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MELBOURNE, Australia – A stunned Novak Djokovic said his performance in the loss to Jannik Sinner in Friday’s Australian Open semifinal was one of the worst he had produced in more than 400 Grand Slam matches.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion said he still had high hopes of more success over the rest of the season and warned off pundits who might be tempted to call time on his glorious career.
“He outplayed me completely today (Friday),” the Serbian said of the 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 loss to Sinner, a 22-year-old Italian.
“I was shocked at my level in a bad way. There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets. I guess this is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve ever played. At least that I remember.
“To be honest, the whole tournament I haven’t really played close to my best. I didn’t feel really myself on the court during this tournament. One can say semifinals is a great result, of course, but I always expect the highest of myself.”
Those expectations came of the results he has achieved on Melbourne’s blue hardcourts, where he has won 10 titles and 94 of the 103 matches he has played over his 19 campaigns.
Sinner’s victory snapped Djokovic’s winning streak of 33 matches at the Australian Open going back to 2018 and was the world No. 1’s first loss in 11 Melbourne semifinals.
“I definitely have a lot to be very proud of in terms of what I have achieved here,” said Djokovic.
“The streak was going to end one day. It was going to happen, and at least I gave everything I possibly can under circumstances where I didn’t play well.
“I just hope that I’ll get a chance to come back to play at least another time and go through the emotions once more.”
Sunday’s Australian Open final will be the first since 2005 not involving Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal – the greatest players in a golden era of men’s tennis.
With Federer retired and Nadal looking close to joining him, Djokovic was asked whether he was starting to feel his 36 years.
“Let’s see what happens in the rest of the season,” he added.
“I still have high hopes for other Slams, Olympics, and whatever tournaments that I’ll play. This tournament hasn’t been up to my standard but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s beginning of the end.” – Rappler.com