Djokovic Says 'I Have To Accept It', Sets Sights On Cincy
Novak Djokovic arrived at the Rogers Cup, a tournament he has won four times, with a boatload of momentum. Fresh off his fourth Wimbledon title, the Serbian hadn’t failed to reach the quarter-finals of a tournament since the Mutua Madrid Open in May.
But the former World No. 1’s hot streak cooled off on Thursday when he lost in the third round against #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. While it was certainly disappointing, what’s done is done, and the Serbian won’t let the loss keep him down.
“I really want to do well,” Djokovic said. “Losing in this kind of tournament, it's not something I don't care about. It really frustrates me. But I have to accept it, deal with it, and move on.”
The 31-year-old needs to refocus right away, with the Western & Southern Open just days away. Djokovic has lifted 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in his career, with the only one missing from his collection being Cincinnati, where he owns a 26-11 record, and an 0-5 mark in finals.
“I'm going to get into Cincinnati, the only [Masters] 1000 event that I didn't win in my career, and hopefully I can have a good tournament,” Djokovic said.
While his loss against Tsitsipas stings, Djokovic has still won 21 of his past 25 matches. He says he never adjusted to the quick, high-bouncing conditions in Canada, and simply had a bad day.
“I just played not that great, especially from the baseline. I didn't return well. So all in all, it wasn't that great of a match,” Djokovic said. “You have those days, and better earlier than later in this series.”
It’s not like Djokovic was blitzed by an opponent who was not in form, either. Tsitsipas is second in the ATP Race To Milan, and is creeping ever closer to the Top 20 in the ATP Rankings after beginning the season at No. 91.
“He's definitely one of the leaders of Next Gen without a doubt, especially this season. He's had some terrific results and terrific wins,” Djokovic said. “He's showing a lot of commitment, a lot of discipline. You know, he's putting in the hours in the gym, on the tennis court, and it's paying off. I mean, he's very talented. He was the best junior in the world. If he keeps on going this way, he's got a good future.
“He just played better in the decisive moments. I had my chances to come back in the third set when I dropped my serve at 15/40. An easy forehand. I missed it. But that's sport. You have to deal with these kind of situations.”
Djokovic was able to go right back on court and earn some confidence, teaming with Kevin Anderson to oust reigning Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in doubles. They are now into the quarter-finals.
“Hopefully these next few days with doubles and practice sessions, I can get what I need before Cincinnati,” Djokovic said.