US Open: Djokovic feels ‘relief’ after Grand Slam…
Novak Djokovic’s loss in the US Open final on Sunday denied him a calendar year Grand Slam, but the Serbian No. 1 in the world says he was just “lucky” that his pursuit of perfection was finally over.
Djokovic was left in tears after his tough bid – both physical and emotional – to become the first man since 1969 to win the four Grand Slams of the year ended in a surprising one-sided loss to Russian second-seeded Daniil Medvedev.
“Relief,” 34-year-old Djokovic told reporters when asked about his emotions after the game.
“I was glad it was over because the build-up for this tournament and everything I’ve been dealing with mentally and emotionally during the tournament over the past few weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to deal with.”
From the start, Djokovic was unable to match the level of Medvedev, who proved his mettle and grew stronger as the match went on, save for a few late nerves as he tried to wrap up his first Grand Slam title.
Djokovic admitted after the game that the time he spent on the pitch this year was finally taking its toll and that he lacked his usual energy.
“My legs weren’t there. I tried. I tried my best. Yes, I made a lot of casual mistakes. I had none – no serve really,” said Djokovic.
“When you play against someone like Medvedev who scores so well, only aces get a lot of free points on his first serve, you feel constant pressure on your service games.
“I was below par with everything, to be honest. So just one of these days where, unfortunately, yeah, it wasn’t meant to be.”
During the latest switch, with his hopes of a record 21st Grand Slam all but dashed, emotions took over as the Serb held a towel over his face and cried, clearly overwhelmed by the support he received from the New York public.
Djokovic, who has not yet earned the same admiration as his rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, said the tears were the result of a feeling he had never experienced before from the New York public.
“The audience made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t know, I didn’t expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the audience was something I will remember forever,” said Djokovic . .
“I mean, that’s why I just burst into tears at the switch. The emotion, the energy was so strong. I mean, it’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slams. That’s how I felt, honestly I felt very, very special.”