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Djokovic Says Nadal Was Too Good

New York, U.S.A.

Novak Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic continues to search for his second Grand Slam title.

Despite finishing runner-up in a US Open final for the second time in four years, new World No. 2 Novak Djokovic had few complaints as he reflected on his defeat to Rafael Nadal.

“This is one of the matches where the opponent plays better than you, and you just have to congratulate him and tell him, ‘You're better’.  That's it.  I don't think I played a bad match overall.  It was very good performance from my side.

“I cannot hide the disappointment. [But] I'm not gonna cry or complain about that… Of course, I am feeling bad about my loss. I wanted that trophy, and I know I gave my maximum to get it even tonight.”

The 23-year-old Belgrade native had an excellent year at the Grand Slams, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and Roland Garros, his first semi-final at Wimbledon and the final of the US Open, where he has made the semi-finals or better four consecutive years. But he would nonetheless be disappointed to not have added to the lone Grand Slam title he won at the 2008 Australian Open, now 11 majors ago.

Djokovic, who now must scramble to be ready for Serbia’s Davis Cup semi-final against the Czech Republic in Belgrade, which begins Friday, had nothing but praise for Nadal after the match, saying that the Spaniard had every opportunity to one day be regarded as the greatest player of all time. “He has the capabilities already now to become the best player ever.  I think he's playing the best tennis that I've ever seen him play on hard courts.  He has improved his serve drastically. The speed, the accuracy, and of course his baseline is as good as ever.

“So he's a very complete player.  And for me, in order to win against him tonight, I had to be on the top of my game. I was playing really well for most of the match, but then there were some moments in, let's say, third and fourth set where I dropped my focus a little bit. I dropped my level of game and just a little bit on service games. He took it away, and he never gave me a chance to go back.”

Djokovic said that he felt fine physically coming into the match, having had an extra day to recover from his five-set semi-final against Roger Federer. “I was feeling good on the court tonight from a physical perspective, and just running all over the court and getting a lot of balls back. Against Rafa you've got to be ready to perform your best and to expect the long rallies. That was the case tonight, and I was aware of that and I was ready for that.  I don't think I can blame my physical situation, actually.  It was all good.”

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