Novak Djokovic says he can only ever be angry at himself when he loses, and he is keen to find out why he was beaten before Roland Garros.
Djokovic lost an absolute epic of a semi-final against Aslan Karatsev at the Serbia Open on Saturday, and gave the Russian a ‘thumbs up’ gesture after the match in appreciation of his performance.
It was a second surprise defeat in 10 days for Djokovic after he was beaten by Dan Evans in Monte-Carlo.
However, he is never reluctant to give his opponents credit, and he proved that again in Belgrade.
“Well, I’m upset with myself, but I cannot be upset with my opponent,” Djokovic told Ana Mitric after the match. “You know, he was just better.”
“That’s how I’ve been brought up and that’s how I feel is right to kind of think about this kind of act, I guess.
“At the end of the match, you just shake hands, you congratulate your opponent for winning against you.
“Particularly in today’s performance, Karatsev showed a lot of courage, and that’s why I gave him a thumbs-up – because I felt like he deserved to win.
“We were both fighting all the way through, but he just went for his shots when he needed it, and he came up with the goods.
“Then, once the final point is done, there is obviously never bad blood. We are rivals on the court but I don’t hate anybody.
“I can’t be upset with seeing him if he beat me; I have been upset with myself and questioned myself why I lost the match, but whoever beats me deserves credit and I give him that.”
Despite the loss, Novak Djokovic still believes it was a good week for him in Serbia, but he knows what his big goal is in the coming weeks.
“It was a good week, a successful tournament, I hope it will be a good final tomorrow.
“I hope to play [well] in 4-5 weeks, but we will see. Roland Garros is the goal, I want to play my best there.
“I have to progress, I want to play better than here and in Monte Carlo. Sometimes a match is lost, but it’s a sport.”
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