Novak Djokovic failed to win his seventh title at Paris-Bercy as he was beaten by a wild Holger Rune in the final. The former World No. 1 was up a set and squandered several chances throughout the match, including a break lead in the third set.
At the press conference, Nole himself admitted that he made some unusual mistakes and that he failed to put his usual energy into his punches. The Serbian phenomenon has had a rather turbulent season, due to his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus.
The 35-year-old from Belgrade had to miss the Australian Open and the US Open, in addition to suffering serious image damage. The Serbian lifted his 2022 by triumphing at Wimbledon for the fourth time in a row, the seventh in history.
Goran Ivanisevic's protégé thus equaled his idol Pete Sampras and reached 21 Slams, just one length behind his eternal rival Rafael Nadal. A video has gone viral on social media showing Djokovic's physical therapist Ulises Badio preparing a "secret" drink for the Serb during the Bercy semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Through his Twitter profile, John Millman came out in defense of Nole: "There has been a completely unjustified uproar over that video of Djokovic's physio making a drink. I think it's a ridiculous issue. Inside the locker room, the physical therapists prepare many drinks for the players.
There is nothing strange or secret about it. Djokovic's team wanted to prevent the cameras from framing the brand of the product."
Patrick McEnroe on Nole Djokovic
Patrick McEnroe was quick to opine that the 19-year-old Dane Holger Rune would not have been able to beat the Serb Novak Djokovic if the final had been a best-of-five match.
"This guy (Holger Rune) is a phenomenal athlete, amazing legs, incredible shot selection, just overall an electric player to watch," McEnroe said. "But I don't see him beating Djokovic in best-of-5 in Australia. Of course, he can do some work in the next few months, which I expect he'll do.
But the point is, if the Australian Open started next week, to me Djokovic is the solid favorite," he stated. "It's been proven over the last few years, especially that it's a lot harder to beat Rafa and Novak in best-of-5 if they're healthy and ready to go.
We've seen them get picked off in these events and more so in the last 3-5 years, by Tsitsipas' and Zverevs. But to do it in best-of-5? That's why for Rune, he's going to have to put in a little bit more work physically," suggested McEnroe.