Djokovic learned 'big lesson' from US Open default

Novak Djokovic says doing best to control on-court emotions after US Open default

The world number one had been the overwhelming favourite to lift the US Open trophy, having not lost a singles match all season.

Four-time victor Djokovic, who has a first round bye in Rome and opens his campaign midweek, said he had been shocked over his last 16 exit in NY after he accidentally struck line judge Laura Clark with a ball hit in frustration.

"I arrived in plenty of time to try and have the right practices", said Nadal, who hasn't competed since 29 February due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. "But I don't think I'll have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball".

'It's the first time in my career that something like this happens - of course it could have happened earlier in my career or could have happened to many players.

"So sometimes the situations like this happen".

'I can not promise or guarantee I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life.

"I'm going to take this in, you know, as profound as possible for me as a big lesson".

World number two Rafael Nadal once again criticised his rival Novak Djokovic for plans to establish a new Professional Tennis Players' Association.

"[My] expectation is to always go on court and try to feel competitive".

"But anything is possible in life".

"Of course it was very hard for me to accept right after it happened", said the 33-year-old.

"Of course it was a shock to finish the US Open the way things finished for me", he told reporters.

"I checked with Laura after the match". Top women's seed Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open victor, said she was "pretty sure it's going to be very strict" at Roland Garros. "When you hit a ball like that you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court".

"Rafa obviously chose to stay on clay and practice, surely that gives him more advantage, but even if he didn't practice for that long on clay, he would still be the number one favourite in Roland Garros or any other clay tournament because he's Rafa, you know", he added.

"Novak was unlucky. [But] The rules say clearly that's a default".

For the first tournament in a while, despite the almost half-year hiatus, the U.S. Open surprised me with its organization and preparation.

The upside for Djokovic was it gave him more time to prepare on clay for this week's Internazionali BNL d'Italia and the French Open starting on September 27.

But third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas does not believe the lack of competition will have an impact on two-time defending champion Nadal who has a 61-6 record in the tournament.

Recipient of a first round bye he was now eager to start in Rome, possibly on Wednesday, to turn the page.

In the WTA, the tournament was being played without Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, world number one and two respectively, as well as four other members of the top 10 - not surprising that we've had so many great firsts.



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