NEW YORK, September 2, 2019
Novak Djokovic‘s US Open title defence came to an end after he was forced to retire injured when trailing two sets down to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in his fourth round match on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday evening.
The World No. 1 from Serbia had struggled with a left shoulder injury all week. Djokovic took a medical time-out after dropping the second set and two games into the third he decided enough was enough. Wawrinka was leading 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 after one hour and 46 minutes.
“I’m sorry for the crowd. Obviously they came to see a full match, and just wasn’t to be,” Djokovic said. “I mean, a lot of people didn’t know what’s happening, so you cannot blame them.”
The 32-year-old explained he had been “taking different stuff to kill the pain instantly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“The pain was constant for weeks now.”
Wawrinka said on court after the match: “It’s never the way you want to finish a match. I feel sorry for Novak. He’s a friend and an amazing champion. We’ve played some amazing battles all my career.”
The World No. 24 will next take on fifth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who eliminated German qualifier Dominik Koepfer by the score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) earlier in the day.
“I want to keep my level [from] tonight. I was playing some very good tennis. I am happy to be back,” Wawrinka is looking forward to his upcoming quarterfinal match.
Meanwhile, for the second time in two days, Medvedev agitated the crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium and thanked his “supporters”.
“I was painful in my abductor before the match. I thought I’m not going to play. I was painful in my shoulder. I took as much painkillers as I could. And you guys, being against me, you gave me so much energy to win. Thank you,” Medvedev said during his post-match on-court interview.
Medvedev 2, US Open crowd 0 pic.twitter.com/mKNngZFik5
— Charles Jabaley (@Charles_Jabaley) September 2, 2019