Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

FEBRUARY 14-26, 2022
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
FEBRUARY 14-26, 2022
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 24, 2022

Novak Djokovic – Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your thoughts on all the permutations and stuff happening with Daniil Medvedev’s chances of becoming No. 1, do you carry whatever you see or read running in your mind when you play a game?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Medvedev, I said it before, he deserves probably more than anybody else to become the No. 1 in the world. Whether it’s going to happen this week, next week or in few weeks, it’s inevitable it’s going to happen. I’ll be the first one to congratulate him. I said that before.

He’s a great quality player, no question about it. He’s been working his way up the rankings wonderfully. He deserves to be where he is in the position to get the No. 1.

For the second question, I didn’t understand. How does it affect my tennis, what I read?

Q. No. What you read about who could be No. 1 or where you could be, the chances, is that something you pay attention to?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: At the moment, no, to be honest with you. I’ve been aware in the past when I was in the race for No. 1 to end up the season No. 1. Of course, I’ve known the different scenarios. But right now I’m really not thinking about it.

As I said, it’s very soon going to happen, the No. 1 transition.

Q. Obviously now that you’re getting back to speed, back into action, especially the second set today, is that something you would have preferred or would you have preferred an easier ride today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you always prefer to win in straight sets without getting too stressed about the match. But I actually like the fact that I dropped my serve, I lost a break, allowed him to come back to the match. He started playing better in the second set, hitting the spots with the serve well. I kind of backed up a bit. Things changed. We were going toe-to-toe.

I think in the 12th game on the second set when I was serving to stay in the set and take it to a tiebreak, I found the rhythm for the serve. I had really quick, smooth service game, and it continued onwards in the tiebreak, two great returns on 5-2 up to finish up the match. Yeah, best possible tiebreak that I could play.

I think against a great quality opponent who I think the rankings don’t really speak to his quality at the moment, he deserves to be ranked higher. I’ve known him over the years. We played some great matches.

It was a fantastic test. I really enjoyed the atmosphere as well tonight on the court.

Q. I wanted to ask you about you had your family here with you this week. How do you find a balance between family and your tennis given that obviously you haven’t played for a while, coming back to play a tournament? Also I wanted to ask you about what happened in Acapulco earlier this morning, if you could comment on that.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s not the first time that I have family with me on the tournament. I actually enjoy it, of course, particularly now after everything that has happened recently. I felt like I wanted to stay with the family and feel the warmth, love and support of them.

Of course, I have different roles this week: father, husband and player. My brother is here, as well, and friends. My parents arrived also yesterday. It’s really nice to have people that are closest in my life here with me, cheering me on, spending quality time.

During the day we’re on the beach or somewhere else obviously. The matches are starting later in the day, so it allows me to have a little bit of time to recuperate and spend some time with kids. I’ve been enjoying it so far.

As for the Acapulco situation, I saw the video, I saw Sascha’s statement. I think he said it all in that statement. He realizes that it was a mistake. I understand the frustration. Sometimes on the court you feel in the heat of the battle lots of different emotions, different things happening in your head.

I made mistakes in the past where I’ve had tantrums on the court. I understand what the player is going through. But, of course, I do not justify his actions. He has, with the words that he had in the statement, handled it in a right way. He said he made a mistake and his actions were not appropriate.

I think the disqualification decision was, you know, not too harsh. I think it was correct under the circumstances. Of course, it is harsh for a player to get disqualified from a tournament. I mean, I know. A year and a half ago I had something I can’t say similar, but I was disqualified from a Grand Slam with unintentionally hitting the line umpire. I realize it is a mistake and I have to take it.

Hopefully he can reflect on that and not let something like that happen ever again in his life. I’m sure he’s going to approach it maturely.

Q. There’s a very wide range between what Sascha did and when players get angry, like yourself or anyone else. It’s usually directed at yourself more than at an umpire in that violent way. It looked very violent. I’m curious, do you think the tour needs to maybe give him a hefty fine, not just him, but be more strict when it comes to that level of aggression towards an umpire?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I’m sure that the ATP management and officials will look at the video, will probably interview the chair umpire, take some time to decide what they want to decide.

I’m never going to encourage ATP disqualifying or fining a player because I’m not in a position to do that. Why would I do that?

I agreed with what Sascha stated in his statement. He said, I made a mistake. It was not appropriate behavior. I went too far.

I support that kind of statement. Everyone is a human being, everyone is flawed and can make mistakes.

I wouldn’t agree with you that he was the only one that ever has done something like that. There were many examples of players hitting their racquet in the chair umpire’s chair. It happened. Bottles, whatever, bags were thrown, a lot of things, a lot of bad words. It’s not the only case. I would disagree with you there.

Q. I didn’t mean the only case.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I understand. But you told me in a way that Sascha has done it in such way violently, me and all the other players haven’t done that. I think you would agree there was a lot of cases that were very similar.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
117174-1-1004 2022-02-23 17:57:00 GMT

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