A monumental event of massive significance awaited the Davis Cup audience on Saturday. After Miomir Kecmanovic emerged victorious in his first-round match, a pivotal moment of significance unfolded.
None were as momentous and popular as Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, who had already battled it out twice in two weeks before this meeting. Being two of the top-five players in the world, their meeting on the center court promised a thrilling performance. Djokovic aimed to maintain his focus and avoid any disruptions from rowdy fans, as he had experienced before.
Djokovic’s stern warning to British fans
On Thursday, Novak Djokovic had ensured his team’s progression to the semifinal by beating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in a tension-filled encounter that had the Serb letting out an uncharacteristic bellow of aggression both on the court and off it to quieten an unruly British crowd present in the stands.
Through much of the course of the match, Great Britain’s supporters were loudly making their preferred team of choice apparent by jeering the Serbian players. It was Miomir who first faced it, and Novak Djokovic wasn’t spared the acrimony as well.
However, the 36-year-old, who was recently crowned Nitto ATP Finals champion for a record seventh time, felt their behavior went overboard when they continued jeering him during his post-match interview and long after Serbia had defeated Great Britain.
“Shut up, be quiet!”, Novak yelled at the crowd in an attempt to hush them. He screamed at them to respect the players present and was enraged by their treatment of the opposition.
“It’s common for fans to cross the line, and in those intense moments, you sometimes respond to show that such behaviour is not acceptable. They can do what they want, but I will react accordingly,” he stated later.
Italy, Serbia’s opponent in the semifinal, also showed their vocal and sonorous support for their team. Novak Djokovic experienced a chorus of boos from the Turin home crowd during his recent match against Sinner at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Novak Djokovic suffers shocking defeat vs Sinner
The highly anticipated match arrived at a crucial moment following Lorenzo Musetti’s unexpected loss to Kecmanovic in the first match. There was an extra layer of elite rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Sinner.
In an exciting match lasting 2 and a half hours, Sinner surprised Djokovic with a score of 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, leading Italy to the final. In the doubles match that followed, Sinner once again emerged victorious over Djokovic, securing a 2-1 victory for Italy.
Novak, who has had an incredible season of achievements including a record eight times as year-end world no.1, was expected to triumph given that he had just defeated Sinner in the final of the Nitto ATP Finals in Italy.
However, Sinner sprung off the blocks with supreme speed and quality as he broke Djokovic multiple times in the first set. An ace across the court from the Italian sealed the first set and set Djokovic up with a massive challenge. Djokovic, as he proved many times during his career, demolished Sinner in the second set and obtained revenge by breaking his lanky opponent early on.
The final set proved to be a humdinger and eventually, after a slew of service games won, Sinner broke Djokovic and served out the match.
“For me personally it’s a huge disappointment, because I take the responsibility, obviously having three match points, being so close to win it. Yeah, it’s unfortunate really. This is sport. When you lose for your country, the bitter feeling is even greater,” Djokovic said afterward.
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