'I just wasn't myself', says Djokovic after stunning loss

Sat Sep 6, 2014 6:54pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic had no explanation for his flat performance in a stunning semi-final loss to Japan's Kei Nishikori at the U.S. Open on Saturday.

"I think he just played better in these conditions than I did," the Serb said of the 6-4 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3 setback in brutal heat and humidity on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I just wasn't managing to go through the ball in the court," Djokovic told reporters.

"I wasn't in balance. Unforced errors. Even when the ball gets back to his part of the court it's pretty short; he takes advantage of it. On the other side I didn't. That's it.

"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."

Straining to make sense of his showing, reporters asked seven-times grand slam champion Djokovic whether he has been distracted by the approaching birth of his first child.

"Of course, I'm in touch with my wife. Of course, I am being part of her pregnancy. It's normal," he said. "But it's no different for me in terms of preparing for the match and for the tournament.

"I had all my dedication, everything directed to this U.S. Open. I tried to give my best and I did. Now my best today was not where I wanted it to be."   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts to a missed point against Kei Nishikori of Japan during their semi-final match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2014.        REUTERS/Mike Segar