The tennis world was definitely surprised today, after Novak Djokovic was eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open by number 117 ATP, Denis Istomin, with 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), in four hours and 48 minutes. Therefore, Nole, six time champion at Melbourne, won’t be able to defend his crown this year.
It was the Uzbeki’s first win over Djokovic in six attempts and probably the biggest surprise of the Open, ever since Sam Querrey (USA) defeated the Serb at Wimbledon last year, in the third round. There’s no doubt that the result pleased Andy Murray, as the Brit will be able to retain his position as ATP leader for at least six more months.
During the press conference, Novak Djokovic handled all questions smoothly, but it wasn’t hard to read the disappointment in his eyes. Last year, he was moving towards a realistic charge at a calendar grand slam after his win over Andy Murray in the 2016 Australian Open final, but now he’s going home after just one week of competition. Still, Nole had the power to congratulate his opponent and admitted that Istomin played aggressive, served very well and was very precise during the whole game.
With nine double faults and 72 unforced errors, Novak couldn’t really ask for more. On the other hand, this win is the biggest achievement in Istomin’s career! During the press conference, the Uzbeki gave credit for the performance to his mother and coach, Klaudiya Istomina. Without her support, Denis is convinced that his run in the ATP Tour wouldn’t have been the same.
Back in 2001, he suffered a car accident, breaking his leg, forcing doctors to tell him that the injury might seriously wreck his career. However, his mother was right by his side, helping him get through and eventually return to professional tennis.