‘It sucked’ – Taylor Fritz explains how it feels to be hammered by Novak Djokovic
Taylor Fritz looked broken as he tried to sum up his crashing defeat against Novak Djokovic at the US Open, as he admitted the Serbian great left him feeling helpless on the court.
The Serbian great is through to the last four of a Grand Slam for a record 47th time, moving him one ahead of Roger Federer’s tally, after a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Fritz.
The American was in fine form at the US Open, but he had no answer to Djokovic’s brilliance, as he conceded he has to improve areas of his game if he wants to compete with the greats of the game.
In a brutally honest press conference, the No 9 seed opened up on his emotions as Djokovic made it eight wins from eight matches against Fritz.
When asked to sum up why he was so comprehensively outplayed by the soon-to-be re-crowned world No 1, Fritz conceded one area of his game simply wasn’t up to scratch.
“As far as returning goes, I can’t ask for that much more, but I didn’t serve anywhere near good enough to compete with him,” conceded the American.
“If I could serve to the standards I know I can serve to, maybe I could work with something and it would be a closer match.
“Novak being Novak, he’ll make me feel like I’m serving worse than I am and in other matches I wouldn’t get punished as much for missing first serves.
“Against him, I have to hit my spots. That’s just the way it is. I served awful. It sucked.
“He was solid and I just didn’t perform at my best on the big points. It’s as simple as that.”
Fritz was downbeat as he spoke to the media, as he admitted he would have a few days away from the court before trying to find some solutions.
“I will take a week off and when I get back on court and I’m not in tournaments, I will try and work on what I need to,” he added.
“I guess the good news is I am returning serve much better and having an overall good year even though I having my worst service year.”
Djokovic was thankful to the New York crowd in his post-match comments, even though they were supporting home favourite Fritz in his forlorn attempt to find a winning formula.
“It’s expected that people are backing the home player, there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Djokovic.
“I like the atmosphere here, I’m fine with that and I thrive on that energy.
“I’ve been playing on this court for many years, played many epic matches, and I’m looking forward to another one in a few days.
“It’s a huge opportunity every time I step out on the court and at my age I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll get.”
Former British No 1 Tim Henman has emerged as one of the finest analysts of the game in his role as a TV analyst and he broke down Fritz’s problems against Djokovic in his role as a Sky Sports pundit.
“One of the obvious areas was on second serve,” said Henman, as he assessed Djokovic’s tactics.
“He took the second serve early and wanted to stay away from Fritz’s forehand. If he could get into the backhand, he neutralised the serve and turned defence into attack rapidly.
“You just feel that relentless pressure when you are serving. You look at the stats and only four returns go into the forehand side.
“Once he has neutralised the serve, it becomes a baseline game and Djokovic is the best.”
Djokovic remains unbeaten against Fritz and from the evidence of this latest encounter, he will need a dramatic slide in standards from the Serbian to get anywhere near to beating him in a Grand Slam match.
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