Serbia mourns with Djokovic for losing a chance to make history

September 13, 2021 2:23 P.M.

By DUSAN STOJANOVIC Associated Press
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Serbia woke up disappointed on Monday after Novak Djokovic failed in his attempt to make tennis history by becoming the first man in over 50 years to win a Grand Slam in ‘a calendar year.
Instead of the usual fireworks, honking and dancing in the streets after the previous major finals involving Djokovic, there was an ominous silence in the Serbian capital. Premier Djokovic lost to Russian opponent Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday in the US Open final.
A victory would have made Djokovic, 34, the first man to win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.
He also reportedly won a record 21st Grand Slam singles title, breaking the tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“It was now or never for the Slam calendar, but the 21st Slam is very much in sight,” Serbian tennis journalist Sasa Ozmo wrote on the SK Sporklub portal.
Djokovic’s rabid fan base was divided over what he should do next.
Some fans on social media in Serbia have called on Djokovic to retire while still leading the table, while others believe he will bounce back and be considered the greatest tennis player of all time.
“Nole, you are the greatest even without the Grand Slam calendar,” the daily Blic wrote in a headline.
“Djokovic misses a historic chance,” the N1 portal wrote, while the tabloid Kurir noted “Even a rock would cry”.
After the match, Djokovic cut short his press conference with Serbian media after bursting into tears.
“I feel disappointment and sadness because a great chance has been lost,” said Djokovic. “It is not easy to suffer such a defeat.”
Djokovic had a rare chance to win a Golden Slam this year due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. He lost to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of this tournament, but still had the chance to make history in New York with the traditional Grand Slam.
Djokovic did not say what he would do next or where he would play.
“To be honest, I have no plan. Absolutely nothing, “he said.” I don’t know if I’ll play anything, anywhere. Right now I’m here in New York with my thoughts.
“Of course my life is completely different now… I would like to spend more time with my children,” Djokovic said, bursting into tears.
Djokovic also showed rare emotion on the pitch. As his Grand Slam bid ended late in the game, he covered his face with a towel, hiding his tears during a change.
Great tennis player Boris Becker, former Djokovic coach, said the pressure to make history was too great.
“He was not mentally prepared,” Becker said, “to control his emotions.”
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