World no. 2 Novak Djokovic will not have the opportunity to chase the fifth title at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final on Friday. The Serb took some time off the court after those tough losses at the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals, missing the opportunity to seek the year-end no.
1 spot and suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Russia in Madrid with Viktor Troicki. Novak went to Bali, exploring new cultures and playing tennis with the kids at the local Academy. Heading back to Monte Carlo, Novak started his pre-season preparations some ten days ago, taking a relaxed approach before more intense training that will shape up his game ahead of the ATP Cup and the Australian Open.
Stefanos scored a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph over Novak, wasting a massive advantage in the second set before bringing back his focus to take the tie break and gather the momentum ahead of the decider. There, the Greek broke the better-ranked opponent in the very first game and stayed in front all the time to deliver another impressive victory and set the final clash against Rafael Nadal, chasing the trophy on his Mubadala WTC debut.
"It was a two-hour match and there were a lot of great exchanges and great rallies," Djokovic said. "I'm actually very pleased with the way I'm moving on the court, but I still feel that I have a couple more gears I will be working on in the next couple of weeks.
The aim is to hit my best possible form just before the Australian Open or even for the ATP Cup. The off-season wasn't that long, and I only recently started playing tennis again, so it was positive."