Novak Djokovic’s loss to Jannik Sinner labelled ‘predictable’ as his form is assessed by former star

Ewan West
Post-match hug between Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic
Jannik Sinner, left, of Italy is congratulated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia

Feliciano Lopez has described the start Novak Djokovic has had to the 2024 season as “normal” and feels people are “alarmed” by the great Serb’s form since “he never loses.”

The former world No 12 believes Djokovic’s Australian Open defeat to Jannik Sinner was “predicable” and he does not think the 36-year-old’s dip will “cause him any major problems.”

Djokovic holds an 8-3 record so far this year and is yet to claim a title, having lost matches at the United Cup, the Australian Open and the Indian Wells Open.

In the semi-finals of the 2024 Australian Open in January, Djokovic fell to a decisive four-set defeat to eventual champion Sinner to lose his first match at the event since 2018.

The world No 1 then returned to action at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, where he was stunned by lucky loser and world No 123 Luca Nardi in three sets in the third round.

READ MORE: Tennis great ‘not worried’ about Novak Djokovic form as he makes ‘doesn’t really care’ claim

Following his shock defeat to the 20-year-old Italian, the 24-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the Miami Open, which got underway earlier this week.

In a post on X, Djokovic wrote: “Unfortunately I won’t be playing the @MiamiOpen this year. At this stage of my career, I’m balancing my private and professional schedule.

“I’m sorry that I won’t experience some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. I’m looking fw (forward) competing in MI (Miami) in future!”

Djokovic is next expected to feature at the Monte Carlo Masters, which will begin on April 14. The Serbian is a two-time champion at the prestigious clay-court tournament.

Lopez, who won one of the 10 matches he played against Djokovic, expressed that he was not concerned by the tennis great’s results and performances so far this season.

“It seems normal to me. We have also occasionally seen Novak lose a game that he was not involved in,” the 42-year-old told EFE.

“In the end people are also alarmed. Since he never loses, people eventually become alarmed. I wouldn’t give it more importance than he has.

“He lost in Australia with Sinner, which is predictable, things that have happened all his life, and then in Indian Wells… It’s his way of understanding the calendar now. That has worked well for him. I don’t think this will cause him any major problems. Let’s see what happens.”

Lopez, who turned professional in 1997, won seven ATP singles titles during an impressive 26-year career, which he called time on in June last year. The big-serving left-hander lost to Yannick Hanfmann in the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Championships in his final match.

The Spaniard also won six doubles titles, including the 2016 French Open, and reached a career-high ATP doubles ranking of world No 9.

READ MORE: Martina Navratilova makes Novak Djokovic ‘doubt’ claim as she highlights age factor