STARNBERG/VIENNA, October 26, 2020
In a press conference on Sunday with Dominic Thiem, Austria’s Vice Chancellor and Sports Minister Werner Kogler and Erste Bank Open 500 tournament director Herwig Straka, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic looked back on his Vienna triumph in 2007 and spoke about a possible re-match of the Australian Open final against Thiem.
How do you like it here in Vienna?
Novak Djokovic: It’s great to be here. I haven’t been here for 13 years, but I have great memories of my tournament victory in 2007. The Stadthalle is one of the most beautiful arenas we have on the tour and the atmosphere here is great. Vienna and Austria also have a great tennis tradition because of Dominic, Thomas Muster and Babsi Schett.
The way to a re-match of the Melbourne final against Dominic Thiem here in Vienna is long?
We practiced together today and it was so intense that I thought we were going to play the final. I have so much respect for him and he deserves so much to win the US Open this year. Of course I hope there will be a final between the two of us, but it’s a really long way to go. Especially with this strong field of players here.
What do you think of the draw?
Just a few days ago I joked with Filip (Krajinovic, his first-round opponent; note) about what it would be like. The chance of this is very small, but then it happened. We’re good friends and he likes to play on hard court. The first match is always difficult.
What do you think of the Vienna bubble compared with those in New York and Paris?
I’ve only been here for a day but we have a great hotel, fantastic food and great conditions. Of course there are small differences between the bubbles, but the rules are always the same. Would I like to just go for a walk? Naturally. But we’re here because of the tournament and it’s always about whether you see something positive or negative.
What is your opinion on the field of players at the Erste Bank Open?
It will be a big challenge to win the tournament in Vienna. It is probably the strongest ATP 500 field of all time and it can happen that you meet the No. 15 in the world in the first round. But that’s the situation right now. It’s difficult to organize a tournament at all right now. Vienna is the only big event this week and of course the best players want to be here.
Is Pete Sampras’ record a target? He was No. 1 in the world rankings six times at the end of the year!
Sampras was my idol as a child and of course I want to finish this year as World No. 1 and equal his record. This achievement is certainly one of the greatest in world of sports.