For Djokovic, his defeat in Australia does not mark the beginning of the end

MELBOURNE.- Only one defeat in 11 semifinals of the Australian Open is not enough for Novak Djokovic contemplate a generational change in tennis.

Djokovic had no break points in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 loss to Jannik Sinner on Friday, ending his unbeaten streak in this round of 10. times Australian champion at Melbourne Park.

He credited his 22-year-old Italian rival for playing “impeccable” tennis — it was Sinner’s third victory against Djokovic in their last four meetings — but said his own performance could be the worst he can remember.

“In this tournament I haven’t been at my best standard or criteria or level that I normally play or expect to play at,” Djokovic admitted, “but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the beginning of the end, as some people like to say.”

“We’ll see what happens the rest of the season.”

Djokovic, 36, has been dealing with an illness and wrist ailment this month in Australia and was clearly not at his best, as he himself acknowledged and was seen in his duel against Sinner.

But no other player has as many Grand Slam titles as Djokovic, who has 24 and of which he won three last year when he went 27-1 in majors.

“I still have high hopes for the Slams, the Olympics and any tournament I compete in,” he said. “It’s not the feeling I’m used to. “It has been incredibly satisfying for me to start most of my seasons with a Grand Slam title and never lose in the semi-finals or finals of the Australian Open.”

The Great Trio of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dominated the majors in this era.

Stan Wawrinka’s title a decade ago was the only one in Australia not to have won any of the three since Marat Safin beat Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

This will change this Sunday, when Sinner plays his first final against Daniil Medvedev, who eliminated Alexander Zverev in four hours.

Djokovic is not complicated by the streak:

Federer retired and Nadal is injured. Djokovic assures that he is far from the end, although his streak of 33 victories dating back to the fourth round loss in 2018 has come to an end.

“I feel irascible right now. After the game it is difficult to reflect on things in a deeper way,” he said, “but I am definitely not proud in terms of what I have achieved here.”

“The streak was going to end one day. It was going to happen and at least I gave it my all given the circumstances, I didn’t play well and I lost to a player who has a chance to win his first Slam.”