Novak Djokovic says there is nothing ‘strange’ in the big three losing matches because it’s not possible to play perfect tennis every week and it might even be more interesting to fans.
His comments come after the Serbian suffered a surprise early defeat in Monte-Carlo to Dan Evans, while Rafael Nadal lost in the quarter-finals to Andrey Rublev.
Djokovic had been seeded first in the tournament and Nadal third, despite going for his 11th Monte-Carlo title, and it was expected that one of, if not both, players would be in the final.
Talk of the NextGen of players coming to knock the big three off the top has been rumbling in tennis for years and inevitably when early losses happen, questions start to get raised.
But Djokovic says he’s not too concerned right now and thinks they’ve probably been a victim of their own success.
“We probably made a lot of people think that we can play perfect tennis every single week for the rest of our lives, but that’s not possible,” Djokovic said in an interview at this week’s Serbia Open.
“I don’t think there is anything strange, it’s just a bad week, [if] our opponents have a very good day, they win a tennis match. It’s as simple as that.
“I think Rafa, myself, Roger [Federer] have been very successful and dominant in the past 15 years or more and you have a new generation of tennis players coming up and we have to adapt ourselves.
“We have to understand how to improve, how to get better, how to adjust our game to this new group of players that are challenging us for the top spots of the world and for the biggest trophies in the world.
“I’m not too concerned, especially when it comes to Rafa on clay. I don’t think one or two matches or two weeks is going to change the way he plays on clay or for the upcoming tournaments.
“But obviously it’s interesting for our sport to see us maybe losing to some new players, making things a little more interesting for tennis fans.
“Obviously we don’t want to lose, I think we both want to keep that level of performance and quality of tennis really high for as long as we possibly can.”
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