Djokovic in action at the Serbia Open – Image Courtesy: tennisworldusa.org
The World No. 1 lost the first set for the third time in as many matches, but went on to prevail against an opponent he now has a 6-1 head-to-head record against.
In an on-court interview after his semi-final encounter, the Serb stated that he was getting closer to the level he wanted to be at. He was full of praise for the home crowd and said “there is no better feeling than being here in front of you.”
“I played probably the best tennis maybe this week. Congratulations to Khachanov on the fight. I wish him all the best. I am glad that I played like this before the most important match of the tournament, which is tomorrow in the final,” he said.”Getting closer and closer. At times, I played the way I wanted to. I said earlier that clay is the only surface and that you need a lot of matches, and I played fewer of them,” he continued. “It is somehow a challenge to get back in shape, but on the wings of the support of the audience, I managed to turn it around today and thank you very much, I love you and it is best to play here. There is no better feeling than being here in front of you.”
Novak Djokovic says he’s no longer hampered by a lack of match practice
During the same interview, Djokovic was emphatic that he was running well enough to be at his best and no longer feels hampered by a lack of match practice.
“I’m already feeling quite comfortable on the court. I was running enough to be at my best, I don’t think the lack of matches plays a role (anymore),” he said.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion did note, however, that he had to start better after having to come back from a set down in all three matches he has played this week.
“Happy holiday to you all! I wish you all the best, above all health, especially lately we have been thinking more about it,” Djokovic said. “As for the match, it seems like it’s a routine to go out and lose the first set. I think I have lost five matches in a row. I will have to change something, to start better, although I would not complain about losing the first set tomorrow and winning.”
Djokovic will square off against Andrey Rublev in the final on Sunday. The Russian has had a much easier time of it this week, having dropped just one set en route to the final.