Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘I’m p*ssed off!’ – Novak Djokovic vows to use shock defeat to fuel the rest of his career

Novak Djokovic has insisted he will use the emotions from his shock defeat to Jiri Vesely as fuel to perform at his best for the rest of his career.

After missing the Australian Open due to his deportation, 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic made his first appearance of the new year at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships.

Despite not playing since the Davis Cup at the start of December, Djokovic returned seemingly not phased from a lack of match fitness as he stormed past Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti, before battling past Russian Karen Khachanov.

With US Open victor and world number two Daniil Medvedev competing in the Mexican Open, Medvedev had to either match or better Djokovic’s result to become the new world number one.

Whilst both man had been handed difficult draws, both were also considered the favourites to win their respective tournaments by virtue of their being the top two players in the world.

After a commanding start, Djokovic suffered a shock straight sets defeat to Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals.

This paired with Medvedev also reaching the quarter-finals in Acapulco meant Djokovic lost his world number one status.

This makes Medvedev the first Russian to achieve the feat since Marat Safin in 2001, but also means he is the first world number one outside of the ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray since 2004, a total of 18 years.

Speaking in a post-match press conference, Djokovic said: “My goal is to keep on playing tennis.

“That’s the ultimate goal, for as long as I really feel like it and as long as I can play.

“As long as my body allows me, as long as the circumstances in my life as well, the people that surround me [and] support me.

“I’m still motivated and I’m still pissed off when I lose a match, I care about it.

“I care about winning every match, as anybody else on the tour, regardless of age.

“I’m actually glad that I’m feeling a lot of emotions every single day because it means that I really want to be part of this sport, part of the tour.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.