Novak, another exceptional performance tonight. So impressive for everyone to watch and just give us your thoughts overall about everything, knowing what you’ve gone through since the match two nights ago with Taylor Fritz, your preparation. How do you feel about everything that happened here tonight?
Well, thank you. Well, there was no preparation basically for this match. I used every single hour that I had since I finished the last match against Taylor to recover, to try to put myself in a position where I have a possibility to compete. My physio has done a great job. My team and, of course, ATP physios and the medical staff of the Australian Open, I want to thank them for being there for me and, you know, giving their best under these kind of circumstances for me to try to get on the court. Look, you know, I was definitely fitter in the past. That’s as much as I can say. I’m kind of taking each day at a time. You know, for me more than training is recovery right now and trying to again put myself in a good condition to compete in the next match.
Give us an idea. Obviously the injury is a big factor, we all want to know about that. So give us an idea when you came out here tonight, where would you say you were on a percentage basis and now finishing the match, where are you on a percentage basis and what do you feel like you’re going to have to do? Can you improve from where you are right now on that percentage going into the next match?
Well, if it’s any other tournament than a Grand Slam, I would retire, withdraw from the event, that’s for sure. But because it’s a Grand Slam and, you know, I want to give my best alongside with my team to try to recover and trying to get on the court, obviously I didn’t know before I finished my warm-up today, three hours before I entered the court against Milos here whether I’m going to play or not. When it warmed up, it was fine. Obviously during the match today it was kind of on and off. It’s not ideal, but I cannot complain, you know. I won the match against a great player and, you know, hopefully it’s going to be even better in two days. So let’s talk about the next match.
You play Sascha Zverev. You had some history obviously with him. He’s one of the young guns that’s been coming up, nipping at your heels, trying to push you, trying to make you a little bit better player, even if that’s possible. You have to – you’re always trying to figure things out, how you’re going to beat these guys, they create new challenges for you.
Talk a little bit about playing him and your history with him.
Well, Sasha and I, we get along really well on and off the court. He’s a great guy. We joked around yesterday that we have kind of similar injuries. He only has it on the other side. He was saying that if he’s watching this, maybe we’ll play without serve. That’s what he asked me, if we get to face each other in the quarters. You know, joking aside, of course he’s one of the top men’s players in the last five years. I mean, he has won the World Tour finals. He has been a top five, top 10 established player for quite a few years, right now even though he’s still young, but he has the experience. He has the big weapons, of course serve. He moves very well I think for his height and he’s got a very complete game. We played a very exhausting and close match in the ATP Cup coming into Australian Open. I’m expecting nothing less than a big battle that it was in ATP Cup. So let the better player win.
Absolutely. We’ll all be looking forward to that. Just to finish up, I want to let you go and get working on your recovery, take as much time as you can. I get a chance to sit right here to watch the match and people at home watching on TV, just want to say it is an absolute pleasure and honour to watch you work and do your job and we were all incredibly impressed with what you were able to do two nights ago, again tonight and it will be a pleasure to watch you compete against Sascha.
I appreciate your kind words. Big hug to everybody, thank you.
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