After his shock defeat to then World No 42 Lorenzo Sonego, Novak Djokovic said that he did not ‘feel like playing’ after the death of Serbian bishop Amfilohije Radovic.
A high-ranking figure with the Serbian Orthodox Church based in Podgorica, Montenegro, the 83-year-old Radovic died on Ovtober 30 due to complications caused by Covid-19.
He allegedly died just hours before the World No 1 faced Sonego in the quarterfinals of the Vienna Open last Friday.
“This is a very sad day,” Djokovic said, according to Tennis Majors, about Radovic’s death.
“I was privileged enough and honoured to have met him, to spend some time with him and to feel the beautiful energy he possessed. Although he is physically not with us anymore, I am sure that his spirit will be felt among us for a very long time.
“Yes, to be honest I did not feel like playing too much. The sad news did have an effect on me, but not the extent that I could not play. I have come to Vienna with a goal and I have fulfilled it,” he added.
By winning two matches in Austrian capital he is as good as confirmed to finish the year ranked No 1 in the world.
The Serb is well on course to secure a record-equalling sixth year-end No 1 finish – held currently by Pete Sampras.
However, the shock 6-2, 6-1 loss to Sonego sent shockwaves through the tennis world. Especially since this was only his third loss of the season, but the biggest upset.
His comments though, about having accomplished what he came for, did not sit well with tournament director Herwig Straka.
“I find such statements unnecessary – even when you think so, you don’t say it at a press conference,” he said to Sport Klub.
Djokovic has opted to skip the Paris Masters and will next play at the season-ender ATP Tour Finals in London.