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Djokovic Credits Federer Tactics

Dubai, U.A.E.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic surrendered a one-set lead in the Dubai semi-finals.

Novak Djokovic credited Roger Federer’s aggression and mental strength after surrendering a one-set lead in his semi-final defeat to the Swiss on Friday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

After hitting 10 winners to claim the first set, Djokovic had appeared on course to level his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Federer at 16-16, but was thwarted by the Swiss, who fought back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.

“He deserved to win,” said Djokovic. “He played better in the second part of the match and was more aggressive and played all around the court really well. I dropped the opening game of the third set; it was quite a bad service game for me. I started making a lot of unforced errors in the second part of the second set and just wasn't managing to move as well. He felt that this is his opportunity, and he used it. That's why he's a big champion.

“It's like any other match against Roger,” continued the Serb. “It's always tense. It always goes down the wire. Even though I was the better player and I felt I was in control for the first hour or so, it appears that it wasn’t enough, because a few points can really decide the winner. That's what happened. He mentally felt more comfortable, was coming to the net. On the other side, I backed up, and that resulted with the loss.”

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Djokovic was playing just his second tournament of the year, following a quarter-final loss at the Australian Open last month (l. to Wawrinka). It is the first time since 2006 that he has been title-less on the ATP World Tour going into March.

“I didn't have many matches this year, and you could see that on the court,” said Djokovic. “I still lack that consistency in my movement in the matches. Look, I lost to Roger. That's not a bad loss. I know I'm not fully satisfied with my game. I'm going to work on it and try to get better for the next one.

“I haven't repeated the success I have had in previous years. But look, it's normal in sport. You can't always expect to do well in certain tournaments. When you lose against a better player, you shake hands and that's it. You move on and try to take the best out of it.”

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