SHOWS: BELGRADE, SERBIA (OCTOBER 22, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. NOVAK DJOKOVIC APPROACHING MEDIA TO SPEAK
2. SHADOW OF DJOKOVIC ON THE GROUND
3. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING:
"Well, there is certainly a small regret because I didn’t take one of these two grand slams in US Open or Roland Garros. I think I was exceptionally fit in both grand slams. Of course, in Paris I made it up to the finals, and then I simply had a much better rival that day, I was not at my level, and that’s it. The finals is, of course, a great result. On the other hand, in the US Open happened the situation that was simply a little bit unlucky for me, and because of which I was disqualified. But I won the other tournaments where I participated – Cincinnati, Rome... Let me say – if I don’t count that disqualification in New York – I lost one match this year, to Nadal in Paris. I think that I am playing maybe even the tennis of my life this season."
4. DJOKOVIC STANDING, TALKING
5. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING:
"My goal is to be the historically longest number one, and I am working on it and it is indeed my highest priority. I don’t think I am in a difficult situation or that there is too much pressure or burden (imposed) upon me, or that the conversation regarding the Association hampers me too much. I simply know how to find a balance and of course that sometimes I get shaken in all that, I get tired mentally and maybe physically, etc. But that’s all life, I mean, nobody is perfect, and you somehow learn throughout life, and every day you acquire some new knowledge and insights into yourself, and then you try to use that in the best possible way so as to be the best version of yourself both professionally and in in private life. So that – Association of Players is something that I feel deep inside as, simply, a vocation, as some kind of a responsibility and obligation to – as a player at the peak of the career, as a tennis player who is at the position where he is and who is (inside) tennis – help the ones who do not have that voice, who do not have that power.”
6. NOVAK DJOKOVIC STANDING, TALKING TO MEDIA
7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING:
"Well, first of all, I decided to skip the Paris Masters because I felt I played a lot lately and I wanted to play Vienna Tournament because of the new ranking, temporary ranking system which basically allows me not to drop points that I earned last year, and I have the opportunity to earn points in Vienna, and the points that I won by winning the tournament in Paris last year is protected. So, I felt that at this point, you know, I’m focusing on that kind of goal of trying to build more points difference between me and the second player on the rankings and trying to achieve that historic number one goal, which I’ve been talking about and being open about it, so I’m going to play Vienna and then finish with London Masters in O2 Arena."
8. MEDIA TAKING PICTURES, DJOKOVIC TALKING
9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING:
"Australian Open is of course for me the biggest priority and I will try to aim to go there, you know, I am intending to go to Australia, but obviously we’ll have to wait and see."
10. VARIOUS OF ENTRANCE TO ‘NOVAK’ TENNIS CENTRE
STORY: Novak Djokovic has played some of the best tennis of his life in 2020 but he regrets the failure to win either the U.S. Open or the French Open in his bid to become the world's most trophy-laden player, the world number one said on Thursday (October 22).
Having won the Australian Open in January, Djokovic was disqualified at the U.S. Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge in the neck with a petulant swipe of the ball during his fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.
He was then blown away by Carreno Busta's Spanish compatriot and world number two Rafael Nadal in straight sets at Roland Garros.
Djokovic has 17 grand slam titles while Nadal and Federer are on 20 each after the Spaniard clinched a record 13th French Open title.
"There is a lingering regret that I didn’t win either the U.S. Open or the Roland Garros this year," a bearded Djokovic told reporters in drenching sun at his tennis academy in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river.
"I was in outstanding form at both events but having reached the French Open final, I was beaten by a player who was much better on the day.
"I was below par and that’s it. As far as the U.S. Open is concerned, I got myself into an unfortunate situation and was disqualified, but I won several other big tournaments.
"The U.S. Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life."
Djokovic dismissed suggestions he was under intense presure to overhaul Nadal and Federer in their three-way race to become the greatest male player of all time.
"Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learned how to deal with it," he said.
"It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve.
"If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy."
Djokovic, who will enter the Oct. 26 - Nov. 1 tournament in Vienna and the season ending ATP Finals in London, said he had decided to pull out of the Nov. 2-8 Paris Masters after consultations with his team.
"I feel I have played a lot lately. The new temporary ranking system allows me not to drop points I earned in Paris last year while I have an opportunity to earn points in Vienna.
"I am trying to build on the points difference between myself and the second-ranked player. Both my team and I felt that adding Paris to Vienna and the season-ending event in London would have been too much."
Production: Branko Filipovic, Marko Djurica