We are not used to Novak Djokovic losing, well, ever. He has held the tennis world by the throat for almost six years now. There have been periods during these years where others won Slams, sure. But recently, and certainly this year, Djokovic has been unbeatable. The other top players in the world can’t beat him, let alone players ranked outside the Top 40.
Novak Djokovic Shocked by Sam Querrey in Wimbledon 3rd Round
As many know by now, Djokovic currently holds all four Grand Slam titles. He started this streak at Wimbledon last year and hasn’t lost at a Slam since. His 30 consecutive singles match wins at Grand Slams is second all-time behind Don Budge (in men’s; Maureen Connelly Brinker won 50 straight women’s singles match wins). Djokovic currently holds the most ranking points anyone ever has. No one beats him.
Djokovic usually does very well against big servers. Big-serving players like Sam Querrey rarely have the ground game to break the Djokovic serve and Djokovic is incredible enough on return to break anyone. Querrey has beaten Djokovic once in his career, on a fast indoor court back in 2012.
Querrey did well throughout the first set to protect his serve and didn’t give Djokovic a single break point opportunity. Querrey opened up four break point opportunities of his own but couldn’t take a single one. Querrey managed to take a minibreak lead in the first-set tiebreak, which Djokovic erased at 6*-4. Querrey earned a minibreak back at 6-6, though, and took the tiebreak, and the first set, 8-6.
The second set started out evenly, with both players holding. Then, Djokovic just disappeared. It was jaw-dropping stuff, really. Djokovic just checked out. He got broken, gave up an easy hold without trying, and got broken again. He stopped running on court, really. He seemed to look injured but never called for the trainer. 12 minutes after it was 1-1, Djokovic had lost the second set 6-1.
Then the rain came. Rain has been the bane of the tournament this year, messing the schedule up in so many ways. This time, though, maybe the precipitation could save the World #1. Djokovic got some much-needed rest and Querrey had time to dwell on the enormity of what he was about to accomplish. After a short delay, it was decided that play would be canceled for the rest of the day, so Djokovic and Querrey would both have all night to think it over.
Rain wasn’t enough to save Djokovic, as Querrey held his mettle all throughout the third set, then sat through another rain delay that forced Djokovic to serve with the match on the line while he was cold, and the American completed the stunning upset by winning a topsy turvy tiebreak by a score of 7-5. Both players had nerves, but Djokovic kept shanking the ball when it mattered, and Querrey held his mettle serving late in the tiebreak.
Just how historic is this loss? Djokovic has not lost before the quarterfinal of a Slam since 2009. It has been seven years. He reached the quarterfinals or better at 28 straight Slams. Federer owns the record with 36. It looks like that record will stay in Federer’s pocket. Still, seven years without an early upset loss is an incredible feat. And now it’s no more.