Novak Djokovic praises Felix Auger-Aliassime: 'He deserved to beat me'



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Novak Djokovic praises Felix Auger-Aliassime: 'He deserved to beat me'

Novak Djokovic stayed away from the court for over two months following his seventh Wimbledon title. The Serb skipped the North American hard-court swing due to his vaccination status, and we saw him in action during the weekend at the fifth Laver Cup.

Like he did not miss two and a half months, Djokovic performed at a high level on Saturday. The Serb toppled Frances Tiafoe in 72 minutes and joined forces with Matteo Berrettini to deliver another point for Team Europe ahead of the deciding day.

Nonetheless, Novak's level dropped on Sunday, as he lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 34 minutes. The 21-time Major winner did not play at 100%, struggling a bit with a wrist injury and failing to match the rival's pace.

Novak praised Felix and his performance, unable to deal with the youngster's serve or baseline strokes. The Canadian landed 13 aces and converted three break chances. Novak bounced back in the second set before losing the tie break and experiencing his first loss against the Canadians in 30 encounters!

Djokovic kicked off the match with a break after Auger-Aliassime's forehand error.

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Novak Djokovic at the Laver Cup.

The Serb confirmed the break in game two before the Canadian settled into a fine rhythm.

Felix held at love in game three and pulled the break back in the next one after Novak's double fault to lock the result at 2-2. Djokovic wasted a break chance in game seven and lost serve at love in the next one after Auger-Aliassime's forehand return winner.

Felix served for the set at 5-3 and placed a winner at the net to wrap up the opener in 37 minutes. Djokovic netted a backhand at the start of the second set to find himself a set and a break down. Auger-Aliassime served well to cement the lead before spraying a forehand error in game six that brought Djokovic back to 3-3.

Felix stayed calm and landed a drop shot winner in game seven for two break chances. Novak denied them and brought the game home after Felix's volley mistake to move 4-3 ahead. The Canadian held at 15 for 4-4 and delivered two perfect holds to introduce a tie break.

The Canadian started with a mini-break after a lucky net cord winner, and Novak pulled it back in the next one. Djokovic netted a routine backhand to fall 3-1 behind before Auger-Aliassime forced his error to build a massive 5-2 advantage.

Novak sprayed a backhand error in the eighth point, and Felix seized the second match point with a forehand winner for his first win over the Serb. "Two matches I played on Saturday probably affected my performance. Against Felix, I could not serve as fast or as accurately as I would like to, which was evident in my game.

Of course, I can not take anything away from Felix's victory. He served extremely well and was rock-solid from the back of the court. He deserved to beat me, no doubt," Novak Djokovic said.