Defeated Djokovic can't mask fears over father

 

Paris

Twenty-four hours after talking about the remarkable run of consistency that will see him reclaim the world No 1 ranking next week, Novak Djokovic lost his opening match in a tournament for the first time in two and a half years when he was beaten by Sam Querrey here at the Paris Masters yesterday.

In the latter stages of his 0-6, 7-6, 6-4 defeat Djokovic played as if his mind was on other matters and it emerged that his father, Srdjan, is being treated in a Belgrade hospital for what is said to be an acute respiratory illness. It was reported that Djokovic returned home briefly to see him at the start of this week. Speaking after his defeat, Djokovic refused to answer questions about his father, but admitted: "I travelled a lot. Let's call it that way, even though I was here."

There were conflicting reports from Serbia about his father's condition. Blic, a Belgrade newspaper, reported that he had been diagnosed last week with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening form of pneumonia, and quoted a hospital source as saying: "The situation is really grave because in almost 80 per cent of cases it may end fatally."

It was also reported that Srdjan was suffering from sepsis, an acute illness caused by the body overreacting to an infection. However, the Bloomberg news agency said Srdjan might be discharged in 10 days' time and quoted Goran Djokovic, his brother, as saying: "Srdjan has pulled through. The worst is behind him."

There have been reports that Djokovic himself has been suffering with a stomach problem, perhaps brought on by worries over his father's health. Without going into any details, Djokovic admitted after his defeat that he had feared his energy levels would be low in the match.

"During the second set I already felt that physically I'm down, and I struggled in every game," he said. "It was a little bit of everything really. I'd rather not talk about it because it's going to sound like I'm excusing myself for the loss. Sam played very well."

The situation will cast doubt over Djokovic's fitness and frame of mind going into next week's year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which start in London on Monday. However, the Serb did point out that losing early here should help him to recover in time for the year-ending finale at the O2 Arena.

"I have a little bit more time to rest because I had a really difficult period in the last couple of weeks," he said. "Some things happened and a lot of things have been on my mind and I have had things to do, so right now I just need a couple of days' rest before London."

He added: "There is no guarantee that you can be 100 per cent, especially at this time of year. The players have played so many matches and are obviously struggling to be fresh, but you're trying to find that last drop of strength, mental and physical, in order to play your best. These are big tournaments and there is definitely no compromising, no thinking of maybe skipping the event or playing less or saving energy in order to play well in London. So it was never the case for me. I tried all the way through to the end of this match, but I had a better opponent and I move on."

Djokovic's consistency has been such that this was the first knock-out event for exactly two years in which he has failed to reach the quarter-finals. The last time he lost first time out at a tournament was the Miami Masters in March 2010. His defeat left Andy Murray – who was playing Paul-Henri Mathieu later last night – as the only member of the game's top four players left in the tournament, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal having withdrawn through injury. The last occasion when anyone other than Roger Federer, Djokovic, Murray or Rafael Nadal won a Masters Series tournament was when Robin Soderling triumphed here in 2010.

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected