in a hard way.

To answer your question directly, no, I did not expect to be back in the top shape already here in Wimbledon so quickly. If you asked me after Roland Garros, I would probably maybe doubt that. At the same time there is a part of me that always believes in my own abilities, believes in my own quality of tennis, what I possess. Whenever I come to the tournament and Grand Slam especially, I believe I can have a good opportunity to fight for the trophy.

My ambitions are quite high. I think maybe I went against myself especially the first few months postsurgery because the expectations were so high from myself that I could not understand why I could not perform and play on the level that I'm used to.

Right now it's easy to talk. I had to go through it. But I want to thank all the people who were really close to me and really believed in me, as well.

Q. You could have thought you had proved everything to the tennis world and yourself the past 10 years. Do you feel the last two matches you proved something new to yourself, you pushed some limits you thought maybe were not there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To myself the most, yes. To myself the most. I lost quarterfinals of Roland Garros. There was a similar fight, long match. I wasn't playing my best in the decisive moments. That was something that I was missing, to be honest, that kind of competitive match play feeling of being toe-to-toe with an opponent in a big match in the later stages of Grand Slams.

Playing against Nadal in the semifinals here was the biggest test that I could have specifically for that, just to see whether I can prevail. That's why I spend a lot of energy and I put a lot of effort to win that match because I knew on a short run and long run how much that will mean to me and how much it means to me, to my confidence.

Obviously I didn't have a day in between semifinals and finals. Right now it's great, but ideally maybe a day would be even better in between. But I did all I could to recover. I felt really, really good today. I thought the first two sets against Kevin today, even though you could feel he was nervous, you could feel that he wasn't playing at his best, was making a lot of errors, but I thought that I was very, very solid. Probably the two best sets I've played in a long time.

Q. How important for you was it to get off to a strong start today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was quite important. I mean, I knew that Kevin spent plenty of time on the court in quarters and semis, marathon wins. I did, too. He did have a day off, a day in between semis and finals. I knew that probably had enough time for him to recover and to get out on the court and start playing at an expected level that he was playing on the last couple matches.

But at the same time I knew that it was his first Wimbledon finals, and it is a really different sensation when you're in the finals of Wimbledon and any other tournament. It was my fifth today, so I tried to use that experience probably, maybe that mental edge that I have, to kind of start off in a right way.

The first game I made a break of serve was a perfect possible start. After that I cruised for two sets. In the third set, he started hitting his spots with the serve much better. He started swinging through the ball, making less errors. He was the better player in the third set, without a doubt. I was just trying to hold on and keep my composure in decisive moments.

I served well, played some good shots when I was set points down, then played a perfect tiebreak to finish.

Q. You've been through a difficult period now and come back, yet you're 31 years old. You went through a period of great domination earlier. Is it realistic you could come back to that level again? Is it something you think about or is it just way down the road?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I understand that people are questioning whether I can consistently play on this level. Trust me, I am, too (smiling). At the same time I can't look too far on the road because I have to embrace and cherish this kind of accomplishment.

As I said, if you asked me a month and a half ago whether I think I can win Wimbledon, part of me yes, I hope, but maybe I wasn't that sure at that time of my level of tennis.

This is obviously very pleasing and satisfying to be able to play the way I played in the last couple of tournaments, in Queen's and Wimbledon. This is going to be a huge confidence boost and springboard for whatever is coming up.

I really can't see the future. I don't know what's going to happen. But I like to play on hard courts. US Open was always successful tournament for me. I haven't played it last year because of injuries. I'm looking forward to also go out there and play my best and see where it takes me.

Q. Do you feel this is the greatest achievement, considering what you've been through the last 15 months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I've said when I answered the first set, I think alongside the first Wimbledon title when I managed to get No. 1 of the world for the first time in 2011 and win my dream tournament, this is probably next to that the biggest achievement I had. Roland Garros and Australian Open and a few other tournaments... It's hard to pick one, to be honest.

As I said, it really is special considering the last two years, absolutely. I've never faced a major injury in my career before. I changed the racquet. I also made some compensations in my game. I had to adjust. I had to get comfortable with that game. It took me a while.

So I'm very, very pleased with this kind of achievement.

Q. You are in the elite of players winning four or more Wimbledons like Borg, Sampras, Edberg and Federer. Do you see yourself close to one of them? And are you going to give half of your prize money to the surgeon of your tennis elbow?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He was there, by the way. He was here today. He was here today.

Q. Your guest, I guess.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes. Not Anderson's guest, for sure. Yes, he was there. I saw him yesterday and today before the match. Of course, I'm very thankful to him and to his team for doing a great job.

Half the prize money? It's a bit unlikely. Maybe something else. We'll see. We'll think about it.

To answer your first part of the question, I mean, it's just a great honor to be in that elite. Pete Sampras has 14 slams. He was, out of everyone that I looked up to, probably my biggest role model and idol growing up. To be just one step away from his record is quite incredible.

To win four titles in this sanctuary of tennis is quite impressive, as well, so I'm very proud of it.

Q. A more technical question. A long time ago, you said after Estoril that you have a secret weapon, backhand down the line. In the past years you seem to have lost it a little bit, your forehand becoming a major weapon. It seems here you got it back. Am I wrong?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, I relied a lot especially in the early days of my professional career on that shot. Backhand down the line was, and still is, probably one of the most important shots not just in my game but the game in general.

If you see, let's say, the structure of the point, regardless of the surface, statistically it's mostly backhand cross, someone runs around backhand and hits the forehand, 1-2 punch. Most of the players are more comfortable in the backhand corner, so backhand down the line, if you're comfortable with that shot, if you have confidence in it, that can disrupt the rhythm and positioning on the court of your opponent a lot.

That definitely has been, if I can call it, a weapon of mine. But it's a tough shot to hit, as well. It's above the highest part of the net. It has to be timed well.

You're right, for some time I wasn't really comfortable with that shot, but I felt like lately has been working well.

Q. You brought the band back together.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The boys band.

Q. Now that you're back to winning ways with Marian, is it going to be a long-term commitment or note, because at the beginning you said you didn't know?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. We talked actually postmatch. It seems like he's planning to keep on working with me, which is great news. We going to keep on working till the end of the year for sure, then we'll see after that.

Obviously I'm so grateful to Marian, to GG, as well, for coming back. After a year of not working with them, them continuing with their lives, doing different things, leaving that aside and coming to join me again, help me to get to where I am at the moment, it's really nice of them.

I love these guys very much.

Q. I was going to ask you more about Marian. How bad were you feeling about yourself when you called him, and what has it done exactly to help you so much since then?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not at all. Actually in contrary. I didn't feel bad about myself at all. I was actually excited to call him, very much. It didn't take long. Actually the same night he called me back and said, Okay, let's do it, when should I come for practice? A few days later he was there.

As I've said, when we split, we stayed in touch. We are family. We love each other. We nurture our relationships. That hasn't changed when professionally we decided to split.

It was obviously more of a break, short break, than a long break, so I'm really glad for that.

Q. When you were going through the injury and the struggle, was there ever a moment that you truly thought maybe this might not happen for you, you might not reach this mountaintop again?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There were several moments where I was frustrated and questioning whether I can get back on desired level or not. But that makes this whole journey even more special for me.

As I said, it's easy to talk now and look back at it and be kind of grateful, but I really am grateful to go through this kind of, so to say, mixed emotions, turbulences as well mentally, moments of doubt and disappointment and frustration, anger.

But I'm human as all of you, I hope, here in this room. And we all have to face that. We all have to go through that. It's a learning curve, it really is. Helped me, not just as a tennis player, but just as a human being to get to know myself on deeper levels.

It's usually in a struggle that you get to know yourself, you get to have an opportunity to rise like a phoenix and evolve and get better.

Q. How has fatherhood changed this whole experience for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Actually, I didn't talk about it, but it was one of, if not the biggest, motivation I've had for this Wimbledon this year. I was visualizing, imagining this moment of him coming to the stands, cherishing this moment with my wife and me and everyone. It's hard to describe.

I mean, I never had him in the box watching the tennis match. I was hoping that Wimbledon can be that tournament because he's big enough now I think to stay quiet maybe for 30 minutes or so. Maybe...

There are special rules here so we have to respect them. He's under five years old, and you're not allowed if under five to be present.

Roger I think had his girls and his boys as well I think last year and the years that he won at the trophy ceremony, so I was hoping I can have Stefan, too.

He was not there till the very moment when I was walking to get an interview. He walked in. So that was just a moment that I will carry inside of my heart forever.

Mostly unbiased analyst
3,902 Posts
Novak’s Wimbledon Letter

Dear Family & Friends,

I am writing this message between nappy change and a dinosaurs book.

I wish to share, with all of you, how it felt to go through the journey of winning Wimbledon 2018.


I have imagined and prayed that one day I would win a Grand Slam trophy in front of my child. Luckily for me, Tara is growing up and I can’t wait for her to see me do the same as I did in front of Stefan.


More: Novak's Wimbledon Letter

Tara is 3 years younger than Stefan... Clearly, Novak plans on winning Slam(s) in 2021! :grin2:

18,862 Posts
Novak's interview after winning his 3rd US Open and 14th Grand Slam title :yeah:


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Del Potro

6-3,7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Considering all that you've been through this past year, winning the last two Grand Slams of the season, is it fair to say you relish these championships even more now than before?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I do. I know you guys ask me a lot of questions which were related to me, so to say, describing percentage-wise where I am now to where I was three years ago or four years ago. I feel like kind of my mindset always was not to compare myself to any other year or season because my life has turned upside down in the last couple years with so many different things, changes that happened: becoming a father twice, being away from the tour six months, getting surgery, all these different things.

If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I'll win Wimbledon, US Open, and Cincinnati, would be hard to believe. But at the same time there was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back on the desired level of tennis very soon.

I expected, to be honest, quite frank, after surgery that I'll be back on a high level quite fast. But, you know, it took me actually three, four months really. In that process, I learned a lot about myself, learned to be patient, which was never really a stronger side of me.

But at the same time, you know, life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can center yourself, balance yourself and thrive. The last two months have been terrific.

Q. You've experienced what it's like to dominate in this game, yet your life has changed a lot, values shifted a little bit. Do you think about how difficult it is or how much effort you would have to put in, and if it's worth it to get to that kind of a level again?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, again, I don't know, and I don't want to think about that level again because I feel like I'm on a whole new level. That's kind of my approach and my thinking. I just want to create from this moment onwards the most that I can create for myself, to get the best out of myself in every possible moment. That's really what I'm thinking about.

I understand and I respect the history, you know, just my career, the sport in general. The past can teach us a lot. At the same time I really want to direct, so to say, my attention and energy into the present moment.

My team knows that. My family knows that. I don't like to talk about, you know, let's compare ourselves to this year or that year. I just like to be here now, you know, work hard, work smart, and thrive.

Q. What does it mean to you to get to the number of Pete Sampras, 14? Your idea of getting closer to those two guys ahead of you, Roger and Nadal?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, history of the sport, I'm a student of the sport, of course, as everybody else. I respect history, everyone that has paved the path for me and all of us to be doing what we're doing, to be part of this wonderful sport.

Pete Sampras is one of the biggest legends ever to play the game. He was my childhood idol. He was someone I was looking up to. The first actually thing I saw related to tennis on the TV was his first or second Wimbledon championship. That inspired me to start playing tennis.

There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam wins with him. It's truly incredible when you think about it. I watched him win one of his first Wimbledon championships, and I grew up playing and thinking that one day I'll be able to do what he does. To actually be here, it's a dream come true.

Q. All three times you've won here, you won Wimbledon coming in. Do you feel that's just an odd coincidence or maybe there's something to it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope it happens every year, same thing (smiling).

But, no, obviously winning Wimbledon was my childhood dream. I was making these improvised Wimbledon trophies when I was six, seven years old in my room, just kind of dreaming about that.

When I won Wimbledon for the first time, that has kind of opened a lot of doors, metaphorically speaking, for me in terms of my possibilities. I felt like all the other slams were kind of waiting in line for me to first win Wimbledon, to realize my childhood dream.

But I think, you know, winning a slam, any slam, gives you huge confidence that you carry with you for certain period of time. Obviously tough thing about our schedule is that we have Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and US Open condensed within four or five months. At the same time, good thing about it is if you win Wimbledon or French, then you have another slam, and you can thrive on that confidence level that you got from winning the previous slam.

So maybe that's one of the reasons why I've managed to do so well after winning Wimbledon and doing so well here in New York.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about you and Rafa and Roger, this generation, putting up these numbers at the same time. Now having caught Pete, surpassed Pete, the other guys, what makes it so special?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was talking about this before, that maybe 10 years ago I would say I'm not so happy to be part of this era with Nadal and Federer. Actually today I am. I really am. I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.

I have utmost respect for what they have achieved on the court, but also the champions, role models they are off the court. I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other. For me, that was always an ultimate challenge: to play Nadal or Federer anywhere.

I think, you know, I had to figure out early in my career, when I was losing most of the big matches on the Grand Slams against them, what it takes for me to actually kind of improve and develop my game to be able to challenge them, to be able to start winning against them when it matters the most.

I think that was one of the most important, so to say, moments and periods of my life, my tennis career, my development. I owe it to them.

Q. There were moments when you had a lot of confidence on yourself, moments where you didn't have enough. You lost 6 matches out of the first 12. What were you thinking then, and now that you have won two slams? If you win two slams every year, when you're 37, you would have 20 like Federer.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, your countryman Cecchinato has made me realize, you know, a lot of things after that loss to him in Roland Garros. I was very, very disappointed with my performance that day. I felt like I started to play well in Roma, had some great matches in Roland Garros, and then I felt like I let myself down a little bit there. Of course, credit to him for playing amazing match in the tournament.

I felt like, you know, I was so close to desired level, and then I just completely underplayed that match. I had to kind of disconnect a little bit. I went hiking with my wife for five days in the French mountains. We just isolated ourselves and took things from a different perspective. Ever since then, the tennis is completely different for me. In terms of results, I played finals of Queen's, won Wimbledon, won Cincinnati, and won US Open. I guess we'll be hiking some more very soon (smiling).

Q. People are going to think back to normal is winning Grand Slams again. Can you try to explain what has been required of you to reveal the game, the mindset from the surgery? It seems easy that you won two Grand Slams in a row, but I'm sure it's not.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously it's not. I'm just one of the hundreds of thousands of players that are trying to fight for their place at the Grand Slams, put their hands on this trophy. I mean, I think it's just important to see things from I guess larger perspective in order to appreciate everything that you do, to be humble in all of that success, as well.

I try to keep my both feet on the ground. I love this sport. As long as there is that flair in me, I really will keep on going. I still feel it. I still have a lot of passion. I think more than passion, it's just the will to work and to be dedicated every day.

I know how much it takes from sacrifice and effort and energy to actually give yourself a chance to fight for the trophy. But I also see other guys. We share the locker room, we share the gym. I see them every day. I see how much sweat they put, as well, and they spend, how much time they spend on the court.

It makes me work even harder. On top of that, I have to balance my family life. I'm so grateful to my wife and my kids for being here with me. For most of you that have families, you probably understand what it's like to be away from your kids for one week, let alone two or three. So I'm just glad that they travel with me, especially for the big tournaments, so I can spend some time off the court with them, which gives me a great foundation for, you know, the tennis that comes after that.

Q. After your loss at the French Open, here was a champion who was angry and very honest emotionally. Since then you've gone on an incredible run. I'm still not clear how it all unfolded.


Q. Can you talk about what your thoughts were in the mountains.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I remember one moment particularly when we climbed that mountain. It was pretty high. We reached the top after three hours. Credit to my wife. Amazing. She's so fit. I can't believe she managed to get all the way up.

We sat down and we just looked at the world from that perspective, just kind of breathed in the new inspiration, new motivation.

I thought of tennis, thought of the emotion that tennis provokes in me in a way. It was all positives. I just felt like I had a new breath for this sport. The rest is history in terms of results, in terms of how I felt. I just felt like a whole wave of energy that I was kind of thriving on from that moment onwards.

Q. What mountain was it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Mount Victoire. It was inspiration to many of the famous Renaissance painters, if you really want to know. I strongly recommend you to climb it. Some great things will happen in your life, I think (laughter).

Q. There were a lot of Juan Martin fans vocal throughout the match. When they're shouting, what do you tell yourself to stay focused and not let yourself get distracted?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This might sound funny to me, but my nickname is Nole. When they shout "Ole, ole, ole, ole," that's what I hear. I actually make myself hear that, to be honest, no word of a lie. I really do.

But at the same time, they were very respectful to me, very respectful. They're his friends. They created a great, great atmosphere. I thought it was electrifying in some stages of the match, especially in the second set when we went toe-to-toe. I had my corner, as well. I had my fans. The full stadium got involved, got engaged, especially in those stages of the match.

When the roof is closed, trust me, it's very loud, very, very loud down there. It takes a lot of effort to actually stay poised in this moment. I'm glad I managed to do that.

Q. Can I ask you something following on from the women's final yesterday. Steve Simon, head of the WTA, said today he thinks men and women are not treated equally by umpires during matches. Do you think he has a point?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. I hear that first time. I don't understand, you know, from where he's coming with that statement.

Q. What Serena said last night was that umpires do not send off men if they call the umpire a thief.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I love Serena, first of all. I really felt for her yesterday. Tough thing for a chair umpire to deal with, as well. We have to empathize with him. Everyone was in a very awkward situation yesterday. A lot of emotions. Serena was crying. Naomi was crying. It was really, really tough.

But I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final. Just maybe changed -- not maybe, but he did change the course of the match. Was, in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through our emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy.

But I don't think it's time and place really to get into other subjects. I don't see things as Mr. Simon does. I really don't. I think men and women are, you know, treated in this way or the other way depending on the situation. It's hard to generalize things, really. I don't see it's necessary really to debate that.

I just feel like, as Serena said yesterday in the closing ceremonies, Osaka deserves to have her moment. As for Serena, she knows I love her. She really inspires everyone. To see her still being so dedicated and so committed to this sport, it's inspiring really to me and to many tennis players, both men and women, around the world.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #168 at 2018-09-10 01:54:00 GMT

6,445 Posts

18,862 Posts

October 14, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Shanghai, China


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. You never lost a match in Beijing. Now you win more championships in Shanghai than any other players. You always talk about the positive energy you get from China. Could you talk more about where did you get that energy exactly?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. Maybe from the past life. Maybe I was Chinese in the past life (smiling). I wouldn't be surprised, to be honest, with the way I feel here and the way I communicate and have relationship with the people.

It's all very, very positive, for more than ten years that I have been coming to China. There is something special about this place that makes me feel like at home.

Q. Congratulations. 47 service games played; 47 service games won. Can you talk about your serve this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. Well, to be honest, I'm not sure whether it has happened ever, you know, that I go through a tournament without dropping one service game. I'm sure that it hasn't happened too many times if it did. So this was definitely one of the best service weeks that I had in my career.

I think I faced only two break points today and against Kevin in quarters, and that's all. I mean, serve was never my No. 1 weapon in the game, so to say, you know. It was never as big as, you know, Zverev's or Anderson or Isner or Karlovic, these guys that, especially Isner and Karlovic, that they depend a lot on the service.

But for me serve was always, so to say, a hidden weapon, the shot in the game that is obviously very important, "the" most important. But I always try to use it with an accuracy and efficiency rather than speed and power.

I was saying before that I have never played on faster courts here in Shanghai, so this year more than ever I needed a lot of success with the first serves in, and I have had plenty of success with first serves and high percent of first serves in every match. So obviously that, you know, brings me a lot of joy.

Q. At the beginning of the week you said that this court was like the fastest you have ever played?

Q. How much surprise you are about your performance this week, as you talk about the serve? Also your game in...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Fastest in Shanghai. Not overall, yeah. I mean, I have won this tournament many times before and played here many, many years. It's not only my opinion. I talked with Borna, as well, and other players, and they said that it was not only my subjective feeling, but overall feeling is that the courts are quicker.

But I arrived earlier. I think that was the key, you know, to get four days, three, four days of practice before I start the tournament. That's what I had. I prepared myself in the best possible way. It was a strategic team decision to skip Beijing because I just wasn't ready, I think, to compete, you know, couple weeks in a row in a high level.

I spent a lot of time going to Laver Cup and playing US Open and obviously all the matches in the last three months. So I'm really happy that we made that call, because it was the right one.

Q. Many congratulations. You're getting very close now to Rafa, No. 1. I wonder if you have a little message for him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I will leave that up to your creative spirit of journalism (smiling).

Q. Do you think you'll play a 500 tournament in Vienna or Basel, because just 215 points behind? So the door is open for you there.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, we are very close. I think it's around 50 points' difference. So obviously I don't feel as much, I would say, pressure to play before Paris as much as I would if the situation was different points-wise, but I still will consider playing the week before Paris, and I'll decide with the team probably in couple days.

Q. Congratulations, Novak. Will you throw a party for Stefan on his birthday?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, we are throwing a party for Stefan's fourth birthday, and I'm going to be there next weekend. I'm looking forward to that. With dinosaurs, of course (smiling).

Q. Marian said he's amazed with what you have been doing the past few months. You found a way to build a new Novak, to invent yourself. How would you describe the new Novak of now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, I think you're seeing the new Novak. I don't need to describe him. That's all I can say.

I don't think it's maybe the place and time to really go deep into details, because we have talked about it already many times in the last, you know, six months of my whole journey, psychologically mostly what I was going through and how I had to reinvent myself and find, you know, proper formula for success.

I found it and, you know, I'm just trying to hold on to it as long as I can.

Q. If you could make a wish, how would be the rest of the season for you? And of course I also want to know what did you talk yesterday with Pique? So both questions, please.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You really wish that you were there for that meeting, eh? Yeah, he's a good-looking guy, of course. And he's a nice guy, as well (smiling). But he's married. You know that, right?

The meeting with Gerard went really well. Again, we are very honest to each other. Ever since the beginning of the whole process, he was quite honest and shared his opinion transparently with me, never was hiding anything, and same from my side.

I'm not going to go into details, because I cannot. These are confidential information. But it's nice that at least, you know, we're talking and there is a dialogue also between ATP and ITF officials, which is important. Me, as president of player council, I feel responsibility, as well, to represent what's best for the ATP players but also for the sport.

So, you know, Davis Cup is historical, a traditional team competition with historical importance. Of course all of us, we want to try to work this out in the best possible way so we don't need to change the course of the history.

And your second question? First one was about the wish? Well, you know what's my wish tennis-wise. I have said it before.

Q. Congratulations. I really want to know what's your thoughts during the third match points, I guess, the smash.

Q. And the last one when Borna challenge and it's out? Can you share your thoughts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, he played just very well on the match points on 5-3, Love-40 down. You know, I was in the rally all three, and I had 30-40 the smash, but it was not an easy one.

Just had a little bit of issue to see the ball because of the lights and everything. But I'm really happy with the way I held my nerves in the next game and didn't lose a point to close out the match. So that's important, especially, you know, if you have these kind of situations which can happen that, you know, you don't use, capitalize on match points, and the next game is important one mentally, you know. So I managed to, you know, to hang in there.

Q. Congrats, Novak. Fans love to see your kids, Stefan and Tara. Will you bring them to Shanghai or Beijing in the future?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just actually met some of the fans, and they asked me the same question. I'm not sure whether that's going to happen or not, because it's a long trip. You know, they travel with me to Grand Slams and some other tournaments. You know, Stefan is going to kindergarten right now, so they have their, you know, their life, as well.

But I heard that there is a Disneyland here in Shanghai (smiling). We'll see. Maybe.

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