Novak Djokovic had no mercy for Australia’s Alex de Minaur in their fourth-round Australian Open clash – leaving the tennis world stunned, and the Demon heartbroken.
De Minaur was captured sadly pedalling an exercise bike for his post-match cooldown and receiving a hug from girlfriend Katie Boulter after the 6-2 6-1 6-2 loss on Monday night.
For Djokovic, it was the exact type of easy match he needed, lasting just two hours – and most importantly, his injured hamstring wasn’t even an issue.
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“I didn’t feel anything today. Today was great,” Djokovic said on-court after the match.
“I thank my medical team, my physio. Thank God anybody that really helped me. Yeah, I keep on going obviously.
“I don’t want to celebrate too early. I’m still in the tournament. I was feeling very good in the first match, second match not so great. So I know that things can change really quickly. I don’t take anything for granted.
“I’m really pleased with the way I played and the way I moved today. The way I hit the ball. So let’s keep it going.”
Near the end of the match a member of the Rod Laver Arena crowd was heard yelling out with a complaint about how short the night was going to be – all because of Djokovic’s incredible form.
The match finished just after 9:30pm and while a women’s doubles match was scheduled for afterwards, it marked an early end to singles competition on day eight – especially when some nights at this year’s tournament have run past 2am, or even 4am in the case of Andy Murray’s epic win over Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Djokovic, understandably, was not quite so concerned about whether ticket-holders were getting value for money.
Asked why he beat de Minaur so convincingly, Djokovic said: “Because I wanted to.
“I cannot say I’m sorry that you haven’t watched the longer match to be honest. I really wanted to win straight sets.
“Obviously you never know what is going to happen on the court. Once you’re on the court obviously you’ve got to deal with a lot of things that are on and off the court. So I thought it the four or five games were quite close. One break of serve in the first set.
“I started feeling, I guess more loose, more free to kind of go through the ball and be more aggressive. I felt maybe he was a bit more nervous towards the end of the second and beginning of the first. I felt like it’s my opportunity to try to capitalise on
“Tennis is a very quick, very dynamic sport. Things can change in a matter of moment, matter of points. Kept my focus all the way through. Just played the best match of this year so far.
It was awesome. No doubt about it.”
The performance stunned the tennis world, including Nick Kyrgios, who remains the only Australian to have beaten Djokovic since 2006.
He quipped on Twitter: “Watching Novak tonight makes me feel good about my tennis in general (crying laugh emoji) how have I beaten this guy (crying laugh emoji)”.
Fellow Aussie John Millman responded: “I’m happy to have gotten 3 games against him at Queens… different planet tennis.”
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