Novak Djokovic speaks to the media after the 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 win against Adrian Mannarino
Q. Can you walk us through yesterday, how the wait was going, what you think of the decision, how it was to play today.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was a long day for both Mannarino and me. We were scheduled to play, as you know, after an epic match, Nadal and Muller. Obviously not having the fifth-set tiebreaker here, having in mind as well that the grass is the fastest surface, when someone holds a serve, it's kind of tough to predict when the match is going to end. It was one of those kind of days where you just had to kind of warm up, cool down, and be on standby to go onto the court.
We spoke with the referee, supervisors, trying to understand the thought process that they are having. I just think it was a wrong decision not to play us last night, because we could have played. I think the last match on the Centre Court was done before 7:00. Having in mind that Centre Court has the roof and lights, we could have played till 11:00.
We went to the referee's office before 8:00. There was security reasons. That was the only excuse, that basically there were explanations that we were getting.
I just didn't see any logic in not playing us on the Centre Court. If the Court 1 ticketholders cannot go to the Centre Court, only the second Centre Court ticketholders can go, which they were already at the hill. They could just make the announcement, move them in, and we could play.
But, you know, the decision was made, and that's all. I mean, I'm actually glad that at least we were scheduled to play on Centre Court today. That match was played without any interruption. It is what it is. I move on and look forward to next challenge.
Q. You mentioned a hole in your court in your TV interview.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Excuse me?
Q. You pointed out a hole in the court, you said in your TV interview.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
Q. Can you tell me how big that hole is, what sort of problems it causes, is it a safety concern, what should Wimbledon be doing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the groundsmen will be more, I guess, competent to answer the question what can be or cannot be done. As you all know, grass is probably the most demanding and complex surface for maintenance. The more you play on it, the worse it actually gets, unfortunately, contrary to clay, for example.
Yeah, many players, I mean, I'm not the only one, have been complaining a little bit about this condition of the court. But the end of the day it is what it is. You have to accept it. You have to deal with it. It's the same for both players.
The fact is that, you know, the court is not in a great condition. But, you know, as I said, you have to deal with it. I don't think much can be done and what can be done. As I said, that's not in my area of understanding and competence.
The chair umpire in the end of the match asked me about the hole, because midway through the match I mentioned there is a hole. He wanted me to show him, so I showed him. His reaction wasn't that great (smiling).
Well, I guess, you know, groundsmen and everyone is doing their best. I have no doubt that they are giving their best to have the court in a most playable condition possible at this moment.
But, you know, it is what it is.
Q. Is it a safety issue?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, today I must admit under the roof it was a bit more slippery in the back of the court especially. Whether it's a safety issue? I don't think it is as much as it is hindrance to the play. There is an uneven surface around it, no grass area basically around the baseline. It's quite uneven. The ball bounces there, it's a gamble to really get that ball, you know.
It's more a play issue.
Q. A few players have been criticized for their treatment of ballboys and girls. Seniors have said it wasn't like that in their day. Do you think it's important that players do respect ballgirls and boys?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You're criticizing me?
Q. A few players in the tournament have been criticized.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A few players, not me?
Q. Not you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Because I understood you were going at me (smiling). Sorry.
Look, I think most of us active players have been, if not all, ball kids at certain stage of our tennis careers and our lives. So we all know how that feels.
Well, I haven't been a ball kid at big events like this. I've been more locally in my country while I was growing up. But I understand the excitement that goes in your head when you're a ball kid because, you know, you're looking up to the players, you're excited to be part of the event. At the same time is a lot of pressure to do your job properly.
So, yeah, players can be at times harsh. Of course, it's sometimes not very much, you know, needed to react in certain ways. But, you know, you have to understand the players' point of view, as well. We're there to fight. Obviously to have some matches and things that are happening in the midst of that fight when you don't have much time to recover from one point to another, sometimes those four, five seconds, somebody brings a towel or recognizes the signal, you know, tosses the ball, can cause trouble for you. You can get time violation, which happened many times in the past.
But they're a very important part of this tournament, of tennis in general, and it's wonderful to see with how much joy they're doing what they're doing.
Q. Obviously the whole issue of scheduling last night, you said, would not have happened if there had been a 6-All tiebreak in the fifth set here. Would you advocate that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Because any other Grand Slam has it. I just don't see any reason why not. Because Isner and Mahut made a history with an 11-hour match once. Is that a reason why we're keeping it?
Q. It was great drama last night.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it is great drama. But that player has to go out tomorrow. It is for a spectator. But for a player to play a five-, six-hour match, then come back the next day or within two days and perform, it's not really what your body's looking for, to be honest.
If you are already getting to the 6-All fifth set, you might as well just decide it in a tiebreak.
Q. Do you feel like you're at a disadvantage at all because you had to play today, or not so much because the match was fairly routine?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, you know, I've said what I needed to say about that. You know, I obviously was not happy not to play last night. I wanted to play. I thought we could have played. We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do. So you were on your toes warming up, cooling down. Referee's office was completely indecisive.
Finally when the match was over, we thought, Okay, we have two and a half hours, we can go to Centre Court.
They said, No, it's going to take too long to get the crowd in.
Anyway, it was frustrating last night, I must admit. But I quickly just turned the next page and just focused on what I need to do today. I've done it in straight sets. That's all that matters. So I try to just be in this moment and look forward to next challenge.
Q. You've had great success against Berdych. What do you think the key has been to that, especially given he has a big serve, big player on the court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He beat me here in semis in 2010. It was I think his first Grand Slam final. Obviously he's been around many years. He's an established top-10 player, big game, flat shots, which are pretty good for this surface obviously where the ball bounces quite low.
Yeah, I mean, he's someone that understands the occasion of playing big matches, big tournaments. He will not get overwhelmed by the stadium or whatever. He's been there so many years. He's got experience.
So, I mean, for me, it's important to start off well. I've played him many times. I know what I need to do. Hopefully I can execute that.