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Novak: Roger Did Everything Right


World No. 2 Novak Djokovic came up second best to Roger Federer—and saw his quest for the year-end top spot end.

An aggressive Federer fired 12 aces, served 73 percent and erased the only break point he faced sweeping Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to soar into ATP Finals semifinals and end Djokovic's bid for a record-tying sixth year-end No. 1 ranking.

More: Federer Stops Djokovic 

Rafael Nadal will become the oldest year-end No. 1 in history as he secures his fifth year-end No. 1 ranking.

The 38-year-old Swiss snapped a five-match losing streak to Djokovic, avenging a gut-wrenching loss in the Wimbledon final that saw Djokovic fight off two championship points.

How did six-time champion Federer beat Djokovic for the first time since 2015?

Simply put, Federer was betterer, said the second seed.

"Realistically he was better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win," Djokovic told the media in London.. "He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn't read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side."




Djokovic downplayed the pressure of pursuing the world No. 1 ranking as a factor in defeat.

"[No. 1] was on the line. Of course that was a big motivation also for the end of the season, but, I mean, every time you step on the court there is something on the line," Djokovic said. "I mean, at least on the highest level in tennis. So, you know, I feel pressure and excitement all the time, every single match, especially if I play against the best players in the world."

Afterward, Djokovic said he felt sharp elbow pain at the start of the second set, but hopes it will not prevent him from leading Serbia in next week's Davis Cup final.

"I hope it's nothing that will really unable me to play Madrid," Djokovic said. "You know, the pain was pretty sharp. But I could play the rest of the match, so, you know, if I had something really serious, I think I wouldn't be able to hold the racquet."

The 32-year-old Serbian said this premature end to his World Tour Finals will sting.

"I'm not happy with the way I finished the season," Djokovic said. "I mean, obviously this is not the way I want to play on the court, first of all. You've got to accept that you have these kind of days and move on.

"If I have to draw the line, I think it was still a very good season, winning two slams and five titles. Of course I'm still hot-headed off the court, but all in all, it was a good season."

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

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