Rublev Runs Away From Djokovic For Belgrade Title
Living on the edge finally caught up with Novak Djokovic. After three straight comebacks from a set down, Djokovic couldn’t make if four as he fell in his home Belgrade final to Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0.
A 3-time champion in Belgrade, Djokovic ran out of gas in the end suffering his first lost to Rublev and a missed chance at a first title of 2022.
“I didn’t feel too tired until the end of the second set,” Djokovic said. “The 5-4 game was a long game and that is when I started to not feel great. I think I played well in the tie-break. I came out ready to fight another set, but it wasn’t [a] very pleasant thing for people to see on the court, so I am sorry for that kind of experience as I knew people wanted to see me fight and try and win. But it wasn’t to be this time.”
Djokovic is now 5-3 on the year as he gets a week off before Madrid.
“I have to look at the positives. Played the final in front of my home crowd,” Djokovic added. “It was unfortunate that in the third set I ran out of gas and couldn’t give it more of a fight. Congrats to Andrey for playing another great week. He is at the top of the men’s game and one of the best players for a reason.
“I could have easily lost in the first match, so after four tough three-set battles all I can say is I am tired. Winning the tough three-set battles before this match will serve me well for the continuation of the season.”
Rublev earns his 3rd title of the year and 11th of his career.
“It is big to play against you and share the court for the second time,” Rublev said during the trophy ceremony. “I hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us.”
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