The best tennis player in the world, Novak Đoković, failed to qualify for the finals of the Serbia Open, as he was defeated by Russia’s Aslan Karatsev 2-1 in sets (7: 5, 4: 6, 6: 4) in a tennis spectacle that lasted three hours and 25 minutes.
“Congratulations to Karatsev, he played bravely. He deserved the victory. There have been ups and downs in my game, I have also had health problems the last two days, but that does not diminish his merits. I probably will not remember all the anthology points from this match because I lost. I am not happy with how I played, but I am struggling. I was close, but he played phenomenally and bravely every time and it paid off for him,” said Novak immediately after the match.
His son Stefan also watched the match at Dorćol and reacted emotionally to every point.
“I saw him looking at me, of course. It also gave me energy and motivation. This is probably the first time he has watched the whole match, but unfortunately, I did not manage to win. My daughter was there as well, as were my parents and brothers, but the ending on my part was not ideal.”
Đoković then offered his analysis of the match:
“In some moments, I also lacked luck. Probably if I analyzed the whole match, everything would be reduced to one or two shots at a high level such as this. In sport, luck is sometimes on your side, and sometimes it is not. Once again, Karatsev played bravely when he was supposed to. Roland Garros is my ultimate goal on this surface and I hope to play my best when it matters most. I would like to play in Belgrade at the next tournament, which will be played in May, but I’m not sure yet if I will, I will do my best.”
Novak managed to save only 5 out of the 28 break points.
“He played fast, the way he is capable. I started off well too, but there was a drop in concentration and physical fitness for health reasons. It is unusual for me, I am usually completely ready, and in the third set I experienced dizziness. He played precisely, bravely and courageously when it was needed. I cannot plan in advance which tournaments I will play in, I am preoccupied by the Grand Slam tournaments, we will see how things will play out.”
Roland Garros is the goal.
“You never like losing at home, that is for sure. It is disappointing. I don’t feel so great now but, at the same time, I have to congratulate Karatsev. On my part, I played at a very low level. I fought, but he proved himself a better player in the third set during the decisive moments. Roland Garros is my main focus, I must play better if I am to achieve anything. I have a lot of work ahead of me. This was a disappointing end to the weekend on my part at the tournament at home. But still, it was a good week and a successful tournament. I hope to play in BG again in 4-5 weeks, but Roland Garros is the main goal.”