‘If he was going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was [Jannik] Sinner,’ admits Novak Djokovic’s coach

A focused Novak Djokovic

Goran Ivanisevic has addressed suggestions that Novak Djokovic struggled with injury during his Australian Open run as he acknowledged that the tennis great simply lost against a better player in Jannik Sinner.

Defending champion Djokovic appeared to be on course for a record-extending 11th title at Melbourne Park after looking fairly comfortable during his first five matches of the season-opening Grand Slam.

However, he ran into an inspired Sinner in the semi-final as the Italian blew him away, winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3. Not only did he reach his maiden Grand Slam final with the win, but he also handed Djokovic his first loss at the tournament since 2018 and halted the Serbian’s winning streak at 33.

The nature of the defeat stunned many pundits as Djokovic didn’t manage to eke out a single break point on the Sinner serve – the first time it had happened at a Grand Slam.

In an interview with Sportske Novosti, 2001 Wimbledon champion champion Ivanisevic was asked about the loss and replied: “Sooner or later he had to lose, we were all aware of that. It’s just a shame that it happened this way, but against Sinner if you’re not 100%, you have nothing to ask for.

“And even when you’re at 100%, you can still lose. However, the whole Australian Open was somehow not right for Novak, from the first round onwards. Well, let’s move on, it’s nothing so tragic.”

Djokovic struggled with a wrist injury in the build-up to the tournament while there had also been suggestions that he may have been under the weather for most of the event with Serbian journalists saying he battled a severe flu.

He dropped a set in three of his first five matches before being stunned by the impressive Sinner in the last four.

Ivanisevic, though, says the 24-time Grand Slam winner was healthy as he revealed he was happy for world No 4 Sinner, who went on to win his maiden Grand Slam with a stunning come-from-behind victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final as he won in five sets after going two sets to love down.

The Croatian added: “No, nothing bothered him, he was healthy, but it just didn’t work out… It can happen to him too, he’s flesh and blood too. On the other hand, if he was going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was Sinner.”

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