Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic failed to win it all at the Rome Masters but he was happy with the fighting spirit he showed in the Italian capital.
Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, fell just short of claiming a comeback win against Rafael Nadal in the Rome final as the Spaniard won 7-5 1-6 6-3.
Djokovic was down by a set and a break when his quarterfinal match against Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended due to rain.
When the match continued, Djokovic won the second set to force a decider — in which he was twice down by a break.
Tsitsipas was even serving out for the match but Djokovic kept his focus and broke back the Greek in the decisive moments.
“I could have easily went out from this tournament in quarters,” Djokovic said, per Tennis Majors. “I’m very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually. Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played a high level. Unfortunately decisive moments in the first and third set, you know, just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate.”
Djokovic had his chances against Nadal
After saving a break point in the third game of the second set, Djokovic dominated the rest of the set to win the set and force a decider.
Djokovic failed to convert any of his two break points in the fifth game of the third set, before Nadal claimed the lone break of the set in the sixth game.
“Didn’t capitalize on that breakpoint in 2-All,” Djokovic said. “Next game I played against the wind with used balls. Just tough, you know, to play him from that side. … Yeah, just was a bit unfortunate in those moments, but overall almost three hours of high-quality tennis. Of course I’m disappointed not to win it, but at the same time I’m very pleased with the level of tennis that I managed to find in the later stages of this tournament.”