“Felt Like You Are Playing Against the Wall”: Aslan Karatsev Reflects on Beating Novak Djokovic

Published 05/10/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 26: Novak Djokovic of Serbia after his loss against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain during the Miami Open tennis on March 26, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


In recent years, men’s tennis has not seen a more dominant player than Novak Djokovic. There have not been many people who have been able to beat the Serbian ace. He has maintained consistency and possesses a complete game, leaving no room for error.

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However, Djokovic lost a match recently at the ATP 250 event in Serbia. His defeat came at the hands of a player who has caused quite a few headlines this season – Aslan Karatsev. The Russian athlete compared his battle against Novak with that of playing against a wall. 

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 15, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his third round match against Britain’s Dan Evans REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Aslan reflected on his win against Djokovic and stated, “I felt really happy with my performance with him to beat him in Belgrade. It was a tough match, felt like you are playing against the wall. We played for like three and a half hours and everything was close. I’m really happy.”

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Novak Djokovic and Aslan Karatsev’s match was one of the longest this season

The pair’s semifinal duel lasted for well over three hours, and both players were not handing over any free points. In the end, it was a test of nerves and for the Russian player to maintain focus in the Serb’s backyard was a victory in itself. Nonetheless, he overcame one of the toughest challenges and emerged victorious. 

Earlier this season, both players played in the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne. Although the Russian played tremendously and reached the semifinal of a Major for the first time, he was humbled by the Serb in straight sets. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Russia’s Aslan Karatsev celebrates winning his quarter final match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Recently, Karatsev featured in the Mutua Madrid Open but lost in the pre-quarterfinal. On the other hand, Djokovic skipped the tournament in the Spanish capital this year. 

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Both players are currently in Rome, ready to kick start their proceedings in the ATP Italian Open. Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and will look to claim his sixth title at the venue. 

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Rohan Kollare

727 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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