Denis Istomin pulled out one of the biggest upsets at the Australian Open stunning No. 2 seed and six-time champion Novak Djokovic 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Istomin had never beaten Djokovic and had just one career Top 10 win in 33 tries before. But Istomin, who needed to win an Asia/Pacific wildcard event just to qualify, scored the best win of his career, taking out the Serb in five sets.
After, the 30-year-old Istomin met the press.
Q. Have you had a little time to absorb the win, or does it still seem kind of unreal?
DENIS ISTOMIN: It is unreal. To beat Novak in five sets, it’s a great win, you know. I’m still feel tired little bit. I didn’t expect what I’m doing now and what I did on the court.
I like the way I am playing. I mean, I feel just tired. I don’t think about that I win against No. 2 in the world (smiling).
Q. Did you think you had a chance before the match?
DENIS ISTOMIN: Actually, if you don’t think that you have a chance, then no reason to come on court, you know. Of course, I also working hard, trying to do my best, and I did today. So that’s it.
Q. Was there a moment today that you thought that you really had it? Was there a point in the match?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I think the feeling came when I finish the match (smiling). Because with Novak, you never know. So even it’s 40-Love or 40-15 on your serve, you still maybe not reach it, you know. I have to concentrate until the end.
Q. Novak said it was about the start of the fourth set where it started to turn. You don’t agree?
DENIS ISTOMIN: He has more experience in these matches. Maybe he feels, but like I say, I just play and I try to win.
Q. You had two set points to go up two sets, and you lost them. How of did you keep yourself from getting discouraged?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I wasn’t thinking about the set points. I mean, he was serving, like, two serves on the line, so I have no chance. I mean, the first one I catch, but the second one I have no chance.
I didn’t think about the match points. I just trying to keep playing.
Q. You’ve worked with your mother as a coach for many years. Can you talk about that experience, maybe what the hardest part of your mother being your coach is.
DENIS ISTOMIN: I think it’s not hard. When your family part of your team, it’s great. I was lucky that my mother is coaching me. The also good thing that I don’t need to pay the coach extra, you know (smiling). Everything to my mother, so…
I mean, it was all years together. We have good relationship. We understand each other very well. Not results came.
Q. I read it said you were in a car accident in 2001 and the doctor said you might never play with your broken leg. What did you think when they told you that? Tell us about that.
DENIS ISTOMIN: He didn’t say that, I never play, but he don’t think I going to start again to play.
I mean, it was bad accident, exactly. But thanks to my mother, as well, she was always believing on me. She always saying, Just keep going and just practicing.
Q. What did your mother say after the match today?
DENIS ISTOMIN: She say, Good job (smiling).
Q. Can you talk about the wildcard tournaments in China. What is your feeling? You’re a former top-40 player. Probably it was the first time you were playing a wildcard tournament.
DENIS ISTOMIN: It’s not first time. I was with wildcard here 2006, I think. It was my first time in Grand Slam, and I play Roger. So I have a good memory about it, so…
Yeah, but about the tournament for wildcard. I mean, it’s a great opportunity for Asian players to get the wildcard and play on the big tournament.
Last year I have a lot of trouble with injuries, and my ranking going down. I was out of top 100. It was a good, good thing that I can play this tournament and get wildcard. Now I’m in third round. So thanks, Australia, to organize this tournament.
Q. You worked so hard for so many years, traveled the world. To get this victory, what does it mean to you?
DENIS ISTOMIN: It means so much for me, of course, to beat world No. 2. I just think that I hope is not only one victory of mine. I’m trying to keep going same way and trying to win some more.
Q. If someone said at the beginning of the year that you were going to beat Novak at the Australian Open, what would you say to them?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I would say, Are you crazy or what? Especially in five sets, for sure. For me, was impossible to think about that I can hold it five sets with Novak, physically and mentally.
So I did well today.
Q. Novak has been such a dominating player in the past two years. Do you guys have the sense he’s not the same in terms of level of play? What is actually missing from what he used to do so well?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I mean, maybe today he wasn’t best. But I think he’s still very good and dominate. But the level of all players is growing. So if you can see everybody’s fighting, even for Roger or other players, it’s not easy to win against, like, the top 20, top 30. And more young players coming, as well.
I mean, they still dominating, but the level of the game of all players is growing.
Q. Are you the most famous athlete in Uzbekistan or there are more known than you are?
DENIS ISTOMIN: Maybe now I will knowing more (smiling). But I’m not superstar in Uzbekistan. I’m living in Moscow for 10 years already, so I’m not going too much to Uzbekistan.
I mean, of course, if I play in Uzbekistan, everybody know me.
Q. Before today, what was your best victory?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I think I won against David Ferrer, Indian Wells. I beat Wawrinka in Wimbledon. I think for me was the best victories.
Q. A lot of people are talking about your glasses.
DENIS ISTOMIN: Yes. What they talk (smiling)?
Q. Where do you get them? Also, do you think about wearing lenses in your eyes instead of glasses on the court?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I was try the lenses, but I cannot play with lenses because it’s bother me. I have a problem with one eye only, so I don’t need for the second one.
With glasses I feel more comfortable. The Oakley, they doing good job for me so I can play. But my eye is not really good. Like Novak say today, when I ask referee to check if I can check the mark, I cannot see so far so good. I mean, yeah, the Oakley doing good job for me. I can play.
Q. You like them very bright?
DENIS ISTOMIN: It’s stylish, you know. Try to, like, do the bandana and glasses same color. Just looks better.
Q. You may not be a star in Uzbekistan, but you’re very famous in Italy because you played 10 times with Seppi and five times you were five sets. Marathons.
DENIS ISTOMIN: Yeah, we like to play with Andreas, especially in slams. I mean, we have like five times, and five times five sets, you’re right. I was lucky that I’m not playing against him here first round.
Q. You were not surprised that he beat Kyrgios?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I think they play last year or two years ago. They have five sets again. Kyrgios is very nice player. Seppi also. I think the winner, I don’t know, I’m happy for Andreas.
Q. How do you put this win behind you emotionally and focus on the next match? Is that going to be difficult?
DENIS ISTOMIN: First of all, I need to recovery from this match because it’s five hours. It’s a lot. On this level, it’s tough. I don’t think about the win now. I have to concentrate on the next match and just preparing.
Q. In which special way did you prepare for this match? Were you right to prepare in such a way that it finally play out the way you wanted it?
DENIS ISTOMIN: I was preparing normally, like always. Sometimes you have a good feeling; sometimes you not good feeling. You know, the body also.
But at this moment everything is good. It was the body, emotional, the game was in one. Best effort.
I didn’t do special preparation for this match or for other match. I do always the same.
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