World No. 1 Novak Djokovic claimed he didn't play bad in the third set tie-break but rather Dominic Thiem played an "unreal tennis" and that was the main reason why the Serb was sent out packing out of the Nitto ATP Finals.
Djokovic, who was aiming to lift his sixth Nitto ATP Finals title this year, was edged out by Thiem in a thriller as the Austrian won 7-5 6-7 (10) 7-6 (5) to progress into the final at The O2 Arena. Djokovic saved four match points in the second set tie-break, before converting his own fourth set point to force a decider.
Djokovic appeared to be cruising toward a big comeback win as he led 4-0 after the opening four points of the third-set tie-break. Shockingly, Djokovic then dropped the following six points as Thiem took a 6-4 lead, before he realized his fifth match to claim a huge win.
"Well, yeah, I mean, what he did from 0-4 in the third-set tiebreaker was just unreal. I mean, I don’t think I played bad," Djokovic said after the match, per Metro UK. "Actually, I made both of my first serves, actually all of my first serves.
4-1, 4-2, 4-5, you know, 4-6, I made all first serves. "He just crushed the ball. Everything went in from both corners, and he played couple of very short slices, you know, angles. "Yeah, I mean, what can you do? I mean, I was in a driver’s position at 4-Love.
I thought, you know, I was very close to win it. Yeah, I mean, he just took it away from me. "But he deserved it, because he just went for it and everything worked."
Djokovic shows class after losing to Thiem
Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, gave credit to Thiem for the way he stepped up in the third-set tie-break.
"I mean, you know, the difference was that when you hit full power and everything goes in, it just goes in. When you hit full power, sometimes it goes out. So simple. "He, just as I said, he did everything right from 0-4.
I mean, I have to put my hats down and say, Congratulations. "I actually didn’t play bad any point after 4-Love. I thought I was, every point, I was in it. I did hit the ball, I was not pushing it, but he just, yeah, he smashed it and he just played great."