‘Shocked’ Novak Djokovic reacts to losing at the Australian Open for the first time in six years

Tennis star Novak Djokovic
The Serbian’s flawless record in semi-finals in Melbourne finally came to an end (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic says he was ‘shocked’ by how badly he played in Friday’s semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open and believes it is one of his worst-ever Grand Slam displays.

The Serbian has been the dominant force in Melbourne for over a decade and was looking to add his 11th title at this year’s tournament – and a 25th major to put him clear of Maragret Court.

But he was beaten 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in a bruising encounter, with the much younger Sinner dominating the contest.

Incredibly, it is the first time Djokovic has ever lost a semi-final at the Australian Open, having won the previous 10, and it is his first defeat in Melbourne since a shock loss to Chung Hyeon in 2018.

The 36-year-old was full of praise for Sinner’s display afterwards, though felt he was far from his best in Friday’s match and admits he has struggled for form throughout this year’s tournament.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Djokovic said: ‘First I want to congratulate Sinner for playing a great match and a great tournament so far, he is deservedly in the final. He outplayed me completely today.

‘I was, in a way, shocked with my level – in a bad way! There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets and I guess this is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I have ever played, at least that I remember.

‘So not a very pleasant feeling playing this way, but at the same time credit to him for doing everything better than me, in every aspect of the game.

Novak Djokovic loses to Jannik Sinner at Australian Open
Djokovic was far from his best in Friday’s loss to Sinner (Picture: Getty)
Tennis star Novak Djokovic
Djokovic was clearly frustrated with his performance (Picture: Reuters)

‘I tried, I fought, I managed to kind of raise my level a little bit in the third set, saved match point, played a good tiebreak.

‘But, again, the fourth set. Very bad game to lose, 40-0 up on 1-2, kind of against the wind a little bit. Just overall performance-wise the level of my tennis was really not great.

‘I guess in those moments you just try to find the serenity but at the same time try to uplift yourself and your game. That’s what I tried, and the crowd was great, they were really fair towards both players, lots of support for both Jannik and I. And that’s all, congratulations to him.’

Asked if he was surprised by how much he underperformed, Djokovic continued: ‘To be honest the whole tournament really I haven’t played close to my best. Some matches, maybe against [Adrian] Mannarino, was great, but most of the matches I was not playing up to par – that is to say, the way I play normally here in Australia.

‘So in a way it did surprise me, because I didn’t think it would be that bad in the first two sets, but on the other hand, I didn’t really feel myself on the court during this tournament.

‘One could say that semi-finals is a great result, but I always expect the highest of myself and it wasn’t meant to be today.’

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