For the first time in four years, Novak Djokovic will not take part in a US Open Final.
Following a remarkable turn of events on Saturday afternoon, Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori ousted the 2011 champion in four sets to become the first Japanese male singles player to reach the US Open final.
The match was far from Djokovic’s best performance, as he served poorly for the majority of the third and fourth sets. He only managed to serve with a 59% accuracy rate on his first serves and won a poor 37% of his second service points. He also hit just 38 winners to his 35 unforced errors.
“Well, what can I say?” Djokovic shrugged at the press conference. “Other than that second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be. A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. Just wasn’t myself.”
The conditions certainly did not help either player, as the humidity made for an unbearable work environment. Yet Djokovic refuses to fall back on that excuse.
“(The conditions were the) same for both players. It was not easy to play in these conditions, but also he had more hours spent on the court. So it’s no excuse.”
As for Nishikori’s remarkable performance, Djokovic believes the Japanese No. 1 proved he was confident enough to work his way through the draw when he dispatched two other top seed in five setters.
“I expected him to be able to play another five-setter because he had two days off. He hasn’t played before this tournament, so he had a big break. He could prepare himself for this tournament. He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”