The 2018 Roland Garros witnessed another upset last night as former World No.1, Novak Djokovic bowed out of the tournament after a pulsating 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 6-7 loss to unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato.
Djokovic showed great sportsmanship spirit, going up to congratulate the World No.72 on his victory but was not ready to deal with the reporters immediately after. He declined to go into the large interview room, instead making his way to a smaller one which was cramped with several of them.
In the process of answering their questions, he dropped the bomb. “I don’t know if I am going to play on grass”, said Djokovic. When asked if he was talking about the Wimbledon, he was unwilling to provide a definitive statement.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just came from the court. Sorry guys, I can’t give you that answer. I can’t give you any answer”, was what Djokovic stated. The Serb was curt and quick with his replies, never going beyond two sentences for any answer and was desperate to get away from prying eyes.
After an injury break after last year’s Wimbledon, Djokovic has not looked the same but showed shades of it in his matches at the French Open. He had dropped only one set en route to the quarter-final but came up against an inspired Cecchinato, whom he could not get past.
But that was not to say that Djokovic did not have his chances. He may lost the first set quite early, in just 34 minutes but clawed his way back in the second. Cecchinato eventually won the tie-breaker but the next set saw Djokovic completely dominate to win 6-1.
The fourth set saw him go 3-0 up and it seemed like Cecchinato had lost his concentration after an argument with the referee. But the Italian did not back down one bit, matching Djokovic shot-for-shot and winning several points with beautifully-executed drop shots. The tie-breaker lasted an astonishing 23 minutes as they traded points back and forth, but a looping winner sealed the deal in the end.
It was Cecchinato’s third giant killing of the tournament as he had also gotten rid of No.9 and No.10, David Goffin and Pablo-Carreno Busta, in previous rounds. He will next face title-contender, Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals, who himself beat another contender, Alexander Zverev in straight sets earlier in the day.