Novak Djokovic is ‘in pain’ after US Open incident, says former coach

That is the considered of his buddy and previous coach Radek Stepanek, and former entire world No. 1 Jim Courier.

There would not have been as several gamers in new heritage as powerful a preferred to land a big than Djokovic in New York this yr, given his dominance — unbeaten in 2020 — and the absence of his two largest rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, however, was defaulted Sunday when he strike a ball that inadvertently struck a line choose in the throat. Aggravation bought the improved of the 17-time grand slam winner immediately after missing three set points in the initial in opposition to Pablo Carreno Busta, hurting his remaining shoulder in a drop and then getting broken to path 5-6 in a frantic 10-minute spell.

He later apologized on social media.

Novak Djokovic tends to a line judge who he hit with the ball.

‘He is incredibly sad inside’

Stepanek is a huge lover of Djokovic but he had no issue with the conclusion event officials made.

The Czech, who coached Djokovic along with Hall of Famer Andre Agassi for a number of months from 2017 to 2018, suspected the Serb was suffering.

“I know he is pretty sad within himself and he is in pain,” Stepanek, a former world No. 8 and a Davis Cup hero for the Czech Republic, instructed CNN. “He is in ache since it was unintentional and, in that moment, the pain is even larger.

“And it can be hard for him since we know how hungry he is to become the participant with the most grand slams. I think he felt — absolutely everyone felt — this 1 should really be for him, reachable.

“All these situation make it pretty unhappy for him and in the initially minute, vacant, because I consider he himself understood that it was erroneous that she acquired hit.

“Naturally the pressure on him and the criticism he is acquiring over time, it truly is tough. He is striving to do the best he can. He might be by the finish of his job the finest of all time. We are all human beings. We have a ideal to make a slip-up.”

When it was pointed out to Stepanek that Djokovic could possibly have built a couple mistakes, he didn’t disagree.

“We make our own globe and mistakes,” said Stepanek, who irked an opponent or two all through his career but was one particular of the most entertaining players of his technology. “We have to settle for the end result of it.”

For the time currently being, Stepanek mentioned Djokovic is likely trying to get refuge with all those nearest and dearest to him. They would contain his spouse, Jelena, and their two young young children.

“I think he is likely to go back to his household and the closest ones to sense in the secure surroundings,” said Stepanek. “Be with his cherished ones. I think that a person of his major strengths is his mental electrical power.

“No make a difference how unhappy and vacant he is appropriate now — and from what I know, it is extremely deep for the reason that he is a deep emotion man or woman and he is delicate — he is also tricky on himself correct now. I feel the detail that gets him out of this will be acquiring back again to operate.”

Djokovic with his former coach Radek Stepanek in 2018.

Cathartic return

Djokovic is envisioned to return to action at the upcoming Italian Open up in Rome ahead of his physical appearance at the French Open up, which was pushed again from its customary slot in late May perhaps to September 27 in Paris due to the fact of the pandemic.

“He’ll have a clay court docket party to emphasis on that begins in a week’s time and he’ll need to get completely ready for that, adjust surface area from tough to the clay,” Courier explained to CNN.

“That could be cathartic for him, to have a little something so speedily to be able to support him put guiding this unlucky incident.

“The lousy news for him is that he’s out of the US Open up but the great news for him is the French Open is appropriate close to the corner and he’ll have the prospect to convert the website page and go on.”

With 12 titles, Nadal will be the heavy beloved at Roland Garros, all over again, but Djokovic should not be discounted. He is one of only two players to defeat the Spaniard at Roland Garros, together with Robin Soderling.

There is much at stake in Paris regarding the grand slam file publications. If Nadal adds to his unbelievable haul, he would tie Federer atop the men’s record with 20 majors. Djokovic would get to within just two majors of Federer — who is recovering from knee surgical procedure and is not going to perform once more this period — for the very first time if he triumphs.

Roland Garros two a long time in the past proved to be instrumental to Djokovic’s renaissance immediately after an elbow harm and dip in drive. Miffed at exiting in the quarterfinals to Marco Cecchinato when he had 1 prospect soon after a different, he subsequently won Wimbledon and had bagged 3 of the earlier 5 grand slams.

“It really is likely to be intensive for rather some time with what took place, but I think when he receives again on court docket and gets his eye on the possible trophy that he will concentrate on what he is carrying out and he will get robust all over again,” mentioned Stepanek.

Profitable back followers

Djokovic was already trailing Federer and Nadal when it arrived to lover support prior to his miscue on Sunday. His matches towards the Swiss at Wimbledon and at the yr-stop championships in London are just some examples.

But Stepanek isn’t ruling out an uptick.

“He is finished a great deal for tennis,” stated the 41-yr-aged.

“I consider people today will love him, some other folks will not like him, it’s all particular person. Obviously we know that Roger and Rafa are a lot more well-known, but if he picks up, you never know what the foreseeable future holds.

“I lived it for 20-in addition many years on the tour and you you should not know what tomorrow retains. You hardly ever know what can happen.”

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