“Changed Over the Underwear”: Novak Djokovic Reveals How He Turned Around the Battle Against Lorezo Musetti at French Open 2021

Published 06/07/2021, 2:02 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Serbia’a Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


Novak Djokovic had a match of two halves against Lorenzo Musetti. He was down 2-0, but quickly sprung back and leveled the set score 2-2. Then he led 4-0 in the fifth set when unfortunately Musetti retired in the match and Djokovic moved through to his 15th quarterfinal at French Open 2021.

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Djokovic picked up his 31st five-set win, and that is the most by any player in Grand Slam history. He spoke about the challenge of five-setters and what it feels like to play one.

“5 sets, it’s a mix between emotions and the pressure of a first time on a big court. It can boost you, because you have nothing to lose, but I can take away a lot. You’re still developing your abilities to cope with this kind of pressure.”

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Novak Djokovic in action during his fourth-round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Novak Djokovic on his bathroom break after the second set

At 2-0 down, Djokovic took a bathroom break and after that, he had his transformation. In the next one hour and eight minutes, Djokovic won 16 games whereas Musetti won one and then retired.

“If you really want to know, during the break I changed over the underwear and the rest. But you mainly use this moment to reset you mentally, changing your environment. Even if it’s a short break, you can have a few debreath and come back as a new player,” Djokovic said.

Lorenzo Musetti with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after retiring injured from their fourth round match REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

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Djokovic once found himself 4-1 up in the first set. However, Musetti’s high-risk game quickly helped the Italian make a comeback. From there Djokovic never saw a set point as the set went into a tiebreaker. Here Djokovic was evenly matched by Musetti. The Italian was the only one to see set points as he converted his third set point to take the first set off Djokovic – 7-6(7)

The second set saw Djokovic’s head down with no rhythm. The Serbian was missing everything and his return game was abysmal. Musetti took the first break in the second set and led 3-1. Djokovic did break him back in the net game, but the teenager had another zeal of confidence as he stretched the second set into a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Musetti took the lead and won, it 7-2 and the set, 7-6.

After the bathroom break, Djokovic won everything as Musetti struggled. The third set went Djokovic’s way, 6-1 in 23 minutes. And he went on to bagel Musetti in the fourth.

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Then in the first point of the fifth set, Djokovic slipped while running for a forehand. However, he lunged ahead and completed the forehand, and later won the rally as well. His heroics earned him the point but also gave him a bleeding right index finger. However, Djokovic shrugged off the minor injury to dominate again as Musetti couldn’t continue further after being 4-0 down and Djokovic advanced ahead.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1071 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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