Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic’s road to a third Miami Sony Open title cam crashing down Tuesday night at the hands of Tommy Haas. An in-form Haas stunned Djokovic 62, 64 in the fourth round, sending the Serb back to Europe without a title this month.
Djokovic was down 62, 20 but then worked his way back into the match, winning eight straight points in the second to tie the match at 33. But the Serb couldn’t sustain the momentum and the 34-year-old Haas won out.
The defeat was Djokovic’s earliest exit at a tournament this season. And it follows a curious loss to Juan Martin Del Potro at Indian Wells where he also didn’t play well. Novak now heads to Davis Cup in Boise, Idaho for the tie against the U.S. next week.
After the loss, a disappointed Djokovic addressed the press:
Q. We all know he can play very well, but how stunned were you with the way he came out and played tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, all the credit to him. He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it. The results show everything, you know.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time.
Q. Can you put a finger on why you think it was one of your worst matches for a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just didn’t feel good on the court. I don’t know.
I mean, conditions were really much, much different from what I have played, you know, in previous matches. Balls didn’t bounce at all. You know, he has a quite flat shots. He used the variety really well.
Yeah, it was very cold, and I just didn’t find a better solution to come back to the match. Even though I was a break down, I managed to come back and then when I needed to step in I didn’t. I made so many unforced errors from forehand side, and it’s just the way it is.
Q. You went to the net quite a lot of times during the first set, and very quickly. Was it part of the game plan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I felt like I had short balls to come in. But, you know, generally I needed to make much less unforced errors in order to win against a quality player like Tommy.
You know, I congratulate him. Definitely made great tactics. He used the serve well, and, you know, he moved around the court really well. He was better.
Q. As the match progressed, were you also thinking, He’s playing inspired tennis, but there’s got to be maybe a time when this has to stop and you will get into it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I definitely hoped and believed that I can come back. You know, I was fighting. I was trying, you know, all the way up to the last ball.
There are days where you just don’t feel good on the court. Nothing really goes your way. This is one of those days. But all the credit to him for, you know, making me, you know, play this bad.
Q. Was this the coldest you have ever played in in your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, one of the coldest conditions. It’s quite cold. Yeah, basically no air in the balls. As I said, low bounce, which is more suitable to his style of the game.
Q. Were you familiar with his game or was he bringing up different game this time around?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it was familiar. We play each other many times. I know Tommy for many years. It’s not a problem of preparing for the match. I was preparing as well as I always do.
But as I said, you know, this is sport, and sometimes it doesn’t go your way.
Q. Like in any sport, taking 100%, what do you think is the percentage the tennis and the mind in any sport?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. Really.
Q. The crowd was working very hard to get you up.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, and I appreciate that very much. You know, I always feel really nice here in Miami and the crowd is fantastic, you know, and always giving me plenty of support.
Unfortunately, I didn’t give them, you know, that third set. I wanted it badly. You know, I was trying to find rhythm, and that’s the way it is.
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