Novak Djokovic recalls: 'I tried to avoid Rafael Nadal's look, as I was too weak'



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Novak Djokovic recalls: 'I tried to avoid Rafael Nadal's look, as I was too weak'

Novak Djokovic became one of the world's best players in 2007, winning his first Masters 1000 titles and reaching the first Major final in New York at 20. Novak's first Major semi-final came at Roland Garros that year, backed by another a few weeks later at Wimbledon.

Novak beat three straight rivals in the fourth set's tie break at the All England Club and stayed on the court for over nine hours against Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis in back-to-back days to reach the semis. With not a single day off since Tuesday, Novak ended his exciting Wimbledon streak against world no.

2 Rafael Nadal, retiring after trailing 3-6, 6-1, 4-1. Nadal lost serve in the opener's game two and dropped it 6-3, as Djokovic served surprisingly well considering his physical condition. Still, that was all we saw from the Serb, who got broken at the beginning of the second set and never stood a chance after barely standing on the court.

Nadal advanced into the second straight Wimbledon final when Djokovic retired after the third set's fifth game, taking ten of the previous 12 games and scoring an expected victory against the opponent who struggled with a severe blister and a back injury.

After the match, Novak said that he had to think twice about playing or not, feeling pain in the entire body and dealing with a blister for a whole night. Still, the Serb wanted to try and give his best, not even looking at Rafa at the net to hide his painful expression from the rival.

Novak Djokovic retired against Rafael Nadal in the 2007 Wimbledon semi-final.

"I have to look at things from a positive side after playing my best Wimbledon and proving my ranking position. I'm sad that I had to retire, but I could not risk even more serious injury.

I have an infected blister, and I could not sleep the last night, with bleeding and everything. I barely walked this morning, and I still had to give my everything and try to play. Doctors and physiotherapists did their best to help me, but I could not stay until the end and give a proper fight.

My back also hurts, and I'm fatigued and exhausted after two marathon matches in the previous two days. I could not endure another. I tried to avoid Rafa's look, as I did not want to show my weakness and give him an instant advantage.

I had to decide I should play or not, and I wanted to give it a try. I played on a high level in the opening set, serving well, staying aggressive and keeping the points short. Still, Rafa used the first opportunity when my serve became weaker, and there was no way back for me from there," Novak Djokovic said.