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Why did Djokovic retire from his US Open match against Stan Wawrinka yesterday?

novak djokovic retires from 2019 us open match
Novak Djokovic decides to retire from his match while losing to Stan Wawrinka at the 2019 US Open. Pic credit: ESPN/YouTube

Sunday’s tennis action saw the No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic retire from his US Open match against Stan Wawrinka. He was considered a favorite to win it all but certainly wasn’t a crowd favorite once they saw him leaving the court. So why did Djokovic retire from this US Open match against Wawrinka yesterday?

Djokovic retires due to pain while losing

In his latest matchup, Novak Djokovic was down 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 to Stan Wawrinka. As he was being dominated by his opponent, he told the umpire he was retiring from the fourth-round match. It wasn’t popular with the crowd but was the best decision for his own body.

Reportedly, Djokovic was dealing with some intense left shoulder pain. The No. 1 seed said he takes medication to instantly get rid of that pain and that sometimes it works. In this case, it didn’t, which forced him to leave the match.

Per Fox News’ report, the Serbian star said in his post-match comments to the media that he’s “taking different stuff to kill the pain instantly; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

While the 32-year-old is right-handed, he uses his left hand and arm to toss up the ball when serving. In addition, he uses it for two-fisted backhand shots.

It was clear in his latest matchup, he just wasn’t the same No. 1 competitor and even Wawrinka admitted, “For sure, I could see some little (signs) that he was in trouble.”

Crowd turns against Djokovic, Wawrinka advances

When the crowd saw Novak Djokovic retire from his match against Wawrinka in the fourth round, it led to a majority of them booing the No. 1 player. Djokovic simply gave a thumbs-up gesture as he walked off the court due to the shoulder pain. Many people believe it was a classless move by the crowd to boo an injured player.

The defending champ and three-time winner had reached the fourth round of this year’s Open. Something aided him in his fight against the pain to feel “improved” this past Friday. However, it was too much to deal with on Sunday.

Djokovic said during his news conference, “I’m sorry for the crowd. Obviously, they came to see a full match and just wasn’t to be. I mean, a lot of people didn’t know what’s happening, so you cannot blame them.”

With Djokovic retiring, it means Stan Wawrinka moves on. The way the match was going, it appeared in his hands either way. He’ll now play in the next round against No. 5 Danil Medvedev who recently defeated Dominik Kopfer 3−6, 6−3, 6−2, 7−6(7−2).

The winner of that matchup goes to the semifinals against either Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov. Wawrinka also realizes he may have been given a bit of a gift but also didn’t take joy in that.

He said following Djokovic’s retirement from the match, “It’s never the way you want to finish the match. I feel sorry for Novak.”

Matt Couden


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