Former women's World No. 1 Justin Henin recently shared her take on Novak Djokovic's deflated performance in the semifinal loss to Jannik Sinner.
Djokovic memorably lost for the first time in 11 matches in the Australian Open semifinals as a red-hot Sinner outplayed him to clinch a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 win to progress into his first Grand Slam final. The Italian will confront Russia's Daniil Medvedev for the ultimate prize on Sunday, January 28th.
Djokovic was pursuing an 11th Australian Open title, which would have extended the men's record and would have tied him to women's legend Margaret Court, who won her 11th title on home soil back in 1973.
Instead, the Serb was made to take a dose of his own medicine that he had served to his opponents ten times before at this stage of the tournament. He suffered his first loss at the Australian Open in 2,195 days, and Henin told Eurosport that she was "surprised" that there was no reaction from the 36-year-old.
Many times in his career, Djokovic has become synonymous with fighting back from losing deficits and winning. He could only salvage his pride on this occasion by winning the third set.
It marked the first completed match of Djokovic's Grand Slam career that he could not create a single break point. The Belgian concurred with Djokovic's assessment at the end of the match, in which he labeled the defeat as "one of the worst" Grand Slam matches of his career.
"We all know his ability to bounce back all the time. In fact, he did so on several occasions during the tournament. Today, it was the lack of reaction that surprised us."
"Sinner's level was very, very good, and we could have expected that," added Henin. "But the number of unforced errors, Novak Djokovic's slowness, his inability to react that was rather unpredictable."
"Djokovic was lucid enough to say so. But that doesn't take anything away from the fact that you can admire your opponent and say: 'This is one of my worst Grand Slam matches'. Because I think it's true."