Novak Djokovic: “Hats off to Aslan Karatsev – he was bold and deserved to win”

Novak Djokovic hailed Aslan Karatsev, saying the Russian ‘deserved’ to beat him in their epic Serbian Open clash.

Djokovic and Karatsev were on court for three-and-a-half hours on Saturday, with the latter earning a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 success.

The world number one was short of his best, although he still carved out an incredible 28 break points during the match. Unfortunately for him, Karatsev saved 23 of them.

Afterwards, though, Djokovic was not interested in excuses, simply conceding that on the day Karatsev was a worthy winner.

“Hats off to Karatsev, he was bold and deserved to win,” Djokovic told an online news conference.

“I will probably not be able to recollect all the memorable rallies in this match because I lost.

“I am not happy with my performance, I put up a fight but he delivered great shots every time he needed to.

“I was unlucky at times, it all came down to one or two shots but I had too many ups and downs throughout the match.”

Karatsev, meanwhile, understandably was delighted with the win, which underlined his amazing progress this year.

“This is definitely the most important victory of my career,” he said.

“At the Australian Open in Melbourne I felt like I was playing against a wall but this is a different surface and I was focused.”

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