Novak Djokovic: It’s A Tough Loss To Swallow, I Was Below Par With My Game
by Staff | September 12th, 2021, 8:55 pm

Novak Djokovic missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance at the Calendar Grand Slam Sunday at the US Open. At least it wasn’t even close as Daniil Medvedev rolled the world No. 1 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

After his first loss in a Slam this year, Djokovic met press:

Q. Can you explain your emotion in the moment and at the end of the match? I saw you beginning to tear up at the last changeover.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: So many different emotions. What I said on the ceremony, I really mean it. Of course, part of me is very sad. It’s a tough one to swallow, this loss, I mean, considering everything that was on the line.

But on the other hand I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York. The crowd made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me. I did not know, I did not expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I’ll remember forever. I mean, that’s the reason on the changeover I just teared up. The emotion, the energy was so strong. I mean, it’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slams. That’s how I felt, honestly. I felt very, very special.

They touched my heart, honestly. Of course, in the end of the day you want to win. You’re a professional athlete. These are the kind of moments that you cherish. These are connections that you establish with people that will be lasting for a very long time.

Yeah, it was just wonderful.

Q. What was it about Medvedev’s serve today that was so special or difficult?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, he was hitting his spots very well. He came out very determined on the court. You could feel that he was just at highest of his abilities in every shot. He had a lot of clarity what he needs to do tactically. He has executed it perfectly.

The other hand, I was just below par with my game. My legs were not there. I was trying. I did my best. Yeah, I made a lot of unforced errors. I didn’t have — no serve really.

If you’re playing someone like Medvedev who hits his spots so well, just aces, gets a lot of free points on his first serve, you’re constantly feeling pressure on your service games.

I was below par with everything, to be honest. So just one of these days where unfortunately, yeah, wasn’t meant to be.

Q. You said in Paris down two sets to Stefanos that you felt if you could just get one break you could win the match. Did you feel that way today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was different because my feeling on the court was not as good as the one that I had in Paris. Just energy-wise I felt slow.

But there was a turning point in the beginning of the second I feel like. Some breakpoints there, opening service games of Medvedev in the second set. There was some Love-40. Just one shot here and there… I was very close.

Who knows the trajectory of the match if you would make a break in the second early. With the crowd, with the support, probably I would feel maybe different.

But he did so well. I mean, he was amazing. Just congratulate him, full credit from his mentality, his approach, his game, everything. He absolutely was the better player and deserved to win, no doubt about it.

Of course I’m disappointed with the overall game that I performed today. I know I could have and should have done better. But it’s sport, you know. You win some, you lose some. It’s a tough loss, very tough loss. But at the same time I’m happy for him because he’s a nice guy and he deserves it. He really does.

Q. Zverev inserted himself in the conversation at the top in Tokyo. Now you have Daniil winning a major. Do you see us going into a time of transition in the coming year, a shake-up at the top of the game?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it has already started in a way, with Dominic Thiem winning here last year. Daniil, I don’t know if he’s No. 1 now or is soon-to-be No. 1. Look, it’s normal. The transition was inevitable.

The older guys are still hanging on. We’re still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can. I’m speaking on my own behalf. I still want to keep going, try to win more slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.

But the new generation, if you want to call them this way, is not anyone new. It’s already current, established. Of course, they are going to take over. I think tennis is in good hands because they’re all nice guys and very, very good, high-quality tennis players. They got something to offer on and off the court.

We are hoping that the transition will be smooth in terms of the attention and the popularity of this sport. It’s very important. We all, of course, want to win on the court, but at the same time we all at the top represent this sport. We need to be aware of that, take this responsibility and try to bring more fans to the world of tennis.

At the end of the day that’s what counts and that’s what keeps our sport alive. That’s what gives an opportunity to younger players or lower-ranked players to live out of this sport. We’ve got to do a better job there, absolutely. I think at the top of the men’s game things are looking really good. I think at the grassroots we got to do a much better job collectively, so…

Hopefully that will be the case.

Q. Did the other matches catch up with you as well today? The five-setter against Sascha, that run of four-setters, did that have any effect on you today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Could be. Could be. I had more hours on the court spent from Daniil, that’s for sure. But was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months. Slams and Olympics and playing at home in Belgrade. Everything was coming together for me here and kind of accumulating all the emotions that I’ve been through.

Unfortunately I didn’t make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. For the last couple of years I’ve been very transparent and vocal about my goals, to play my best tennis at slams. I’m managing to do that.

Of course, I was short today for another slam title, but I have to be proud with everything that my team and I have achieved. And in tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page. Very soon there are some more challenges, more things that are coming up. I have learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most.

I’ll try to take, draw some lessons from them, learn, be stronger, and keep going, keep going. I still love this sport and I still feel good on the court. As long as there is motivation and that flair, I’ll keep riding.

Q. After the journey that you just described, what were the thoughts and emotions that you experienced when you were sitting courtside after the match today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Relief. I was glad it was over because the buildup for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle.

I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they’ve created for me on the court.

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8 Comments for Novak Djokovic: It’s A Tough Loss To Swallow, I Was Below Par With My Game

John Smith Says:

The big three will ALL finish their careers at 20! I have kept saying since the beginning of the year that they are over. The first three majors were not an accident but Djokovic was just on the good/lucky side each time. Now it’s really over.

– Federer isn’t going to win even a 1000 tournament (if he ever comes back).

– Nadal won’t win the French in 2022. No need to even mention the other slams.

– Djokovic will always have to win at least 2 or 3 matches Zverev/Medvedev/Tsitsipas/Berrettini per slam. Game over, even for the Australian Open 2022.

I’m glad they all finish at 20. Like everybody, I have one player preferred. But f you are objective one second, they are ALL GOATs in different ways. That’s nice to know they are at the same number.

Van Persie Says:

I started to think since Wimbledon, that if Nole does not win US Open, Nr 21. will be hard to get for Nole. Th enext gen looked much better this year.

He will win 21, I am sure of that. It migh tnot happen at the AO, as the next gen’er are lal amazing players on hard. His best chances are at the FO or Wimbledon. Oh, and he will need to be under the radar for that! M

I see Fedal sharing the 20 Nr, as Navratilova and Evert are sharing 18.

Mi opinion, Time will tell.

P.S. Nole has to put now a great fight, in order to stay as Nr. 1 till the end of the year.

Van Persie Says:

Also, am sure Nole’s quest for YcGS has inspired many young tennis players and this might be done sooner then we expect! The tennis world will not have to wait for a century for that.

Wog Boy Says:

“I have kept saying since the beginning of the year that they are over.“
Yes, I remember your post during AO telling us that Nole is not winning AO nor any more slams, you will definitely be correct one day … if you keep repeating it for every GS;)

Wog Boy Says:

Yes VP, it’ll will be bloody hard to bounce back and fight for YE#1, there are around 4000 points in the game (if they choose to play one 500 tournament) and Nole is 1990 points ahead but Medvedev has huge momentum.

Either way, I just booked the hotel for the first week of AO2022, I am not giving up on him, though it’ll be hard, harder than ever to defend AO title…though I am going with my #10 waterpolo cap to Melbourne, which is replacement for #5 waterpolo cap I was wearing until he won 5th AO title;)

Van Persie Says:


A bit of good news that Med won yesterday, and not Zverev or Tsitsipas,: he won YEC and Paris last year, so he cannot get ranking points from those 2 tournaments. A tough task also for Medvedev.

Wog Boy Says:

VP, last year points don’t matter for the YE#1, only this year points, keep an eye on ATP race to Turin points, they are the one to follow for YE#1.

Van Persie Says:

WB, ok, thank you for that information

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