Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev won the Serbia Open in Belgrade and then started his on-court interview by showing respect to 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic, who was hoping to win his first title of the year in front of his home fans in Belgrade, fell just short in his attempt as he suffered a three-set defeat to Rublev in the Belgrade final.
Rublev, seeded at No. 2, beat top-seeded Djokovic 6-2 6-7 (4) 6-0 to win his second title of the year.
"You are one of the strongest tennis players in history. For me, it's an honor to share the court with you, I will never be able to do everything you have done. I hope you can continue playing for so many years, I can’t wait to face you again," Rublev said.
“It is big to play against you and share the court for the second time. I hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us."
Andrey #Rublev to Novak #Djokovic: "You are one of the strongest tennis players in history. For me, it's an honor to share the court with you, I will never be able to do everything you have done. I hope you can continue playing for so many years, I can’t wait to face you again" pic.twitter.com/v9eERnc6Tq
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) April 24, 2022
Rublev dominated the third set
Djokovic had the first break point of the match in the fourth game but failed to convert as Rublev level to two games apiece.
After saving a break point, Rublev claimed back-to-back breaks to win the first set in style.
Djokovic started the second set with a break but his lead was short-lived as Rublev broke back in the third game.
Djokovic missed out on two set points in the 10th game and three more set points in the 12th game but finally realized his seventh set points in the tie-break to force a decider.
Unfortunately for Djokovic, he was left out of energy after winning a tight second set as Rublev won the third set without a dropped game to seal the Belgrade title.
Powered by Tennis World USA