Novak Djokovic's run in the first tournament of his long and difficult comeback ended in the fourth round against Hyeon Chung, who prevailed in straight sets, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6. 'He was a better player on the court tonight', the Serbian admitted.
'He deserved to win, no question about it. Whenever he was in trouble, he came up with some unbelievable shots, passing shots. Just from the back of the court, he was like a wall. It's impressive. I wish him all the best.' How is your health? 'Unfortunately, it's not great', Djokovic admitted.
'Kind of the end of the first set it (arm) started hurting more. So, yeah, I had to deal with it until the end of the match. I felt the level of pain was not that high that I need to stop the match, even though it was obviously compromising my serve.
That, of course, is a big shot, especially against Chung, who returns well, gets a lot of balls back... I wish I could have a little bit had more free points on the first serve, but I didn't. That's life. I have to move on.' Still, Djokovic takes what's positive: 'First of all, I have to say I'm very grateful I had the chance to play.
I didn't know if I'm going to play or not. So I played four matches here. It was a good tournament, of course. I mean, it's disappointing to go out in the fourth round. The circumstances are such. I have to accept it. That's the reality.
It's frustrating, of course, when you have that much time and you don't heal properly. But it is what it is. There is some kind of a reason behind all of this. I'm just trying my best obviously because I love this sport.
I enjoy training. I enjoy getting myself better, hoping that I can get better, perform and compete. Today was one of those days where, unfortunately, it was too much to deal with.' Do you think you need more time out to allow it to heal again? 'I really don't know.
Now I don't know. I have to reassess everything with my team, medical team, coaches and everybody, scan it, see what the situation is like. Last couple weeks I played a lot of tennis. Let's see what's happening inside.' 'Surgery wasn‘t an option as I was convinced by the doctors that it hadn‘t been the best option at the time', Djokovic revealed.
'If it will now appear as a possibility, I don‘t know. It‘s obvious I‘m not nearly 100% when it comes to healing this injury. I don‘t want to be put in the situation to look for short-term solutions again, that is not right Perhaps I could be looking at a longer break again.' Djokovic also largely spoke about Chung's improvements: 'He's physically stronger.
Also, as you mentioned, mature. I think he got some big matches in the last 15 months on the big stage. I think that helps to build a confidence and experience, to know what to do in deciding moments. Today he was great in those moments.
He showed no weaknesses, not many. I mean, he was really consistent, played a great match. We do play very similar. He definitely has the game to be a top-10 player, without a doubt. How far he can go, that depends on him. Obviously, I respect him a lot because he's a hard worker, he's disciplined, he's a nice guy, he's quiet.
You can see that he cares about his career and his performances. So I'm sure that he's going to get some really good results in the future.' ALSO READ: Roger Federer: 'I came here to win, I feel I can improve my tennis'