Roland Garros

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Paris, France

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/S. Tsitsipas

6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. History was created today. You're the first man in the Open Era to have won all four of the majors multiple times. How do you respond to something like that, to yet another piece of history for your career?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you for your kind words.

Of course, I am thrilled and I'm very proud of this achievement. I think part of the history of the sport that I love with all my heart is always something that is very inspiring and very fulfilling for me. I couldn't be happier and more satisfied with this kind of scenario in the last 48 hours. Probably ranks at the top three all-time achievements and experiences that I had in my professional tennis career.

Going through four-and-a-half battle with Rafa on his court, then bouncing back after not practicing yesterday, just coming in today with as much as recharged batteries and energy regained to fight another battle of four-and-a-half hours against Tsitsipas, who is playing in his first Grand Slam finals. It's always, of course, a bit tricky because you're playing for your trophy, for your first Grand Slam trophy, but you don't have much to lose.

So I knew that he's going to probably start off very well, which was the case. It was a very close first set. Kind of gone different way, but he was just the better player in those clutch moments.

Second set I dropped physically and mentally I think a little bit. I just got fatigued a bit, just allowed him to kind of dominate the second set pretty much.

Then went out from the court, as it was the case against Musetti in the fourth round when I was two sets down, and came back as a different player. Just refreshed, managed to make a break, early break in the third.

After that I felt like I got into his head. I feel like I started swinging through the ball better. The momentum was on my side, it shifted. There was no looking back from that moment.

Q. I think you said on TV that you gave yourself a little talk after the second set. Can you share what does it look like with an 18-Grand Slam champion gives yourself a talk?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I was never really vocal when I speak to myself. I keep those internal conversations internally in my head.

But this time the voice... Obviously there's always two voices inside: there is one telling you that you can't do it, that it's done, it's finished. That voice was pretty strong after that second set. So I felt that that was a time for me to actually vocalize the other voice and try to suppress the first one that was saying I can't make it.

I told myself I can do it, encouraged myself. I strongly started to repeat that inside of my mind, tried to live it with my entire being. Once I started playing in that third set, especially in the first few games, I saw where my game is at, it kind of supported that second voice that was more positive, more encouraging.

Yeah, after that there was not much of a doubt for me.

Q. It's probably almost inhumane to ask you about the next Grand Slam after a performance like that. But Marian Vajda has been talking about the calendar Grand Slam and golden Grand Slam being a target for you with the Olympics. Does that motivate you? Do you think it's possible given the frenetic nature of this Grand Slam summer?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everything is possible. I mean, definitely in my case I can say that what I've been through in my career, in my life, this journey has been terrific so far. I've achieved some things that a lot of people thought it would be not possible for me to achieve.

Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam. But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days' time. I don't have an issue to say that I'm going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am. I was really happy to know that we are going to play Wimbledon this year, considering we haven't played it last year. I've had a great success in the last couple of Wimbledon seasons that were played. I won in '18 and '19 there. Hopefully I can keep that run going.

I like the grass. Over the years I think I improved on grass, I adjusted my game. Hopefully I can use this confidence that I have right now into Wimbledon, as well. Then let's take it from there.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the moment after the match. You and the young boy in the stands, you gave your racquet to him, have you done that before? Who was that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure, well, I don't know the boy. He was in my ear the entire match basically, especially when I was two sets to love down. He was encouraging me. He was actually giving me tactics, as well (laughter). He was like, Hold your serve, get an easy first ball, then dictate, go to his backhand. He was coaching me literally.

I found that very cute, very nice. So I felt like to give the racquet to the best person was him after the match. That was kind of my gratitude for him sticking with me and supporting me.

Q. After you took the tumble in the first set, you seemed like you were moving a little slowly, moving your back strangely when you were serving. Were you in any kind of physical discomfort there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, little bit, yes. Little bit. But nothing major so that it could annoy me on the, I would say, long term in terms of the physical strength and ability to move.

But I did feel an impact of that fall a little bit for, like, half an hour or so after that. When you fall like that, obviously it's not necessarily a guarantee that you're going to feel it mentally, but sometimes it just messes up with your rhythm and tempo on the serve, particularly for me on the serve. I couldn't put the first serve in after that. It was just a little bit of a struggle to find the rhythm.

But, you know, nothing to take away from the quality of his tennis that won him the first two sets.

Q. I have no words, 84 tournaments, 19 slams, 35 wins in the fifth set. Nothing seems to be able to stop you. When you go to the toilet, what happens? You go there, you come back after Musetti two sets down, you are another player. Then you go versus Nadal, same thing. With Berrettini third set, you come back unbelievable. Today Tsitsipas says Novak Djokovic, he was another player when he came back. Do you meet Saint Sava, patron saint of Serbia, or what?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Exactly. My angels are there. My guardian angels are there. I have my special corner. It's a secret. I can't reveal the secret. It's been working for me pretty well.

Q. The conversation you described earlier between those two sides of you, was that in the locker room or where was that? Also, the bigger-picture question I wanted to ask, was there ever a point where you looked at Federer's and Nadal's Grand Slam totals and thought to yourself, That's not happening, that's a lost cause, look at how far behind I am? If not, why not? Why did you never reach that point? If you did, why and when did that change that you could give this a shot, try to catch them?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think on the court you don't really have too much time to keep thinking in a certain way, I would say. The thoughts come and go very quickly. Obviously depends on the person. I've been training throughout my career a lot the mental ability to really go back to the center, so to say, and a balance, the present moment, rather than allowing my thoughts to pull me left and right, even though it has happened many times on some big occasions in some big matches that I can recall in Grand Slams that I lost.

That internal dialogue and conversation just unfortunately in certain moments of my career got more on the worst, negative side, so to say.

I mean, it's an individual sport. It's one-on-one battle. You don't really have anyone to rely on. Of course, you get team support, but it's all up to you. So if you are not able to crawl your way out from certain situations like I had today, from two sets down, that's it, the match is gone. That's why I feel like the mental work, the mental training, is as equally important as the physical training. I put a lot of time into that, as well. I'm really glad that it pays off.

To your second question, to answer, I never thought it was a mission impossible to reach the Grand Slams of these guys. I mean, I'm not there, but it's one less. But they are still playing. Obviously they're playing great, especially Rafa with his level.

We all have still opportunities at Wimbledon, all the other slams. You have four slams a year, so we're all competing for this amazing achievement and amazing trophies. I'll keep on going. I'll keep on chasing. At the same time I'll keep on paving my own path, which is my own authentic path. We all three of us have our own journeys, and that's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108726-1-1145 2021-06-13 19:34:00 GMT

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