Friday 20 September 2019

'It is what it is' - Novak Djokovic gives his reaction as he is booed off court at the US Open

Novak Djokovic walks off the court as he retires during his match against Stan Wawrinka
Novak Djokovic walks off the court as he retires during his match against Stan Wawrinka
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Novak Djokovic admitted he 'felt sorry' for the crowd after he was jeered off court by the New York fans as his defence of the US Open crown ended in unexpected fashion as he withdrew from his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka.

Trailing by two sets, Djokovic shook hands with Wawrinka and conceded the match when he was trailing in the third set and later confirmed he was suffering with a left shoulder injury that meant he simply could not continue.

While the New York crowd was clearly unaware of the reason for Djokovic's exit, he was booed as he left the court and gave a thumbs-up gesture in return, as he appeared to vent his annoyance.

Yet the Wimbledon champion stepped back from lambasting the spectators as he offered up this explanation for his exit.

"I'm sorry for the crowd," he said. "Obviously they came to see a full match, and it just wasn't to be. I mean a lot of people didn't know what's happening so you cannot blame them. It is what it is.

"I have a left shoulder problem. The pain was constant for weeks now, some days harder some days with less intensity. Not playing is going to help and speed up the recovery, but I don't want to talk about my injuries. I've said that in the past, and I am sticking to that."

Djokovic's injury denied him a chance to edge closer to the record number Grand Slam titles, with his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal having a chance to add to their trophy hauls at the US Open.

Federer sits at the top of the most prestigious list in tennis with 20 major titles, while Nadal is just two behind the Swiss maestro and Djokovic currently sits on 16 Grand Slams.

"It's no secret that I have a desire and a goal to reach the most Grand Slams and reach Roger's record, but at the same time it's a long road ahead hopefully for me," added the Serb.

"I hope I can play for many more years, I'm planning to. I don't see an end behind the corner at all."

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