Djokovic blames fatigue for loss to Medvedev

During their much-anticipated match on Wednesday, Novak Djokovic looked out of sorts as he battled Daniil Medvedev in the group stage of the Nitto ATP Finals.

The World No.1 lacked the firepower and accuracy that has seen him terrorize many an opponent, as he was simply overpowered by the Russian. Medvedev required just 81 minutes to defeat the Serbian 6-3 6-3, to acquire a 2-0 record and seal his place in the semifinals.

Although Djokovic's performance was far from his best, it was noted that his breathing seemed labored during a portion of the match. The Serbian addressed this during his post-match interview, where he seemed to be in better spirits.

“Well, I was, to be honest not feeling well a little bit, especially towards the end of the first set, beginning of the second,” said Djokovic. “I kind of regrouped and felt better… towards the end of the match. But, yeah, just unfortunate 15, 20 minutes for me that resulted with seven games in a row lost… I made some unforced errors. I dropped the level of my game and fitness just in general. I struggled to… find the right rhythm for 15 minutes or so…You know, against a player like Medvedev, the match is done.”

Regardless of the outcome, Djokovic still had praise for Medvedev and credited the Russian for maintaining a high level throughout the match.

“I cannot allow these things to happen when you're playing one of the top players of the world,” he said. “He was just better, no question about it… He's serving tremendously well, moving great. He didn’t give me too many unforced errors and free points. Yeah, I mean, just not a great match from my side. I thought I could have and should have done better, but credit to him for playing on a high level.”

The 33-year old went on to reveal that Medvedev's aggressive groundstrokes were very impressive, particularly his first serve and backhand.

“He's a tall guy and he moves well, he rarely misses backhands, and he's just a smart player, very smart player,” Djokovic added. “He knows how to make you run, make you play, and he always asks additional shots from the back of the court… from his opponent. If you start making unforced errors and maybe if you're not playing at your best, he uses it. You know, he was a better player. He deserved to win, no doubt about it.”

With this loss, the Australian Open champion falls to 1-1 in Group Tokyo 1970. His final opponent in the round-robin stage is Alexander Zverev, with both men vying for a spot in the semifinals. Zverev overcame a strong effort from Diego Schwartzman to keep his qualification hopes alive, and the winner of their Friday clash will advance from the group stage.

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