Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023

Novak Djokovic suggests players are ‘more motivated’ to beat him after defeat to Jannik Sinner

Novak Djokovic has congratulated Jannik Sinner, after the Italian ended the world No.1’s 19-match winning streak last night in Turin. 

Djokovic was beaten in his second round-robin match at the ATP Finals by Sinner, 5-7 7-6(5) 6(2)-7, in a contest that lasted over three hours in front of a raucous Italian crowd.

It was the first time that the 22-year-old has managed to beat Djokovic, on his fifth attempt, and he spoke about how it felt after the match, “It means a lot to me. When you win against the world No.1 who has won 24 Grand Slams, it’s obviously at the top. I felt like it was a really tactical match but I managed to win so I’m very happy.”

And Djokovic was full of praise for the world No.4 after losing only his third deciding set tie-break in the past 10 years, “You have to just congratulate him. He just played a fantastic match. That’s what I told him at the net. I think in the most important moments, he played his best game and he absolutely deserved to win.

“I don’t think I’ve done too many things wrong in terms of my game. He just was more decisive and courageous in the moments when he needed to be. He made some amazing points, and played exactly the shots he needed to play.”

It is only Djokovic’s sixth loss of the season, and the 24-time major winner was asked in press about whether he thought players had extra motivation to beat him.

“I don’t think there is anything strange about that. It’s normal they want to beat me. I was experiencing already these kind of feelings that every single player is motivated even more to beat me anywhere I play in the world,” said Djokovic.

He continued, “It’s normal to lose some of my matches like this, but I have to be content with the fighting spirit. I managed to make a comeback from set down, break down in the third set. Played in really challenging and difficult conditions on the court. I’m proud of the fight that I put in. It just wasn’t enough for the win.”

There was a packed crowd inside the Pala Alpitour last night, who were unsurprisingly in favour of their compatriot Sinner and booed Djokovic at certain stages throughout the match.

Djokovic actually orchestrated the crowd at points and revealed that he wasn’t surprised at the reception he received, “It was expected. Obviously with him being the only Italian in the tournament, playing in Italy, there was a big hype and a big excitement for him to play in front of his home crowd. He’s in great form. It’s normal that the crowd wanted him to win.”

This leaves the ‘Green Group’ in quite a predicament, with Djokovic actually able to win his final match against alternate Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets and still not qualify.

However, Djokovic could also lose in straight sets and qualify, with a Sinner victory over Holger Rune enough to ensure that the Serb would reach the ATP Finals semi-finals for a 12th time.

Inside the baseline…

Djokovic’s claim that players are more motivated to beat him is probably accurate, as he is the clear top dog on the ATP Tour and has been for some time. Sinner, alongside Djokovic, has been the best player on the ATP Tour in the latter stages of the 2023 season, and the Italian really showcased his recent form last night in a thrilling contest in-front of an electric home crowd.

Novak Djokovic losses in 2023

Novak Djokovic has only lost six of his 58 matches this year, with all of his defeats coming against different players:

  1. Daniil Medvedev (3) beat Djokovic, 6-4 6-4 (Dubai Semi-final)
  2. Lorenzo Musetti (16) beat Djokovic, 4-6 7-5 6-4 (Monte Carlo Masters Third Round)
  3. Dusan Lajovic beat Djokovic, 6-4 7-6(6) (Banja Luka Quarter-final)
  4. Holger Rune (7) beat Djokovic, 6-2 4-6 6-2 (Rome Masters Quarter-final)
  5. Carlos Alcaraz (1) beat Djokovic, 1-6 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)
  6. Jannik Sinner (4) beat Djokovic, 7-5 6(5)-7 7-6(2) (ATP Finals Round-Robin)

READ MORE – ATP Rankings: Draper continues climb, Ruud falls to lowest ranking since 2021

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.