Novak Djokovic makes an honest admission after his latest clay court setback
Novak Djokovic’s clay court campaign has not followed the script he would have expected and that was certainly the case as he lost to Aslan Karatsev in the longest ATP Tour match of the 2021 season at the Serbia Open.
The world No.1 conceded he was beaten by the better man as he went down to a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 defeat, suffering a rare reverse on home soil.
After a loss against Britain’s Dan Evans at the Monte-Carlo Masters earlier this month, Djokovic’s French Open preparations are not going to plan and he was in philopshical mood as he faced the media.
“You never like losing at home, that is for sure. It is disappointing. I don’t feel so great now but, at the same time, I have to congratulate Karatsev who played very bravely,” said Djokovic. “Whenever he needed to come up with the best shots, he did. Congratulations to him. [It was an] awesome performance from his side.”
“From my side, I played on quite a low level, in my opinion. I had some flashes of good quality tennis. I was fighting. That is a positive. I was really trying all the way [and] the crowd was great.
“They carried me and tried to lift me up, all the way to the end. Because of them, I think I won the second set. Unfortunately in the third, he was just the better player in the decisive moments. I had my chances, but that is sport.
“Karatsev showed a lot of courage and that is why I gave him the thumbs up.I felt like he deserved to win.
“Once the final point is done, there is never bad blood. We are rivals on the court, but I don’t hate anybody. I can’t be upset with him if he beat me. I have to be upset with myself and question why I lost the match. Whoever beats me deserves the credit and I gave him that.”
“It is disappointing [to] finish the week like this at home. I lost to a better player who was just more courageous.
“He went for his shots at the right time and it worked for him. Nevertheless, it was good week and a successful tournament, in general, for us.”
Karatsev then lost another thriller in the final as he was beaten in a deciding set tie break by Matteo Berrettini, but the bigger story emerging from Serbia has to be the uncertain form of the local legend.
Daniil Medvedev refuses to confirm vaccine status as he backs Novak Djokovic
Medvedev has leapt to the defence of world No.1 Djokovic amid the ongoing debate over Covid vaccinations
Andy Murray fails to back up epic Antwerp win as he bows out in second round to Diego Schwartzman
The Scot was unable to take advantage of an early lead.
WATCH: Emma Raducanu ‘very excited’ about Upper Austria Ladies Linz as she releases new video
The 18-year-old pulled out of this week’s VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
WATCH: Serena Williams and Venus Williams joined by Will Smith as they reveal new King Richard trailer, and song by Beyonce
Grab the popcorn for the new King Richard trailer.
Andy Murray not a fan of changes to Wimbledon mixed doubles schedule as he suggests further tweaks
Andy Murray believes changes will have a knock on-effect on quality of the field.
Flavia Pennetta on Emma Raducanu winning US Open as a qualifier: ‘In my day it would never have happened’
“In my opinion it is not good for tennis,” says Flavia Pennetta.
Cameron Norrie on Emma Raducanu’s ‘utterly incredible’ US Open win: ‘It will inspire the next generation’
“It’s huge for British tennis,” says Cameron Norrie.
Officials at odds over whether or not rules should be tweaked to allow Novak Djokovic to compete at Australian Open
Should rules change to allow Novak Djokovic to compete?
‘That’s why I play this game,’ says Frances Tiafoe as he also salutes ‘true inspiration’ Andy Murray
Frances Tiafoe is “still hurting” after Antwerp clash, but he took time out to pay tribute to Andy Murray.
Andrey Rublev set for vaccine U-turn after officials confirm players need to be vaccinated for Australian Open
“I’ll get vaccinated,” says Andrey Rublev.