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Novak Djokovic cut a frustrated figure in the US Open final on Sunday and gave everyone some unwanted flashbacks of his disqualification at the tournament last year.
Djokovic finished one victory short of completing an illusive calendar year Grand Slam, going down to Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final.
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The World No.1 was a shadow of the player who'd won 27 consecutive matches at grand slams this year, and let his frustrations spill out early in the second set.
Djokovic received a code violation when he angrily smashed his racquet after failing to convert break points at 2-1.
But just moments before the racquet smash he invoked ugly memories of his disqualification from the 2020 event.
After hitting a ball into the net, the Serbian star reeled back in anger and thought about whacking it away in disgust.
A young ball kid who had come to retrieve it would have been directly in the firing line and recoiled in shock, preparing for Djokovic to unleash.
But luckily for everyone he decided against it and disaster was avoided.
Djokovic was famously disqualified from the US Open last year when he struck a line judge in the throat with a ball that he'd swatted away in anger.
"That was a split second away from a total catastrophe," Craig O'Shannessy of the ATP Tour tweeted.
"Novak rattled. Furious. Unfocused. A nightmare scenario for him."
Fans and other pundits were also less than impressed.
Djokovic admits relief that Grand Slam quest is over
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Djokovic said he was just happy his chase for grand slam perfection in 2021 was finally over after his defeat to Medvedev.
Djokovic was left in tears after his taxing bid - both physically and emotionally - to become the first man since 1969 to win the year's four majors ended in a surprisingly one-sided loss.
"Relief," the 34-year-old Djokovic told reporters when asked what his emotions were after the match.
"I was glad it was over because the build up for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot...
"At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court."
Djokovic had said before stepping on court that he hoped to bring the "best version of myself" and promised he was "ready for the battle".
But he appeared to be running on close to empty at times on Sunday.
"My legs were not there. I was trying. I did my best," he said.
"I was below par with everything, to be honest. So just one of these days where unfortunately, yeah, wasn't meant to be."
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