The 2019 US Open came to an early and abrupt end for Serbian icon and defending champion, Novak Djokovic. After falling for two sets, 6-4, 7-5, in the hands of Stan Wawrinka, the World No. 1 was forced to quit the match and eventually the tournament while he was trailing 2-1 in the third set.
Djokovic blamed a shoulder injury for his sudden retirement. As a result, he had to give up his title defense. Fans were shocked to witness the way the Serbian champion was outclassed by the 23rd seed. It seemed as through Wawrinka did his homework, and he was additionally benefitted by the Serbian megastar's injury.
According to the Guardian, Djokovic had emerged victorious in 36 of his previous 37 matches in various Grand Slams. He has also won 4 out of 5 major tennis tournaments that he last participated in. This certainly displays the kind of player that Djokovic has become over the years. His surprising withdrawal from the US Open and a relatively disheartening performance in that particular match has somewhat raised eyebrows. That shows the level of expectation that tennis fans have set for the 16-time major title champion.
Although his US Open journey has to wait for another year, the current season still has many offerings for the world's top-ranked tennis star. As per the reports published in Express, in a matter of four weeks, fans could see Novak performing at his peak in the Rakuten Japan Open, followed by a title defence campaign at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. All of this depends on how quickly he recovers from that bum shoulder.
Apart from chasing Roger Federer's Grand Slam record, another notable feat that Djokovic would want to tie is Pete Sampras' iconic record of ending six straight years as the world number 1. However, this injury has placed a damper on his campaign. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are hot on his heels and they are both still in the tournament.
For the supporters of Djokovic, the silver lining lies in the fact that the current season is still far from over. If he recovers quickly, he would get a fair opportunity to maintain his reign in the tennis world.