Novak Djokovic's classy act after opponent leaves Wimbledon in tears

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here paying a classy tribute to Denis Shapovalov after their Wimbledon semi-final.
Novak Djokovic paid a classy tribute to Denis Shapovalov after their Wimbledon semi-final. Image: Eurosport/Getty

Novak Djokovic has paid a classy tribute to Denis Shapovalov after his vanquished opponent left Wimbledon in tears on Friday.

Shapovalov took it to Djokovic and had the World No.1 on the ropes for much of their semi-final showdown at the All England Club.

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But Djokovic showed why he's a 19-time grand slam champion, repelling Shapovalov time and time again to march into the final with a 7-6(3) 7-5 7-5 victory.

Shapovalov was in tears as he left Centre Court, knowing he played out of his skin and still couldn't take a set off the World No.1.

As for Djokovic, he showed his class by joining the crowd in a standing ovation as Shapovalov left the court, before paying tribute to the young Canadian in his post-match interview.

"I don't think the scoreline says enough about the performance or the match," Djokovic said.

"He was serving for the first set and was probably the better player, had many chances.

"I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything he has done today and also this two weeks.

"We are going to see a lot of him in the future, he is a great player."

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Shapovalov rues missed chances against Djokovic

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Shapovalov said he knew how close he was to causing a major shock and knocking Djokovic out.

For a few crucial points here and there No.10 seed Shapovalov could have been planning for a Sunday showdown against Italian Matteo Berrettini.

"I think what hurt so much this time was just that I felt like the game is there and it's possible to go and play for the trophy," Shapovalov said.

"It's a feeling I've never had before, so that's why it just hurt so much.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here applauding Denis Shapovalov following their match at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic applauded Denis Shapovalov as he left the court following their match at Wimbledon. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"I felt like I was outplaying Novak in parts of the match. If you're outplaying Novak, you can beat anyone.

"In terms of how I felt after the match, it sucked. I felt terrible. And I still do feel terrible.

"I felt like I had chances today. I felt like it could have gone my way. So the fact that it didn't, it's heartbreaking."

When Shapovalov needed five sets to beat German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round it lit the fuse for his best run at a grand slam.

He outclassed two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in round three, then did the same to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.

On Wednesday he overcame Russian powerhouse Karen Khachanov in another five-setter, but Djokovic proved a step too far.

"It's been a long month. It's been a long two weeks. It's been a lot of pressure, a lot of mental fatigue. It all kind of spilled out on the court," Shapovalov said.

"For sure there's a lot of things to be proud for myself. 

"For sure it's almost good to have a little bit of a taste because it just makes me want it that much more going into the next slams and into the future.

"Now I know exactly what I'm capable of and where my game can be at. If anything, this has made me more hungry to try to win a trophy."

with AAP

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