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Djokovic issues apology for injury withdrawal

Pain game: Novak Djokovic leaves the court after withdrawing
Pain game: Novak Djokovic leaves the court after withdrawing

By Andy Sims

Novak Djokovic's US Open title defence came to an end after he retired injured while two sets down to Stan Wawrinka.

The crowd on Arthur Ashe were stunned when the World No.1 approached Wawrinka and embraced him while trailing 6-4 7-5 2-1.

Djokovic has been bothered by a left shoulder injury all week, although it was not apparent during the opening two sets, with Wawrinka reprising the sort of form which made him the champion in 2016.

But the Serbian took a medical time-out after dropping the second set, and three games into the third he decided enough was enough.

"It was the left shoulder," Djokovic confirmed.

"I congratulate Stan. He's a great player. I really wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament.

"I don't want to talk about my injuries. I said that in the past. I'm sticking to that.

"I'm sorry for the crowd. Obviously they came to see a full match and it just wasn't to be. That's all it is."

The result means Wawrinka will face fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals, while the draw has opened up for Roger Federer, who was in imperious form against David Goffin and had been expected to run into Djokovic in the last four.

Earlier, Medvedev revelled in his role as the villain of the tournament after beating Dominik Koepfer to reach the quarters.

The Russian, who caused a stir by sticking his middle finger up at the crowd in a 'visible obscenity' two nights earlier, was jeered as he strode onto the court in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The majority of the spectators were firmly behind German qualifier Koepfer when he went a set and a break up.

But Medvedev eventually won 3-6 6-3 6-2 7-6 (2), before goading the crowd again with his celebration and then saying in his courtside interview: "Guys, continue to give me this energy. You are the best."

ESPN commentator Pam Shriver, referring to the mutual respect shown between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff 24 hours earlier, said: "The women are being so well behaved and the boys are just misbehaving. Boys will be boys."

Belfast Telegraph


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