Novak Djokovic stays philosophical after shock Australian Open 2017 exit

The world number two suffered a five-set defeat by Denis Istomin in the second round in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic was left looking for the positives after his shock Australian Open exit at the hands of Denis Istomin in the second round in Melbourne.

The Serb suffered his earliest exit at a grand slam in nearly a decade as he lost 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to the world number 117 on Rod Laver Arena.

Asked if his long-awaited victory at the French Open last year had taken the edge off his hunger, Djokovic said: “I don’t know. I mean, it’s not a time now to go so deep into it.

“I didn’t reflect on that at all at this stage. I started a new season, a new year, as everybody else did. I forgot about it, in a way. It’s not affecting me.”

The world number two continued: “I started the season very well. Again, it’s a tennis match. On any given day, you can lose. I mean, nothing is impossible.

“There is over a hundred players playing in the main draw. I guess the quality of tennis keeps rising each year. Everybody becomes more professional. I guess they improve.

“They get better on the court. What can I do? I did try my best till the last shot, but it didn’t work.”

Djokovic kicked off 2017 in style by beating Andy Murray at the Qatar Open earlier this month.

And the 29-year-old admitted that he struggled to find his feet against Istomin.

“There was intensity, of course. We played four-and-a-half hours.

“It’s just one of these days when you don’t feel that great on the court, don’t have much rhythm, and the player you’re playing against is feeling the ball very well. That’s sport.

“Of course, I’m not used to losing in the Australian Open second round. I’ve always played so well. Through the last 10 years, I’ve won six titles here.

“This court has been so nice to me. I enjoyed it very much. Of course, it’s disappointing. But at the end of the day I have to accept it.”

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