Defending champion Djokovic out of Wimbledon
Originally published on 02/07/16 00:00
The world No.1’s pursuit of the calendar year Grand Slam came to an end in dramatic fashion as he suffered his earliest defeat at a major in seven years.
In a match that lasted two days and was heavily disrupted by rain, No.28 seed Querrey won a tense fourth set tiebreak to seal an unlikely 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 7-6(5) victory on No.1 Court.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic, who completed his career Grand Slam at Roland Garros last month, was bidding to become the first man to win all four majors in the same season since Rod Laver in 1969, but the Serb refused to focus on his missed opportunity.
“I believe in positive things in life,” said Djokovic after suffering his earliest defeat at a major since his straight-sets defeat to Philipp Kohlschreiber at the 2009 French Open. “I managed to win four Grand Slams in a row two different seasons, though. I want to try to focus on that rather than on failure.
“It's an amazing feeling to be able to hold four Grand Slams at the same time. Coming into Wimbledon, I knew that mentally it's not going to be easy to kind of remotivate myself. But the importance of this tournament is so immense that you always find ways to really get inspired and prepare and try to give your best. Obviously my best wasn't enough this year.”
Querrey had taken an unlikely two sets to love lead on Friday, but when play resumed on Saturday, Djokovic stormed out of the blocks, racing to a 4-0 lead in the third set before play was interrupted once again for rain. Despite being broken when serving for the third set at 5-1, Djokovic served it out at the second attempt before another rain delay after two games in the fourth set.
Querrey, who served 31 aces in the match, including 15 in the final set, produced some big serves at crucial moments to save 11 break points in the fourth set before Djokovic converted a 12th to finally break for a 5-4 lead and the chance to force a deciding set. But Querrey, who had seven break points of his own in the fourth set, broke straight back before holding for a 6-5 lead, only for the rain to return once again.
With play suspended and Djokovic potentially just four points from defeat, the Serb showed impressive poise on his return to the court to win his service game to love to force a fourth set tiebreak. Djokovic led 3-1 in the tiebreak, but a wayward forehand saw his streak of 28 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals come to an end.
“It’s disappointing, of course, losing at a Grand Slam hurts more than any other tournament,” said Djokovic. “There is no doubt about that.
“[But] It’s not the first time that I’m losing a Grand Slam match. I know what to do. I know what to do. First things first: just to put my mind at ease and just relax. I’ll think about something different.
“Thankfully I have a family and a life outside of tennis. I have plenty of things to look forward to. I’m obviously going to pay more attention to those things than tennis in the next period. I need it. It’s been a very successful year so far, but a very long, and exhausting one. I just need some rest.”