By Chris Oddo | Friday, August 15, 2014
After two disappointing weeks on hard courts, Novak Djokovic was quick to admit that he's got work to do before this year's U.S. Open.
Photo Credit: Getty
After his straight-sets defeat at the hands of Tommy Robredo in Cincinnati on Thursday, Novak Djokovic was his own worst critic. The Serb, who won his seventh Grand Slam title a month ago at Wimbledon, has been out of sorts on the court since making his return after a wedding to his longtime sweetheart Jelena Ristic, and he’s the first to admit it.
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“I just don't feel comfortable. That's it,” he told reporters after failing to reach the quarterfinals in back-to-back Masters 1000 events for the first time since 2010.
Djokovic, who fell in the round of 16 in Toronto to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, has struggled to find the court in each of his four matches since Wimbledon. His unforced errors have been higher than normal, and he has looked out of sync for uncharacteristically long stretches of time. Even his world-class backhand has gone astray.
“Just many, many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts,” said the World No. 1. “It's unfortunate, but it's more than obvious I'm not playing even close to what I'm supposed to play. I have to keep on working and trying to get better for US Open.”
Despite his failings in recent weeks, Djokovic still has his trademark sense of humor. When pressed about whether or not he would do anything different during his U.S. Open preparations, he deadpanned: “Two racquets. I'm going to play with two racquets.”
On a more serious note, Djokovic says that he has no issues—injuries or otherwise—that have been keeping him down. “No, there are no real issues,” he said. “It's just that feeling the ball well on the court. That's it. You know, players that I have lost against both two weeks, they were playing just better than me. I have to deal with that. That's it.”
Regardless of what happened in Toronto and Cincinnati, Djokovic can take comfort in the fact that he’s historically risen to the challenge of playing in New York. He’s been to the finals in each of the last four years and he owns a 45-8 career record at the event, including the 2011 title.
“Obviously [I] want to peak in New York,” he said. “I have to keep on going. Grand Slam is coming up, and that's where I want to do well.”