Novak Djokovic drops retirement hint after agonising US Open final loss

Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.

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Novak Djokovic had an emotional end to his US Open as he left his post-match press conference in tears after losing the final to Daniil Medvedev. The Serb came into New York looking to make history as the first man in 52 years to achieve the calendar Grand Slam, and first man in history to win a record 21st Major. He fell at the final hurdle as the world No 2 lifted his first-ever Slam trophy, and later admitted he had no plans to play in the future.

Djokovic raised question marks over his future as he revealed he didn’t know whether he’d play any upcoming tournaments.

The world No 1 was understandably devastated to have missed out on the chance to write his name in the history books by becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the calendar Grand Slam.

The US Open title also would have seen him pull ahead from long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win the most Major titles for a male player in history, with the Big Three all currently tied on a record 20.

However, the pressure seemed too heavy for Djokovic in the final as he looked a shadow of his usual self on the court, appearing mostly flat while Medvedev fired huge serves past him and won most of the gruelling, longer rallies.

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The 34-year-old was gracious in defeat as the second seed won his first-ever Grand Slam title, and fought back tears during the trophy ceremony, later admitting he was overwhelmed by the huge support he received from the crowd and using his speech to tell the fans on Arthur Ashe that he “never felt like this”.

Things took a turn in his post-match press conference though, as the world No 1 hinted that he could retire as early as in the next two to three years.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he revealed he had no future plans after putting his full focus on the US Open.

“To be honest, I don’t have a plan, absolutely nothing. I don’t know whether I’ll play anything, anywhere. Right now, my mind is only here, in New York,” he said, as reported by Sasa Ozmo.

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Djokovic doubled-down on his retirement hint, admitting during the Serbian portion of his press conference that his priorities had shifted more towards his family, before leaving in tears.

The world No 1 said: “I have different priorities when you look at life as a whole. I want to spend more time with the kids, I have promised myself that…”

“My absence hurts me a lot.”

He then started tearing up and apologised, getting up and leaving the room.

It has left many to speculate whether the Serb had been considering ending on a high and retiring shortly after making history by winning the US Open, to be able to dedicate his time to his family.

His youngest child, daughter Tara, recently turned four years old while his son Stefan is now expected to be seven years old.

With Djokovic not getting any younger and some of his long-time rivals starting to reach the latter stages of his career, his words after suffering an agonising defeat in Flushing Meadows served as a hint that retirement could be a couple of years away.

Although the 34-year-old remains understandably disappointed, there’s no denying he has been the player of the season, sweeping three Grand Slam titles and reaching a record number of weeks at world No 1, and makes a strong case for the GOAT debate whenever he decides to hang up his racket.
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