Novak Djokovic shrugged off his heaviest career defeat on Friday by insisting he had achieved his goal of wrapping up the year-end world number one spot for a record-equalling sixth time. The Serb admitted that securing the World No 1 record played a part in the motivation during the loss.
Djokovic was stunned 6-2, 6-1 by Italian lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter-finals of the Vienna ATP tournament, his heaviest loss in a three-set match. This was only the third loss for Djokovic in 2020 as compared to 39 wins.
But having won two rounds, 33-year-old Djokovic is virtually guaranteed equalling Pete Sampras’s record of securing the year-ending top ranking for the sixth time, breaking the tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“Clinching the year-end number one had an effect on me,” Djokovic told a news conference.
“I have done what I came here for, securing the number one. And I’m completely fine with today’s result. I’m healthy and looking forward to a strong finish in London (the season-ending ATP Finals)“.
Italian Sonego, ranked 42 and who had initially lost in qualifying last weekend, is the first lucky loser ever to beat Djokovic. The only other time Djokovic had won just three games was at the 2005 Australian Open at the hands of Marat Safin in a best-of-five set encounter.
Djokovic can only be denied the end of year world number one ranking if Nadal takes an unlikely wild card into the Sofia tournament next month. The Spaniard has already said, however, that travelling to Bulgaria after next week’s Paris Masters and before London is not on his agenda.
This therefore raised questions over Djokovic’s unlikely performance. Here’s a look at what the tennis community said about the loss on Twitter.
With AFP Inputs