Djokovic on brink of shock early exit


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic facesan anxious wait to see if he remains in the ATP World Tour Finals.


By Nick Atkin

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is on the brink of a shock exit from the ATP World Tour Finals after losing to countryman Janko Tipsarevic.

A tired Djokovic was beaten 3-6 6-3 6-2 at the o2 Arena and faces an anxious wait to see the outcome of David Ferrer’s match against Tomas Berdych.

Only if the Spaniard picks up his third consecutive win will Djokovic progress to the semi-finals to play Roger Federer.

Djokovic said: “My body says that it’s overload. It’s been too much this year.  Obviously mentally I feel a little bit drained, as well.

“I just don’t have that freshness in my mind for the matches and I don’t have these dynamics that I had in all 10 months of the year.

Djokovic was also beaten in straight sets by David Ferrer on Wednesday after scraping past Tomas Berdych on Monday.

“This is something to be expected after the year I had,” he added. “Tomorrow, if I don’t play, I look forward to go for a much‑needed rest.”

He said: “I had an unbelievable year – nothing can really ruin that. I will always remember this year as the best of my life.

“You have those days where you don’t feel like playing, you don’t feel like practicing.

Rafael Nadal exited the tournament on Thursday after losing to Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga, and if Djokovic followed it would be the second shock result of the week.

“There are tournaments, especially the ones towards the end of the year where you don’t feel a hundred percent fresh mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Djokovic was full of praise for his fellow Serbian, who was drafted in as a replacement for the injured Andy Murray on Wednesday.

Djokovic said said: “He deserved to win.  He was the better player in the second part of the match.

“It’s never easy to perform against somebody you know very well.  Regardless who is across the net, obviously you want to win.

“I’m glad he got the chance to play and got the chance to win as well.  It can give him a lot of confidence for next year.”

Djokovic plays exhibition matches in Abu Dhabi  before beginning his defence of the Australian Open on January 16.

He said: “I think I have more than enough time to get my old strength back and prepare well.

“I’m sure that if I have as good preparation as I had last year, I’m confident I can do well in Australia.

Tipsarevic weathered a period of heavy pressure from Djokovic to take the second and third sets set after losing the first.

Tipsarevic said: “No matter how much one player is dominant on court, on this level things can change dramatically really fast.

He added: “Not trying to undermine my performance or my victory today, I can freely say this was not the Novak Djokovic from the US Open or Wimbledon.

“I’m giving credit to me because I managed to beat the world No. 1, maybe not at his best, but still I feel that’s a victory no one can take away from me.”

The Davis Cup teammates are close friends off-court and will holiday in the Maldives together with their girlfriends next week.

The world No. 9 said: “I really feel like being around him helped me to become a better player.

He added: “I managed to play good because this is all new for me.  This is something amazing.  I hope that I will be here next year and in years to come.

“I didn’t really want to disappoint myself and all the people around me and finish this brilliant year in a bad way.”

Djokovic won all three of their previous encounters, and Tipsarevic is glad he finally managed to beat his compatriot.

“I’m really happy I managed to win today in the end and strangely finish the season with a victory,” he said.

“I’m not really used to doing that!”

All jokes aside, he said: “Beating the world No. 1 in the last match of the season is something that I feel everyone is going to remember.


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