‘The Engine Can’t Work’ – Devastated Novak Djokovic Serves Out an Apology to Home-Crowd After Andrey Rublev’s Brutal Thrashing at Serbia Open 2022

Published 04/24/2022, 11:51 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 12, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his second round match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Novak Djokovic has had a turbulent year so far. Starting from the Australian Open 2022, his participation in any tournament has been under a scanner given his vaccination status and the mandate in several countries. However, as the world slowly starts to go back to pre-pandemic ways, the revision of vaccine policies is making things easier for the Serb.

Playing his third tournament this year, the World No. 1 reached the finals at the Serbia Open, a tournament that is close to his heart and birthplace. But, in a rather surprising turn of events, Djokovic ended up getting bageled in the third set even though he has fought to win the second against Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

Novak Djokovic loses the match but wins hearts


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Playing against Andrey Rublev -the second seed at the tournament, Djokovic lost the first set like he has done in all of his matches in Belgrade this year. However, unlike the last few matches, he could not win the next two sets to win what would be his 87th ATP singles title.  Rublev got the better off Novak as he clinched the match in three sets, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0.

In the post-match ceremony, Djokovic apologized to the crowd for his performance in the last set and thanked them for all their support during the tough times he’s had to go through these last few months.

He especially said that he wanted all the people who supported him to come to Belgrade because he wanted to thank them for their faith in him. “I apologize because of the way the 3rd set unfolded. It’s an individual sport, when something fails, the engine can’t work. Lots of emotions, thank you for pushing me to the finals,” he said.


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Novak Djokovic also congratulated Rublev in a heartwarming message and said that he was truly a “great champion and a great guy.”

Andrey Rublev’s 11th singles title


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Mar 18, 2022; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Andrey Rublev (RUS) celebrates during his quarterfinal match defeating Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rublev also had great words for the world no.1. “I hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us,” the Russian said.

This marks Andrey Rublev’s 11th ATP singles title and the second seed at Belgrade surely deserved it after putting up a brave fight against the 2o-time Grand Slam Champion. He saved five set points in the second set and extended it to a tie-break. After edging past Djokovic in the breaker, there is no stopping the Russian as he used that momentum to play some destructive tennis and sailed his way to victory.


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Rishma Banerjee

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Rishma Banerjee is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having done her masters in Political Science with International Relations from Jadavpur University, Rishma's outlet from the hustle-bustle of academics has always been sports, especially Tennis. A die-hard fan of Rafael Nadal, she admires his grit, determination and dedication towards always being better. When not writing content for firms dealing with fintech to social media marketing to sports, she finds herself in journals and books dealing with geopolitics and strategic studies or scrolling endlessly through Tumblr!