Novak Djokovic at centre of staggering new revelation after loss at Australian Open

The World No.1's loss to Jannik Sinner was the first time he's failed to convert a semi-final appearance into the title.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic was dumped out of the Australian Open by Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals. Image: Getty

Reports coming out of Serbia have claimed that Novak Djokovic battled a fever the night before his loss to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open, and was far from 100 per cent during the match. Djokovic battled illness throughout the tournament, but told reporters that he was getting better with every day that passed.

After his win in the fourth round he said he was basically over the sickness, but it appears as though he might have been struck down by a setback. Quotes attributed to Serbian journalist Luka Nikolic have been doing the rounds on social media, with Djokovic fans leaping at the opportunity to explain his loss.

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“He got a fever the night before the semi-final,” Nikolic reportedly said this week. “Something similar to what (Alexander) Zverev had.

“He was sick for three weeks, and then he had a relapse. That’s why he played so badly in the first two sets, you could see he was so weak and couldn’t do it. He couldn’t play well in those conditions. He didn’t want to go to the doctor so the journalists wouldn’t bother him and make a fuss.”

Djokovic had never previously lost at the Australian Open when making the semi-finals. Prior to his loss to eventual champion Sinner, the 24-time grand slam champion had converted all 10 of his semi-final appearances at the Australian Open into titles.

But Sinner did something that no one else has ever managed to achieve against Djokovic - on multiple fronts. As well as handing him his first loss in an Australian Open semi-final, Sinner also managed the never-before-seen feat of not giving Djokovic a single break point opportunity in the entire match.

Novak Djokovic derides worst match of his grand slam career

It marked the first time in the Serb's 415-match grand slam career (dating back to 2005) that he didn't get a look at a single break point. The 36-year-old was blown off the court by a fresh Sinner in the first two sets, but managed to grab the third.

But Sinner proved too good in the fourth to prevail 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-3. Speaking to reporters after the match, Djokovic said it was the worst match he's ever played at grand slam level.

"Probably that stat says a lot," he said about the fact he didn't get a single break point. "First of all, he was serving very accurately and precisely. He was backing up his serve very well.

"For myself, it's hard to describe ... we don't have that much time. There's a lot of negative things that I've done on the court today in terms of my game that I'm not really pleased with, (be that) movement or forehand, backhand.

"Everything, you know, was just sub-par. He was very dominant, dominant on his service games. If you serve well and if you don't face a break point, it plays with the mind of your opponent."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here during his loss to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic looks on during his loss to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The World No.1 had also won his previous 33 matches on Rod Laver Arena. "He's deservedly in the final. He outplayed me completely today," Djokovic said of Sinner.

"I was shocked with my level, in a bad way. There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets. I guess this is one of the worst grand slam matches I've ever played, at least that I remember.

"It's not a very pleasant feeling playing this way. But at the same time, credit to him for doing everything better than me, you know, in every aspect of the game.

"I tried, I fought. I managed to raise the level a little bit in the third, saved match point, played a good tiebreak. But again, in the fourth set, it was a very bad game to lose, 40-0 up on 1-2, and against the wind a little bit. Just overall the ... level of my tennis was really not great."

with AAP

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