Tennis fans saw the silver lining in Novak Djokovic’s loss to Andrey Rublev at the 2022 Serbia Open
Novak Djokovic will have to wait a little while longer to win his first title of the 2022 season as the World No. 1 succumbed to a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0 loss against Andrey Rublev in the final of the Serbia Open.
The Serb looked much better this week than he did at Monte-Carlo last week and steadily improved as the tournament went on. Unfortunately, his rustiness and exhaustion of playing three three-setters on the trot caught up with him against Rublev.
After clawing his way back dramatically in the second set, the 20-time Grand Slam champion ran out of steam in the decider and fell without offering much resistance. The bagel in the third set marked only the fourth time he has been beaten 6-0 in a claycourt final — the last being at the hands of Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Roland Garros.
Most tennis fans on social media, however, were largely optimistic of the 34-year-old’s chances in the coming days. Many pointed out how the champion has improved by leaps and bounds in only the last three matches, and with more time on the tennis court, they were confident of seeing him back to his old self.
“Novak went away physically after missing on two BPs at the start of the week. Still, I feel he has gotten what he wanted from this week,” Sport klub reporter Sasa Ozmo wrote.
“Pretty similar to the Fokina match, Djokovic got outplayed in set 1, gritted through to win a tough set 2, then faded completely physically in set 3. Difference this time is Djokovic has a productive body of work to build on this week,” Matthew Willis of ‘The Racquet’ tweeted.
“Djokovic gassed in that third set but he’s still an absolute machine of an athlete. Just needs to work on winning first sets going forward and he’ll be fine. Rublev deserved this win, no doubt about it. Dude played some playstation tennis in that match,” one fan posted.
Fans on Twitter were also unanimous in their praise of Andrey Rublev, hailing the Russian for the fearless tennis he played, especially considering he was taking on the Serb in his own backyard. The victory marked the World No. 8’s 11th ATP title of his career, as well as his first ever victory over a reigning World No. 1.
“Incredible performance by Rublev. Novak fading away in the 3rd shouldn’t take away from the incredible level he played. Incredibly smart match! Would love to see more of that level,” one user tweeted.
“This is a lot more than a 250 title for Andrey, gosh. Getting a win over the world no. 1, a win over Djokovic in a final at home, is so so huge for his confidence. Can’t even explain it tbh. Wow,” another user wrote.
Novak Djokovic resumes his quest for a first ATP title in 2022 at the Madrid Masters next
Novak Djokovic will play next at the Madrid Masters
Following a disappointing end to his Serbia Open campaign, Novak Djokovic will next be seen in action at the Madrid Masters. The Serb is a three-time winner at the event, having won the 2011, 2016 and 2019 editions.
The World No. 1 will be joined in Madrid by defending champion Alexander Zverev, reigning Miami champion Carlos Alcaraz and reigning Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. More importantly, it could also be the first tournament of the year where both the 20-time Grand Slam champion and 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal play together.