‘Not the last racket I’ll break’: Djokovic battles into Rome semis

Agence France-Presse

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

‘Not the last racket I’ll break’: Djokovic battles into Rome semis

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand to Italy's Salvatore Caruso on day three of the Men's Italian Open at Foro Italico on September 16, 2020 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Riccardo Antimiani / POOL / AFP)


Novak Djokovic struggles to contain his emotions as the world No. 1 needed more than two hours to dispatch his 97th-ranked German foe

Top men’s seed Novak Djokovic let his frustrations spill over, breaking his racket during a tough 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over qualifier Dominik Koepfer in the Italian Open on Saturday, September 19.

The world No. 1 needed more than two hours to see off the 97th-ranked German, before advancing to the semifinals in the last warm-up tournament on clay before the French Open.

Two weeks after his US Open default for accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball, the Serb struggled to contain his emotions, throwing his racket after a lost service game, with shouts of anger resounding in the silence of the empty Central Court of Foro Italico. 

“Well, let me tell you that it’s not the first nor the last racket that I’ll break in my career. I have done it before,” he warned.

“I’ll probably do it again. I don’t want to do it, but when it comes, it happens. 

“That’s how I guess I release sometimes my anger. 

“And it’s definitely not the best message out there, especially for the young tennis players looking at me.”

“I don’t encourage that, definitely. But, look, we’re all people. 

“We all do our best. There were times and periods when I don’t do that, and there are sometimes periods when I do. 

“It’s unpredictable really in life what can happen. I am working on my mental and emotional health as much as I’m working on my physical health. 

“It’s always been part of my, I guess, training and recovery, as well, developing strong character and understanding myself on different levels, the holistic approach to life. 

“That’s just me, and of course I’m not perfect. I’m doing my best.”

Djokovic was broken 4 times before advancing to his 11th semifinal in Rome, where he reached the final 9 times and won 4 titles.

“Credit to (Dominik) for fighting back, but I have myself to blame for putting myself in a position to play a third set,” said Djokovic. 

“I was a set and a break up and everything was looking great. I just wasn’t managing to make that final shot, that final step to win in straights.”

The 33-year-old next plays Norway’s Casper Ruud who also needed to fight to get past Italian 4th seed Matteo Berrettini, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

“Clay is definitely Casper’s preferred surface,” said Djokovic of his first meeting with the 34th-ranked Norwegian. 

“This is where he feels most comfortable. It’s semifinals and it is anybody’s game. I’ll do some homework and be ready for that one.”

Ruud,  son of former tennis player Christian Ruud, becomes the first Norwegian to reach the last 4 of a Masters tournament.

Ruud, 21, was relishing “a great opportunity for me to play against one of the big three.”

Berrettini’s elimination ended home hopes in the tournament which will be open to 1,000 spectators from Sunday’s semifinals. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!