Every word from Novak Djokovic’s press conference after his shocking double Davis Cup defeat
Novak Djokovic was left to rue a “bitter” end to another record-breaking season after losing twice to Jannik Sinner as Italy defeated Serbia to reach the Davis Cup final.
The world number one suffered an unwanted career first when he failed to convert three consecutive match points in a pulsating 6-2 2-6 7-5 singles loss – his first in the competition in 22 matches and 12 years.
Serbia had led 1-0 in the semi-final in Malaga thanks to Miomir Kecmanovic’s win over Lorenzo Musetti but Djokovic’s defeat sent the tie to a deciding doubles contest.
Djokovic and Sinner lined up on opposite sides of the net for the fourth time in less than two weeks alongside Kecmanovic and Lorenzo Sonego respectively, and it was the Italian duo who clinched a 6-3 6-4 win to send their country through to a clash with Australia for the title on Sunday.
Djokovic had hoped to crown the season in which he became the most successful man in tennis history with a second Davis Cup title, and he made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
“Congratulations to Italy for qualifying for the finals,” he said. “They deserved it. They played really well, particularly Jannik, in singles against me and then doubles, as well. He barely missed a ball the entire match.
“For me personally it’s a huge disappointment, because I take the responsibility, obviously having three match points, being so close to winning it. It’s unfortunate really. This is sport. When you lose for your country, the bitter feeling is even greater.”
Here is every word from Djokovic’s post-match press conference in Malaga:
Q. Commiserations to you all. Novak, a couple of things. Firstly, what was the difference today in Sinner, the singles match, compared to Turin? And maybe also a word on the atmosphere.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, congratulations to Italy for qualifying for finals. They deserved it. They played really well, particularly Jannik, in singles against me and then doubles, as well. He barely missed the ball the entire match. So, you know, you can only say congrats and hats down for the performance like that. For me personally, it’s a huge disappointment, because I take the responsibility, obviously having three match points, being so close to win it. Yeah, it’s unfortunate really. This is sport.
Sonego and Sinner get the job done 🙌
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 25, 2023
When you lose for your country, you know, the bitter feeling is even greater. Q. Can you elaborate on the three match points? What happens? It’s Davis Cup or something else?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, at this level against one of the best players in the world, everything happens really, really fast. At Love-40 I was in the rally. I missed, but from middle of the court, sliced long, and he served a couple of big serves. Yeah, maybe I had a passing shot on 30-40, you know, but he was coming to the net. He was serving extremely well. It was difficult to read his serve, and he was hitting his spots whenever he needed to. Also today, Love-40, 3-2 for us, second-set doubles, again, serves on the line basically. Just have to say well done when someone plays like that.
Q. How much impressed about the power of his forehand? To me, was something fantastic, incredible. Even the sound of the forehand.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, we know that he’s got one of the fastest forehands in the game and he puts a lot of spin and a lot of power in it. I wasn’t surprised too much by that. I know Jannik’s quality, but, you know, I was thinking maybe he’s gonna drop a little bit, you know, in the doubles, but he didn’t. He kept the level extremely high, and at the end of the singles match, also third set, I had a lot of chances to break him and was in his service games, but every time he needed he found the serve. Yeah, just a very good performance from them.
Q. Obviously it’s been a long season. You’ve come straight here from Turin. How hard is it mentally and physically to keep yourself where you need to be?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to talk about it, you know, because it’s going to sound like an excuse. It is what it is. You just have to shake the hands and move on, you know. Obviously, this is a tough one to swallow. I was really, you know, trying to hype myself and encourage myself, you know, for this week. Throughout the entire season, you know, my thoughts were this week, you know, with my Davis Cup team. Yeah, I tried to contribute. I did in the first tie, but today it wasn’t meant to be.
After saving THREE match points @janniksin levels the tie for Italy 🤯
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 25, 2023
Q. Novak, I just want to ask you about that first set of the singles against Jannik. I saw you with the ice towel, which I wasn’t expecting to see this week. Was it just a heat thing? Were you kind of trying to shock yourself into something different or anything like that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In this kind of match, you know, of course there is a lot of physical effort, mental effort, emotional effort, and you just try to, I guess, keep yourself fresh as much as you possibly can. You know, there is not much time in the changeover, so you use the ice towel, you try to cool your body temperature a little bit. Yeah, try to calm your heart rate, recover for, you know, what’s coming up. Yeah, that’s what I was trying to do.
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