Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic has been forced out of US Open after suffering a shoulder injury which forced him out of his fourth-round match with Stan Wawrinka, Concise News reports.
Wawrinka was leading 6-4 7-5 2-1 when Djokovic decided he could not continue, with the two players embracing each other at the side of the court before the Serb walked off with his head down low.
“The pain was constant for weeks now. Some days higher, some days with less intensity, and obviously taking different stuff to kill the pain instantly,” said Djokovic, who has won the US Open three times.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
After dropping the second set, Djokovic immediately called for medical attention and sat courtside without his shirt on while the trainer gave him a massage.
He returned to the court but the 16-time Grand Slam winner was still clearly hampered by the issue and after being broken to love following a double fault he decided he could not go on.
The shoulder injury nearly saw Djokovic retire from his second-round match on Wednesday but the 32-year-old seemed to have recovered by Friday, saying he was almost pain-free after winning in straight sets to reach the last 16.
While frustrated in his bid to inch closer to Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 career Grand Slam titles, Djokovic was confident there would be plenty more chances to add to his collection.
“It’s a long road ahead hopefully for me,” he said. “I hope I can play for many more years. I’m planning to. I mean, I don’t see an end behind the corner at all.
“Now it’s a matter of keeping my body and mind in shape and trying to still peak at these kind of events that are majors and that are the most significant in our sport.”
Djokovic was off the pace in a lacklustre first set against three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka but seemed to right the ship in the second when he took a 4-1 lead.
But a determined Wawrinka, with his serve clicking, fought his way back and twice held to love en route to taking the set for a 2-0 lead.
Wawrinka, who had not faced Djokovic since beating him in the 2016 US Open final, said he could see his opponent was struggling but did his best to focus on his own game.
“For sure I could see some little thing that he was in trouble,” said Wawrinka, who faces Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.
“But I was most likely, most of the time, focused on myself because I know how well he can fight. I know how well he can come back. Doesn’t matter how he’s feeling on the court, and that’s what I was focusing on.”